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Kansas City Staycation Ideas

“I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.”

Either due to rising gas prices, lower wages, or just trying to scale back, sometimes a vacation means time away from work, but you aren’t going anywhere.

Now before you get boo-hooey about not being able to go to a more “exciting” place, take a moment and appreciate the town where you live.

Most likely there are several treasures that you have either not had the time to attend, have overlooked, or frankly never even heard of before. So embrace the Kansas City Staycation.

If your family is in to history…

Kansas City is just a short drive to two presidential libraries and museums – Eisenhower and Truman.

Visit both of these and you will be able to see the “backstory” of two consecutive presidents that follows the end of depression and World War II to the dropping of the atomic bomb and the Cold War.

The Eisenhower Library & Museum is open from 8am – 4:45 pm (Monday – Sunday). Admission is FREE to kids 7 and under. $1.00 for kids 8-15 and $8.00 for adults.

The Truman Library & Museum is open Monday through Saturday – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sundays – Noon to 5:00 pm and 9 am – 9 pm on Thursdays in the summer. Admission is FREE to kids 5 and under. $3 for kids 6-15 and $8.00 for adults.

The Missouri River and steamboats were an integral part of commerce and recreation in the 1800s. See how a the Steamboat Arabia sunk in 1856, how it was unearthed, and all it’s treasures.

Visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum from 10 am – 5:30 pm (Monday – Saturday) and noon to 5pm (Sunday). Admission is FREE for children 3 and under. $5.50 for kids 4-12 and $14.50 for adults.

Take a step back in time when train travel was the means from getting from point A to point B in the United States. Built in 1914, Kansas City’s Union Station encompasses 850,000 square feet and originally featured 900 rooms. At its peak during WWII, an estimated one million travelers passed through the Station.

One of the more infamous dates is June 17, 1933 – the Union Station Massacre. Convicted mobster Frank Nash, under escort by a team of FBI agents and police officers was shot and killed outside the Station during a shootout. As result of the massacre, Congress strengthened the power of the FBI.

Closed in the 1980s, the Station sat empty and neglected, escaping demolition on several occasions. It was renovated and reopened in 1999.

Kansas City’s Union Station is open from 6 am – midnight every day. In addition, it houses Science City, Kansas City Rail Experience, Extreme Screen movies, and other traveling exhibits (like Princess Diana exhibit and soon to come Art of the Chopper exhibit.)

If your family is in to art…

Get inspired and study Egyptian, Roman, European or sculpture art.

Nelson Atkins Museum is a open Wednesday through Sunday. (Wed: 10 am — 4 pm; Thurs & Fri: 10 am — 9 pm; Sat: 10 am — 5 pm; Sun: Noon—5 pm) Admission is FREE for everyone. You can also get an interactive guide of the museum with ipod Touches containing a Mobile Guide. These are available at the information desk. Another highlight is having a snack or lunch in the Rozzelle Court Restaurant.

If “traditional” art isn’t your thing – you can enjoy the vast and wild world of contemporary art.

Kemper Contemporary Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Thursday 10 am –4 pm, Friday through Saturday 10 am – 9 pm, and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. Admission is FREE for everyone. Another highlight is the amazing Cafe Sebastienne – but reservations are highly recommended.

And if you just want to enjoy a great morning or afternoon of street art (which includes lots of fresh produce, homemade wares, and street food) you need to visit the City Market Farmers Market on Saturday or the Community Yard Sale on Friday or Sunday.

City Market is open on Saturday from 6 am – 3 pm and on Friday and Sunday from 9 am – 3 pm. Admission is FREE for everyone. Tip: Bring cash. Vendors don’t accept checks or credit cards and you will definitely find some unique item to take home.

If your family is in to nature….

Feed your soul. See some amazing flowers. See some dinosaurs. Learn about local produce at Powell Gardens.

Powell Gardens is open everyday from 9 am – 6 pm. Admission is FREE from kids 5 and under. $4.00 for kids 5-12 and $9.50 for adults. In addition, be sure to check out the Heartland Harvest Garden (there are also cooking classes that I hear are amazing) where you can see different ways to incorporate a garden into your normal landscaping. And the kiddos will love the Jurassic Sculpture Garden and the water fountain at the end. Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring extra water because there are no fountains on the trail.

Ernie Miller Nature Center was the first Nature Center in Kansas and is a great way for kids (and adults) to get a close view of the animals who call Kansas City home.

The Ernie Miller Nature Center and Trails are open Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm – 5 pm. Admission is FREE for all. However, you may want to check out the Friday Amphitheater nights where the Nature Center experts bring out many different animals (like owls, snakes, reptiles and more) and educate us on their lifestyle and habitats. The cost is $2.50 per person.

Want to see the heavens with the strongest telescope in the area? Check out Powell Observatory.

Powell Observatory is open on Saturday nights starting at 8:00. They hold a brief education on the subject for the evening, a tour of the facility, and a look through the telescope at the heavens. Admission is $3.00 for kids and $5.00 for adults. Here is a schedule of the summer events.

If your family is in to wine or beer….

Yes, there are wineries in the Kansas City metro. And I encourage you all to try them out. It’s a great way to experience wine tasting and who knows, you may just find a new favorite.

Holyfield Winery is open Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm, Saturday: 9:30 am – 6 pm, and Sunday: Noon – 6 pm.

Jowler Creek is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am – 5 pm. Tip: You’ll also see sheep roaming the vineyards – that’s how they keep the weeds down.

Somerset Ridge is open Wednesday – Saturday from 11 am – 5 pm and Sunday from noon – 5 pm.

And who can forget our hometown favorite – Boulevard Brewery. Brewery Tours are conducted at various times through the week and are FREE to the public. And you will be able to taste a few beers at the end. (If only the Chocolate Ale was still available.) Tip: Make a reservation for the tour. They fill up very fast.

Is there more?

Absolutely. I didn’t even scratch the great restaurants, amusement parks, or shopping in our metro area.

That’s where you get to help.

What is your favorite attraction, restaurant, thing to do in Kansas City? Let me know in the comments.