Spread throughout its numerous vibrant districts, Kansas City has countless family-friendly attractions and activities to enjoy. Whether you're wandering the busy city streets or heading out into the surrounding countryside, you can be sure there's an engaging destination to spend a morning or afternoon.

    When you head to Kansas City with the whole family, take your pick from several sprawling amusement parks. For nature and animal lovers, there are world-class zoos and aquariums, while the city's museums are renowned for their educational classes that get everyone working with their hands. If you're looking for somewhere that'll engage the whole family, check out our guide to things to do in Kansas City – you're certain to have a top-notch time.

    1

    Kansas City Zoo

    Spend the day learning about conservation and your favourite animals

    • Families

    Kansas City Zoo, spanning 202 acres of lush nature, is one of the best places to visit with the kids. Having previously been honoured as one of America's top zoos, it’s home to over 1,300 creatures for your family to get close to. There are frequent special events and programs to engage the children’s imagination.

    From safari boat rides and stingray feedings to nocturnal safaris and fascinating discussions with zookeepers, Kansas City Zoo offers kids a remarkable introduction to wildlife conservation.

    Location: 6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO 64132, USA

    Open: November–February: daily from 9.30 am to 4 pm. March–May and September–October: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 4 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 9.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-595-1234

    Map

    photo by Nightryder84 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Worlds of Fun

    Get your heart pumping at 2 awesome theme parks

    • Families

    The Worlds of Fun amusement park is an electrifying way to spend a day in Kansas City. The 95-hectare park is stacked with both hair-raising and family-friendly activities, including 7 rollercoasters and a plethora of thrill rides to enjoy. There’s also a wide array of restaurants, bars and cafes to visit, where you can stock up on refreshing drinks and sugary treats.

    The price of admission also grants you access to Oceans of Fun, a massive waterpark that shares the same location. It’s an excellent summertime destination when you need to escape the heat. You can also ride the Riptide Raceway, the world’s longest mat-racing waterslide at 148 metres.

    Location: 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO 64161, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-454-4545

    Map

    photo by ian munroe (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City

    Get creative with everyone's favourite pastime at this learning centre.

    • Families

    LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a must-visit destination for those who love playing with the famous coloured bricks. There are 12 different sections to explore, with the 4D cinema representing a clear highlight as you can catch screenings of your favourite Lego movies.

    Other popular sections include the Kingdom Quest laser ride, Merlin’s Apprentice ride and DUPLO Village, while Miniland is where you'll find an outstanding model of Kansas City built from 1.5 million Lego bricks. If you want to learn how to build bigger and better structures, both kids and adults can take part in a 30-minute Master Model Builder workshop.

    Location: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 816-471-4386

    Map
    4

    Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

    Where kids can ride ponies and feed farm animals

    • Families
    • Budget

    Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead replicates a traditional family farm of Kansas, housing hundreds of barnyard animals. This 12-acre working farm is open from April to October. Families often come here on weekends and holidays – kids can learn how to milk cows, bottle-feed baby goats, and ride ponies during their visit.

    If you’re travelling on a small budget, visit Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead from 2 pm onwards to enjoy free admission. Every season, the farm also offers 2 free admission weekends – check beforehand for exact dates.

    Location: 13800 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS 66221, USA

    Phone: +1 913-897-2360

    Map

    photo by Paulmcdonald (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    Immerse yourself in artistic creations of all kinds

    • History
    • Photo

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has a collection of 35,000 historical and contemporary artworks across just about every genre and style imaginable. Its architecture and design section has works ranging from medieval stained glass windows to 21st-century furniture, while its large-scale Japanese collection offers ancient woodblock prints by the legendary Katsushika Hokusai.

    Attracting more than 500,000 patrons throughout the year, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s enormous wealth of creative inspiration is spread across 2 striking buildings and is free to explore. Outside the gallery’s walls, there’s also the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, which is where you’ll find the gallery’s famous giant shuttlecocks.

    Location: 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA

    Open: Saturday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday–Friday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 816-751-1278

    Map
    6

    Paradise Park

    Get your heart pumping at one of the city's much-loved amusement parks

    • Families

    Paradise Park is a thrilling amusement park spread over 15 acres of lush gardens. There are activities of all descriptions, but the escape rooms are among the most popular places in the park. As you wander around the grounds, you'll come across numerous other classic attractions, including bumper cars, a go-kart track and 18 holes of miniature golf.

    Head along to the sprawling playground and take a break at the campfire area, plus you can get active at the volleyball courts and batting cages. Meanwhile, the Discovery Play centre is great for little ones, as it features several unique areas where hands-on experiences are combined with educational classes.

    Location: 1021 NE Colbern Rd, Lee's Summit, MO 64086, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 9.30 am to 8 pm, Friday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 10 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 816-246-5224

    Map
    7

    Kaleidoscope

    Let your kids run wild at this free interactive arts centre

    • Families

    Part of the Hallmark Visitor Centre, Kaleidoscope is where kids can express their most creative side. It offers plenty of 50-minute classes throughout the week, including puzzle making and various colouring projects. Your kids are provided with a variety of art supplies and encouraged to go wild.

    As they move between the various themed art stations, kids embrace their own ideas as they collect items to produce creative works of art. Meanwhile, dive into the surrounding Hallmark Visitor Centre and check out the exhibitions exploring more than 100 years of postcard and art history.

    Location: 2500 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 816-274-8300

    Map

    photo by Wesley Fryer (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    SEA LIFE Kansas City

    Head underwater at Kansas City's beloved aquarium

    • Families

    SEA LIFE Kansas City takes you on a trip beneath the water with a vibrant showcase of aquatic life. As one of the top kid-friendly destinations in Kansas City, there are highlights abound. The Rockpool Experience is always popular, as you gain an up-close and personal look at an array of sea stars, sea urchins and crabs.

    The underwater tunnel is another standout area of SEA LIFE Kansas City. Here, you can gaze up at schools of vibrant fish, as well as turtles, eagle rays and reef sharks. Roam the entire aquarium and visit each of the 10 zones dedicated to different kinds of creatures.

    Location: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 816-471-4386

    Map
    9

    Arabia Steamboat Museum

    Get a glimpse of the 19th-century at this charming museum

    • Families
    • History

    The Arabia Steamboat Museum is an incredible way to gain insight into the American frontier back in the 19th century. With the Arabia steamboat sinking in the Missouri River in 1856, it left behind over 200 tons of artefacts, which have been collected inside a spectacular museum.

    Inside, there are thousands of extraordinary items, ranging from fine china and ancient carpentry tools to the world's oldest pickles. With more than 60 tons of items still being worked on by local conservationists, there are always new objects being added to the collection. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is located within the much-loved City Market, around 2 miles north of Union Station.

    Location: 400 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-471-1856

    Map
    10

    Union Station

    Explore this historic Kansas City monument and its numerous sections

    • Families
    • History

    Built in 1914, Union Station is one of Kansas City's great historic landmarks. There are 900 rooms spread throughout this grand complex, which fell into disuse during the 1980s. But following a large-scale redevelopment project, Union Station reopened in 1999 with a plethora of engaging event spaces aimed at both children and adults alike.

    Science City is certain to be a hit with your kids, as it offers a variety of hands-on activities that'll spark their curiosity. Alongside lively demonstrations, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium's 60-ft dome and incredible projections definitely wow visitors. Be sure to visit Union Station's ever-popular Model Railroad Experience, while there are regular live performances and musicals held at the City Stage Theatre.

    Location: 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to midnight

    Phone: +1 816-460-2000

    Map
    11

    Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

    Discover an important part of American sporting history

    • Families
    • History

    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is the quintessential place to learn the long and storied history of African-American baseball. Located in the heart of Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, it’s dedicated to this once-forgotten sporting period that started in the late 19th century.

    At the museum, you'll discover how baseball played a major role in the American civil rights movement. From the 1800s military and college teams where African-American baseball began, it explores how landmark figures like Jackie Robinson eventually became headline players in Major League Baseball.

    Location: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from noon to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 816-221-1920

    Map

    photo by SakuraAvalon86 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    12

    Lakeside Nature Center

    See rescued animals at this family-friendly centre

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park is one of the largest wildlife rescue facilities in the USA. There are around 75 rehabilitated animals, including turkey vultures, hawks, barred owls, and kestrel falcons. You can also take part in community conservation projects and free monthly guided hikes of the area.

    Every Saturday, kids can enjoy the Mother Nature Reads programme, which includes storytelling and craft-making sessions. The centre’s resident animal makes an appearance on special occasions. Visiting the Lakeside Nature Center is free and while most programs require a small fee, they’re usually at no extra cost for kids aged 3 and under.

    Location: 4701 E Gregory Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64132, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 816-513-8960

    Map
    13

    Louisberg Cider Mill

    Finish the corn maze and taste some of Kansas City's most delicious ciders

    • Families

    Situated to the south of the city, the Louisberg Cider Mill is one of Kansas City's most popular activities to attend with the family. Founded in 1977, the place makes over 2 million litres of cider a year from Kansas and Missouri apples. Plus, some of this cider is put towards producing delicious doughnuts.

    An enormous corn maze is also on the property. Here, you have to find all the hidden letters and decode the message. Throughout the lush grounds, you’re welcome to have a picnic – tasty meals are available at food trucks on weekends. Take a tour of the Louisberg Cider Mill and watch as workers produce the region's top ciders and snacks.

    Location: 14730 KS-68, Louisburg, KS 66053, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 913-837-5202

    Map
    14

    Cool Crest Family Fun Center

    Explore exciting kids' activities at KC's most venerable theme park

    • Families

    Running for more than 60 years, the Cool Crest Family Fun Center is one of Kansas City's most beloved family-friendly locations. Across a huge variety of kids' activities, there are 4 different 18-hole miniature golf courses, alongside a massive video game arcade with awesome new and retro games.

    For children who love thrilling action, the go-kart track will undoubtedly catch their attention. Meanwhile, the batting cages are where sports lovers will surely want to head. Either way, your kids will certainly be worn out by the end of the day. Make sure you drop by the onsite pizzeria or restaurant to top up everyone's energy.

    Location: 10735 E, US-40, Independence, MO 64055, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm, Sunday at 11 am (closing time varies between 10 pm and midnight)

    Phone: +1 816-358-0088

    Map
    15

    Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

    Explore the park for free on Tuesdays

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Couples
    • Photo

    The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 300-acre recreational space with over 800 species of plants across 8 natural ecosystems. It has nearly 5 miles of woodchip and paved trails leading to beautiful themed gardens, along with 2 footbridges spanning Wolf Creek that bisect the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

    Families can enjoy the Children’s Discovery Garden, where kids can find their way out of a switchgrass maze, climb to the top of Sky Watch, and see exotic amphibians in the Frog Pond. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Overland Park Farmers Market hosts over 80 vendors selling fresh produce and locally made products. The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens offer free entry to all on Tuesdays – those below 6 years old can enter for free year-round.

    Location: 8909 W 179th St, Bucyrus, KS 66013, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 913-685-3604

    Map
    Hudson Brown | Contributing Writer

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