Kansas City, the birthplace of Hallmark greeting cards and its own style of barbeque, offers a wide array of activities for visitors of all ages. From a free playground for arts and crafts to a penguin-feeding exhibit, here are a few things to see and do during your next stay in Kansas City:
Headquartered in Kansas City, Hallmark Cards, Inc. produces nearly 10,000 new greeting cards each year. After production, the company transports all of its leftover scraps to Hallmark Kaleidoscope, an artistic playground for kids. Once inside, kids can melt crayons to use as paint, color the walls with “Glow-Doodle,” and even cut their own puzzles – all free of charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must be accompanied by a child. For a schedule of events and family art sessions, visit the website’s calendar:
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, formerly known as Oklahoma Joe’s, is a popular destination for barbeque fans from across the country. Visitors who don’t mind getting their hands sticky can visit the restaurant on Mondays and Saturdays at lunch, or Wednesdays at dinner to try the famous burnt ends. In 2009, Anthony Bourdain named the restaurant “One of Thirteen Places to Eat Before You Die,” and USA Today named the restaurant’s ribs "Tastiest Ribs in America.” Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que is open every day except holidays. Additional information can be found at http://www.joeskc.com/.
Science City at Union Station
The Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium at Science City is one of the largest planetariums in the Midwest. Once inside the domed theater, visitors can explore the mystery of black holes, the solar system and view the stars above Kansas City. In the “Dinolab and Digsite,” kids can handle real fossils and observe them under a magnifying lens, and the center’s “Test Kitchen” offers interactive lessons from a food scientist about the foods we eat every day. For hours and more information, visit http://www.unionstation.org/sciencecity.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 and is dedicated to preserving the rich history of African Americans in baseball. Visitors to the museum will find a growing collection of baseball artifacts, film exhibits and photographs. Famous visitors to the NLBM include Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, General (Ret.) Colin Powell, Maya Angelou, and more. On the way out, visitors can also stop by the museum store to pick up a variety of memorabilia, including baseball bats, photographs, books and jerseys. Visit the website for ticket pricing and hours: http://www.nlbm.com/.
Kansas City Zoo
When the Kansas City Zoo first opened in 1909, it housed four lions, three monkeys, a wolf, fox, coyote, badger, lynx, eagle and a few birds. Today the zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals, including hippos, cheetah, elephants and orangutans. It is also themed by origin so visitors can go from Africa to Asia in a matter of minutes. At the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, visitors can feed four different types of penguins, including the Humboldt, Gentoo, King and Southern Rockhopper. Families can also stop by the Polar Bear Passage to witness polar bears Nikita and Berlin take an occasional dip in the pool. For a schedule of events and activities, visit the zoo’s calendar: http://www.kansascityzoo.org/events/calendar.