More great responses to our call for cool GeekDad things to do in your city. Here, Mark Dye tells us what’s worth doing in Kansas City. Keep the submissions coming! (just email them to me; if you can include links to a good image or two, that’s great). -CA
They’ve got a Dino Lab, a floor that plays music when you step on it, a crime lab, a production studio where kids can do their own news broadcast (and get a DVD of it to take home) … just a great place to spend a few hours with your geek prodigy. Even young kids can find something fun to do, while older kids should love the hands-on exhibits (such as that shown in the image at right).
Your typical zoo, but they’ve added quite a few upgrades and attractions over the past few years, including an entire kids area that features up-close exhibits, a slide, petting zoo, and other kid-friendly activities. Just be ready to walk … a lot.
Ran by Hallmark (yes, that Hallmark), Kaleidoscope has been around for decades, offering kids a chance to get in touch with their artistic sides with a number of projects. They have "independent sessions" on weekdays (call ahead for reservations), family sessions, and even special family workshops where parents and kids create together. Kids must be 5-years old to enter.
A really, really fun interactive museum that allows kids to learn through discovery and imagination. Exhibits include a supermarket, construction area, a special "Tree and Me" area for toddler exploration, and an art studio called Creation Station. (Note: Their Web site is pretty weak).
While it’s the typical museum full of stuff kids aren’t allowed to touch, if you have an older kid I HIGHLY recommend the
"scavenger hunt"–kids are given cards with certain exhibits on them, and then have to find those exhibits during the trip. Once they find one, the back of the card has an explanation of the item without going into, say, a
Jungian deconstruction of Andy Warhol. A great way to get tweens and teenagers interested in art.
Fairly affordable ($8 adults, $3 kids 5-12), this is a great way to get outdoors with your kids. Absolutely beautiful surroundings that immerse you in all of nature’s goodness. It’s about 30 miles outside of
KC, but worth the drive on a beautiful day. They also have classes you can sign up for, and the staff is incredibly helpful.
More than a celebration of sports, the NLBM captures the hopes, dreams, and ugliness of America during segregation. Affordable, relatively quick, and a must-do when visiting KC, even if you’re not a sports fan.
If you’ve got a lot of money on hand, KC’s ride central
(Worlds of Fun) and water park (Oceans of Fun) are a great way to go. They’ve got a good mix of big-kid and little kid rides at WoF, and Oceans of Fun has several areas for little ones (and an adult-only area for when you need a break).
If you or your kids are into old planes, this is a must-visit. Not that well known within KC, the museum (located at the downtown airport) is a growing operation started by a few folks who loved the golden age of air travel. They also have a restored Super
Constellation (aka "Connie") that has appeared in movies and other specials. (And as a KC resident, I’ve seen it flying overhead more than once.)