Top Things to Do with Kids in Kansas City, Missouri
Hallmark feeds young imaginations with this free creative workshop geared to kids 12 and younger. Set your little artists free at activity stations in Crown Center where they can create masterpieces by repurposing materials left from the card company's manufacturing process. Projects and supplies vary but can include puzzles, melted crayons, black lights, die cuts, paints, markers and lots of scrap paper. (Adults may also enjoy visiting the Hallmark Visitors Center in the same building.) Reservations required.
Kansas City Zoo
The Kansas City Zoo is more than a century old, but the arrivals of animals such as polar bears, penguins and red panda cubs keep visits fresh. The original building dates to 1909 and now houses an indoor rainforest. For some of the best views, glide 45 feet in the air in a ski-lift-style ride over the African Plains habitat. When you come back down to earth, take the renovated suspension bridge to the Congo section, where you'll meet gorillas, red river hogs and a rare Amur leopard.
The Money Museum
The Money Museum is part of Kansas City's Federal Reserve Bank, a facility that sorts and transports cash to commercial banks and holds one of the largest automated cash vaults in the region. During free self-guided visits, you can design currency, then e-mail a copy to yourself to print at home. Kids will get a kick out of the bags of shredded money the museum hands out as souvenirs.
Legoland Discovery Center
In downtown's Crown Center, this playland holds more than 3 million tiny toy bricks. Marvel at the painstaking re-creations of Kansas City landmarks and miniature scenes from The Wizard of Oz in the Miniland area. (Combo tickets are available if you also want to hit the Sea Life Aquarium next door.)
Fritz's Railroad Restaurant
All aboard! This diner serves tasty signature burgers, crinkle-cut fries and milk shakes with a hearty dose of railroad nostalgia. Model trains chug overhead as you eat after delivering food you order via a telephone at your table that rings back to the kitchen. The recipe for the old-fashioned, grilled onion-garnished burgers hasn't changed since the restaurant opened in 1954. Why mess with a good thing?
Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun
Riptide Raceway, with four side-by-side slides, debuted at Oceans of Fun in summer 2021, the first thrill attraction added to the water park since Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun joined in 2013. Twofer admission tickets get you into both facilities for one price. The Planet Snoopy section of Worlds of Fun has more than 20 rides, shows and attractions for young guests and their families. Looking for something more thrilling? The SteelHawk ride swings around a spire 300 feet in the air.
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Sea Life Aquarium
Sharks, starfish, sea horses, stingrays and other creatures of the deep live in this 260,000-gallon underwater world at downtown's Crown Center. The turtle shelter is a great place to learn all about these humble reptile; some of the tanks are even shaped like turtles. Buying tickets online instead of at the door saves you a few bucks.
Science City at Union Station
See science demos; play in the test kitchen; sculpt sand or paint on glass walls in Creative Corner at Science City. A train-themed play area is geared to ages 4 to 7.
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The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
Both kids and adults will love to peer at tiny masterpieces and vintage toys among the more than 72,000 objects collected by this University of Missouri-Kansas City museum.
College Basketball Experience
The 41,500-square-foot College Basketball Experience celebrates over 100 years of college hoops with interactive exhibits and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. On-site courts let you shoot free throws, sink your own buzzer beater and dunk on a series of rims. Other activity stations focus on rebounding and passing skills, and you can test your broadcasting chops at the ESPNU desk.
Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead
Kids can experience farm life and the frontier by visiting with more than 250 animals and birds, checking out a one-room school house and experiencing a Kansa Indian encampment at this attraction in Overland Park, just over the border in Kansas.
Cedar Cove Feline Conservation Park
This sanctuary about 45 minutes south of downtown Kansas City is like a small retirement home for lions, tigers and leopards. An all-volunteer staff keeps the place afloat, giving these beautiful creatures lots of TLC and educating the public. And Cedar Cove isn't just for cats; you'll also see other rescued animals, such as wolves and coatis (a member of the raccoon family). Guided tours available on weekends; reservations needed.