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Kid-friendly day trips from Kansas City, Missouri

Unlock a treasure trove of fun, education, and unforgettable memories with the best kid-friendly day trips around Kansas City, Missouri.

November 6, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 12
A view of the Kansas City, Missouri skyline, with Union Station in the foreground.

Kansas City, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas, is a vibrant metropolis that offers a plethora of activities for families. But sometimes, the real adventure begins when you step outside the city limits. Whether you're a local or just visiting, these day trips promise a fantastic time for kids and the young at heart. So, pack some snacks, prep a playlist, and let’s hit the road to explore the top attractions that are just a short drive away!

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, Kansas

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead isn't just a farm; it's a time machine to simpler times, located in the heart of Overland Park, Kansas. Here, children can engage with the past, learning through play in this beautifully recreated turn-of-the-century farm. Little ones can revel in the joy of bottle-feeding baby goats, milking cows, and taking a horse-drawn wagon ride. The farmstead is also home to a one-room country schoolhouse, an old-time fishing pond, and beautifully maintained gardens. The Kanza Indian encampment offers an educational experience, shedding light on the lives of the area's original inhabitants. It's a full day of wholesome fun, connecting with animals, nature, and history.

Science City at Union Station, Missouri

Science City, a cornerstone of Kansas City, Missouri's Union Station, is where fun meets learning and curiosity is the fuel for discovery. This isn't your average science museum; it's an interactive learning center that encourages kids to touch, try, and engage. With exhibits ranging from a mock television studio where kids can broadcast their own news, to a lab where they can conduct real experiments, it's a haven for budding scientists. The outdoor science park, featuring a giant lever, water play area, and dinosaur dig, adds an extra layer of excitement. It’s a tangible, hands-on way to make science fascinating and accessible to kids of all ages.

Worlds of Fun, Missouri

Worlds of Fun is Kansas City, Missouri’s answer to family entertainment on a grand scale. This sprawling amusement park offers everything from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and thrill rides to milder options for the tots. Inspired by Jules Verne's adventure book, "Around the World in Eighty Days," the park is cleverly divided into sections based on different world regions, offering a global tour without the jet lag. When the summer heat sets in, the fun continues at Oceans of Fun, the adjoining water park with wave pools, lazy rivers, and water slides. It's a universe of fun, all in one place.

Legoland Discovery Center, Missouri

Nestled in Kansas City, Missouri, Legoland Discovery Center is a world of color, creativity, and imagination. This indoor space is brimming with interactive rides, a 4D cinema, and, of course, millions of Lego bricks. Children can build to their heart's content, race Lego cars, or explore Miniland, a miniature Kansas City constructed from Legos. The play zones are designed to inspire creativity and problem-solving skills, and themed workshops hosted by the Master Model Builder offer kids a chance to learn new tricks and tips. It's a day trip that nurtures the architects, artists, and dreamers of tomorrow.

Kansas City Zoo, Missouri

The Kansas City Zoo, located in historic Swope Park, Missouri, isn't just a walk through an animal park; it's a journey through diverse ecosystems from around the globe. Spanning over 200 acres, this zoo is home to more than 1,700 animals and is rich in educational and interactive experiences. Children can marvel at the majestic African elephants in the Africa exhibit, chill with the polar bears in the Arctic section, or even feed lorikeets in the Australian aviary. The zoo emphasizes conservation and education, offering various programs that allow kids to learn about animal care, wildlife preservation, and environmental protection. The boat rides and the Sky Safari zip line add an extra dash of adventure to the visit, ensuring a day packed with fun and learning.

Shawnee Mission Park, Kansas

Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee, Kansas, is a natural oasis that offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. This park, the largest in the county, invites families to immerse themselves in nature and a host of recreational activities. You can explore hiking trails that meander through forests and meadows, paddle across the beautiful lake, or enjoy a tranquil afternoon fishing. The park's abundant wildlife provides excellent opportunities for bird watching and nature photography. With dedicated play areas, children have ample space to run free, and the well-maintained picnic spots are ideal for a family lunch outdoors. It's more than a park; it's a sanctuary where families can reconnect with nature and each other.

Adventure Oasis Water Park, Missouri

When the sun blazes, Adventure Oasis Water Park in Independence, Missouri, is the go-to spot to cool down. This family-friendly water park features something for everyone, from adrenaline-inducing water slides and diving boards to a lazy river for those looking to float leisurely. Younger kids will adore the zero-depth pool and interactive water features, ensuring they're part of the aquatic fun. Lifeguards are always on duty, so parents can relax knowing that safety is a priority. The park also offers swim lessons and water aerobics classes, promoting an active lifestyle. It's a refreshing escape, promising a splash-tastic adventure for the whole family.

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Missouri

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, located in Independence, Missouri, offers a deep dive into American history and the life of the 33rd President. This presidential library captivates with its wealth of artifacts, documents, and interactive exhibits, providing a nuanced look at Truman's presidency and the defining moments of the 20th century. Children can engage with history through thought-provoking exhibits, like a replica of the Oval Office and the decision-making simulations. Special events and programs designed for young visitors make history accessible and exciting, fostering a sense of connection to the past and its impact on the present. It's not just a museum; it's a lesson in leadership, resilience, and change.

Ernie Miller Nature Center, Kansas

The Ernie Miller Nature Center is a peaceful retreat located in Olathe, Kansas, offering families a chance to unplug from digital distractions and explore the natural world. The center features a variety of habitats, including forests, prairies, and streams, each teeming with wildlife. Visitors can traverse the miles of well-marked trails, perfect for a leisurely hike or an educational walk guided by knowledgeable naturalists. The nature center also houses a small museum with live animal displays and interactive exhibits, providing insights into the region's ecology. Special events, like evening storytelling by the campfire and guided night walks, offer unique ways to experience the park. It's a reminder of the simple joys found in nature's classroom.

Arabia Steamboat Museum, Missouri

History and mystery await at the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. When the steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River in 1856, she took with her a massive collection of 19th-century artifacts. Excavated in 1988, the treasures are now on display, offering a fascinating glimpse into pre-Civil War life in America. Kids will be enthralled by the stories of the excavation, the preservation processes, and the sheer variety of items recovered, from fine china and clothing to tools and toys. Interactive displays engage visitors of all ages, making the past come alive in a way that history books alone cannot. It's a captivating journey into the heart of American history and archeological wonder.Ready to make some memories? Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of fun, education, and adventure that can be enjoyed by the whole family. So, next weekend, instead of resorting to the same old routine, choose a road less traveled. After all, the real joy of these day trips isn’t just in the destination, but in the shared journey of discovery. Happy travels!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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