100+ Fun Things to Do This Summer in Kansas City

Your complete entertainment guide for the next three months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   It's the most wonderful time of the year! The days are longer, baseball season is in full swing, and the possibilities are endless. This summer, there is no excuse for boredom — from can't-miss concerts and outdoor theater, to wild water parks, fascinating exhibits, garden soirees and thrilling outdoor attractions, consider these pages your passport to unlimited entertainment. 

Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

 BASHES AND FESTS

 

International Dragon Boat Festival Kansas City 435 Magazine

International Dragon Boat Festival

 

   Ethnic Fests

   Find amoré June 2-4 with Zona Rosa’s celebration of Italian culture, Festa Italiana, which features food, a beer garden, an Italian motorsports show and more. The Society of Friendship with China honors Chinese culture with its annual International Dragon Boat Festival. Visit the Country Club Plaza June 10 for a daylong fest featuring dance performances, Chinese chess tournaments, dragon boat races on Brush Creek and more. Sample favorite Filipino cuisine, delight in performances by the Sinag-Tala dance troupe and Sampaguita choir and indulge in arts and crafts all while commemorating Philippine Independence Day June 17 and 18 at Fiesta Filipina. Then, grab your passport and head to Swope Park Aug. 18-20 to celebrate Kansas City’s diversity through the art, cuisine, dance and music of more than 60 different cultures at the Ethnic Enrichment Festival. unicokc.org, chinagardensociety-kc.org, filipino-association.org, eeckc.org

   On July 27, get lost in the musical mayhem that is Vans Warped Tour. Billed as America’s longest running touring music fest, the daylong set is sure to unite rockers of all ages with its roster of more than 60 bands, including names like The Ataris, War on Women, Blessthefall and Dance Gavin Dance. $41.50. providenceamp.com

   Savor art in its many forms with the Fringe Festival, Kansas City’s showcase of talent on tap. For 11 days (July 20-30) the city transforms into a grand stage, hosting all things artsy, from cabaret and film, to spoken word to music and everything in between. kcfringe.org

   This summer, Kansas City becomes Slick City when the boys, Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, David Koechner and Eric Stonestreet, with friends in tow, return for their annual Big Slick celebrity weekend June 23 and 24. In tandem with this year’s theme of “Love, Kansas City,” the fundraiser event adds a free pre-bowling tournament block party and celebrity red carpet arrival to its usual event itinerary. Free to $2,500. bigslickkc.org

 

Big Slick 2017 Kansas City Fundraiser 435 Magazine

Big Slick

 

   Calling all makers, creators, thinkers and doers: Kansas City’s celebration of innovation and creativity is back at Union Station, June 24 and 25. Billed as the greatest show (and tell) on Earth, the Maker Faire promises to excite with rockets, robots, DIY science projects, “slow made” foods, fine arts, live music and more. Free to $85. makerfairekc.com

   Community Days

   Kick off summer fair season with Shawnee’s four-day community festival, Old Shawnee Days, June 1-4. Highlights include live music, a carnival, a parade and of course your favorite carnival fare. You can find six blocks of fun at Lee’s Summit Downtown Days. From June 2-4, enjoy live entertainment from The Elders, craft and food vendors, plus robotics demonstrations and a kids’ street featuring a white tigers exhibit. Parkville hosts one of its largest festivals, Parkville Days, Aug. 18-20. This end-of-summer event packs loads of fun like country and jazz music nights, a pancake breakfast, the Evans Midland Empire carnival and much more.

   oldshawneedays.org, leessummitdowntowndays.com, parkvillemo.org

   County Fairs

   Cass County Fair, July 11-16, casscountyfairmo.com

   Wyandotte County Fair, July 11-15, wycofair.com

   Platte County Fair, July 19-22, plattecountyfair.com

   Miami County Fair, July 22-29, miamicountykansasfair.com

   Douglas County Fair, July 24-30, dgcountyfair.com

   Johnson County Fair, July 31-Aug. 5, jocokansasfair.com

   Colorado brewery New Belgium invites KC to experience the unexpected with its circus-themed touring fest, Tour de Fat. Benefiting Bike Walk KC, the event sets up camp at Crossroads KC on Aug. 12, and brings with it an ensemble of circus and Vaudevillian acts, magicians, comedians, choice beers and music by Atlas Genius. $12 to $20. newbelgium.com

   The Tumbleweed Country Music Festival is back in the saddle with its “true country” experience at LaBenite Riverfront Park July 28-29. Reconnect with your roots through two days and three nights of festivities like music, camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and Kansas City barbecue. Free to $200. tumbleweedcountry.com

 

Tumbleweed Country Music Festival

Tumbleweed Country Music Festival

 

   Rockaholics, get ready for 12 hours of non-stop rock at Rock Fest, hosted at the Kansas Speedway on June 3. For its 25th year, the festival features 15 bands, including Godsmack, Halestorm, Buckcherry and Sammy Hagar, as well as fireworks, ziplines and autograph sessions. $69.50 to $189. rockfestkc.com

   Bask in the natural beauty of Corporate Woods as arts and culture combine for Jazz in the Woods. Hailed as one of Kansas City’s largest free music fests, this jam session features the grooves of Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, The Elders, Steve Cole and more on two magical nights (June 9 and 10) under the stars. Free to $5. jazzinthewoods.com

   Red-Hot Concerts

After releasing back-to-back No. 1 albums in under a year, Atlanta “Low Life” and “Stick Talk” rapper Future shows he has no plans of stopping with his Nobody Safe tour. Kick off summer with him and fellow rappers Migos (“Bad and Boujee”), Tony Lanez and A$AP Ferg on June 4. $29.50 to $99.50. sprintcenter.com

   Local Flavor

   Headlining concerts are one of the main ingredients to an unforgettable summer, so why not add a pinch of local flavor to the mix? Expect a high-energy night of fun when fast-rhyming, KC reppin’ rapper Tech N9ne returns home — with labelmates in tow — to wrap up his Strictly Strange 2017 tour June 4 at the Midland. And before playing Boulevardia, local ladies of blues/roots/rock Katy Guillen & the Girls take over Knuckleheads Saloon on June 10, bringing tracks from their latest effort, Heavy Days. $33 to $38. midlandkc.com; $15. knuckleheadskc.com

 

The Elders Jazz in the Woods

The Elders, Jazz in the Woods

   Soulful Sessions

   After debuting the companion documentary to his album 4 Your Eyez Only on HBO, rapper J. Cole revisits the themes of love, family ties and the turbulent black experience in an intimate June 11 performance. In addition to sunscreen and water, be sure to pack tissues when catching John Legend on June 13. Mixing Starlight Theatre’s beauty with Legend’s “Love Me Now” is sure to bring on serious feels. And July 6, songstress Jill Scott, aka Jilly from Philly, enraptures with her soul-soothing catalog of hits, from “A Long Walk” to “Golden” and “Fool’s Gold.” Sold out. midlandkc.com; $29.95 to $129.95. kcstarlight.com; $35 to $129.50. midlandkc.com

   British rock trio Muse ventures across the pond to bring a night of “Madness” in support of their newest album, Drones. On June 12, experience a show of spectacular proportions, complete with LED pillars, laser lights, and hovering drones. Special guests 30 Seconds to Mars and PVRIS join Muse on stage. $273 to $564. kcstarlight.com

   Tattooed “Shape of You” troubadour Ed Sheeran trades out intimate venues for stadium sets on his world tour in support of ÷ . Armed with his guitar and an arsenal of hits including, “The A Team,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “Don’t” and “Castle on the Hill,” he kicks off the North American leg of his tour June 29 at the Sprint Center. Sold out. sprintcenter.com

   Kansas City Power & Light provides the soundtrack of summer with two earworm-producing acts. You’ve heard their blissful blend of blues vocals, catchy synths and hip-hop drums on Apple’s AirPods commercial, now see if you’re “Down” enough to catch duo Marian Hill on the Live! stage June 2. And on June 30 Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, as Bleachers, channels the teenage desperation and uncertainty of yesteryear with the help of thick ‘80s pop vibes from his newest effort, Gone Now. $15 to $20. powerandlightdistrict.com

   Train knows there’s nothing better than the feeling of hearing your favorite song, and July 3 the band aims to recreate it. Joined by “Unwritten” chanteuse Natasha Beddingfield, the Grammy Award-winning rockers delight with classics including “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” “Calling All Angels,” “Hey Soul Sister” and “Play That Song.” $29.50 to $79.50. kcstarlight.com

   Country Acts

   Country lovers will want to mark their summer concert calendars for roots rock band Turnpike Troubadours, who take over midtown July 7. Though they hail from Oklahoma, they hold a special place in their hearts for KC, as found in the ode to love on the railways, “Kansas City Southern.” $30. uptowntheater.com

   After wrapping his Kill the Lights tour, “Crash My Party” crooner Luke Bryan invites fans to join him for a night of Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day on his new tour of the same name, July 21. Expect a must-see show of hits from “We Rode in Trucks” to “Fast.” Tickets not on sale at press time. sprintcenter.com

   Every Thursday summer night from June 1 to Aug. 10, get your boots tapping with Kansas City Power & Light’s free Hot Country Nights concert series. Beat the summer heat with talents like Eli Young Band, Gretchen Wilson and Corey Smith. Free. powerandlightdistrict.com

   Hot Shows

 

Sprint Center musicians Green Day and Coldplay 435 Magazine

coldplay (Left) and Green Day (right)

 

   This summer, prepare for a new-age British invasion. Find “Fitzpleasure” on Aug. 3 with the cryptic lyrics and enthralling sounds of Alt-J. And seven-time Grammy Award-winning act Coldplay brings a vibrant, three-stage “Adventure of a Lifetime” to KC for the first time in nine years on Aug. 15. $35 to $59.50. kcstarlight.com; $29.50 to $225. sprintcenter.com

   Hit after hit played all night, the Sprint Center glittering with lights, lucky for Bruno Mars that’s what we like, that’s what we like. Don’t miss the chance to catch one of the most anticipated shows of the summer and experience Mars’ revered showmanship live Aug. 9. Sold out. sprintcenter.com

   Bay Area pop-punk trio Green Day expands its Revolution Radio tour to include KC in its high-octane jaunt down musical memory lane. Tune in Aug. 11 for a raucous rendition of faves from “Basket Case” to “Still Breathing” plus a medley tribute to songs that changed the airwaves. $29.50 to $89.50. sprintcenter.com

   Hello? Is this the collaboration you’re looking for? On Aug. 27, multi-platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning icons Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey take the stage together for the first time in music history. The can’t-miss performance promises all the hits, from “All Night Long (All Night)” to “Three Times A Lady” and “Honey” to “We Belong Together,” so prepare to croon until you lose your voice. $29.95 to $500. sprintcenter.com

 

Sprint Center Summer Fun 435 Magazine

Sprint Center

 

   Nostalgia Nirvana

   Dust off your neon windbreakers and bucket hats. I Love the ‘90s tour is back for a second installment. The party continues Aug. 11 and evokes nostalgia with iconic hip-hop and R&B names acts TLC, Naughty By Nature, All 4 One, Tone Loc and C+C Music Factory with Freedom Williams and Snap. $35 to $152. providenceamp.com

   The legacy of Freddie Mercury is kept alive July 9 when original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor join forces with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert. Expect a high-energy, Sprint Center-filling show featuring hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” Rage and rapture will flood the Kauffman Center on July 18 when “Call Me” outfit Blondie and “Cherry Lips” quartet Garbage perform songs from their respective new albums, Pollinator and Strange Little Birds. Starlight Theatre brings a memorable night of rock ‘n’ roll, Aug. 15, featuring Foreigner, “I Want You to Want Me” Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick and special guest Jason Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

   $49.50 to $175. sprintcenter.com; $85.50 to $155.50. kauffmancenter.org; $29.95 to $149.95. kcstarlight.com


Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

  SPORTS

 

Cosmic Jump basketball dunk 435 Magazine

Cosmic Jump

 

   Can’t make it to the beach this summer? Berkley Riverfront Park has six brand-new sand volleyball courts right on the water, so you can at least pretend you’re in California for an afternoon. High-efficiency LED lights allow for night play, and a kickball field and leisure sports area for games like bocce ball, badminton and cornhole keep the fun going all summer long. Martin City’s Volleyball Beach hosts leagues for three skill levels six nights a week. After the game, stick around to enjoy burgers and beer from the VBB bar and grill. 13105 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 942-2820, volleyballbeach.com; Interstate 29 and Riverfront Road, Kansas City, Mo., berkleyriverfrontparkkc.com

   Looking to try the fastest-growing sport in the world? North Kansas City’s Chicken N Pickle offers pickleball, a game played with two, three or four players wielding wooden paddles to hit a perforated ball across a low-slung net. Children, young adults and seniors alike can play pickleball, which is similar to other racquet sports like badminton and tennis. After the game, curb your hunger at the restaurant, which serves wood-fired chicken, sandwiches, salads and more. Find other pickleball venues at usapa.org. 1761 Burlington, North Kansas City, Mo., (816) 537-1400, chickennpickle.com

   Throw it back to simpler times and lace up some roller skates. Take the whole family, or leave the kids at home for late-night skate sessions at Skate City or Winnwod Skate Center. Either way, it’s sure to be a groovy good time with disco balls, nostalgic music and a slice of pepperoni pizza from the concession stand. Three area locations, skatecitykansas.com; 4426 NE Winn Road, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 452-1171, winnwoodsk8.com

   When’s the last time you went bowling? Turn a rainy day into an old-fashioned outing to the bowling alley. Ward Parkway Lanes has specials every night of the week, like karaoke bowling, family fun weekends and live DJ sets on Saturday and Sunday nights. Pinstripes, “where sophistication meets fun,” offers game-side food and beverage service, plush seating and bowling for $1 per person per hour Sunday through Thursday after 9 p.m. No Other Pub kept four of the bowling lanes from the space’s Z Strike days. Games are just $4 each during non-peak hours, so be sure to get there early to claim one of the hottest lanes in the heart of downtown KC. 1523 W. 89th St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 363-2700, wardparkwaylanes.com; 13500 Nall Ave., Overland Park, Kan., (913) 681-2255, pinstripes.com; 1370 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 541-2300, nootherpubkc.com

 

ROKC Rocking Climbing gym 435 Magazine

ROKC

 

   KC is chock-full of rock climbing facilities to keep you in shape in the comfort of air conditioning. RoKC offers a $15 one-day pass to check out the facility, which includes custom climbing walls, 5,000 square feet of standalone bouldering, a fitness center with yoga and fitness classes, a pro shop and more. The Cave Bouldering Gym, located 10 stories underground, features 3,800 square feet of terrain with more than 80 boulder problems.  New to rock climbing? The Cave offers classes and programs to help you learn the ropes. Ibex Climbing Gym has a 13-foot rope wall and a 33-foot bouldering wall for both beginners and experts alike. Apex Climbing Gym features Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacles, yoga, bouldering, private lessons and more. $15 to $65, climbkc.com; $9 to $450, thecavebouldering.com; $14 to $500, climbibex.com; $9 to $500, apexclimbinggym.com

   Get some air at an indoor trampoline park like Cosmic Jump Entertainment Center, which offers fun for the whole family. Teen Friday Nights is a great alternative to your teen’s typical mall-roaming and movie-going weekend plans. Expect two DJs, black lights, prizes, giveaways and more to keep the party going until 11 p.m. Cosmic Jump also hosts dodgeball leagues, birthday parties and even has escape rooms. Urban Air Trampoline Park is 35,000 square feet of fun. Monkey around on the slam dunk track, soar into the foam pit or take a stab at the warrior course. Sky Zone offers freestyle jumpy, Skyslam basketball, dodgeball, a foam zone and volleyball. Special events like Glow Slam, toddler time and Skyfit are also available. $12 to $16, cosmicjump.com; $5 to $20, urbanairtrampolinepark.com; $8 to $22, skyzone.com

   Just 40 minutes outside the city, in Cleveland, Missouri, Lone Wolf Ranch offers guided trail rides and horse riding lessons. The neatly manicured trails require minimal riding skills and meander through more than 200 acres of pasture and timber land. Looking for a romantic date idea? Book a private wine and cheese ride for you and your sweetheart. $60 to $120, facebook.com/Lone-Wolf-Arena-110009245691165/

   Calling all former high school and college star athletes! Get involved with your beloved pastime and join a recreational sports league. KC Crew offers leagues in everything from softball and flag football to bocce ball and flip cup kickball (play a game of kickball then head to the bar and play flip cup against the other team). Not the athletic type? Join KC Crew’s karaoke league at Offkey in Westport. The leagues also have a bar of the week, where participants get food and drink specials when they wear their official KC Crew T-shirts. Win-win. Kansas City Sport & Social offers soccer, basketball, indoor volleyball and other sports. Join with a team of friends or sign up as a free agent and make new friends. $25 to $52, kc-crew.com; $50 to $60, kcsportandsocial.com

   Nothing says summer quite like enjoying an ice-cold beer with a ballpark hot dog at the K. And you can’t beat Buck Night every Friday night home game, when hot dogs and peanuts are just $1 each. Top it off with Summer Fireworks immediately following the game, and it’s bound to be one of your fondest memories of the season. Let’s go, Royals! kansascity.royals.mlb.com

 

Kauffman Stadium Summer Fireworks

Summer Fireworks at the Kauffman Stadium


Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

BEAT THE HEAT

 

Union Station Kansas City Mo

Union Station

 

   When the temperature rises, sometimes the only sensible thing is to cool off in the water. KC Parks and Recreation’s website lists the nearly 50 public swimming pools and spray parks, including Brush Creek Community Center pool and Swope Park Spray Ground, on the Missouri side. Overland Park has five outdoor pools, Leawood has an aquatic center, and many other watering holes are scattered throughout Johnson County. Check your city’s official website for public pool listings. $3 to $35, kcparks.org; $5 to $165, opkansas.org

   Take your aquatic adventures to the next level at KC’s waterparks, like Oceans of Fun, which is jam-packed with attractions like Hurricane Falls, Surf City Wave Pool and Sharks’ Revenge. The Bay Waterpark has a little something for everyone: the leisure pool with a giant lazy river, the play pool for swimming laps, the family play pool with a huge dumping bucket, and the area’s only surf simulator (the Bayrider). $39.99, worldsoffun.com; $3 to $5, thebaykc.com

   Brace yourselves for the wettest and wildest party of the summer; the Blacklight Slide is coming to town July 29 at Arrowhead Stadium. Slip down the giant slides slicked with glow-in-the-dark water while top-notch DJs spin electronic dance music! Each ticket includes unlimited trips down the slides, a glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoo and a Blacklight Slide special edition towel. A portion of the proceeds benefits Childhood Cancer Awareness. $50, blacklightslide.com

 

Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center

Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center

 

   School’s out for summer, yes, but that doesn't mean you can’t still learn a thing or two. Escape the suffocating heat and enjoy KC’s world-class (and air-conditioned) museums. Science City at Union Station recently unveiled its upgraded state-of-the-art projection system that makes the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium one of the largest and highest resolution planetariums in the Midwest. Union Station’s Bank of America Gallery will host Mummies of the World: The Exhibition starting June 20. The exhibit explores the both natural and intentional practices of mummification through 3-D animation, state-of-the-art multimedia and interactive stations. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has several exhibits debuting this summer, including Dorothea Lange and Depression-Era Photographers (June 23), Rediscovering Hieronymus Bosch and Albrecht Bouts (June 30), Pollock and Motherwell (July 8) and Nature Morte/ Still Life (Aug. 2). Other museums of note: the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which preserves the rich history of African-Americans in baseball with multimedia displays, photographs and artifacts dating from the late 1800s through the 1960s; the American Jazz Museum, which showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibitions and films, multimedia visual arts and live music at the Blue Room Jazz Club; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College; and the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, which recently settled in its new home at 87th street and Metcalf Avenue and offers engaging programs and exhibits about the history of the community. $2.50 to $24.95, unionstation.org; Free to $12, nelson-atkins.org; Free to $10, nlbm.com; Free to $15, americanjazzmuseum.org; Free, nermanmuseum.org; Free to $5, jocogov.org

 

Nelson Atkins Museum Kansas City 435 Magazine

Nelson Atkins Museum 

 

   Summer is the perfect time to pick up a new skill or hobby by taking a class. Feeling artsy? KC Clay Guild offers hand-building and wheel-throwing classes. The Kansas City Art Institute offers classes in every medium from animation and art history to photography and woodworking. Work up a sweat and move your feet at Viva Social Dance Studio’s salsa and bachata lessons — the music alone is enough to keep you coming back for more. Look for Viva’s brand-new studio at 5722 Nieman Road, where it will open in early July. Hone your culinary skills with cooking classes. The Culinary Center of Kansas City offers interactive cooking parties like Cake Combat and Mystery Box Cook-Off, plus classes that cover everything from sushi and sauce-making to pizza and even craft cocktails. Jyoti Mukharji, the chef featured in this issue, teaches traditional Indian cooking classes hosted in her Prairie Village kitchen. $135 to $170, kcclayguild.wildapricot.org; $29 to $319, kcai.edu; $50 to $1,125, kcculinary.com; $20 to $55, kcsalsa.com; $65 to $70, Jmukharji@gmail.com

 

 

   Treat yourself to a scoop or two of ice cream, because we said so. A few of our favorite spots include Betty Rae’s Ice Cream for its unique flavors, Glacé Artisan Ice Cream for its all-natural and locally sourced ingredients, Sylas and Maddy’s for its five-flavor sampler, Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard for its concretes, and Westport Ice Cream Bakery for its shalolly and sorbetto. 7140 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 237-1168, bettyraes.com; 4960 Main St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 561-1117, glaceicecream.com; 11925 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, Kan., (913) 393-3500, sylasandmaddysicecream.com; two area locations, foosfabulousfrozencustard.com; 4120 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 14, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 214-8887, icecreamkc.com


Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

 DRIVE-WORTHY FUN

 

Powell Gardens, Conservatory

Powell Gardens, Conservatory

 

   Looking to take a walk on the wild side? Then hop in your car for an interactive experience where you’ll see exotic wild cats at Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Education Center in Louisburg, Kan., about 20 miles south of Kansas City on U.S. Highway 69. The nonprofit organization with its all-volunteer staff is devoted to the care and preservation of endangered large cats like tigers, leopards and cougars. Visitors are encouraged to make use of the books, DVDs and other reference materials located in the education center. The staff provides additional information on the cats’ behavior, physiology, habitats, and the threats and dangers of extinction. Free to $8. 3783 Highway K-68, Louisburg, Kan., (913) 837-5515, saveoursiberians.org

   For an inspiring view of our vast Midwestern night skies, a trip to Powell Observatory is a must. Owned and operated by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, the observatory in Louisburg, Kan., is open to the public Saturday nights, May through October, and for special astronomical events. Public programs include an educational presentation on an interesting astronomy topic, a tour of the night sky and viewing through telescopes, one of which is the largest available to the public in a five-state area. Free to $6 donation suggested. 26500 Melrose St., Louisburg, Kan., (913) 438-3825, askc.org

   When it comes to spectacular gardens, interesting architecture, a nature trail and year-round calendar of special events, there is nothing quite like Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s premiere botanical garden, to make your heart bloom. Its 970 acres of lush, rolling hills and windswept meadows are, indeed, awe-inspiring. A few highlights this summer are the Booms & Blooms Festival (July 1) and the Festival of Butterflies (Aug. 4-6, 7-10, 11-13 and 14-20). General admission: free to $10; festival admission: free to $12. 1609 NW U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, Mo., (816) 697-2600, powellgardens.org

   A trip to historic and picturesque Weston, Mo., should definitely be on your summer calendar. After all, it has been named Best Small Town in Missouri by AAA Midwest Traveler magazine. It’s no wonder because there’s plenty to see and do, from shopping its quaint downtown, dining, museums, antebellum homes, wineries, breweries, antiques, festivals and special events, including Second Saturdays, with downtown shops open late. Weston is 40 minutes north of Kansas City, Exit 20 on Interstate 29. westonmo.com

   Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., represents the best of college-town life. Boasting a lively downtown that runs along and near Massachusetts Street filled with lots of good eats and unique shops and galleries, quaint residential streets and iconic Jayhawk Boulevard that runs down the middle of campus, historic Lawrence is also known for a thriving music and arts scene. A summer highlight is the Kaw Valley Riverfest (July 4, rain or shine), a community festival from 4 to 10 p.m. at Burcham Park with a Jaycees Firework Display over the river at 9:30 p.m. Free. unmistakablylawrence.com

 

Buffalo Soldier Monument Fort Leavenworth KS

Buffalo Soldier Monument, Fort Leavenworth

 

   One of the Kansas City area’s best-kept tourism secrets is picturesque Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Billed as the “Best Hometown in the Army,” the 1827 Army post is also known as the “intellectual center of the Army” because it is home to the Combined Arms Center and the prestigious Command and General Staff College. There, international military officers from more than 100 countries attend the college in this 8-square-mile post. The post, which is also home to a national cemetery, a frontier Army museum and the only maximum security prison for military personnel of all branches, is open to the public, but cars entering may be subject to inspection. Free. Visitors Control Center, 8 Sherman Way, kansastravel.org

 

  ALFRESCO FUN

 

Stems Garden Soiree

Stems: A Garden Soiree, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical gardens

   When it comes to outdoor theater, Kansas City is a shining star. For example, did you know that Theater in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park is the country’s largest outdoor community theater? What’s more, it has a great playlist for the 2017 summer season: Grease (June 9-25), SPAMALOT (June 2-10), Crazy for You (June 16-24), Camp Rock (June 30-July 8), Back to the ‘80s (July 14-22) and Beauty and the Beast (July 28-Aug. 5). Free to $8. 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan. theatreinthepark.org. Then there’s the Leawood Stage Company, which will present the ever-popular Annie (July 13-16 and 20-22). For its 25th season, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival presents the classic tale of the doomed prince Hamlet (June 13-July 2). Free. Southmoreland Park, west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo., kcshakes.org. Gladstone Theatre in the Park presents two family-friendly classics:  Willy Wonka (July 7-9) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 4-6) Free. Ironwoods Amphitheatre, 147th and Mission Road. leawoodstagecompany.com; Free. Gladstone Amphitheatre in Oak Grove Park, corner of Northeast 76th Street and North Troost. gladstonetip.com

   When it comes to a memorable alfresco experience, there’s nothing quite like Starlight Theatre, which offers premier Broadway musicals and concerts under the stars. Located in Swope Park near the Kansas City Zoo, you might even hear the roar of a lion while enjoying top-notch talent. The roster this summer is impressive. Broadway musicals: Disney The Little Mermaid (June 3-11); Jersey Boys (June 27-July 2); An American in Paris (July 11-16); Something Rotten! (July 25-30); The Bodyguard (Aug. 8-13) Motown (Aug. 22-27) and Grease (Sept. 8-14). Concerts include: Steve Martin & Martin Short (July 21) and Idina Menzel (Aug. 16). Ticket prices vary. 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 363-7827, kcstarlight.com

   Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Our Kansas City Zoo features world-class exhibits and exceptional programs that attract visitors from around the globe. In addition, check out Jazzoo, the zoo’s largest fundraiser that helps support children’s educational programs and feeds the zoo’s more than 1,700 animals. Jazzoo (June 2) features about 70 Kansas City restaurants and, of course, plenty of music on five stages around the zoo. Founded in 1990 by the Junior League of Kansas City, the event attracts more than 5,000 guests each year. $11.50 to $14.50, 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 513-5800. kansascityzoo.org; $175. jazzookc.org

 

Kansas City Zoo Front Entrance 435 Magazine

Kansas City Zoo

 

   You’re invited to the party of the summer!  Celebrating its 10th year, Stems: A Garden Soirée (June 24) is an annual fundraiser at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Hosted by the Arts & Recreation Foundation, this spectacular event raises money for recreational and cultural enrichment for the botanical gardens and Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, and public art in Overland Park. As you stroll the gardens sipping wine or beer, you can enjoy delicious food from more than 24 area restaurants and music by Funk Syndicate and the Gerald Spaits Quartet. Each guest receives a hand-painted wine glass, and an impressive fireworks display is a great way to cap off the evening. $125. 8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park, Kan., (913) 685-3604, stemssoiree.org

   In the mood for a glowing campfire, inspiring stars and get-away relaxation? Then glamorous camping, or “glamping” at Hoot Owl Hill in Paola, Kansas, may be just what you need. Taking the “rough” out of “roughing it,” the 14-acre glamping bed-and-breakfast overlooking a scenic river valley offers bell tents that feature queen-sized beds, lanterns and furniture. The Hoot House tent can accommodate a group of six or more. $99-$125 per person. 30750 Osawatomie Road, Paola, Kan., (913) 271-7451, hootowlgardens.com

   As the first nature center in Johnson County, Olathe’s Ernie Miller Nature Center provides a great getaway from urban hustle and bustle. Open from dawn to dusk from March 1 through October 31, the center features displays; live animals; a 500-gallon aquarium, a gift shop; room rentals; knowledgeable staff; and 3 miles of hiking trails traversing prairies, a forest and a beautiful stream. Free. 909 North Highway 7, Olathe, Kan., (913) 764-7759, erniemiller.com

 

Ernie Miller Nature Center Kansas City, 435 Magazine

Ernie Miller Nature Center

 

   Since 1977, the 86-acre George Owens Nature Park in Independence has given families the chance to reconnect with their natural environment, such as year-round access to forests, lakes, hiking trails and wildlife. With endless possibilities for adventure, the park also features new rotating exhibits, a pond display and four large aquariums. Free. 1601 S. Speck Road, Independence, Mo., (816) 325-7115, georgeowensnaturepark.org

   A favorite spot for birders, the 1,071-acre Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs may just become your favorite outdoor spot, too. With mostly forested land that features established prairies, restored glades, savannas, woodlands, numerous ponds and creeks, the center also provides exhibits and interpretive programs, picnic areas, pavilions, six hiking trails, viewing decks and bridges. Free. 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, Mo., (816) 228-3766, nature.mdc.mo.gov

   Just a 10-minute walk from the Country Club Plaza, the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center supplies a hands-on urban education center for city dwellers and suburbanites alike. The 8-acre center offers demonstrations on butterflies, bird feeding, prairie wildflower, wetland and water gardens, and manicured upland and lowland forests. The center offers a quarter-mile, disabled- accessible Wild Sidewalk that takes visitors through a native gardens onsite. Free. 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 759-7300, nature.mdc.mo.gov

   Located in Kansas City’s Swope Park, the Lakeside Nature Center is owned and operated by the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation Department. So you can bet there’s plenty to see and do, such as displays of local native wildlife, including birds of prey, snakes, amphibian, turtles, fish and invertebrates. The center also offers medical care for injured or baby wild animals. Free. 4701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 513-8960, lakesidenaturecneter.org

 

Symphony in the Flint Hills

Symphony in the Flint Hills

 

   Celebrating its 12th year of bringing the magical union between symphonic music and the prairie landscape, Symphony in the Flint Hills (June 10) provides a memorable Kansas tradition that now attracts about 7,000 attendees from all over the world. This year’s performance features special guest singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey, who will perform at Deer Horn Ranch in Geary County. $53.88 to $1,500. (620) 273-8955, symphonyintheflinthills.org


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 THRILL SEEKERS

 

Kansas Speedway Kansas City 435 Magazine

Kansas Speedway

 

   Fulfill your need for speed with the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas City Speedway. Hop in the NASCAR race car and slam your foot down on the gas pedal, reaching speeds up to 155 mph. Experience the 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway with either a 3-lap ride-along or get in the driver seat yourself. Driving experiences come in three laps, eight laps, 18 laps or 30 laps.  $109 to $1,299. 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, Kan., 1-800-237-3889, drivepetty.com/race-tracks/kansas-speedway

   Feel the wind stream through your hair and scream at the top of your lungs as you’re dropping 14,000 feet from an airplane. Skydive KC is an exceptional skydiving establishment that features tandem skydiving and skydiving lessons for you to learn how to fly solo. If you’re not ready to jump out of a plan, try iFly’s indoor skydiving, which uses a vertical wind tunnel. With a more consistent air flow, flyers are able to hone their skills and practice the art of skydiving. $18 to $210. 1413 N. Orange St., Butler, Mo., (816) 524-5867, skydivekc.com; $69.95 to $659.95. 10975 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kan., (913) 305-4359, iflyworld.com

   Be a co-pilot for an hour with a flight lesson from Alpha Pilot Academy. The First Flight package allows you to take a test drive in flight training. The package will start with an hour pre-flight orientation and afterward, you’ll slide into a Cessna aircraft with a Certified Flight Instructor for an hour-long, hands-on flight lesson to experience the thrill of flying. $199. 12901 W. 151 St., Suite B, Olathe, Kan., (913) 764-4800, alphapilotacademy.com

   Swing through the treetops of Swope Park with Go Ape, an adrenaline-pumping, heights-conquering obstacle course weaved throughout the trees. The adventure course is a two-hour physical journey that features rope ladders, zip-lining, a log swing, Tarzan swing, a rail-track obstacle and a flying-carpet obstacle. Admire the gorgeous views of Swope Park with the zip line, and test your courage with the obstacles getting increasingly higher and ranging from easy to difficult. $38 to $58. 7331 Oakwood Drive, Kansas City, Mo., 1-800-971-8271, goape.com

 

The Dive Shop KC 435 Magazine

the Dive Shop, photo Steve Brumit

   You don’t need to go to all the way to the Great Barrier Reef to get a good look at what lies underneath the waves or swim with the fish. Learn to scuba dive right here in Kansas City with The Dive Shop and get certified to be a PADI Open Water Diver. This three-part certification consists of learning the basic principles with knowledge development, testing out the waters with confined water dives and flaunting your skills and confidence with open-water dives. Not ready to take the plunge? Go to Frogman Dive Center and take an introductory class where you can experience a little taste of the scuba life. $252.50 to $293. 7300 E. Frontage Road, Merriam, Kan., (913) 677-3483, kcdiveshop.com; $69.95. 3855 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 200-2881, kansascityscubadiving.com

   Explore the deep, dark crevices of Kansas City with members of the Kansas City Area Grotto, a nonprofit chapter of the National Speleological Society. Before your caving debut, make sure to get approved by the trip leader because showing up unannounced is a major no-no. After your approval, it’s smooth caving as the seasoned members lead you through the serene and cool caves. If you’re up to the three-hour drive or happen to be in the area, the Ozark Caverns in Lake of the Ozarks State Park gives a more traditional tour with more walkable surfaces and lighting as well as a tour guide to tell you all about the cavern. Various locations, kcgrotto.org; Free to $10, Ozark Caverns, 403 Highway 134, Kaiser, Mo., (573) 346-2500, mostateparks.com

   Get swept up in another world for 60 minutes and figure out how to break free with a group of your closest buddies at one of Kansas City’s adrenaline pumping escape rooms. With the rapidly growing trend, Kansas City has no shortage of five-star escape rooms for you and your friends to test your teamwork skills. Breakout KC in the River Market has been rated in the top five escape rooms by both Trip Advisor and USA Today. With two to eight players, choose from one of six escape rooms with themes from escaping a creepy 1970s hotel room to curing the world of an infectious disease. Pick four to 10 of your closest friends and become secret agents at Escape KC. Choose from two missions to collect the hidden asset and escape before the 60 minutes is up. Sneak into international businessman Mr. Dupree’s office and search the room for evidence of illegal activity and escape before he comes back and catches you in the act. Escape the grasp of Count David of Liverpool by freeing yourself from his shackles, locating and deactivating the bomb before the room is blown to bits. With other escape rooms in Kansas City like Clue Pursuit, Escape Room and Novus Escape Room, the escaping possibilities are endless. $28. 114 W. Third  St., No 102, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 945-2633, breakoutkc.com; $26.95. 7223 W. 95th St., Suite 300, Overland Park, Kan., (816) 987-8100, escape-kc.com; $24 to $28. 3953 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo., (913) 982-1076, cluepursuitlive.com; $28 to $56. 511 W. Fourth St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 656-5158, escaperoomkc.com; $27 to $29. 4142 Main St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 982-9775, kansas.novusescaperoom.com.

   For a more serene scene, perhaps a glide-by view of the city from several thousand feet is your cup of tea. The Old World Balloonery has been gliding folks above the city since 1975. Flights typically occur in the mornings from sunrise until two hours after, and in the evening until two hours before official sunset until sundown, when winds are the calmest. $200 to $650. 12600 W. 142nd St., Overland Park, Kan., (913) 338-2628, oldworldballoonery.com

  FOODIE FUN

 

Boulevardia Kansas City 2017 435 Magazine

Boulevardia

 

   Kansas City’s Father’s Day tradition, Boulevardia, is back this year, June 16 to June 17 in the Stockyards District. Drink beer from our hometown brewery and try brews from other cities while sampling savory bites from the best in KC’s culinary scene. Listen to music from acts like Local Natives and Guster from one of three stages, pick up handcrafted goodies from local artisans, and see the city from a different view from the top of the Ferris wheel. $20 to $900. Kansas City, Mo., boulevardia.com

   Are you a fan of food competitions like Food Network’s Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen? Then you won’t want to miss Culinary Fight Club, a live, high-energy food competition that’s coming to Kansas City June 27 in search of a barbecue master to crown as the first-ever Culinary Fight Club Kansas City Pitmaster Throwdown champion. Watch teams of home cooks to executive chefs compete to make the juiciest, sauciest barbecue with only 60 minutes on the clock and just 45 seconds to raid the pantry. Come hungry because a ticket also includes a taste of the gourmet dishes and a vote for Taster’s Choice. Can’t come for the barbecue? Make sure to mark the calendar for Culinary Fight Club’s Steak Competition in Kansas City on July 20. $30 to $40. culinaryfightclub.com

   Ditch the suit and tie and break out the bibs and napkins because Give Hope Back is hosting its ever-popular Lobsterfest Aug. 19. Starting off as a simple backyard lobster boil for friends and family, Lobsterfest has raised more than $120,000 for Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics. Bid on items from the live and silent auction and enjoy live music from The Shanks. Grab some tickets while they’re hot because who doesn’t want to eat delicious steak, lobster and as many cheddar biscuits as you can stuff in your face for a good cause? $115 to $150. Downtown Airport, Northwest Richards Road, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 519-7613, givehopeback.org 


Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

  FAMILY FUN

 

Legoland Discovery Center

LegoLand Discovery Center

 

   Pack your minivan with plenty of water and sunscreen and head to the Sprint Family Fun Days, a series of themed outdoor events sponsored by Sprint at the Kansas City Power & Light District. Each Family Fun event takes place on the second Saturday of the month through October and features clever themes such as Capes & Crowns, a Pirate Parrrty, Summer Splash and the Ultimate Field Day. Free to $5. powerandlightdistrcit.com

   For hands-on adventures with your little ones, two of the most popular attractions are Crown Center’s LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium. LEGOLAND’s 30,000-square-foot interactive play area with LEGO-themed rides and a 4-D Cinema featuring The LEGO Movie is a kid favorite. SEA LIFE features more than 5,000 sea creatures, touch pools, and an underwater tunnel that will have Mom and Dad marveling, too. New this year is the exhibit CLAWS! Learn about the amazing anatomy of crabs and what makes them one of the most powerful predators of the sea bed. $15 to $36. 2475 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 471-4386, kansascity.legolanddiscoverycenter.com; Free to $20. 2475 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 471-4386, visitsealife.com/kansas-city/

   Time Magazine named The Coterie Theatre one of the top five venues for young audiences in the nation. This summer the stage comes alive with Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, running June 13-Aug. 6. $12 to $17. 2475 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 474-6552, thecoterie.org

   The College Basketball Experience hosts 77 Days of Summer. Fans of all skill levels and of any age can get their summer b-ball on inside the state-of-the-art hall that adjoins the Sprint Center. From skill challenges to capturing your own call of a historic game at the ESPNU Broadcast desk, you and your family can experience college basketball like never before. Free to $15. 1401 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 949-7900, collegebasketballexperience.com

   When it’s hot out, it’s hard to turn down a free Popsicle. And there are plenty of them at Popsicles in the Park in Independence, Mo. This annual kid-focused event takes place at various locations June through August. Aside from sweet, icy popsicles, the events also feature live music, art, puppets and more. ci.independence.mo.us

 

  FREE FUN

 

Legends Kansas City - Live at the Legends 435 Magazine

The Legends

   Summer Concerts

   Leawood’s Park Place will host Park Place Unplugged, live acoustic performances every Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. during the months of June and July. Pull up an Adirondack or bring your own blanket to spread across the cool grass of Barkley Square while you enjoy solo artists and small groups showcasing your favorite pop and rock songs. Free. 116th and Ash streets, Leawood, Kan., parkplaceleawood.com

   Town Center Plaza’s Sunset Music Fest kicks off June 8 with a performance by Eddie Money. Followed by the Spin Doctors June 15, 10,000 Maniacs June 22 and Better than Ezra June 29. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Free. 5000 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kan., towncenterplaza.com

   Legends Live summer concert series will be playing nine consecutive concerts on Saturday evenings from June 10 to Aug. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m in the center courtyard. Local acts perform your favorite tunes from the ‘70s to today’s music. Free. 1843 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan., (913) 788-3700. legendsshopping.com

   A variety of music genres can be enjoyed at Howard Station Park in Downtown Lee’s Summit. Bring your own seating (lawn chair or blanket) and enjoy Friday evening concerts from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Free. Third and Southeast Main streets, Lee’s Summit, Mo., downtownls.org

   Movies in the Park
   This summer Shawnee Mission Park’s Theater in the Park will host Movies in the Park featuring Moana June 6, Sing June 20, Pitch Perfect July 18 and Finding Dory Aug. 1. $1. 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan., theatreinthepark.org

   Briarcliff Village hosts Saturday night movies June 3 through July 22. The big screen is set across from the Briarcliff Village shops at Mulberry Lake. The show starts at approximately 8:45 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks. Guests will enjoy Moana (June 3), Top Gun (June 10), The Jungle Book (June 17), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (July 8), Finding Dory (July 15) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (July 22). 4151 N. Mulberry Drive, Kansas City, Mo., thevillageatbriarcliff.com


Bashes and Fests | Sports | Beat the Heat | Drive-Worthy Fun & Alfresco Fun | Thrill Seekers & Foodie Fun | Family Fun & Free Fun

 

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Best of KC, Best of KC Articles, KC Happenings, Museums, Music, People & Places, Sports

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