Kansas City, Kansas
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, was born in Atchison (1897).
- The city is home to Verruckt, the world’s tallest water slide (168 feet, seven inches), taller than the Statue of Liberty.
- Most historians agree Olathe’s Charles Hyer created the cowboy boot (heels, pointed toes, scalloped tops/1875).
- Walls at the federal pen in Leavenworth are 40 feet high and 40 feet below ground.
- Kansas Citians in two states paid the nation’s first bi-state tax (1996) to restore Union Station in Missouri.
The other Kansas City
Kansas City, Kan., is effectively the other Kansas City, sitting next door to and across a state line from the larger Kansas City, Mo.
However, the smaller Kansas City has attractions with tourist appeal, most notably — among racing fans — the Kansas Speedway. The raceway, opened in 2001, is credited with revitalizing the metropolis and making it the No. 1 tourist destination in Kansas.
The paired cities run neck and neck for popularity among visitors, but the Kansas metropolis rates higher for value for the dollar. When budget is a consideration, the Kansas side makes a good base for a holiday in the area with options to drive across the state line for the fine museums or for nightlife in the Missouri city that spawned many legendary jazz artists of the 20th century.
In the north of the metro area, the cities are separated by the Missouri River, but at most points, the plainly named State Line Road is the border. A visitor may reasonably view the two cities as one metropolis despite the finer details of geography and state jurisdictions.
Besides the speedway, Kansas City, Kan., promotes attractions that include Village West, an upscale retail, dining and entertainment district; professional sports, i.e., the Minor League Kansas City T-Bones for baseball and Major League Sporting Kansas City for soccer, and points of historical interest, starting with the Lewis and Clark Historic Park at Kaw Point, where the famous explorers and their team camped in 1804.
The lesser-known Quindaro, site of an abandoned town inside the modern city’s limits, was part of the Underground Railroad helping escaped slaves to freedom.
Besides nearby attractions of Kansas City, Mo., several suburbs appeal to visitors, as well, including:
- Atchison, Kan., Amelia Earhart’s birthplace and a historic railway town.
- Independence, Mo., site of President Harry S. Truman’s home and library and the National Frontier Trails Museum.
- Lawrence, Kan., a happenin’ college town with a bloody history (due to the fight against slavery) and serious museums.
- Leavenworth, Kan., not for its four prisons (they don’t have tours), but for its historic riverfront downtown and the Frontier Army Museum.
Things to do for Venturers
- Get into the harness for a zipliner’s ride (or several) for great views of downtown Kansas City. This is at Adventure Zip KC.
- Ride the world’s tallest waterslide at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark. You’ll ride in a four-person raft.
- Get married at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, held over several autumn weekends in Bonner Springs, or less drastically but also requiring planning, audition to be an actor at the festival. Also, consider participating in the festival’s laugh-a-minute interactive dinner theater. There is a real meal, too.
- Take a chance on wine from Kansas grapes and other Kansas-made fruit wines at free wine tastings offered at the Wine Barn Winery and Vineyard.
- Get behind the wheel at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. There is a ride-along option, too.
- Cross the state line to the larger Kansas City to pursue an evening of jazz.
Things to do for Centrics
- Choose your sports event, either in Kansas or Missouri. Depending on season, choices are professional baseball, football or soccer, or collegiate basketball.
- Attend the auto races at the Kansas Speedway. Spend a little time at the casino there, too.
- See the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, which was the aviator’s childhood home in Atchison. Round out the aviation theme in Atchison at the International Forest of Friendship, a memorial to those who have contributed to aviation and space exploration. Also, if it’s autumn, take the city’s trolley ghost tour.
- Rent a boat for your relaxation at the Wyandotte County Lake and Park. The park also has a bridle trail and archery range, suggestive of other activities you could pursue.
- Take a tethered balloon ride at the Great Midwest Balloon Festival, held at the Kansas Speedway in August. Marvel at the show balloonists provide.
- Learn more about the area’s history at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs and at the Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum.
Things to do for Authentics
- Reach into the past with a walk in the Lewis and Clark Historic Park at Kaw Point, where the explorers and their traveling companions camped in 1804 early in their famous expedition to the West.
- For something it never occurred to you to do, watch a marble-making demonstration at Moon Marble Company (on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday) in nearby Bonner Springs. Shop for paperweights, wacky stuff or just marbles. Get a load of the marbles in the on-site bathroom, too.
- Barbecue is popular. Eat some.
- Shop at Legends Outlets Kansas City, the city’s only outlet mall. It also offers a range of dining and entertainment options.
- Photograph the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth from the approved distance. There are no tours here.
- Head to Independence, Mo., for the Harry S. Truman Home and to peruse the former president’s library and museum. Besides, Independence is the site of the engaging National Frontier Trails Museum because the California, Oregon and Santa Fe trails all originated in Independence.
For more information, consult the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitkansascityks.com