KC Fun - Overland Park Arboretum

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My son loves trains. There was a time when he played constantly at his Thomas the Train table at my parents house for hours. And just like anything else, it feel by the wayside for things like garbage trucks and excavators. But lately, he plays with that table every time we go over there. 

He had a sleep over with them Sunday night, and when I went over to pick him up yesterday morning, he was playing trains. We talked about what we wanted to do that day, and McKinley mentioned driving around and looking for railroad crossings and possible old train cars that would be abandoned on the tracks. I recommended the Arboretum. They have a wonderful Train Garden with working model trains and a really old caboose in the background. The suggestion was positively received, so I packed up lunch and we left for the garden.

If you haven't been to the OP Arboretum, you really need to plan a trip. It's beautiful. And so incredibly peaceful. A little sanctuary in the middle of a chaotic city. The gardens are gorgeous and the walking trails are challenging for those who would like to take scenic strolls while getting in a little extra exercise. This mama was huffing at times, and with a cooler start to the morning, I found I wishing I had worn shorts! 

You are greeted with a large pond surrounded by gorgeous landscape. As we crossed a little bridge into the Arboretum, with mounds of lily pads in bloom, we spent several minutes looking for frogs in their midst. We didn't find one.

We continued our walk and found my favorite spot, a babbling waterfall that feeds into a small pool at the bottom. McKinley explained how the waterfall worked and how the tiny river ran along the rocks. He stuck his hand into the cool water, asking me to do the same. And then we were off again. This time to a tiny path where we played follow the leader, McKinley always leading, and then raced to the finish line when taking alternate routes. It was like the Olympics, Arboretum style.



Then it was time to find the train. We spent at least 45 minutes in that section alone, taking time to play in the little gravel play area before heading back to watch the trains. He was memorized. The trains travel over bridges, under the sidewalk, under the caboose platform, and around small model towns in the center for the exhibit. He jumped up and down with excitement, rolled from one end of the sidewalk to the other to watch the trains enter and exit the tunnels, and sat perfectly still at times just taking it all in. As my mom said, it was almost a Zen like state. And the caboose was open yesterday so we were able to watch the model trains from the platform and tour inside the tiny car. That was a first time experience and pretty cool. 


We spent a small amount of time wandering the wooded area of the Arboretum, but McKinley got a little nervous inside the "forest" so we made our way back to the pond. I would love to take time to find the Enchanted Forest and to walk among all the cute fairy like doors carved into the trees. It looks, well, enchanting! 

At the Koi pond, McKinley decided he was ready to go home. I guess the trains were enough for this guy. So instead of a fun picnic around the pond, we ate our lunch in the car on the way home. He talked about the trains all the way so I'm pretty sure he had a great time. He even showed all the photos to Dada and told him all about the trip. We're planning another outing with Dada soon.

If you're looking for a fun afternoon outing, check out the Arboretum. So many things to see for when you need a little nature lesson. Beautiful places to take rest or eat lunch. And they have a sweet little cafe and small gift shop. A treasure in the south portion of Overland Park.


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