My Guide to Free Summer Fun - Part One

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

If you are anything like me, you find yourself a month into summer and you're struggling with finding things to do that aren't a strain on the wallet! You've been on or are planning a family vacation, which can cost a dime or two, but the memories and time with family are totally worth it. In the meantime, you still need to get out of the house and do some things to keep you and your little one(s) busy! That's where I'm here to help.

There are so many fun things around the city that don't actually cost you a thing! And, I've created a few of my own things to do that McKinley thinks are registered Kansas City activities! This will be a series of things to do, because some we haven't done yet, but I thought I wanted to share some of the things we've been doing thus far.

Roe Park Splash Pad

We attended the splash pad last year on the day the city shut down. Turns out, there were some issues with the electrical work and some grounding copper that needed to be corrected. It was and it's officially up and running. A fun free water experience for itty bitty's and big ones, there are tons of different spray features and a fun filled playground just across the astro turf! And, just a little ways up from the playground is fun interactive space. A sandbox that's mostly mud from all the water babies at play, a fun cistern where you pump water down the wooden canal, and a little wood discovery area close by. Nice bathrooms and water fountains are additional features. As well as two covered picnic areas. My only complaint about the spray pad itself is the cement play area. Lots of slips, slides, and falls have taken place so just be careful. I insist that McKinley wear water shoes for a little extra grip. I wish it was a padded, but as long as there isn't a ton of running, everyone should be okay!

Overland Park Arboretum

We've been going to the Arboretum for years. It's a sweet getaway in the middle of the city. Filled with gorgeous views, beautiful flowers, covered walkways, and sprawling landscape, it's a must see. And, Tuesday's are a free day! We spent some time there yesterday and McKinley spent the majority of his time in the train garden. I know that comes at no surprise! We always call ahead to see if the trains will be running that day, it's volunteer based, because we've gone on a day where it wasn't running and the mood was rather somber. And when the volunteers are there, the caboose is open for exploration. You really must check it out.

The one thing we haven't done, and something I'm eager to explore, is the Enchanted Forest. What's in the Enchanted Forest? Well, there are homes of gnomes, fairies, elves, trolls, goblins, sprites and other magical woodland creatures on a woodland trail. And new this summer is the magnificent home of the lords and ladies of the Enchanted Forest royalty. Doesn't that sound like so much fun? Let me know if you get there before me!

Deanna Rose Farmstead

I don't think I have to tell you about our love for the Farmstead. We've been taking McKinley since he was one and we go all spring, summer, and fall long! Some of the staff know McKinley by name, if that tells you anything. We went just this week and spent roughly three hours just playing and exploring. McKinley is always the tour guide, this time he was the onsite farmer, and directs us through the farmstead. 

It used to be free during the week, but they have changed their admission prices. From 9:00-2:00 Monday through Thursday, it's $2 per person, kids under two are free. However, after 2:00 Monday through Thursday, the admission is free. We purchase the Friends of the Farmstead season pass and get in free all season long! It's $35 for Overland Park residents and $50 if you live outside OP. With your membership, you get:  

Free admission for your immediate family for one year
Two small drinks
Two pony rides (3 to 10 years old)
Two goat bottles
Two fishing rentals
$1 off Pumpkin Hollow admission (limit 7)
$1 off Night of the Living Farm admission (limit 7)  

Tomorrow night, they are offering free event at the Farmstead. It's a free movie night! Bring a blanket or lawn chair and watch Charlotte's Web with your family! Gates open at 7:30 and the movie starts at dusk!

Country Club Plaza Fountain Tour

This is my made up free activity that McKinley thinks is an actual KC tour! It started in 2014 when I needed to find more things for McKinley and I to do over the summer. At the time he was only three so our activities were limited. So on a hot summer day, we headed out to the Plaza for a fountain tour. We walked the Plaza, stopped at all the fountains along the way, took pictures, and threw pennies into almost all of them (I guess there is a cost if you decided to toss pennies in the fountain). It's a summer staple! We're planning our annual trip for next week! 

And while you're down that way, head over to the Kauffman Gardens. It's gorgeous, peaceful, and a sweet spot in the city.

This is just the beginning of my list of free summer activities. I've got a few more up my sleeve, some of which we haven't done before, and I'm excited to test them out and bring the results to you. What do you think of the ideas I brought to you today? How many of you have done these? Anything we should add to our list? I can't wait to hear them!


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