Unique Family-Friendly Places in Kansas City

Our Favorite Unusual Destinations around Kansas City

Having little kids gets you into all sorts of situations you could never have imagined yourself in. Like serving popsicles to people actively bathing. Or visiting Bass Pro Shop, not for their unmatched selection of tackle and other outdoor supplies, but because it’s a pretty good place to knock out a couple hours in the afternoon with your kids. For those days when you just need that change of scenery and are wracking your brain for someplace new (you’ve already done Wonderscope and the Zoo this week), check out my list of our top three favorite off-the-beaten-path places around Kansas City.

Family Tree Nursery  With multiple locations around, we favor the Shawnee location. First thing to do, get yourself coffee and a little treat from the excellent Cafe Equinox. Take a stroll through the phenomenal(ly tempting) gift area and down the ramp (see if you can get your kids to walk past the bubbling little garden fountains–I can’t) and take a seat in one of  the many sweetly furnished alcoves to enjoy your snack and tease some birds with your crumbs. When your kids are over sitting down (read: one minute later) take your latte with you for a stroll through the plant-filled greenhouse. This is a favorite spot for us in winter, for both the Christmas displays in the gift area and the incredibly refreshing feeling of sunlight and fresh, plant-filtered air all in a climate-controlled environment. After the plants, walk back across the gift shop and out the other side to feed the koi! Bring quarters.

That vintage Christmas sweater with sparkly boots is everything. No flowers were harmed in the making of this blog post. We “ONLY PICK THEM UP FROM THE GROUND”

Bass Pro Shop  I was serious. There are three in the KC metro area, but we usually land at the Olathe location. I will say, if taxidermy bothers you, this one’s not for you, but if you can appreciate a good stuffed goose–what a spectacle you are in for! There is SO. MUCH. TAXIDERMY. And I am here for it. It is an incredible display of animals in vignettes representing their natural habitats throughout the store. Things to feast your eyes on are EVERYWHERE. There are also live animals here! A big-screen style fish tank full of native species is beside a very cool water feature which is home to two gorgeous wood ducks named BERT and ERNIE! And is a store even a store if there isn’t a toy section? It’s easily avoidable if you just go straight to the animals and straight back out but IMO it truly is worth a look. There are some unique things to be found–think stuffed lifelike bluegills and smallmouth bass. If that’s not enough, hop on the glass elevator and go explore some camping displays upstairs. Honorable mention: the generously cut wardrobe staples.

This Enormous Oak Tree  If you’ve made it to Olathe and Bass Pro Shop wasn’t enough, make your way to the Olathe Community Center and have a little walk around. Behind the building you’ll find one of the best trees I’ve ever seen. With huge sprawling limbs low to the ground, this thing is begging to be explored. I mean, how much can I go on about a tree, you’ll just have to trust me. Worth the drive and we’ve never even been inside.

We got here the first time because she told me she wanted to climb a tree. Peep those vintage Reeboks!

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