My family has visited Kansas City so many times for weekends and even one-day getaways. We’ve discovered there is a lot to do in Kansas City with kids – way more than you can fit into two days. If you’ve yet to plan a weekend trip to KC, or you’re just looking for something new to do for the next visit, this list is for you!
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UPDATED: This post was first published in 2019. It was updated in January 2022 to reflect closures and other changes.
Kansas City attractions for kids
American Jazz Museum
The American Jazz Museum is one of those KC gems I discovered pre-kids. It’s on my list to bring the kids to one of these days, because it’s a great museum with interactive exhibits.
Related post: 12 best museums in Kansas City
The City Market has a year-round farmers market that’s heated and indoors in the winter. Browse shops and visit the FREE Steamboat Arabia Museum. On our last visit, there was a mini train for the kids.
Country Club Plaza
If you have young shoppers, this is a charming destination with unique architecture and high-end stores to choose from. This would also be the place to reserve a carriage ride.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
Learn about farm life and get up close to animals at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park, near Kansas City. The farm offers hands-on experiences like bottle-feeding goats and milking cows.
Great Wolf Lodge
While technically a hotel, Great Wolf Lodge does offer day passes for families to enjoy the indoor water park without staying overnight. Or, you know, you could stay overnight and get the waterparks included.
**GROUPON ALERT** Every so often, you can score a Groupon deal saving up to 40% off your stay.
Hallmark Visitors Center and Kaleidoscope
This Crown Center attraction allows kids to make art using materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes. Sessions last 50 minutes, and it’s FREE, so simply pick up tickets the day you visit.
Kansas City Zoo
This is one of the few zoos I know of that has a boat ride, but obviously, there are more reasons to visit the Kansas City Zoo. The 200-acre zoo includes exhibits featuring African elephants, penguins, kangaroos, and the awesome Polar Bear Punnel.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Kemper features modern works of art that may entertain or challenge your kids. This FREE museum also has a Instagram-worthy collection of outdoor sculptures.
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Historic Farm Site
Just outside of Kansas City is Olathe, where you’ll find the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop. A living history museum and the last working stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe Trail, a stagecoach ride is in order when you visit. Plus, a big draw for kids will be the animals on the farm.
Related post: Love dessert on vacation? Check out my favorite sweet treats and sweet shops in the KC area!
Museum at Prairiefire
There’s one particular room in Museum of Prairiefire that I guarantee your kids will love: The Discovery Room. Well, unless they love dinos
LEGOLAND Discovery Center
This place will be a hit with your LEGO-loving kid. It’s important to note that while there are two rides, LEGOLAND Discover Center is NOT an amusement park. Don’t confuse it with LEGOLAND.
There are a lot of opportunities to build and a fun climbing structure, though. Do not skip the 10-minute 4-D movie. It’s next door to SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium.
Check out this guide to Crown Center to see what else you can do there beyond LEGOLAND Discover Center!
Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
Heads up, when you visit this museum, you receive a complimentary bag of shredded currency there as a souvenir – worth $165.
National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
This museum featuring toys from different decades will be more of a trip for you than your kids. The building is huge – more than 70,000 items are on display!
National World War I Museum and Memorial
This World War I museum is not so much a museum of war, but a reminder of a war that was declared “the war to end all wars.” It includes interactive exhibits, as well as several displays of weapons, uniforms and trenches.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
For baseball fans, this museum provides insight into the sports unique Negro leagues.
Nelson Atkins Museum
Those famous shuttlecocks on the lawn you see in photos? Those are at the Nelson Atkins Museum. But you’ll want to venture indoors, too, and see the impressive permanent collections. Kids will particularly like the medieval area with a suit of armor. Best part? It’s FREE.
Oceans of Fun
Oceans of Fun is a seasonal outdoor water park connected to Worlds of Fun (so two theme parks for the price of one admission!). My strategy in the summer is to ride popular roller coasters at Worlds of Fun in the morning and when things start to get hot in the afternoon, we cool off at Oceans of Fun.
Located southeast of Kansas City, Powell Gardens is the city’s botanical gardens, covering more than 900 acres.
Science City is a science center meets children’s museum that’s fun for all ages. If the weather cooperates, don’t miss the outside space, Simple Machines At Play.
Tip: Science City is part of the Association of Science & Technology Centers, and if you have a membership to Omaha Children’s Museum, you receive admission for up to four people into Science City!
Learn more about reciprocal membership benefits here.
SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium
Get up close to sharks, sting rays, an octopus and other sea life at this attraction in Crown Center. Due to the proximity to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, you can get a combo ticket to visit both.
Shoal Creek Living History Museum
Shoal Creek is a FREE outdoor living history museum in Hodge Park that celebrates Missouri history (on select weekends you can find reenactments). Beyond historic buildings, there’s a bison enclosure.
Related post: 10 Awesome Things To Do Outdoors In The Kansas City Area
Science City is located inside Union Station, so you can explore both in one outing. Union Station has an escape room, a virtual reality game, and usually some pretty unique traveling exhibitions. Don’t skip the model train room.
Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun appeals to a wide range, with youngsters enjoying all the rides at Planet Snoopy and the big kids enjoying the variety of roller coasters. This park can easily occupy a full day, if not two days.
Kansas City sports and families
If yours is a sports-watching family, Kansas City is probably already on your radar. The city has three professional sports teams — the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and Sporting KC — and a few minor league teams, as well.
Here’s a bit more on the three pro teams:
Kansas City Chiefs
There are certainly fewer home games when it comes to football, so if you can’t catch the home team playing, you can still tour Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Royals
Time your visit right to take in a home game for this baseball team or, at least, tour Kauffman Stadium.
For soccer fans, the Major League Soccer team Sporting KC is a hot ticket. Matches are at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Restaurants in Kansas City for kids
There’s a great food scene in Kansas City, especially if you’re a barbecue fan. We’ve visited frequently, but have yet to have a big list of restaurants that were both hits with us adults and the kids, so that’s why this KC restaurant list is rather short.
Blue Bird Bistro
This charming breakfast spot is admittedly one I’ve only been to with Mr. Wonderful, but I loved it so much, I want to bring the kids there (though, from what I can tell, there is no kid’s menu). It’s farm-to-table goodness.
This North Kansas City restaurant serves ginormous cinnamon rolls, along with hearty breakfasts.
This was one of my favorite breakfast spot discoveries in Kansas City. One bonus is they gave us some coffee to go after our meal. It’s like they know me so well.
Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ
This Kansas City institution has five locations. We tried the one near Union Station. It’s a great kid-friendly place to try if you’re looking for barbecue.
Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant
How can a family resist this: A model train delivers the meal to your table? It’s a hit with kids. The menu includes hamburgers, sandwiches and fries.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que – We went to the Leawood location, not the original in a gas station. It was smack-the-table good, and I recommend ordering the Z-Man Sandwich.
Looking for ice cream? Of course you are. Here’s a post on the best locally-owned ice cream shops in Kansas City.
Holiday events & holiday activities in Kansas City
Christmas is our favorite time to visit Kansas City! I wrote an entire post featuring 15+ things to do during the holidays in KC. Here are a few notable events:
Crown Center Ice Terrace
The Ice Terrace is a popular seasonal, outdoor ice skating rink at Crown Center open November through February each year. For more Kansas City holiday inspiration, check out my Kansas City Christmas Bucket List.
Mayor’s Christmas Tree
Crown Center not only has the ice skating rink, it has a wonderful, FREE, holiday display centered around the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. There are wooden structures set up around the Christmas tree for kids to climb and play in.
City Market at Christmas
We timed one of our visits to see City Market’s Whoville experience at Christmas time. It’s FREE, and extremely popular (read: expect a wait).
Here are great annual events celebrating different holidays in Kansas City. For more ideas, check out this post of 20+ can’t miss KC festivals.
Halloween at Worlds of Fun
There are two sides to Worlds of Fun at Halloween. The daytime amusement park is full of playful activities and photo opps for the Great Pumpkin Fest. At night, it’s a massive haunted house. Of course, there are rides to enjoy, as well.
St. Patrick’s Day in KC
The family-friendly side of St. Patrick’s Day is typically a parade, and Kansas City has its fair share of them. The big one is Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which begins at Linwood & Broadway and finishes in Westport. Westport has road races that day, including a three-block dash for youngsters.
If you’re in KC the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, Snake Saturday Parade kicks things off in North Kansas City.