Friday, June 14, 2013

Off the Bucket List: Kansas City Vacation


Kansas City was meant to be our “easy vacation” compared to DC/New York where we were hardcore drilling through all of the things to do and see.

I inherited a crazy type A personality with regards to vacationing from my father. I want to be packed with a detailed itinerary a week before we leave. I don’t want to waste time on vacations trying to decide what to do when or searching for a place we can purchase forgotten items. After all my planning still led to a repurchase of everything for Little Bird when her suitcase was stolen in DC, I made a conscious effort to “lighten the hell up” about this trip. We packed the day before. I made a general list of things in the area that looked fun and that was it!

Day 1 – We got up. Got around. Loaded up the car after breakfast with my dad and sisters, and then drove at a leisurely pace to Kansas City. When we got there it was almost dinner time, so we needed a place to eat. I used my favorite kid travel website This website is run by Disney and makes finding food/hotels/attractions for specific age groups pretty easy in most major cities in the USA. I picked “Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant”.

Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant

As soon as you get here, you will discover that this restaurant is all about the trains and the food is just a part of it. They serve American food like hamburgers, hotdogs, and grilled cheese with fries, shakes, etc. The food was good, but not amazing. You go to this restaurant because the railways lining the restaurant support train engines that bring your food to a platform above your table, which then lowers. There are trains all over the restaurant including a big engine out front. It was definitely an exciting start to our trip. I’d say kids from infants to probably 6 would really enjoy this restaurant. That said, I’m 26 and I really enjoyed this restaurant. This restaurant is inside Crown Center.

Crown Center

This is like a mall for kids. There are lots of kid friendly stores, a kid friendly live theater, fun themed restaurants, and an area where exhibits set up. Currently there was a free Curious George exhibit featuring lots of science activities. If you visit Crown Center and spend $25 at any of the businesses, you get 3 free hours of parking at the parking garage.


Day 2 we got up. I was feeling a bit stressed and crazy because we didn’t have a plan. I wanted a plan! Where was the plan?!?! So I told Little Bird that today, Dad was the leader. Every time she asked questions about where to go or what we were doing, I defaulted. Doc decided we were going to Legoland and Sea Life.  I relaxed. It was extremely nice to know I wasn’t responsible for decisions. So nice in fact, that we decided Day 3, Little Bird could be the leader….more to come on that.


As a parent, this was a waste of money. It was expensive. The rides were too scary for Little Bird. They had a big playland you needed socks for. If you don’t have socks, you can buy them for $5…so just bring socks. Not knowing that there was a sock requirement, we pretty much just played with legos. The novelty of the place was fun, but I don’t know if we’ll go again. Little Bird really liked it, but I feel like our time could have been better spent.

Crayola Café and Store

The Crayola Café and Store located inside Crown Center had a really nice menu. The food was healthier than a lot of other options and all delicious. The décor was fun and you could do some pretty intense coloring while you waited. Good value for the price.








Sea Life*

This aquarium was wonderful! There were lots of “interactive aquariums” where you could walk under or in the middle of the fish. Almost everything was at a level where Little Bird could see it herself. They had a quiz you could complete by scratching off the correct multiple choice answer and exchange for a medal at the end of the aquarium. Doc, Little Bird, and I all really enjoyed it.

*If you go to either of these places, buy tickets online before you go or you will have to wait OUTSIDE to go in one family at a time to purchase tickets. We waited 30 minutes outside before we were allowed in the building.

Day 3 – Little Bird is the boss

So we decided to try something out and let Little Bird be the leader. In the morning, we told her she was the leader so she could pick what we did. We could go to the water park or to the science center. She decided we should go to the water park and get cupcakes. So we packed up for the water park! She got to decide that we would stop at the QT to get drinks before we went. She picked which attractions we went to and when at the park. She also got to pick where we ate for lunch. After the waterpark, we were too tired to go eat cupcakes so we just had pizza at Imo’s. She did a great job as leader.

Schlitterbahn Water Park Kansas City

Ok, to be honest, it’s about 6 slides and some pools. But the pools are pretty awesome for kids. There were lots of slides and waterfall mushrooms. They had a “lazy river” that pulsed waves out. This was Little Birds favorite and I’m pretty sure we did it 8 times. The food there wasn’t horribly priced and there was plenty of shaded tables for us to sit at. It’s more expensive ($110 for our family for 1 day) but we thought it was a good splurge.

As the leader, Little Bird got to take the picture.

Day 4

Science City

This was easily my favorite place. There were a lot of hands on activities and it was fun for Doc and I too! There were tons of different themed areas, from space, to optical illusions, to dinosaurs, to wildlife, to trains, to a 3D printer…awesome. Plus they had a Aliens and Androids exhibit that was ridiculously fun for Doc and I. This was one of my favorite places to go. It’s located inside of Union Station.

So not the laid back vacation we’d thought about, but still an amazing time. We may have walked in the door exhausted, but Little Bird just smiled and said “Let’s go on another vacation tomorrow!”

…guess we’re doing it right.


  1. Great pictures! I'm actually visiting the area in a few months to see family. I'm worried that my kids are going to be very bored, so I've been researching kids activities in Kansas City, it seems like there are quite a few things to do for them. What was your favorite experience while there?

  2. Science City was easily my favorite. Second was Crown Center. I loved it!