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Best of KC: Best Outdoor Attractions Around the Metro

Best of KC / March 29, 2018

Now that the weather’s warming up, we can finally put our snow boots and wool hats away and dig out sunglasses and sunscreen! And winter was brutal this year, so let’s savor this fresh air and sunshine. Here are the best places in Kansas City to enjoy the outdoors. 

The Harry Wiggins Trolley Trail, named for the late Senator Wiggins, is a six-mile stretch that runs from Brush Creek south to 85th and Prospect. Composed of crushed limestone with a few paved segments, it’s perfect for joggers, walkers, strollers, and cyclists. Though it’s mostly residential, you could easily make a quick stop in Brookside or Waldo for a drink or a bite to eat.

Berkley Riverfront Park, along the Missouri River between the Heart of America Bridge and the I-29 Bridge, is 17 acres of redemption. Though it used to serve as a landfill, it’s now dotted with trees, flowers, picnic tables, and an amphitheater. There’s paved trail for joggers, walkers, and cyclists—a far cry from Lewis and Clark or the steamboat passengers who once used the riverfront.

Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a great educational, recreational, and cultural resource for Kansas City. The 300 acres boast 13 gardens, over 1,700 species of plants, walking trails, and countless wildlife, including birds, snakes, deer, and dragonflies. It’s open year-round, available for rentals, and sponsors educational programs to teach participants to make a birdhouse, watch and listen for birds, or view kinetic art.

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead opens for the season on Monday, April 2nd. It’s a great place to spend an entire day learning about a frontier farm and learning about more than 250 animals and birds. You and your kids learn about growing flowers and vegetables, milking cows, bottle-feeding baby goats, riding horse-drawn wagons, or fishing. There’s also a massive playground, a one-room schoolhouse, an Native American encampment, and a turn-of-the-century main street where you can buy ice cream and other small treats.

Burr Oaks Conservation Center, located in Blue Springs, just north of I-70. Housing the first nature center in the state of Missouri, it’s been recently updated with new interactive exhibits and trails that take hikers through steep forested hillsides, expansive prairies and woodlands, scenic ponds, and limestone boulders.

Loose Park, is 75 acres named for its former owners, Jacob and Ella Loose. There’s a playground, duck pond, two paved trails, tennis courts, a pavilion, and a spray park for the hotter months. And most notably, Loose Park is home to a beautiful rose garden with fountains perfect for photographs and benches perfect for resting.

Swope Park is Kansas City’s largest park and has the most to offer, including a golf course, Frisbee golf, an off-leash dog park, pool, and soccer village that hosts youth soccer games and training for Sporting KC. The Kansas City Zoo, Lakeside Nature Center, and famed Starlight Theatre also find a home inside the 1,805 acres.

Farmers markets, which almost every KC suburb seems to have, are a great place to grab some produce and other local products. Whether you’re in Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Independence, Briarcliff Village, Brookside, City Market, get up early for the chance to buy fresh and local. And perhaps one of the best perks to warmer weather is all the alfresco dining in Brookside, Westport, Waldo, Corinth Square, and on the Plaza. So grab a drink and a seat on the patio and enjoy the sunshine!



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Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh