The summer is flying past us and we’re doing all we can to keep these kids busy and to make some magical memories! My kids LOVE a road trip, especially when there’s a hotel involved, but hate the idea of driving all day long. Those iPad batteries only last so long.
The sweet spot for us is 3-6 hours. It feels like we actually went somewhere but we get there with our sanity still intact. This summer, we discovered our new favorite road trip destination and you’re going to love it too!
Welcome to Overland Park, Kansas
It’s right over four hours away from the metro area and it is PACKED with kid-friendly activities. We just got back and might have already booked our hotel for a fall trip.
So let’s talk about your Overland Park trip. Here is the itinerary we used. Each activity was fairly close to the next one so we didn’t waste tons of time driving around. We went during the week which meant most of the activities and restaurants were not overly crowded and traffic was not bad at all.
This is your driving day. If you leave by 8:00, you’ll be there in plenty of time for lunch and you might not even have to stop for a bathroom break!
We spent our first day in Kansas City and had a blast! Our first stop was one of our favorites: Fritz’s! It was a train lover’s paradise! Miniature trains delivered our food and our minds were blown. From there, it was a quick drive to Union Station where we visited Science City. The kids loved all the different exhibits, especially the zip line in their outside area and I loved how many STEM activities they had! We stayed until the museum closed and then it was time for dinner. We had the best tacos and guacamole at Mission Tacos (and their flavors of margaritas were on point), and then took the streetcar to Betty Rae’s for ice cream where they had dairy-free AND gluten-free options! After that we were exhausted, so we headed to our hotel.
Our accommodations: We stayed at the WaterWalk Hotel in Overland Park and if you have more than one kid, you should too! This hotel was a game-changer. Our room had a kitchen, a living room, two bathrooms and three bedrooms PLUS a washer and dryer! Did you hear that, We went home with CLEAN LAUNDRY!
This exact day is already on our list to recreate when we come back. We started with breakfast at Cozy’s Cafe where they had amazing French toast and an entire case of pies. Next, we hit up TopGolf. We hadn’t taken all three kids to TopGolf before and they LOVED it. It helped that they had an Angry Birds game and the kids could watch their golf balls knock down the Angry Bird houses. It wasn’t on our itinerary, but when we saw the giant IKEA letters off the highway, we had to make a quick stop. When will they be in OKC??
Lunch was by far the best meal of the trip, and that’s really saying something because this was a trip where we had some amazing food. You can’t go to Kansas City without having barbecue, and really you need to just go to Q39. We still talk about that meal and those onion straws. It was a hot day and the kids were begging for a water activity so we hit up the Gardner Aquatic Center. It was only $5 per person and well worth the price. There were water slides for big kids and a smaller section for kids under 48 inches. We all loved the lazy river.
After a few hours, everyone was hungry so we went to Unforked for dinner. The kids were obsessed with their smoothies and they even had dirt and worms for dessert.
We started with breakfast at McLain’s Market. It was our favorite breakfast stop because it had a full coffee selection and a huge bakery case for the kids. Then we went over to the Prairiefire District which was a very cool area with tons to do. We started with the Museum at Prairiefire which is their Natural History Museum. They were between big exhibits when we visited which meant that admission was only $5 per person. The Discovery Room was awesome for kids. There were animals to look at (we got to pet a bearded dragon and watch him eat crickets), a dinosaur dig, and a whole space section! Everything was hands-on and staff was there to help the kids explore and answer their countless questions. My little space-lover had all of his most pressing questions answered so patiently.
Right outside the museum is a strip of cute shops. We loved the Made in KC store for souvenir shirts we’ll actually wear and the kids loved Fat Brain Toys. We love a food hall, so we tried out Strang Hall for lunch. There’s something about picking different food from the rest of your family that really just speaks to my boys, and there were plenty of options for them to realize that dream. My youngest had been requesting blueberry pie for the entire trip, so when we saw that there was an Upper Crust pie shop a few doors down, we had to get him a slice. Was it the best pie we had ever eaten? Yes. There was also the cutest popcorn shop, Popculture, a few doors down and the kids got a few fun flavors of popcorn to take home.
We needed to burn off some of the sugar, so next was the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Again, we were so impressed with how affordable admission was. Kids under 6 were free, 6-12 year olds were $1 and adults were only $3. We loved the paved trails and even saw a raccoon right up close! The best part was the Train Garden where a miniature train set ran through a model of Downtown Overland Park. The set was HUGE and we could have looked at the different tiny houses and stores all day, but it was hot so we moved on to the next activity.
For dinner, we headed back to the Prairiefire District for dinner at Pinstripes. We had some delicious Italian food and then it was time for bocce ball! Pinstripes had bowling lanes and indoor bocce ball, which my boys are very into right now.
When we walked outside after dinner, their Summer Music Festival was in full force, so we stopped for some quick street dancing on our way to dessert. Dessert was at Creative Culture where we had the most epic milkshake we had ever seen. Cookies, marshmallows and brownies were the garnishes. It was a magical night.
We woke up on our final day not ready to think about leaving. We went to breakfast at Snooze AM Eatery. It was impossible to order here because there were so many creative choices, but the cold brew held us over while we decided.
After breakfast, we went to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. This was definitely something we will do again when we go back. If you do this, upgrade to the Combo Pack! It includes mining for gems, a hayride, cane pole fishing, and most importantly feeding baby goats! We loved it all but the baby goats were LIFE-CHANGING! The boys spent a literal hour in their pen bottle-feeding them and snuggling them and learning their names. We were planning on only staying for two hours and then heading to lunch but we stayed for almost four and could have stayed all day. There were playgrounds and tons of farm animals to check out.
Before we headed home, we stopped at SPIN!Pizza and decided we need one in OKC. The sausage and apple pizza was amazing and the salad options were awesome.
It was such a fun trip and we loved discovering so many new fun things and delicious food just four hours away.