Kansas City possesses a rich and beautiful montage of history and culture. The world knows about the soulful jazz created on 18th and Vine. Gates Bar-B-Q’s rich flavor has been tasted at least from coast to coast and the historic markers located at various points of interest, such as Westport, bear testimony to the city’s place in American history.
In addition to all of these worthy attributes, the city is home to many beautiful parks. Within several of Kansas City’s 211 parks, fun and inspiring venues and activities await the budget traveler as well as local weekend explorers. Four of the most popular and well utilized are Swope Park, Loose Park, Mill Creek Park, and Theis Park.
Swope Park is the city’s largest park and the third largest city park in America. In 1896 Colonel Thomas Swope donated the land that became this beautiful park. Many of the most sought after activities in the city can be enjoyed in this one location. Swope Park houses the Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theatre, Swope Memorial Golf Course, Lakeside Nature Center, 10 shelters, a pool, athletic fields, and the Sprint IMAX Theatre can all be found in Swope Park.
During a stroll through Loose Park’s beautiful grounds, a visitor can take a self-guided tour of the historic markers which tell the story of this park as a Civil War battlefield. On the lighter side of things, the park provides many amenities for its visitors’ enjoyment: a wading pool, picnic areas, a duck pond, tennis courts, walking and jogging paths, as well as a beautiful and celebrated Rose Garden. The Rose Garden can be reserved for events ranging from the theatrical to the most intimate, wedding ceremonies.
If you’re in the mood for a picnic after a visit to the Nelson Atkins Museum, Theis Park provides the perfect opportunity. It is conveniently located directly across from the Nelson’s grounds and next to a shopper’s delight, the Country Club Plaza. A large open grass way, a jogging path next to Brush Creek, and an attractive, well situated amphitheater for extemporaneous or planned performances make this park the perfect addition to a Sunday outing.
Families, joggers, performers, and wedding parties find their way to Mill Creek Park on any given weekday or weekend. The main attraction for all of these visitors is the famous J.C. Nichols Fountain and the park’s central location on the Plaza. Its wide open grass ways combined with the J. C. Nichols Fountain and the backdrop of the Plaza provides photo opportunities not to be missed.
The best thing about each of these parks and the 207 others in Kansas City is that enjoying them costs almost nothing-just a little time, effort and maybe a few cents in gas to get there.
To find out more about Kansas City and its beautiful parks, visit the following websites: www.visitkc.com , www.kcmo.org/parks or contact the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, 4600 East 63rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64130 or call (816) 513-7500.