KC Area Railways

Posted April 21, 2014 10:23am by Jane

If your kids enjoy a good train ride, Kansas City offers ample opportunities to explore life on a train. Here’s a rundown of some railway-related activities for everyone in the family to enjoy! Many of these are grandparent-approved too. After all, where else does your child have something to do while staying seated for a good long time!

Thomas & Friends Thrill of the Ride 2014: Enjoy The Thrill of the Ride 2014 Day Out With Thomas tour is back this year at the Midland Railway in Baldwin, KS. Kids can take a ride in their favorite tank engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a variety of activities including the Imagination Station, magic shows, live music, miniature golf, and more! Thrill of the Ride 2014 will take place May 30-31, June 1 & June 6-8. Tickets are $18 in advance and are required for ages 2 and up. Click here or call (913)721-1211 for more information, directions to Baldwin, and to purchase tickets. Note: We strongly recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time, tickets are often sold out by the day of event.

Belton Grandview & Kansas City Railroad: Starting May 3, this fun short line passenger trip opens again some railroad fun in south KC. The BG&KC runs south from Belton on a 5 mile, 45 minute round trip. It is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving rail travel and railroading. Runs Thursdays and Fridays at 2 pm, click here for times, dates and to purchase tickets, or call (816)331-0630 or email info@beltonrailroad.org. Note: Credit/debit accepted online, but make sure to bring cash or check to purchase tickets on site.

Kansas City Northern Railroad/Line Creek Route: This miniature train is about as cute as it gets for all ages. Running May-September, weather permitting, the KC Northern Railroad definitely takes you back to yesteryear with conductors and the 50 cent fare/passenger. It’s a fun loop around the park, and includes a great tunnel to cool you off on a hot day! Trains run Saturdays 10am-6pm, Sundays & holidays, noon-6pm, and depart approximately every 7 minutes. Take I-29 North to NW Waukomis Drive. Group charter rides can be scheduled for Fridays during open season for only $20.00.  They also charter by the hour–the cost per hour is $75.00.

The Missouri River Runner Route: Hop the train in Kansas City, MO, Lee’s Summit, or Independence for a memorable family trip to St. Louis. Our kids love listening to their grandpa talk about his family trips to New York on a train when he was a child. Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner Route lets them have the same experience in a fun, educational trip for the whole family!

Photo courtesy of Amtrak.

Helping Kids Cope

Posted April 17, 2014 10:47pm by Jane

Having been affected in a very personal way to the tragic shootings that occurred on Sunday in Overland Park, I’m taking the opportunity to share some information that has weighed heavily in my heart for the past several days: how to talk to children when tragedy strikes.

The shootings that took place right outside of Overland Park’s Jewish Community Center (JCC), and the Jewish senior living center took the lives of Blue Valley High School student Reat Underwood, his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, and Terri LaManno, mother of 3 adult children. While I didn’t know the victims of this senseless crime, my family and I spend a great deal of time at the JCC, and – like many of our friends – consider it a home away from home.

However you may be connected to it, such an event leaves many of us feeling unsettled, and yes, a little fearful. It has also left many of us parents and grandparents with the difficult task of talking to our kids about this terrible tragedy.

Fortunately, there are resources available to all of us – children and adults alike. In addition to your children’s school counselor, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers some great solutions to Helping Children Cope.

A few pieces of advice pulled directly from the NASP page that have helped me this week:

  • Model calm and control. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives.
  • Reassure children that they are safe. And reassure them the adults in their life are safe too.
  • Let children know that it is okay to feel upset.
  • Stick to the facts and keep your explanation age appropriate.

Again, I share this information with a heavy heart, but I hope it will help you in your own conversations with your children.

Thanks to the entire KC Kids Fun community for your dedication to your children and families, and for making Kansas City a great place to live. We are so grateful to be a part of your lives.

KC Farmers’ Markets

Posted April 15, 2014 10:20pm by Jane

If you love fresh food as much as I do, chances are you’re excited about the chance to buy beautiful fresh-picked produce at some KC area farmers’ markets this growing season. Many local markets have opened – or are opening soon. After all, with great food samples and even some live entertainment at some, it’s a great way to get food for the week and keep your kids occupied on a beautiful Saturday morning!

City Market: Features an eclectic mix of dining, shopping, entertainment and attractions, including concerts, festivals and other special events. Mar- Oct: Sat. 6am-3pm; Sun. 8am-3pm; 20 E 5th St., KCMO (at the heart of KC’s River Market)

Overland Park Farmers Market: Features a variety of produce and other foods, and offers cooking demonstrations and other live entertainment on select dates. Saturdays, Apr 12-Nov 22: 6:30am-1pm thru Sep 27, 8am-1pm beginning Oct 4; Wednesdays, May 21-Sep 24: 7:30am-1 pm; Evening Markets from 4-7pm June 11, July 3 & Aug 11; 7950 Marty St., Overland Park, KS (between 79th & 80th Street, 2 blocks west of Metcalf)

Bad Seed Farmers Market: Get a taste of Urban Farm life and promote urban farm sustainability every Friday from 4-9pm; May 2-Nov 21, 2012; Crossroads District, 1909 McGee, KCMO

KC Organics Farmers Market: Organic family farmers offer a wide variety of locally produced and artisanal products. Saturdays, May 4-Oct 12; 8am-12:30pm; Minor Park, just East of Holmes on Red Bridge Road (111th Street)

Brookside Farmers Market: This is definitely a treat for anyone who wants farm-fresh, organic, local (within 100 miles) food. Opens Apr 19; Saturdays, 8am-1pm; 63rd St. & Wornall Road, KCMO

Olathe Farmers Market: Featuring 2 locations this year. Saturdays, Apr 19-Oct 25; 7:30am until sold; Wednesdays, May 14-Sep 24; 7:30am until sold; 200 W. Santa Fe; Poplar and Kansas in downtown Olathe & new location at Black Bob Park, 14500 W 151st, Field 1

Shawnee Farmers Market: Offering a variety of farm-fresh produce. Saturdays, May-Oct, 7am-4pm; City Hall Parking Lot, Nieman Rd & Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS

Photo courtesy of City Market.