Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kansas City

Is it October already? It's been quite a month in Kansas City. We've enjoyed spending time with family and a few friends. We spent ten days or so with the flu, so our visiting was curtailed a bit. But, we'll be back in November and look forward to catching up everybody over the holidays.

I finally got out for a day of "sightseeing" yesterday when I was one of several responsible adults who accompanied a herd of third graders on a field trip in Kansas City. We spent the day traveling by bus. A school bus, that is!

Our first stop was in Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district. One of the jewels of the district is the Negro League's Baseball Museum. I had been to the museum in the past for a couple of special events, but had never had the privilege of going on a tour. Our guide introduced us to some of the most interesting bits of history in this very special place. The kids and adults were captivated!

Next door is the American Jazz Museum, which featured plenty of interactive exhibits to keep third graders busy for awhile. Together they learned about jazz greats Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Kansas City's own Charlie "Bird" Parker. As our second wonderful guide of the day explained: "If New Orleans is the place that gave birth to jazz, it grew up in Kansas City."

I learned a great deal about being with a group of third graders. Here's a tip: If you want to keep the herd under control, have them all sit down. (And, make sure the adults stand around the perimeter!)

After a picnic lunch at Kansas City's beautiful Loose Park, we headed to Kansas City's premier shopping district, The Country Club Plaza. The country's first shopping center boasts Spanish architecture and lots of European art, making it an outdoor museum of sorts.

Our charges were unleashed on the 15-block area for a scavenger hunt to find 40 pieces of art and fountains. Here we stopped and learned a bit about Nepture, god of the sea, who seemed right at home in this fountain.

One of the items in our hunt was this "Matador" mural, which - I am ashamed to admit - I don't ever recall seeing while we lived here. This was one of those works of art that just had to be touched to be truly appreciated.

This adorable little sculpture is called "Quiet Talk". These kids were studying all of the helpful information on its base.

Kansas City is known as "The City of Fountains", and rightfully so. With more than 200 fountains within the city limits, only Rome has more. The most photographed, and my personal favorite, is the J.C. Nichols Fountain. But to Kansas City kids, including the third graders and me, it is known simply as "The Horse Fountain."

The day with the kids was exhausting but lots of fun. It was great to spend a beautiful day in my hometown with my sister-in-law, my niece and a few of her friends. Thanks to all!

Today began with a visit to Midway Ford Truck Center north of downtown Kansas City for some routine maintenance. We can't say enough good things about this place. We were very impressed. We'll definitely be back.

With an afternoon forecast of wind and thunderstorms between here and our next destination, we decided to spend a night around the corner from Midway at Worlds of Fun Village. This cabin, cottage and RV resort is adjacent to a 235-acre amusement and water park. Worlds of Fun opened when we were both in high school, and it's been nearly 30 years since we've visited the place. There are more towering coasters and rides than we remember. The RV park, which opened 2005, is lovely.

The wind and rain is out of the forecast. So, tomorrow we're hitting the road for southwest Missouri.


Tom and Marci said...


Have you gotten up to Liberty, MO to the Liberty Quilt Shop? It's supposed to be the biggest quilt shop in the US, from what I've heard.

On several trips to KC(Tom's dad is originally from Kansas City, and all of the aunts, uncles, cousins are still there), I've never gotten to this quilt shop -- maybe next time!


Paul and Mary said...

Marci - Thanks for the tip! I'll stop there when we return over the holidays. (We were in Liberty Thursday, too! Darn!)