Kansas? Missouri? Which Is It?
If you really want to irritate a resident of Kansas City, tell them how much you are enjoying your visit to KANSAS. Because most people who live in this area are friendly and polite, your life will not be in jeopardy, and you will be gently informed that they are not in Kansas, but in Missouri. That's right, Missouri. If you land at the airport, you are in Missouri, not Kansas. If you are downtown, or at the Truman Sports Complex, or the zoo, or the Plaza, or Westport, or Crown Center, or the Union Station, you are in Missouri.
There is also a Kansas City, Kansas. Look at the accompanying map from Mapquest.com. There is the Kansas City Metropolitan Area with a blue line (the state line) running through it. On the left of the blue line is the state of Kansas, and on the right is the state of Missouri. Observe that the blue line starts curving from the center of the map to the upper left corner. That is where the states are separated by the MISSOURI River. There is also a Kansas River, sometimes called by its Indian name the Kaw River, which flows into the Missouri River at Kansas City, originally known as Kaw's Mouth. Got it?
Is it that difficult to understand? Well, millions of people don't seem to. Duh!
A brief geography review is a good tip for anybody preparing to visit Kansas City, Missouri, or was it Kansas?* ;-)
Kansas City Art Institute
One of the things that makes Kansas City the hip center of the Midwest is the Kansas City Art Institute. It keeps a lot of good, talented people in town, and educates new generations of painters and potters, glassmakers and metalworkers. The KCAI is located in a very artsy neighborhood, halfway between the Nelson-Atkins and the Kemper Musuems. The campus has taken over several large houses, and there are new buildings as well. This interesting mansion - at 4340 Oak - houses the administration and admissions offices.
This is a quaint town that is also the University of Kansas campus. It is rated as in top 10 for best towns in the country to live. The environment is very unusual with moderately tame university students mixed with middle level urbanites. Downtown there is about three blocks of shops and restaurants to take in. Many buildings are old time back from the early 1920-50 time frame, and not updated, or upgraded. There is a lot to see right in the mid town area, especially for the old historic homes in near west side of downtown.
To the west , there is the university campus that is spread out and has many limestone buildings from when it was started back in 1866 on 40 acres donated. It now has 26,000 students, most on this campus in Lawrence. It has one of the more reknowned Natural History Museums in the region, Spence Art Museum, and Wilcox Museum of Greek/Roman statuary and artifacts. The campus has a real comfortable feel, and getting around is pretty easy.
The Discovery Center - Urban Conservation
I was very glad to see this new center in the middle of Kansas City. "Urban Conservation" is one of my big soapbox issues. I can go on and on about it. We all love nature, don't we? We all cherish America's "wild areas" and National Park, right? Sometimes though we are in danger of loving them to death. Sprawl, commericalization, overcrowding, overuse - these are real problems in our _parks_, not only in our cities. There is a real connection between American rather miserable urban centers, and the increasing threats to the well-being of the natural world. I think we have failed to see the connection the natural environment and the maintenance of our cities as healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable places. Simply put, one of the best ways we can protect and preserve our remaining natural wonders is to make our cities better places.
In their own words: "The goals of the Discovery Center are to provide a building and grounds that show real ways to live in harmony with nature, build conservation knowledge and skills based on interests of urban residents, provide traditional conservation services in the heart of the city, and to link conservation and communities by creating partnerships."
The Discovery Center is just south of 47th and Troost - it's the middle of the city, and some suburbanites might be turned off by the location - but it's not meant for them anyway. It is housed in a new facility that uses many "Green Building" features, and is surrounded by a garden that showcases the natural ecosystems of Missouri.
More than just slots, hi stakes, and flashy lights
Formerly named , The Station Casino, The Ameristar gambling complex, is considered one of the world's biggest. With it's new 4 level parking garage and 184-room hotel, it has two floors of casino space that includes 2,942 slot machines and 105 table games.
Non gambling stuff is the Kids Quest day care/childrens program. They offer their services on a per hour basis. (Need to make reservations for busy days) There is also an arcade for children/adults, a special-events and concert arena, and 18-screen cinema.
Several restaurants, bars and lounges surround the exterior of the casino area. Casual Atmosphere...But I have seen people get really glitzy here.