Parks & Gardens, Kansas City
Kansas City is a city of parks. This rather large park is on a prominent point of land attached to the Liberty Memorial. It is central to northern mid-town and is a great place to take a break from the urban.
This park comes complete with fantastic vistas, monuments and relaxing spots for a picnic, a run or a walk.
Just a note this park had a rather unsavory reputation in the 70's and 80's. It has since seen the revitalization of the Liberty Memorial and the rebirth of other parts of the area it is now a nice place to visit.
Located in central mid-town. Loose Park is a real gem.
This is not a huge park but the landscaping is so well done that it never seems crowded. The site lines are well thought out and apealing. There is a fantastic collection of trees. There are many natives and exotics skillfully blended together.
If you have an interest in trees many of the more interesting trees have a name sign at the base.
There is a very nice rose garden. On the north east side you can find a nice pond surrounded by many nice places to just sit and be.
There is a well maintained running/walking track that runs around the park's perimeter. If you are staying in town and need to get in a run this is a great place.
Not to be too parky This is the site of one of the largest Civil War battles west of the Mississippi.
On a nice fall day thousands of men tried to kill each other and many did. This confrontation ended the Confederacy's hopes in Missouri. You can find a map explaining the battle at the south end of the park. You cannot miss the cannon by the map.
Built by Cyrus Dallin for the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, the Scout was temporarily exhibited in Penn Valley Park on the statue’s journey back east – Dallin lived and worked in Massachusetts, though he was originally from Utah. People here liked the statue so much that they raised money to buy and display it in honor to local Native American tribes. The statue stands over 10 feet high and originally depicted a Sioux on horseback returning from a hunting trip. Well, now he is a Shawnee, Kaw or Delaware and from his perch, he overlooks I-35 and the Boulevard Brewery. The Scout is set off by himself in a somewhat forgotten section of Penn Valley Park. It appears you used to be able to drive up to the statue, but now you walk north from a parking lot next to the skateboard park/tennis courts. Besides the view across I-35 into Kansas, you have a nice look at the skyline of downtown Kansas. The Scout is located on the hill just west and south of the Liberty Monument – the two hills separated by the Penn Valley Drive. Kansas City’s short-lived NHL franchise was named in honor of the statue – the Kansas City Scouts. The Scouts played at the Kemper Arena in the American Royal and lasted two seasons. Expansion teams in the NHL have a history of being simply awful and that is what the Scouts were going 15-54-11 in their first season and 12-56-12 in their second and last year – they only won one of their last 44 games! Ouch. The Scouts left for Denver where they played six seasons as the Colorado Rockies – a name co-opted by that city’s expansion baseball franchise – but they were only marginally more successful than they were in Kansas City. Finally, the franchise moved back to the Newark, New Jersey area where as the New Jersey Devils, they would finally find success with three Stanley Cups.
The sculptor, Cyrus Dallin, was a prominent American artist of the early 20th Century. He was raised in a family that changed its religious affiliation from Mormonism to Presbyterianism – his father alleged supporting the ‘wrong’ political candidates was excommunicated. While Dallin, himself, never subscribed to Mormon religious views, he had and has an impact on the LDS movement through some of the sculptures that the Church commissioned him for: the busts of the Church’s Founding Fathers, a statue of Brigham Young and most importantly, the golden Angel Moroni which stands atop the Salt Lake City Temple.
Fountains and boulevards both feature prominently in Kansas City’s make up. Socially, no street stands as an indicator of a person’s standing in the city than in the proximity of their home to Ward Parkway. The Parkway was an original feature of Kansas City developer J. C. Nichols’ Country Club District in 1906. Statues and ponds can be found along the length of the street. Ward Parkway leads through the Country Club District terminating in the north at the Country Club Plaza – the first suburban shopping center created in the U.S. in 1922. There are some huge mansions to be found along the parkway in which the elite of Kansas City have lived and live presently. Interestingly, the Country Club District was developed not only in Missouri, but extended into Kansas, as well – Mission Hills, Fairway, Prairie Village. Restrictive covenants barred non-whites from owning property here – since ruled illegal by the Supreme Court and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Integration of schools has given a big boost to local private schools – you only need to notice the Pembroke Hill private school as you head down the Parkway for evidence. The covenants have also barred commercial development which has allowed the district to maintain its character as a haven for the elite.
At the east end of the Country Club Plaza there is a first rate park.
A few years ago the city took a little used strip of land and turned it into a very fine little park. It is beautifully landscaped. It has an excellent low impact high-tech all-weather surfaced running/walking path.
At the south end is the most popular fountain in Kansas City the J.C. Nichols Fountain. It is very spectacular and a great place to sit and watch people.
So if you find yourself on the Plaza and feel like a walk or run this is the place. If you have just had dinner walk over to the fountain and sit a while and enjoy the evening. You will not regret it.
The trail is fully accessible
Take A great walk through the heart of Kansas City and get a great sense of what living in Kansas City is like.
About 10 years ago the city took an abandoned trolley track and turned it into a walking/running and cycling path. It is separated from the traffic. This makes it very relaxing.
I begins in the plaza area on the north end and extends all the way to 85th street to the south. This trail passes through the South Plaza, Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods. You pass Small shopping areas with coffee shops and restaurants about every mile to mile and a half.
The trail is well maintained and is wheel chair accessible. Much of it is shaded by large trees. It has a very fine compacted gravel surface for most of the way.
TIP: When you reach the Brookside shopping area the trail seems to end. Just stay with it and after you have had some coffee or a bite to eat you can pick it up again on the other side of the shopping area.
This trail passes through some of the most beautiful neighborhoods in America. Many locals use this as a regular part of their weekly activities. So give it a shot and get the feel of the city.
Hop on the trail and burn off some of the BBQ.
I am a farmer and have vistied literaly thousands of gardens. Take my humble advice DO NOT miss the Kaufman Memorial Garden. No matter what time of year you visit it there is somthing beautiful to see. If you are an accomplished gardener you will also find interesting things to see.
It is very peaceful. There is seating in the shade and it mkes a great place for a simple picnic lunch.
There are also some fun water features that kids love.
While I was living in Kansas City, I usually brought family to this beautiful botanical garden just east of Kansas City, Missouri whose motto is to experience the Midwest's spirit of place and to inspire an appreciation for the importance of plants in people's lives.
The garden has over 915 acres of hills and meadows, filled with wonderful plants.
But my favorite is the nondenominational Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel which was designed by world-renowned architect Fay Jones. It has a very relaxing atmosphere, and actually can be rented for Saturday Weddings(up to 100 guests)!
A lot of people in Kansas City support the gardens and when you are around town, it would be nice to visit so you can contribute to the maintenance of this fabulous place. It's history history begins all the way back in 1948 when George E. Powell, Sr., a prominent Kansas City businessman, acquired the beautiful tract of land.
Ewing Kauffman came to Kansas City with not much more than a dream. When he died, he was one of KC's richest, yet most beloved citizens. Few have done more for this city than Ewing and Muriel Kauffman. They used the millions earned from Marion Laboratories to bring the Kansas City Royals to the city, were major benefactors to the arts, and most important of all, perhaps, invested in the lives of countless inner-city school children. I doubt if anybody knows exactly how many young people were given the opportunity to get advance schooling because of their caring.
One of the Kauffman gifts to the city was this charming two acre garden near the Country Club Plaza and the Nelson-Atkins Gallery. Ewing and Muriel's remains are interred in a small alcove just off of the main garden area.
I plan to add several photos of these gardens to a travelogue.
A popular site for wedding photos, as well as an early morning walk. The visit in which this photo was taken was in late July, when the roses were not in best condition. They are at their best in mid-May through early July.
This beautiful urban park is located just south of the Country Club Plaza, and provides Kansas Citians a restful green spot to jog, stroll, play with the kids, or feed the ducks. During the American Civil War, this area was the site of the Battle of Westport.
Numerous Indian tribes have called this wooded, yet fertile area home. Here the Kansas and Missouri rivers converge. French trappers made a settlement at Kaw's Mouth. By the 1840s, the tribes were pushed off of the land by the encroachment of white settlers. The white population grew, the town was renamed Possum Trot, then City of Kansas, and the railroads, stockyards, and slaughter houses flourished. This landmark statue plays tribute to those indigineous Americans who guided the settlers across the trails to the west. Hockey fans with a knowledge of trivia will remember that Kansas City once had an NHL franchise - the "Scouts", and this statue served as the model for the logo.
Get in a boat and relax in one of many lakes.
This picture is at Longview Lake in south Kansas City. Missouri has a lot of lakes (not nearly as many as Minnesota though...). In and around Kansas City the lakes include Smithville, Truman, Jacomo, and Longview.
Loose Park is located on the site of the Civil War Battle of Westport. This 75-acre park features the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, a lake and a horticulture reference library. The Rose Garden features a beautiful central fountain and retaining pool and is one of Kansas City's most peaceful retreats. Residents and visitors alike use the park's 1.2 mile jogging/walking trail. Historical markers throughout the park provide information about the Battle of Westport.
You must visit the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. You don't have to dance around the fountain but you do have to see the wonderful flowers in the garden. It is a small but beautiful garden given to the people of Kansas City by one of it's most generous citizens.
Garden designed by same people who manage Powell Gardens.