Best Attractions in Kansas CityIn 1856, a steamboat holding 200 tons of cargo sank to the bottom of the muddy Missouri River. In 1989, a team of salvagers found the wreck and brought her to the surface during a process that took about 2 years. The Arabia Steamboat Museum , a AAA GEM attraction, holds the contents of that steamboat, a bounty that included thousands of pieces, from spices, eyeglasses and underclothes to guns, fine china and still-edible food, all preserved by the mud. The museum tour features a short video with actual footage of the work done to raise the Arabia, and one of the boat's excavators answers questions from the audience.
National World War I Museum and Memorial , a AAA GEM attraction, is the only museum in the United States dedicated to preserving the history of World War I. A display at the entrance features more than 9,000 red silk poppies under a glass platform, each poppy representing a thousand soldiers who died in combat. Besides artillery, uniforms, maps and photographs, there are first-person accounts of the war written by an American nurse and soldiers, original recordings of news reports and period music, and simulated trenches complete with actual artifacts and recordings that closely replicate the harrowing experience. The 217-foot-tall Egyptian Revival Liberty Memorial was built to commemorate the war; climb to the top for a bird's-eye view of Kansas City.
The Royals Hall of Fame , a AAA GEM attraction, is located in the outfield at Kauffman Stadium, home to Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals. Among the things to see are a video about Kansas City's baseball history and the bat and ball that gained George Brett entry into the 3,000-hit club. Interactive exhibits allow you to design your own baseball stadium, be a sportscaster or sit in a dugout. Visitors also can see the baseball used in the first World Series game in 1903 (then called the Fall Classic) and other World Series memorabilia from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Slip into the shoes (almost literally) of college basketball players and see how you measure up at The College Basketball Experience , a AAA GEM attraction. You can also see how your hands compare in size, practice your free throws and slam dunks, and run down the tunnel onto the court, fans cheering you on, just like the pros do. Catch your breath and take a shot at sports broadcasting while sitting at the ESPNU news desk. Don't expect to cool down while you check out the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame; it has hands-on exhibits that will keep your heart rate up as well as displays about the history of college basketball.
After his retirement in 1953, President Harry S. Truman helped develop the displays at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum , a AAA GEM attraction located in Independence. The museum focuses on both his years as president and his personal life. You'll learn about his love of music, his close relationship with his wife and daughter, his first jobs as a bank clerk and in haberdashery and his vacations in Key West, Fla. Visitors also can see a replica of the Oval Office as it appeared during Truman's presidency, several of his cars, and the graves of Truman and his wife Bess.
Expect to be wowed at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art —this AAA GEM not only has an outstanding and comprehensive 33,500-piece collection but impressive grounds that encompass a modern sculpture garden and a stunning reflecting pool. Housed in two massive buildings, one a neoclassic mansion and the other clean-lined and ultramodern, the art includes objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Etruscan region of central Italy; art spanning Neolithic and medieval times to the 20th century from Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States; an 8,000-piece photography collection; and Native American art.
Make no mistake: The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures , a AAA GEM attraction, is not just a museum for children. It's a place for everyone who has ever played with a toy—and that's just about everyone. History and art buffs will also find the collections fascinating. With nearly 40 rooms full of every toy imaginable, chances are good that you'll encounter at least one you played with as a kid that will bring back precious childhood memories. Of course, it’s also one of Kansas City’s best things to do with kids.
Flashy neon signs advertising jazz clubs of yore are one of the first things you see when you step into the American Jazz Museum . Soft-shoe on over to the listening stations and pop on headphones to hear what some call the only true American music; you'll be tapping your feet in no time. Glass-encased exhibits display original sheet music, photographs, ticket stubs and other memorabilia from legendary artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker's saxophone is on view as well. Local jazz club The Blue Room is part of the museum; come back in the evening to hear today's musicians play the music created decades ago by jazz greats.
As you enter the Hallmark Visitors Center , you're warmly greeted by a couple of smiling volunteers. You'll stop at a bow-making machine to make a bow you can take home, and when you leave you'll receive a free greeting card. You can also watch while greeting cards are made and wander throughout exhibit rooms containing Christmas ornaments, Christmas trees and a timeline of greeting cards through the decades; you may even spot one you once gave or received.
Watch out! There's a giant spider on the lawn of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art —has it come to take over KC? Never fear: The spider (a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois) is merely an amusing introduction to the contemporary art housed between the four walls of the Kemper. Fun, funky and fabulous modern pieces line the walls of the museum's interior; the permanent collection has works by major artists like Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jackson Pollock and William Wegman.
In 1917, Union Station was a railroad terminal that half of all World War I soldiers passed through. Today this massive Beaux-Arts building contains a science center, railroad exhibits, theaters, local restaurants, shops and a planetarium. You can take a guided tour and learn about the building's history. The stunning interior design is also quite a marvel—black, gray and rose Italian marble floors; retro pay phones with dials; tall, arched windows; Art Deco-style signs; and 95-foot-high ceilings adorned with frescoes, three 3,500-pound chandeliers and a 6-foot-wide giant clock.
There are so many fun things to do with friends in Swope Park . Play a round of golf or tennis, pack a wicker basket for a picnic lunch, dive into the pool, take a hike on foot or by bike, play disc golf, or go boating, ice skating and fishing in or on the lagoon. In summer months, folks flock to the Starlight Theatre for concerts, children's theater and Broadway musicals under the stars.
Within the park grounds is the Kansas City Zoo , where the resident animals include chimpanzees, gorillas, kangaroos, sea lions, meerkats, zebras, gazelles and hippos. One of the newest arrivals is Berlin, a female polar bear who has a 144,000-gallon swimming pool all to herself. Rare animals like New Guinea singing dogs, Sumatran tigers and Bornean orangutans live at the Tiger Trail exhibit. Kids can take a spin on endangered species like antelope and koalas on the carousel, or ride a real camel. Glide 35 feet above cheetahs, giraffes, lions and rhinoceroses on the African Sky Safari.
The more than 40 rides at Worlds of Fun include six world-class roller coasters, including two old-fashioned wooden coasters. Among the adventurous things to do are thrill rides that include the Zulu a wheel-shaped ride that will turn you upside down and sideways, and the Detonator, which takes you up a 200-foot tower and reaches a speed of 45 mph. At Camp Snoopy younger kids can ride bumper cars, a train, boats, rockets and Snoopy's red biplane. The Kite-Eating Tree will whisk them up 20 feet before gently descending, or they can jump into a hot-air balloon and embark on the Flying Ace Balloon Race.
The water's fine at Oceans of Fun , Worlds of Fun's sister park. This tropically themed water park has a million-gallon wave pool, thrill rides like Hurricane Falls and the Caribbean Cooler, an 800-foot lazy stream. Grown-ups have the adult pool to themselves and can indulge in a frozen adult beverage, while children will enjoy spraying each other with water cannons on Captain Kidd's pirate ship.
Kansas City, KS
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The sales tax rate in the city of Kansas City is 7.99 percent. The city's lodging tax is 11.98 percent and there is a rental car tax of $4 per day.
Research Medical Center, (816) 276-4000; St. Joseph Medical Center, (816) 942-4400; Saint Luke's Hospital, (816) 932-2000; Saint Luke's North Hospital, (816) 891-6000; Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, (816) 404-1000.
1321 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64105. Phone:(816)221-5242 or (800)767-7700
Kansas City International Airport
Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (816) 243-5765 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station, (816) 421-3622 or (800) 872-7245, is at W. Pershing Road and Main Street.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, is at 1101 Troost Ave. Jefferson Lines also serves Kansas City.
Yellow Cab, (816) 471-5000, is the city's major taxi service. Cabs are deregulated, so fares vary widely. Rates are posted on each cab, and you are not required to take the first cab in a line. Up to five people can share a ride for a single fare.
Ride KC, the metro bus system, serves all of Greater Kansas City except Johnson County. The exact-change fare minimum is $1.50 ($3 for an all-day pass) and varies by distance. For more details and for route information regarding construction, phone (816) 221-0660.