This post and trip to Overland Park are sponsored by Visit Overland Park, but all opinions are my own.
The world is slowly returning to normal, and if your family is like mine, maybe you’re ready for some summer travel but want to stick closer to home this year. I’ve got the perfect solution for you – head west to Overland Park, Kansas – and Kansas City, too!
My family and I recently spent a few days in Overland Park. We’d never spent any time there as a family before, and we had a blast. I can’t wait to share with you why!
Just four hours due west of St. Louis, we made the trip in about 5 hours with our three small children, stopping for restroom and nursing breaks. I was prepared for much worse, so I’ll take it!
Snack Break: McLain’s Market
When we arrived in town, we first headed to McLain’s Market for a quick caffeine boost. After the car ride, we needed to refuel and give the kids a chance to stretch their legs. McLain’s is a family-owned, full-service bakery with lots of fresh baked goods and a full menu as well. We enjoyed the outdoor patio but also noted the drive-thru. Talk about a mom’s dream come true! McLain’s has four metro locations in addition to Overland Park.
After our snack break, we checked into our hotel at the DoubleTree Kansas City.
Centrally located to our expeditions in Overland Park, the DoubleTree went out of its way to accommodate our young family with a suite (including a sleeper sofa) and a pack-and-play for the baby. We loved the bar on the ground floor, and they even treated our girls to complimentary Shirley Temples when they saw we were trying to enjoy a less than kid-centric moment.
The highlight of the hotel was the full-scale Starbucks in the hotel lobby! The perfect way to start any day of your journey, and it kept this tired mom fueled up.
After we fueled up, we headed to the Overland Park Arboretum. This beautiful oasis nestled in Overland Park had major Missouri Botanical Garden vibes but with some highlights we definitely don’t have here.
Don’t miss the quintessential Monet’s Garden – you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Giverny! Your journey through the Arboretum begins with a shaded pathway marked by unique sculptures. This pathway also leads to hiking and biking trails if you’re feeling especially adventurous!
Similar to the Missouri Botanical Garden, there are stunning themed gardens to enjoy as you walk through the Arboretum, including an iris garden and children’s garden, which led us to their trademark train garden. Children of all ages will enjoy the life-size locomotive in the garden, in addition to model-sized trains that run in real-time through a model city of historic downtown Overland Park.
Dinner: Martin City Brewing Company
After our action-packed afternoon at the Arboretum and a quick car nap, we headed to Martin City Brewery for some craft brews for mom and dad and pizza for all. We loved this low-key, family-friendly location that was buzzing! Featuring a menu of purely local craft beers, dad enjoyed the abbey ale, while mom preferred the blond. Crisp and refreshing for summertime! The kiddos were just there for the pizza, which didn’t disappoint!
Breakfast: Snooze A.M. Eatery
This eatery reminded me of a retro version of First Watch! Kid-friendly, with a wide array of options from healthy to not so healthy, sweet and savory, and an extensive menu of breakfast cocktails that looked delicious! I opted for the avocado toast, and my husband and girls opted for the French toast, which was equally tasty.
The Museum at Prairie Fire was one of our favorite stops! The building in and of itself is a gorgeous work of art. This museum is nestled in the bustling Prairiefire district, which is a perfect spot for families and includes a movie theatre, shops, and restaurants.
The museum has a focus on natural history and offers several exhibits to interest your science lover. We spent the majority of our time in the Discovery Room, digging in the fossil exhibit, learning about the body, looking at unique animals, and we even had the opportunity to handle a Madagascar hissing cockroach – the sound they make is so cool! We spent just about two hours at the museum.
Rock n’ Brews was the perfect stop for lunch with kiddos. Located in an open-air type warehouse, Rock n’ Brews had a relaxed atmosphere and a tasty menu. We enjoyed burgers, but the menu had lots of other options like salads and grilled fish, too! My husband enjoyed a craft brew, and our kiddos enjoyed the rock-themed decor and crayons!
After lunch, we meandered next door to check out Fat Brain Toys, a unique toy store with options for children of all different ages. With its flagship store in Omaha, Nebraska, this store aims to carry unique toys and books to develop the whole child. This is definitely not your Amazon toy kind of place!
We snagged a few road-trip-friendly toys.
If you’re in the Overland Park area, Sweet Caroline’s is an absolute must-visit! From their delicious array of ice cream to their yummy fudge and bulk candy selection, anyone in your crew will find a treat to enjoy. We chose small dishes of ice cream (sorbet for mom). After our stop at Sweet Caroline’s, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Roe Park to let our children burn off some steam.
Before we knew it, it was dinner time! For our last dinner in Kansas City, we knew we had to have some world-class KC barbecue. Bearing in mind our young travel companions, we decided to try Burnt End BBQ, and it did not disappoint! We ordered off the kids menu for our children, but they went right for dad’s ribs! Note to self: next time, just order a slab of ribs for everyone to share.
The highlight of our trip was, hands down, our visit to the Deanna Rose Farmstead. For St. Louis folks, this spot has similar vibes to Grant’s Farm but is unique in its very own way. We spent the morning feeding baby animals, exploring the historic school and an Indian encampment, mining for stones, riding the wagon around the farmstead, fishing, and enjoying the beautiful grounds.
This is the sweetest spot, and my family loved the variety of activities, being up close and personal with the animals, and also the assortment of playgrounds scattered throughout to allow for open play.
As we headed out of town, we stopped in historic downtown Overland Park, which would make for a fun afternoon in and of itself. We grabbed a burger, milkshake, and some crispy fries from the Snack Shack on Santa Fe and then spent some time playing and letting out our energy in Thompson Park before piling into the car for our trip back to St. Louis!
Before we hopped back on the highway, we stocked up on some custom flavored popcorn from Pop Culture! Pop Culture handcrafts gourmet popcorn in dozens of flavors, including vegan, gluten-free, and dye-free options. We chose white cheddar to please our troops, and off we went.