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26 Fun Summer Activities in Kansas City with Kids (with free printable)

Are you looking for a way to fight summer boredom and make memories with your family in and around Kansas City? Here are 26 summer activities in Kansas City with kids that will keep your family having fun and exploring new places all summer long! 

Be sure to download the FREE summer activities in Kansas City bingo board for an added fun challenge! Try to cross off five activities in a row or if you are really ambitious, try for a blackout! 

Some of these activities are more generic, like “check out a swim beach,” with ideas of local swim beaches in the blurb below. I did this because it would give people more options of where they could explore if they did not want to drive across the metro to a specific swim beach.

Summer Activities in Kansas City

Children playing in the creek at Lake Olathe Splash Pad

Lake Olathe Splash Pad

No summer activities in Kansas City list would be complete without Lake Olathe Sprayground. This park is so much more than a splash pad. It has a waterfall at the top of a hill, a cascading river rolling down the hill, a sand area, a traditional splash pad section, and a shaded grassy area for picnicking. 

Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day. If you’re looking for more details on Lake Olathe, including the swim beach, marina, self-rental kayaks, spray ground or inflatable lake obstacle course, check out my blog post Lake Olathe: Everything You Need to Know for a Great Day.

Double Falls waterfall near Line Creek Community Center

Explore a Local Waterfall

One of our favorite ways to explore Kansas City is looking for waterfalls! My personal favorites are Cedar Lake Falls in Olathe and Tryst Falls in Excelsior Springs. If you’d like help finding local falls, check out 6 Best Waterfalls in Kansas City with instructions on how to find them.

Kids playing in the sand at Smithville Lake, Missouri

Swim at a Beach

What says summer more than playing at a beach? Watkins Woolen Mill State Park in Excelsior Springs, Missouri has a free swimming beach. Lake Olathe’s swim beach has a giant inflatable obstacle course, as well as kayak and stand up paddle board rentals. (If you go to Lake Olathe Swim Beach, be sure to use your Pogo Pass for admission. You can get Pogo Passes 50% off with code OUTDOOR.)

Additional beaches in the Kansas City metro are: Shawnee Mission Park Swim Beach, Blue Springs Lake Swim Beach, Longview Lake Swim Beach, and Little Platte Beach on Smithville Lake.

Take a camping trip

Kansas City has a lot of great camping places in the metro and a short drive away. Our family loves Weston Bend State Park in Weston, Missouri, Wallace State Park in Cameron,Missouri, and Clinton Lake State Park in Lawrence, Kansas. Check out this post about the 10 Best Places for Camping near Kansas City. Or if you prefer glamping, you could rent a cabin at Basswood Resort in Platte City, or Clinton Lake State Park in Lawrence, Kansas.

A girl looking at a giant heart with KC on it, decorated by an artist with a painting of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

Heart Hunting

Parade of Hearts is an initiative to support artists and add beauty to Kansas City. There are giant elaborately decorated hearts across the metro. Set a goal to see 5 or 10 and then go on a quest to find them! You can find a map of where the hearts are here.

Pick up a Passport to Adventure

Passport to Adventure is a fun way to get families to explore various places around Kansas City. Stop by any of the participating locations to pick up a passport, visit the places within the passport and answer a question at each stop to get a stamp. Submit your passports by October 31 to be entered in a drawing for various prizes. See the participating places here.

the front of One More Scoop ice cream shop with a large ice cream cone

Visit a Local Ice Cream Shop

No summer is complete without ice cream or shaved ice. Our favorite ice cream places are Betty Rae’s, One More Scoop, Ice Cream Bae, Sylas and Maddy’s, and the Golden Scoop. Or if you prefer snow cones, I am a big fan of Lilo’s.

Outdoor Storytime at the Library

If you’re looking for a fun and free summer activity in Kansas City, check out outdoor story times through the local libraries. Mid-Continent Public Library has Storytime in the Park at various locations across the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro. Johnson County Library has various JCPL on Wheels Stops at parks around Johnson County.

a boy wading in a creek

Splash in a Creek

Our family loves splashing in creeks around Kansas City. Our personal favorite creek to splash in is Line Creek Community Center, in the northland of Kansas City. We walk to Double Falls and wade in the water and catch crawfish. Other favorites are Charles David Hartman Memorial Park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and the creek at Ernie Miller Nature Center.

the kids area of the Springs Aquatic Center with a slide for summer activities in Kansas City

Visit a Water Park

Kansas City has a ton of amazing water parks to make the perfect addition to a list of summer activities in Kansas City. Our family’s favorites are Splash Cove in Shawnee, Kansas and The Springs Aquatic Center in the Northland, Kansas City. Sar-Ko-Par Park Aquatic Center is a newly built water park in Lenexa.

Other great water parks are Adventure Oasis in Independence, Missouri, Memorial Park Outdoor Water Park in Belton, Missouri, Oceans of Fun–the water park portion of Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, Summit Waves in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, The Bay Water Park in Kansas City, Missouri, Missouri, Indian Trails Aquatic Center in Lenexa, Kansas, Thomas A. Soetaert Aquatic Center in Shawnee, Kansas, and Black Bob Bay in Olathe, Kansas. (If you go to Black Bob Bay, be sure to use your Pogo Pass for admission. You can get Pogo Passes 50% off with code OUTDOOR.)

Royals Game

No list of summer activities in Kansas City would be complete without a Royals game! Go on Sunday so your kids can run the bases at the end of the game! (If you go to a Royals Game, be sure to use your Pogo Pass for admission. You can get Pogo Passes 50% off with code OUTDOOR.) No summer activities in Kansas City list would be complete without a Royals Game!

Pick Fruit

One of our favorite summer traditions is picking fruit. The season kicks off with strawberry picking, then blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and peaches. Depending on the fruit you’re looking to pick, there may be many farms to choose from, but these farms have multiple u-pick fruit options: Colonial Gardens, Weston Orchard and Vineyard, and Gieringers Family Orchard. My kids love adding this to our summer activities in Kansas City list each year.

Mobile Music Box Concert

Did you know the Kansas City Symphony puts on free concerts around the Kansas City metro? This is the perfect way to introduce kids to the symphony because it gives them a space to eat snacks and run around if they get bored or fidgety. They add new concerts one to two weeks before the performance date, so check back often to see if there is one coming to your neighborhood.

a girl on her tricycle biking at Berkley Riverfront Park

Explore the Riverfront Trail

Our family loves to explore the Riverfront Trail near the City Market. We park by the apartments near the Current Stadium and bring bikes or scooters and walk along the river. Our kids love the trains that go by and the views of the river. Sometimes we walk all the way to the City Market or grab ice cream at Betty Rae’s. Other times we pack a picnic, hang out hammock between two trees, and play frisbee in the park.

Fortopia at Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens is one of my favorite summer activities in Kansas City. In the summer, Powell Gardens has a Fortopia exhibit that is perfect for kids. There are forts around the arboretum, encouraging kids to run around and explore. Powell Gardens also has multiple playgrounds, a children’s garden, trails, and tons of breathtakingly beautiful plants and flowers. There isn’t a ton of shade, but my kids love cooling down in the splash pad. Powell Gardens has lots of cool and interesting events as well.

a girl kayaking on a lake

Paddle at a Lake

For some reason, paddling always feels like a big adventure. If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can rent them at various places around the metro such as Shawnee Mission Park Marina, Shawnee, Kansas, Lake Jacomo, Independence, Missouri, Legacy Park, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Lake Olathe, Kansas, Kill Creek Park, Olathe, Kansas, and Smithville Lake through Paradise Outfitters. Many of these places have stand up paddle boards and kayaks and some also have paddle boats and canoes. 

There are self-service kayak rentals at a few locations in Johnson County including Lake Olathe and Blackhoof Park. You can use an app to rent the kayak any time. This is one of the quintessential summer activities in Kansas City.

Union Station

Cool off indoors at Union Station, one of my kids’ favorite summer activities in Kansas City. My kids love visiting Science City and learning through hands-on interactive play. My kids also demand we make a stop by the free miniature train exhibit each time we go. This summer there is Disney 100: The Exhibition on display. This exhibit shows the history of 100 years of Disney. 

Union Station also has a Museum of Illusions, a movie theater, the Planetarium, a live theater, and Escape Room Kansas City. Grab an ice cream or chocolates for the kids and a coffee for yourself. 

a boy looking out over a lake and at animals at the Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium

The Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium is the perfect spot for families in the summer! Our family usually visits either Africa or Australia and South America because the zoo is just so big that it would take a full day to do it all. There are fun rides at the zoo too. Our kids love the Skyfari–a ski lift experience over the African Savannah, the carousel, train, and boat rides. 

If you can time it right, there are animal encounters and feedings which are always fun for kids. In the summer we like to cool off at the indoor exhibits and buy a Kona Ice before heading home. No list of summer activities in Kansas City would be complete without a trip to the zoo!

Lawrence Summer Fun Pass

Take a day trip out to Lawrence, Kansas for their Summer Fun Pass! Sign up for this free program here. Spend the day at parks, hiking trails, pools, splash pads, restaurants, and stores. Check in to various places on the app and collect points. Once you reach a certain number of points you are eligible to receive a mystery tote bag designed by a local artist! The pass also has coupons to various places, so be sure to check if there are any deals you like! Sign up here.

Take a Day Trip

Kansas City has a ton of really cool places you can get to within just a few hours! Our family enjoys taking a couple of day trips each season, but summer is the best time to explore since the kids are off of school. Check out these 10 Best Day Trips from Kansas City. Some summer activities in Kansas City even include leaving Kansas City!

a hippo and splash pad at Burrus Old Mill Park

Play at a Splash Pad

When my kids think of summer in Kansas City, they think of watermelon, fresh berries, ice cream, and splash pads. We go to sooo many spray grounds because they are a great way to keep kids cool, they are free, and they are great for kids who are not great swimmers yet. Our favorites are Dag Park, Burrus Old Mill Park, Wilder Bluff Park, and T.B. Hanna Station. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Kansas City Metro Splash Pads by Kids in KC to find a splash pad near you.

Crown Center

If you need to cool off inside, Crown Center is the perfect place! This summer they are having a free Daniel Tiger exhibit which will be the perfect spot for kids to get out their wiggles. Kaleidoscope is a free makers-space where kids can create party hats, puzzles, paint with glow and the dark paint or more! Be sure to reserve your spot in advance. Spaces can fill weeks before. 

Fritz’s is my kid’s favorite restaurant. Wear a conductor’s hat and wait for your order to be delivered by train! There are lots of other restaurants to explore and cute shops. My kids love the candy shops, toy store, and the Crayola Store. If you’re looking for more fun at Crown Center, check out Sealife Aquarium, Legoland, and Coterie Theater. No summer activities in Kansas City list would be complete without Crown Center!

A boy looking out a window at a train at Rochester Brewing Co

Donuts and Park Play

Want to make your kids extra happy? Get them donuts to eat at the park! Our family loves stopping by Rochester Brewing Company in Parkville, Missouri, grabbing coffee for mom and dad and donuts for the kids, and walking to English Landing Park to eat them. Bonus that Rochester Brewing Co. is in train cars and English Landing Park has a view of the river and train tracks! My train-loving kids love watching the trains go by. 

Can’t make it to Parkville? Grab donuts anywhere and take them to the park! Your kids will love this summer activities in Kansas City list for giving you the idea!

small pond at Kansas City Community Gardens

Visit the Beanstalk Garden

Kansas City Community Garden has a children’s learning garden called the Beanstalk Children’s Garden. This garden gives children the opportunity to smell, touch, taste, and learn about plants and produce in a hands-on way. A self-guided tour of the garden is free (donations are accepted), but I recommend calling ahead and making an appointment for a guided tour for $4 per person. The staff are great at teaching the kids about plants in a way that is fun and interesting! This is a must-do for any summer activities in Kansas City list.

Eat on a Fun Patio

There are lots of restaurants in Kansas City that have excellent outdoor spaces. My family loves Chicken N’ Pickle, with locations in North Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas, Serv in Overland Park, Kansas, Char Bar with locations in the Westport area of Kansas City and Parkville, Strang Hall in Overland Park, Kansas, and the Iron District in North Kansas City, Missouri which is a collection of restaurants made of shipping containers.

Play Summer KC Bingo

Download this bingo board and mark off all these activities as you accomplish them. Try to get 5 in a row or even go for a blackout if you’re feeling very ambitious! It’s the perfect way to add a challenge to your summer fun and motivate you to find the best summer activities in Kansas City. 

I hope you and your kids have a wonderful summer and make countless memories. Exploring and enjoying your home while bonding with your family sounds like the perfect way to spend summer to me! I hope this list of summer activities in Kansas City helps your family explore more and find some new places you love.

Which summer activities in Kansas City are you looking forward to doing most?

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  1. There’s so many fun activities in this blog post! Perfect for summer. I love all the ice cream shops you named(would love to try).

  2. I am a big ice cream person so this was perfect for me. I know what I will be doing this summer.

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