Gretchen is a DNA board member and has lived downtown since 2005. You can find her running, exploring and generally enjoying the neighborhood with her husband, nearly 3-year-old son, and new baby soon!

Gretchen is a DNA board member and has lived downtown since 2005. You can find her running, exploring and generally enjoying the neighborhood with her husband, nearly 3-year-old son, and new baby soon!

When you picture the urban areas of KCMO do you see a place that is great for children? Our downtown is full of unique experiences for children who live here or even visit for a day. Many of the metro’s children’s destinations are in our backyard. Places such as Union Station, Crown Center, Family Fun days in Power & Light, the City Market, the Central Library complete with rooftop terrace, Sea Life Aquarium, and Science City are either a walkable distance or a short bus ride away. Many children love the experience of riding the bus. It can turn a regular trip into an adventure. One easy downtown trip example is taking Max through downtown to Crown Center for ice cream. Then it’s simple to use a transfer to return. (If you’re curious about riding, see our previous post about riding the bus.)

Beyond destination locations, just being outside Downtown provides a wide variety of unique adventures. There are fire trucks, helicopters, busses, double decker busses (Megabus), limousines, construction cranes, tractors and a variety of other vehicles on any given street throughout the day. Or you can ride the glass front elevator in Power & Light. During the day there aren’t many people inside the Live block and the upper level bridges and walkways are prime for exploring. While you’re out getting coffee, headed to the store or just wandering around you can also let children do some “shopping” of their own. For example, the ladies at LaBruzzo’s Sweet Oven on Delaware can help children pick out a single cookie and provide them their own bag.

In the River Market it’s easy walk to watch the freight trains from the Town of Kansas pedestrian bridge. Similar viewing is available at Union Station, but the trains travel much slower along the riverfront route and the engineer will usually honk a “hello” to any children on the bridge along with a wave. From there a staircase leads to the Riverfront Heritage Trail and ultimately Berkley Park. In addition, several nearby parks have playgrounds. Dietrich Park at 26th & Gillham is one of the most accessible playgrounds in KCMO and has a good variety of elements for children of all ages. If it’s hot outside, the pool at Jarboe Park or the splash pad outside Garrison Community Center are a great, nearby spots too cool off. Another fun location is up Locust Street next to Children’s Mercy where you find a unique in sidewalk exterior piano for children of all ages. Columbus Park and Case Park both also offer playground equipment and are walkable from Downtown & the River Market.

Children enjoying being out and seeing a variety of environments. Downtown offers a unique experience no matter the weather or time of year. Interior areas like Union Station and the connection to Crown Center are always nearby. Parks have ample area to play in fresh snow. Warmer weather brings opportunities to select food from farmers and interact with street activity. The entire neighborhood offers unique experiences not found elsewhere in the city.

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