Archive for Saturday, May 24, 2008

Plenty of kid-friendly attractions available in region

May 24, 2008

OK, so you've seen enough Dora the Explorer to turn into the Grumpy Old Troll, and - even after listening to all 27 albums/videos/DVDs of the Wiggles - the kids are still bouncing off the walls.

Perhaps it's time to load them up in the Family Truckster and hit the road for a little change of scenery.

Here are a few driveable destinations might give you a bit of escape from the humdrum of home:


There are plenty of organized animal options out there. The Topeka Zoological Park - a.k.a. the Topeka Zoo, at 635 S.W. Gage Blvd. in Gage Park - bills itself as the "best family place in Topeka"; and don't forget the nearby train, carrousel and other park attractions. The Kansas City Zoo - in Swope Park at 6800 Zoo Drive in Kansas City, Mo. - has more than 1,000 animals, including a new Africa section that features lions, cheetah, rhinos, hippos and even wild dogs. At 138th Street and Switzer Road in Johnson County is the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, with farm animals, flowers, birds, wagon rides and more. And just west of Salina, the 60-acre Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure features a rare white camel and other animals.


The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, at 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson, boasts the largest collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts outside of Washington, D.C., and Moscow. There's the actual Apollo 13 capsule, a moon rock brought back by Apollo 11, and an SR-71 spy plane, to name a few. There's also an IMAX theater, an interactive planetarium and other features.


Along the Arkansas River in Wichita, Exploration Place offers plenty of interactive activities to entertain even the most toddling of toddlers. From making paper airplanes to moving sand to create a river channel, there's learning in the fun. And there's also a medieval castle, where kids can dress up like kings and queens, send stuffed toys to three-story drops and play old-fashioned instruments - all without creating a cacophony of sound at home.

Closer to home, Wonderscope Museum, 5700 King in Shawnee, provides arts and science exhibits and programs geared to children 10 and under.

Among many activities, children visiting Wonderscope can paint their face, run a TV studio, make a tornado come to life, explore nature, travel to the moon, launch golf balls, go inside a bubble, make a pretend pizza, even check out a cart of groceries.


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