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Frugal Kansas City Staycation – Overland Park Arboretum

Spring finally arrived today, which meant we took the little robots outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures. Our destination? The Overland Park Arboretum. Admission is free every Tuesday, although still reasonably priced the rest of the week ($3 per adult, $1 child 6-12 yo, free 5 yo and under).

Let’s just say the kids brought lots of energy, and literally hit the ground running. It’s been a long winter…

There is so much to see and do here. Lots of interesting bridges.

Plenty of water, although many of the water features were still winterized.

And sculptures. So many interesting sculptures. The kids particularly loved Monet.

Some of the little robots found the sculptures inspirational, and channeled that energy into imitative movement.

This place is so well laid out. There were plenty of other people also out enjoying the weather, yet it felt very private –  lots of turns with nooks and crannies, and plenty of benches to sit and soak it all in.

Not to mention the early flowers and fragrances to pause and enjoy.

Just when we thought this place couldn’t get any cooler, we stumbled upon a giant model train set, complete with bridges, tunnels, water features, houses, and cars.

The trains were not yet up and running, but it still captivated our attention.

So much detail and random fun – can you spot the bears, pirate ship, and shark?

Next to the model train was a very real, very colorful caboose.

Our kids love climbing, and there was no shortage today.

We kept wandering and next arrived at the natural playground. We took a break, while the kids climbed and jumped and climbed some more, before even they paused to rest.

We then decided to venture onto one of the walking trails – not surprisingly, the gate is also a work of art!

The path was wide and mostly flat. There were lots of trees, though since the leaves haven’t yet come in there was plenty of sunshine today. This would be a great shaded path to keep yourself cool in the peak of summer.

Our kids are not experienced hikers (yet), so we attempted to take a shorter route. Except we both apparently failed at orienteering, and somehow took the longest route possible.

Initially the older two were oblivious that we were going the long way – too many giant trees to climb! (have I mentioned my kids like to climb?)

And more sculptures!

Eventually, however, they caught on and the whining commenced, and didn’t stop until the end was literally in sight.

Fortunately we were able to close the hike on a high note, with more pretty flowers to see and smell.

All in all, this was an AMAZING excursion. We spent 2 hours exploring, and had we come prepared with snacks and water could have lasted even longer. As mentioned on yesterday’s post where we visited the Money Museum, we like to conclude each trip by asking everyone their favorite part and how many “thumbs up” they give. It was nearly unanimous that the train exhibit was the best, even without actual running trains! But to be honest, this entire place was gorgeous and I can’t wait to go back later in the season to see how the scenery changes. Mr. and Mrs. BPR each gave it 2 thumbs up, as did Holden. Greta only gave it 1 thumb, subtracting a thumb for the long hike. Ford, as usual, is too young to vote, but he seemed in his element so we’ll say 2 thumbs from the two year old.

Official family vote: 9/10 thumbs up

 

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