Thank you to Visit Overland Park for sponsoring this article and experience in 2021.
Only a quick two-and-a-half hour drive from Wichita, Overland Park is a great family weekend destination spot. We’ve had the opportunity to travel to the Kansas City area many times, both with and without kids, and I have to say we’ve never had as much fun as we did recently! We were excited to partner with Visit Overland Park to explore all there is to see and do with our family in the well-known Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center. It was very conveniently located – close to so many activities, restaurants, and shopping. My kids were mainly concerned with if there was a pool or not, and I was thrilled to soak in the hot tub while they swam for hours.
The hotel also had a restaurant and bar on-site too, perfect for a late night cocktail after the kids are in bed.
What to Do in Overland Park
- Museum at Prairiefire: Since our children are both in elementary school, we decided to hit this spot first. This is a natural history museum in the Prairiefire area. From the T-Rex skeleton to the discovery room full of hands-on activities, they were entranced. My son’s highlight of the trip was getting to create his own dinosaur on the interactive touchscreen, then seeing it come alive on the 3d screen. If you need an indoor activity for an hour or two, don’t miss this one! *Bonus tip* If you have an Exploration Place membership, mention it for a $1 discount per ticket.
- Top Golf: This was a new experience for all four of us, and we enjoyed the different interactive games available. Each golf bay has a server assigned, so you never have to wait long for someone to take a food or drink order or help you find the right sized club.
- Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens: This was one of my personal favorite places we stopped. It reminds me of a mix between Botanica and Great Plains Nature Center, with both cultivated gardens and ponds and nature trails. Don’t forget to mention your Botanica membership for a discount on tickets here! We explored the trails and then visited the children’s gardens where we could count fairy houses, run and jump on logs and rocks set up for them, and check out the incredible toy train displays.
- Gleason Magic Experience: This was our last and final stop, and we were awed and amazed by the show! It was the kids’ first magic show, and they were literally on the edge of their seats the entire time trying to figure out Greg Gleason’s card tricks and mentalism.
- Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead: Though we’ve been before, we didn’t get a chance to visit this time around. But it is worth mentioning as a great spot to visit as a family to see and learn about over 250 animals and birds, growing flowers & vegetables, and more. The kids love pretending to milk the cow and the tractor rides!
Where to Eat in Overland Park
Nothing Mom hates more than the kids’ inevitable question, “What’s for dinner?” The funny thing is, they don’t stop asking, even on vacation! I’m going to do you a solid and give you a list of great spots guaranteed to please the whole crew.
The Kansas City Area is known for its barbecue, so we stopped at Jack Stack. If your family likes tacos, Taco Naco is a must-eat. They also have a little market that gave me serious nostalgia for the time we lived in Los Angeles. Spin! Pizza was another great family spot. The kids’ meals come with little servings of their gelato and it was the perfect sweet treat.
My personal favorite was Strang Hall, which is what you’d get if you crossed Top Chef with the mall food court – several different food vendors, each serving a different style of food, but all incredible and unique. Strang Hall has both indoor and outdoor seating, a bar, and is right across the street from Thompson Park, a great playground and fountain area.
Breakfast & Sweet Treats
For all the breakfast and sweets, we went to DOP Donuts (get there early before they sell out), McClain’s Market (The Farm was my husband’s choice and it looked great), The Upper Crust (don’t sleep on bumbleberry pie), and the ultimate favorite, I Am Frozen Dessert Cafe. Their honey toast was the best dessert I think I’ve ever had, and their portions were extremely generous. If you need a hit of caffiene or a snack, Homer’s Coffee House will definitely deliver.
If you’re looking for entertainment and delicious food all rolled into one, hit Pinstripes for dinner and bowling or bocce! Make sure you make a lane reservation in advance to guarantee a spot.
Let’s Shop Local!
There are a handful malls and outdoor shopping areas in Overland Park, and we visited several. The Prairiefire district had several shops in addition to food and drinks (and the museum!). The kids wanted to buy everything at Fat Brain Toys, and I enjoyed browsing the local collections at the Threshing Bee Boutique.
If you are looking for some adorable and kitschy KC items, Made in KC had clothes, BBQ sauce, and all kinds of other small items. If you are in town over a weekend, you won’t want to miss out on the Overland Park Farmers’ Market. We counted at least 60 vendors of all kinds, including food, coffee (bless!) and of course, all kinds of produce and similar goods, like olive oils, honey and flower bouquets. We enjoyed walking around and seeing the locally grown goodness.
We also visited downtown OP, and the shops in Downtown OP included some gems like Popculture (all the flavors of popcorn you can dream up!), the General Store (selling candles, shirts and novelties) and Ten Thousand Villages with items from makers all over the world!
Next time you head up to Overland Park, whether for a short trip or a long one, I hope you have as amazing of a time as we did! With so much to see and do (and eat!), you’ll be sure to enjoy your stay.