True picnic paradise comes only when the atmosphere is just right. Kansas City offers some of the best local outdoor dining and the only “tip” you have to worry about is where to go!
Here are just a few fabulous Kansas City picnic spots to get you started.
By Lisa Taranto Butler
English Landing Park
8800 Clark Ave., Parkville, Mo.
Just south of downtown and next to the banks of the Missouri River, historic English Landing Park sports a great walking trail that runs right along the river. As you nosh on that turkey sandwich, listen for the nearby whistles of trains as they make their way through Parkville.
5200 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo.
One of Kansas City’s most beloved and historic areas, Loose Park is spacious enough for a variety of activities but convenient enough to schedule an impromptu get-together with friends. Take advantage of these 75 acres with a leisurely bike ride, fun run or a pick-up game of tennis. Enjoy the natural beauty of the flower gardens. Bring your sunscreen and towels, and let the kids enjoy the sprayground with everything from fountains and sprayers to squirters and hoses.
Deanna Rose Farmstead
3800 Switzer Rd., Overland Park, Kan.
Fun, educational and free, Deanna Rose Farmstead calls even the most urban families out to Johnson County. Filled with cool, shady spots for picnics, the fun comes in various formats. After lunching, enjoy the petting zoo, interactive exhibits and carriage rides. Tour the old school house and buy a cup of worms to fish the pond.
The Banks of the Missouri River in Fort Osage
105 Osage St., Sibley, Mo.
If you’re in the mood for a little road trip, travel 14 miles northeast of Independence to Fort Osage. Built in 1808, the fort served a dual role as both a military garrison and trade center. These days, visitors can step back in time and experience the lives of the men and women who secured the American frontier. Pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery over the bends and currents of the Missouri River.
16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe, Kan.
Soccer parents may know this park best for trekking to their kid’s games. But at this 1,200-acre park, you can find picnic shelters, an off-leash dog park and a 40-acre lake and marina. Drop your basket at one of the picnic areas and play softball, football or a little golf.
66th Street and Antioch Road in Merriam, Kan.
Little ones will dig Antioch Park’s Old Dodge Town playground complete with a kid-sized hotel and Wild West general store. Adults will appreciate the many water-front shelters for family gatherings and reunions.
Nelson Atkins Museum
4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, Mo.
Spread a blanket in the grass or use one of the newly added picnic tables on the south lawn of the Nelson Adkins Museum and Sculpture Park to enjoy your outdoor fare. After lunch, enjoy a game of Frisbee in the museum’s oversized backyard. If you’re feeling energetic, go for a power walk, but if all the fun makes you sleepy, feel free to take a power nap.
Shawnee Mission Park
7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee, Kan.
Not only is Shawnee Mission Park one of the largest parks in the area, but it’s also one of the most visited in the entire state of Kansas. Shawnee Mission Park sits on more than 1,250 acres of grass, trails, campgrounds, lakefronts and other playground fun. There is something for everyone here, so take the whole family for a day or weekend trip.
The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden
4800 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, Mo.
If a romantic picnic is what you prefer, then the Kauffman Memorial Garden may be the setting for you and your sweetie. This two-acre garden is part of the Kauffman Legacy Park and is located in the heart of Kansas City near the Country Club Plaza. The serene atmosphere coupled with the limestone walls offers relaxation as well as a bit of privacy. But don’t bring a bottle of the bubbly – there is no alcohol allowed on the premises.
Your Own Backyard
We can’t think of a better place to picnic than under your favorite tree, on your deck or even on your front porch. Home picnics offer a change of pace to the normal meal and a chance to enjoy a new perspective on family fun time. Not a lot of planning is necessary — round up your picnic fare and gather everyone around to enjoy a beautiful day.