Overland Park in the state of Kansas is said to date back to 1905 when it was founded by William B. Strang Jr. The reason for the name comes from the fact that this part of the United States is blessed by nature, and much of the area is made up of trails and parklands, leading to the moniker ‘Overland Park’. Nowadays, thanks to the continued development of the city, Overland Park is considered one of the best places to live in Kansas, and it doesn’t take much to see why this might be.
If you visit here, you can expect a range of outdoor pursuits such as parks, botanical gardens, swimming pools, and hiking trails, but there is also a wealth of equally exciting indoor attractions. You may not think of Kansas as a frontrunner when it comes to the arts, but Overland Park has museums and galleries galore, some of which feature highly acclaimed collections that are famous across the country. For children, Overland Park is also no slouch, and you will find museums, rustic farms, and a whole range of other fun exhibits here that will appeal to younger guests.
Lets explore the best things to do in Overland Park:
1. Museum at Prairiefire: American Museum of Natural History Exhibits
Dedicated to showcasing the best of the Prairiefire District, come to the Museum at Prairiefire if you want to learn all about this amazing part of the United States.
The museum is made up of sections, some of which are designed to be hands on for children such as the Discovery Room, and there is also a Great Hall where you can learn about how science and technology are used.
As well as the amazing exhibits inside, the building itself is also a work of art and is made to resemble a fire on the Kansas prairie.
The installation is made of Diachronic glass and was designed by none other than NASA.
2. American Royal Museum and Visitors Center
The American Royal Museum and Visitors Center is dedicated to teaching you all about the history of farming and agriculture in the Kansas area.
To that end, you can go on a guided tour with one of the knowledgeable local docents here, and there are a number of quirky and interactive exhibits to enjoy.
These include a rodeo exhibit, as well as an attraction where you can weigh yourself against hogs, steers, and chickens.
Definitely, this is one unusual place not to miss if you come to Overland Park.
3. IFly Kansas City
If you want to go skydiving but prefer to warm up slowly, why not visit IFly Kansas City, an indoor skydiving center in Overland Park? The center will give you the same feeling of flying, but in an indoor space with trained experts who will make sure that your safety and comfort are paramount in the experience.
You will get to wear a sky diving suit and then fly in a wind tunnel that allows you to free fall over two floors.
4. Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Nature lovers mustn’t miss the chance to check out the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Overland Park which are spread over an amazing 300 acres of lush land.
On a visit here you will find over 200 different types of birds as well as more than 75 kinds of tress, and there are also themed gardens here in a range of gorgeous styles.
Just some of these include the Erickson Water Garden, a Train Garden, a Monet Garden, and a Children’s Discovery Garden.
There are also over 5 miles of trails that stretch all over the area so that you can go for a serene walk in the late afternoon to check out the beautiful foliage on display, or you can take a guided tour with a docent.
5. American Jazz Museum
The American Jazz Museum aims to showcase the history and culture of jazz music in the Kansas City area, as there has been a strong music scene here since the 1930s when jazz music got its start.
At the museum you will find a huge range of jazz themed memorabilia such as period costumes that belonged to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, as well as instruments like a trumpet that was played by Louis Armstrong.
Part of the museum is the Blue Room Jazz Club which has live musical shows throughout the week.
For some bowling action in Overland Park, look no further than Pinstripes bowling alley.
Here you will find not just bowling options but also bocce ball and a delicious Italian restaurant.
Many people come here to take in a game or two, and also enjoy the food which is known for being some of the best in the city, and local favorites include sirloin sliders and fresh pasta.
7. Downtown Overland Park Farmers’ Market
The farmers’ market in Overland Park is known as one of the best in Kansas thanks to its amazing range of fresh produce.
The market has been in operation for over 30 years, and aims to promote a sense of community as well as a farm-to-table philosophy.
Vendors come from all over the region to bring some of the best produce in the area and there are also events held here like live music shows that you can enjoy as you shop.
8. Arabia Steamboat Museum
Located in neighboring Kansas City is the Arabia Steamboat Museum which was brought about when a time capsule was found in the Missouri River.
The capsule, which was found in 1987, was filled with what is now the largest collection in the world of frontier supplies that dates from 1856. The museum is therefore dedicated to this time capsule and its contents, and tells you the story of this amazing period of history.
You can take a guided tour of the facility which takes 90 minutes, and a docent will fill you in on all you need to know about this amazing attraction.
9. Old World Ballonery
If you want to check out Overland Park from a completely different perspective, then consider taking to the air with Old World Ballonery.
Here you can take a sunrise or a sunset balloon ride that will see you float serenely over Overland Park and Kansas City and you will get to fly pretty much wherever the wind takes you.
You can even enjoy a champagne breakfast or sunset meal as part of this amazing and unique experience.
10. College Basketball Experience
Located at the Sprint Center is Kansas City is the College Basketball Experience which is also part of the wider National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
If you love basketball then it is well worth travelling outside of Overland Park to the center, and you will find interactive basketball exhibits that let you try our your skills against the pros.
11. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead offers some great fun for all the family and is one of the best loved children’s attractions in Overland Park.
Here you can learn all about life on the farm, and there are a range of interactive exhibits where you can feed goats, ride in a horse drawn carriage, and go panning for gold.
You can also see period historical relics on the farmstead such as a vintage schoolhouse.
12. Johnson County Museum of History/ The 1950s All-Electric House
The Johnson Country Museum of history will reopen in May 2017 after a period of relocation and refurbishment, so don’t miss the chance to check it out once it has been restored to its former glory.
The museum is dedicated to telling the story of life in Johnson Country through ages and you will find an all-electric house here that dates from the 1950s that aims to teach visitors about the evolution of technology in America.
For children, there is a Kidscape area with interactive play galleries.
If you want to play a round of golf with a twist, then you need to head to Topgolf where you can play against teammates to see who the best golfer of the bunch is.
The golf balls here are micro-chipped so that you can immediately see the speed, distance, and accuracy of each ball hit, and players are then awarded points accordingly.
Once you have fit in a few games, you can also enjoy the lounge area here that has delicious bites like burgers as well as a full range of wines, beers, and cocktails.
14. Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art is also known simply as NMOCA and has a diverse collection of art that features both up and coming talent as well as that of established artists.
If you love art, then don’t give this a miss, as you will find much more than just paintings on display.
Instead, expect a wide range of art pieces including paper drawings, ceramics, sculpture works, and photography exhibits.
The collections here mainly focus on contemporary art, so if you are keen to see some of the latest in art innovations in the country, then this is a great place to come.
15. Indian Creek Hike and Bike Trail
The Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail runs for up to 17 miles, part of which skirts by Overland Park and is an ideal place to check out the flora and fauna of this part of the United States.
10 miles of the trails are said to be part of Overland Park, so you will have a lot of terrain to choose from, starting at Foxhill South Park.
The trail is known for being flat which means that it provides a leisurely day either biking or hiking and is suitable for all levels of ability.
The trail will take you past some of the best scenery in the Overland Park area and this is one of the best ways to explore the green areas around the city if you fancy a relaxing afternoon stroll.