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The parks of Greater Kansas City are sources of pride for city, county and state governments; they are also great sources of pleasure for several million folks, residents and tourists both, who enjoy them every year.

Their number is too great to completely catalog. Here we sample a few with the hope that residents will explore these and discover others along the way.

Kansas City, MO
The city’s Parks & Recreation headquarters is at 4600 E. 63rd St. Call (816) 513-7500 or visit the Web site, for information.

Blue River Athletic Field, I-435 (103rd Street exit) and Blue River Road, 80 acres with eight baseball diamonds and many picnic areas.

Blue Valley Park, 23rd and Topping Avenue, 238 acres with baseball diamonds, Heritage Fountain and small lake.

Sheila Kemper Dietrich Park, 27th and Gillham; only 2.57 acres but a national model for barrier-free kids’ play.

George E. Kessler Park, Paseo to Belmont Avenue off North Bluff, 303 acres with Missouri River overlooks and lighted tennis courts.

Loose Park, 51st and Wornall, south of the Country Club Plaza, 74 acres with lake, shelter house, Rose Garden (available for reservations at 816-784-5300), Civil War markers (it was a battlefield), tennis courts, walking/jogging path, wading pool, duck pond, band shell, picnic areas and great kite flying.

Minor Park, Holmes and Red Bridge roads, 235 acres of golf, tennis courts and picnic shelters with restrooms.

Penguin Park, N. North Avenue and N. Vivion Road, 3.42 acres of giant animals for climbing, trail and lake; Winter Wonderland every December.

Penn Valley Park, 28th and Wyandotte, includes the recently renovated World War I Liberty Memorial, an excellent view of downtown skyline, small lake, four tennis courts, ball diamond, picnic tables and restrooms.

Swope Park, Swope Parkway and Meyer Boulevard, at 1,769 acres the city’s largest and one of its first parks. Home to the Kansas City Zoo, Sprint IMAX Theatre in the Deramus Education Pavilion at the Zoo, Starlight Theatre, Swope Memorial Golf Course, the Blue River Golf Academy, fishing lake, Lakeside Nature Center (816-513-8960) with good hands-on exhibits and the state’s largest wildlife rehab center, swimming pool, 10 shelter houses, bicycle routes, many picnic areas, basketball courts and soccer and rugby fields.

Jackson County
Jackson County Parks & Recreation information: (816) 795-8200.

Adair Park, south of I-70 on Lee’s Summit Road in Independence, (816) 373-6960; 40 acres with seven lighted, irrigated softball fields, batting cages, two restroom/concession facilities, five picnic shelters and nature area with trails.

Blue and Gray Park Preserve, seven miles south of I-70 and north of U.S. Highway 50 on Buckner-Tarsney Road, (816) 795-8200; 1,733 acres of hiking trails in oak/hickory woods, organized camping, horseback riding, fishing, two shelters, 16 picnic tables, restrooms.

Blue River Parkway, 2,319 acres along the Blue River from Swope Park south to county line, (816) 795-8200; 4.5 miles of trails, deep woods and limestone bluffs, model airplane fields, horseback riding, fishing, picnic areas, restrooms, soccer and softball fields and canoeing.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, one mile north of I-70 East at 1401 N.W. Park Road, Blue Springs, (816) 228-3766; 1,100 acres of woods, prairie, trails (varying difficulty and one wheelchair accessible), limestone outcrops, wildlife refuge and nature center with 3,000-gallon aquarium and restrooms. Operated by Missouri Department of Conservation.

Cave Spring, historic site in 36-acre nature park at 8701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, (816) 358-2283; interpretive center, picnic area, hiking trails wildlife pond habitat, butterfly garden and small cave.

Fleming Park – Lake Jacomo and Blue Springs Lake, 22807 Woods Chapel Road, Blue Springs, (816) 795-8200; at more than 7,800 acres, Jackson County’s largest park, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors a year; two major lakes (Jacomo is 970 acres and Blue Springs is 720 acres), marinas, public swimming beaches, camping, picnic areas, fishing, boating, sailing and boat rentals. Fleming Park contains Missouri Town 1855, a reconstructed historic village with 30 structures; Kemper Outdoor Education Center; Burroughs Audubon Library; a 100-acre Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure with safari tours of bison and elk; picnic shelters, hiking trails and two campgrounds.

Fort Osage, a National Historic Landmark northwest of Sibley, on the Missouri River (816) 650-5737; served as one of the first military outposts and government trade houses in the Louisiana Purchase; reconstructed fort overlooking the river provides insight into the daily life at the Fort in 1812. Also: boat ramp, fishing, hiking, picnic areas and restrooms; adjoins 32-acre Hayes Park. Open April 15-Nov. 15.

Harris Memorial Park, Jefferson Street and Blue Parkway in Lee’s Summit, (816) 969-7494; 23 acres includes pool, recreation center, shelters and playground with castle and miniature city.

Landhal Park Reserve, north of I-70 and west of Missouri 7 on Truman Road (816) 795-8200; 1,397 acres with shooting range (Missouri Dept. of Conservation), ball fields, organized camping, horseback riding, cross-country skiing trails, shelters, restrooms and three lakes.

Little Blue Trace, on the Little Blue River from Longview Lake North to Blue Mills Road, (816) 795-8200; 1,856 acres; 10-mile bike/hike trail, soccer and softball fields, picnicking and restrooms.

Longview Lake Park, I-470 and Raytown Road, (816) 795-8200; 4,852 acres with 930-acre lake (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) that offers power boating, water skiing, fishing, full-service marina, public swimming beach; also picnic shelters, hike and bike trails, softball complex, equestrian park and trails, campground and the championship Fred Arbanas Golf Course. Site of “Christmas in the Park” every November and December.

Macken Park, 716 E. Clark Ferguson Drive in North Kansas City, (816) 300-0545; 60 acres, picnic facilities, walking trail and inline skating trails, tennis, ball fields, 2 playgrounds; 4 large shelters

Mill Creek Park, 1717 North River Blvd., (816) 325-7360; 45 acres with two shelters, five ball diamonds and hiking trails.

Monkey Mountain Nature Preserve, south of I-70 and east of Buckner-Tarsney Road on old Highway 40 (816) 795-8200; 855 acres of wildlife habitats, trails and picnic areas.

George Owens Nature Park, 1601 Speck Road, Independence (816) 257-4654; 85 acres with organized camping, four miles of nature trails, two fishing lakes, nature center with 150-gallon aquarium, picnicking and restrooms.

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, south of Highway 50 near Lee’s Summit at 13101 S.E. Ranson Road, (816) 622-0900; 2,456 acres with 250 acres of water in 12 lakes and ponds; butterfly and hummingbird gardens; woodland and native grasses, wildflowers, fishing, boating, trapping, hunting and nature trails.

River Bluff Reserve, south side of Missouri River at Missouri 291 (816) 795-8200; 263 acres with nature study area, primitive camping, hiking; section of the Lewis & Clark Trail.

Santa Fe Park, 2900 Santa Fe Road, Independence, (816) 325-7360; 45 acres with ball diamonds, tennis courts and restrooms.

Truman Sports Complex Park, south of I-70 and I-435 on Raytown Road; 220 acres; four racquetball/handball courts and hiking trail.

Cass County
Harrisonville City Park, 706 Ash Street, Harrisonville, (816) 380-8948; 270 acres; two lakes with fishing, tennis courts, swimming pool, nature trails, golf course, playground equipment, basketball court and shelter houses.

Platte County
English Landing Park, south end of Main Street in Parkville, (816) 741-7676; riverfront park with scenic trail, shelters, boat ramp, ball fields and Waddell Bridge, on the National Historic Register.

Frank Vaydik-Line Creek Park, N.W. 56th Street and Waukomis Drive, (816) 513-9585; 136 acres including Line Creek Archeological Museum, (816-587-8822); elk and buffalo, ball diamonds, three-lane swimming pool, shelter and picnicking with restrooms; Line Creek Community Ice Arena & Park Center; and Kansas City Northern Railroad (816-734-0203), a 16-gauge railroad open for rides May-October.

Dr. Frederick Marshall Conservation Area, on the Platte River south of Highway 92 on N. Farley Road, Platte City area (816) 655-6250; 168 acres of bottomland forest and restored prairie; hiking, hunting and wildlife viewing.

Guy B. Park Conservation Area, west of Highway 371 on Bee Creek Blvd., Platte City area, (816) 792-8662; 380 acres, 17-acre lake, ponds, hunting, fishing, hiking and bird watching.

Platte Falls Wildlife Area, east of I-29 at Exit 19 and north ? Mile in Platte City area, (816) 792-8662; 2,441 acres; hunting, fishing, biking, bird watching nature study, Platte River boat ramps; Missouri Department of Conservation.

Snow Creek Ski Area, seven miles north of Weston on Highway 45, (816) 640-2200; winter recreation complex with beginner and intermediate ski runs, ski school, day and night skiing and snowboarding on man-made snow, 80-day season; lodge with restaurant, lounge, shop.

Tiffany Springs Park, Hampton Road and N.W. 88th St., (816) 513-9585; nearly 700 acres with five ball diamonds, eight soccer fields, playground, bird watching and nearby mountain bike trails.

Weston Bend State Park, 16600 N. Highway 45, Weston, (816) 640-5443; 1,055 acres; camping, picnicking, 3-mile paved trail, deep woods, bluffs and panoramic view of the Missouri River on Lewis & Clark Trail.

Clay County
Big Shoal Greenway, Antioch Road to North Brighton Avenue, (816) 513-7500; 95 acres; ball diamonds and picnic acres.

Englewood Park, Englewood Road and North Troost, (816) 513-7500; 51 acres; ball diamonds, picnic acres and a lake with restroom facilities.

Fishing River Linear Park, 25 acres on the banks of Fishing River from the parking lot at Marietta Street Bridge to Golf Hill Bridge in Excelsior Springs, (816) 630-1040 ; trail passes behind the Historic Hall of Waters and the historic Superior Pagoda and newer Spring Pagoda; offering playground equipment for children, lighted baseball/softball diamond.

Happy Rock Park, 76th Street and North Antioch Road, Gladstone, (816) 436-2200; 80 acres; playgrounds, fitness trails, soccer fields, tennis courts, baseball fields and beautiful open land.

Hodge Park, 7000 N.E. Barry Road, (816) 513-7500; at 801 acres, Kansas City’s second largest park; Shoal Creek Heritage Village, a collection of 19th century buildings and living history museum with re-enactments four times a year; golf course, native animal enclosure with elk, buffalo and blacktail deer; eight ball diamonds, three lakes, shelter and amphitheater, picnic areas and restrooms.

Lakewood Greenway, I-35 to N.E. Vivion Road, parallel to North Avenue (816) 513-7500; 67 acres with playgrounds, baseball diamond, two lakes, exercise trail, shelter and picnic benches.

Rocky Hollow Park, between Kearney and Excelsior Springs on Highway 92, (816) 532-0803; 60 acres with 24-acre fishing lake, walking trails, ball diamonds and picnic shelters.

Siloam Mountain Park, off Garland Street in Excelsior Springs, (816) 630-1040; 25 acres with large pavilions, playground equipment, benches, picnic tables, barbecue grills and great view of Excelsior Springs.

Smithville Lake and Recreation Area, northeast of Smithville on U.S. 169 and Missouri 92 (816) 432-0803; 7,200-acre lake with park land including two marinas, restaurant, 175 miles of shore line, boat ramps, sailboats, fishing, water skiing, beaches, 200 picnic sites, 11 shelters, more than 700 campsites, backpacking, a 3,000-acre waterfowl refuge, trapshooting, two public golf courses and undeveloped acres open for public hunting. A cooperative effort between city, county and federal governments, Smithville Lake last year welcomed nearly 2 million visitors. Jerry L. Litton Visitor Center, (816) 532-0174.

Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, 407 N. Lafrenz, Liberty, (816) 781-8598; 100 acres of protective environment for wildlife and plants; four miles of hiking trails; nature center with programs.

Tryst Falls, five miles east of Kearney on Highway 92, (816) 532-0803; 40 acres with scenic waterfall, two shelters, picnic benches and baseball diamond.

Water Well Athletic Complex, Missouri Highway 9 and North Broadway, (816) 513-7500; 66 acres with five ball diamonds (four lit).

Watkins Mill State Park, six miles east of Kearney on Highway 92, (816) 296-3357; 1,289 acres including reconstructed 19th century woolen mill with outbuildings and house; 100-acre lake for boats and canoes, fishing and swimming; bicycling, hiking, playgrounds, picnic areas, campsites with laundry and showers. Unusual combination of southern plantation culture with beginnings of the industrial era. Tours.

Johnson County
JCPRD Office: (913) 831-3355 or online at

Kansas Wildlife & Parks, KC District Office: 14639 W. 95th St., (913) 894-9113.

Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, (913) 831-3355; 44 acres with two fishing lakes, arboretum and rose garden, Old Dodge Town wheelchair-accessible playground, shelters, picnic areas and restrooms, tennis and basketball courts.

Ernie Miller Park, 909 N. 7 Highway, Olathe, (913) 764-7759; 114 acres of bottomland forest, meadows and tallgrass prairie, outdoor amphitheater, Ernie Miller Nature Center and wheelchair-accessible nature trails.

Heritage Park, 159th and Pflumm Road, Olathe (913) 831-3355; 1,160 acres with 45-acre lake, marina for paddleboat and sailboard rentals (913-764-4037), walking and hiking trails, shelters, playgrounds, softball, soccer and football fields, golf course and driving range.

Kill Creek Park under development, 127th Street and Homestead Road, south of K-10 near DeSoto; 870 acres to include boating, fishing, marina, trails, picnic areas, shelters, camping, refreshments and restrooms.

Mid-America Sports Complex, 20000 Johnson Drive, Shawnee (913) 441-2244; 70 acres with lighted softball and baseball fields, batting cage, play areas, concessions, pro shop and clubhouse.

Mill Creek Streamway, paved 14-mile trail link between Nelson Island on the Kansas River on the north, through Shawnee Mission Park to Olathe; for walking, biking, strolling or skateboarding. (Other paved trails line creeks in Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee and Leawood; call the cities for information.)

Overland Park Community Park, 138th and Switzer Road, Overland Park (913) 895-6000; 129 acres including Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead (913-897-2360), ball diamonds, tennis courts, football and soccer fields for league play, ecological preserve, three picnic shelters, shelter house and restrooms.

Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park (913) 685-3604; 300 acres including wood-chip trails, themed gardens such as the Erickson Water Garden, forest, prairie, limestone bluffs and visitors’ center.

Prairie Center, 26325 W. 135th St., Olathe (913) 856-7669; 300 acres of native tallgrass prairie and woodlands, trails, lake and picnic areas; Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Roe Park, 104th and Roe Avenue, Overland Park (913) 895-6300; 43 acres including swimming pool and concession stand, soccer and softball fields for league play, tennis courts, bicycle trail, wheelchair-accessible nature trail, picnicking and shelter house.

Shawnee Mission Park, 79th Street and Renner Road, Lenexa (913) 888-4713; 1,250 acres including 150-acre lake with public beach and marina, concessions and boating, horseback trails, organized camping, outdoor theater, nature trails, tennis courts, softball diamonds, archery range, wheelchair-accessible fishing pier and trail, observation tower, model airplane field, picnic shelters and restrooms.

Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park, 12500 W. 119th St., Overland Park (913) 831-3355; 80 acres with small fishing lake, soccer and softball fields, playground and jogging trail.

Sunflower Nature Park, 103rd and Edgerton Road near DeSoto (913) 831-3355; 60 acres of naturalized park with wheelchair-accessible nature trails, picnic shelter, fishing pond and game fields.

Tomahawk Recreation Complex, 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee (913) 631-7050; golf course and driving range with pro shop and snack bar, swimming pool and meeting rooms. Tomahawk Dome is used for year-round athletic activities.

Leavenworth County
City and county information online at or

Leavenworth County State Lake, northwest of Tonganoxie on Highway 90; 160-acre fishing and boating lake with beautiful space for camping and picnicking; Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Leavenworth Landing Park, Cherokee and Esplanade Streets on the Missouri River; commemorates what was a major river landing site with various modes of transportation, trail, plazas and river overlooks.

Riverfront Park, Dakota Street and Missouri River, (913) 651-2203; provides access to the Missouri River and camping, boat ramps, restrooms and showers.

Wyandotte County
Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., Unified Government – Parks Information, (913) 596-7077,

City Park and Regan Field, 26th and Park Drive, Kansas City, Kan.; 90 acres with picnic shelters, pavilion, lighted softball and soccer fields, playgrounds and restrooms.

Eisenhower Park, 2901 N. 72nd St., Kansas City, Kan.; 64 acres with recreation center, baseball, softball, football and soccer fields; lighted tennis courts, track, playgrounds, picnic shelter and restrooms.

Pierson Park, 1800 S. 55th St., Kansas City, Kan.; 125 acres including ball diamonds, tennis courts, three shelters, picnic areas, playgrounds, 12-acre lake and air-conditioned Pierson Hall, with capacity for up to 500.

Mount Marty Park, Springfield and Hill streets, Kansas City, Kan.; 11 acres and site of the Rosedale Memorial Arch, overlooking the city.

Rosedale Park, 41st and Mission Road, Kansas City, Kan.; 55 acres with picnic areas, restrooms, shelter, tennis courts, four softball fields, playground and Frisbee golf course.

Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road; 1,500 Ozarks-like acres with 17 shelters, picnic sites, playgrounds, restrooms, recreation hall, horse trails and 400-acre lake for swimming, boating and fishing (special area for kids’ fishing). A model railroad offers free rides the second Saturday of the month, April through November.

Wyandotte County Park, 126th and State Avenue, adjacent to the Agricultural Hall of Fame on I-70 north of Bonner Springs; 360 acres including site of the annual Renaissance Festival in the fall, George J. Meyn Community Center, seven shelters, lighted tennis courts, softball, soccer and football fields and picnic areas with restrooms; adjoins Sandstone Amphitheatre outdoor concert venue.