Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Activity: Leilia's Hair Museum

Location:  1333 S.Noland Road, Independence Mo

Hours:  Tuesday - Sat, 9am - 4 pm


Cost:  $6.00 Adults, $3.00 for children.

To answer your first question, because we know it's going to be asked, what the hell is a hair museum. 

Well, it's a museum dedicated to hair art.  Yup, it sounds a little creepy when said out loud. 

However, do not let that deter you, this place is worth it if only for the uniqueness of it.  Leila's Hair Museum is the only hair museum in the world.  From their site:  "boasting over 500 hair wreaths and over 2000 pieces of jewelry made of human hair. Boasting over 500 hair wreaths and over 2000 pieces of jewelry made of human hair.

Just for this reason, you should go see this.  What you will see are wreath's created from human hair.  These are quite intricate with a lot of detail work.  Apparently, according to Leilia, this art form came from an age when there were no photographs and this is how they shared family history's.  Many wreaths came from funerals.  Yup, good times.  

Beside the hair wreaths expect to see the pictures of baby's with real baby hair.  It's the uniqueness that you are see here, just keep that in mind.  She also has hair from some famous American figures, from Marylin Monroe to Elvis to George Washington.  

The jewelry is what we found the most fascinating because who would ever think that you could make a ring or a watch chain out of hair.  Well, apparently a lot of our ancestors did.  And now Leilia has them, just waiting for you to see them.  

Sure, the idea that all these people are dead or that the hair came from baby's long pest can get the creepy vibe going, but I ask you, doesn't history need to be a little creepy?

A note on age appropriate:  all manner of kids are welcome.  But those with small toddlers that are mobile will need to be on your toes.  The wreaths are framed all over the wall and many are low enough to the ground for sticky fingers to touch them.  Although you can't touch the actual hair, I can imagine you can pull the frames off really easily.  

Also, this museum shouldn't take you to long to get through, it's a 30 to 45 min trip so it's a good thing to do right before lunch, if you can maintain your appetite, you are good to go.  


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer 2012

Sure we didn't blog alot, but that didn't mean we weren't active.  Here is summer 2012 in a nutshell for those wishing to have a trip down memory lane.  Enjoy!

The Down Town KC Library doing yet another great activity hosted by Claire.

Race Weekend!!

Random garage sale hats.  Free stuff, we love free stuff. 

Our annual trip to Deana Rose's farm.

First official fishing trip.  Apparently its more fun to touch the worms than the fish. 

Our Annual out door movie trip for the whole family.  This year's pic was Brave.  We are a big group when everyone shows up. 

At the K with TVS Mike.  Thanks for putting us up on the Crown Vision!

Tour of the control room at the K where we played a game of "What does this button do." 

It's an elephant. 

Pony Express museum somewhere in Kansas.

The midget auto racing Hall of Fame.  One of the best museums in Kansas.

Somewhere in Kansas. 

The worlds largest ball of twine.  It exists and we have seen it. 

Camping at a Kansas State Park.  No kids were injured in making this memory. 

Believe it or not, this is a bathroom in Rural Kansas. 
If the apocolypse happens, this is where it starts.  Creepy man.  

Motorcycle museum.  It's very important not to touch kids, please god don't touch.  

At Longview Lake beach.  Worth a visit every year. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Star Party at the H.M.S Beagle in Parkville

By Mr. Rogers

H.M.S Beagle Science Store
180 English Landing Drive, Parkville, Missouri, 64152

telephone: 816-587-9998


Cost: Free

Parking: Plentiful on the night we were there.

Age Appropriate: If they are old enough to point to the moon they could enjoy it. But be warned, kids younger than 10 will have problems since the telescope eyepieces are usually far off the ground. I had to hold my kids up to all the telescopes, just a minor inconvience. If I go again I will probably bring a milk crate for them to stand on.

I have to say this was pretty darn cool.

This wasn't a KC Dads outing (it was just my family) but it easily could be one. The Star parties take place every month from April thru November and a schedule with start times and a list of the various objects to be observed can be found on The H.M.S Beagle website.

We didn’t know what to expect but found it to be well worth the trip to Parkville. Our evening began with visit to the H.M.S Beagle store where they sell a wide range of science items. The kids loved wandering the store looking at all the kits, fossils, rocks, beakers, toys and equipment. We especially like the rocks, but what kid doesn’t. We ended up purchasing an actual fossil and a beautiful selection of rocks of various colors and textures as we passed the time waiting for the event to begin.

At 7:30 Mr. Leif Bahl started the program in the store with a slide presentation discussing what he hoped to show us. I was pleasantly surprised by the talk, it was very informative and gave me a new appreciation for hobby of star gazing. Did you know that line between the dark and light side of the moon was the best place to see the moons features, cause that is where the shadows are longest. Makes sense but I bet you never would have thought of it. He went on to explain a host of other things about nebula and star clusters and Messier objects. He was good with the kids and answered all of their questions. Many of which consisted of “I have seen the moon on my way to school” and "The Mars rover took a picture on my birthday”. (those knuckle balls were thrown at him by my two darling rocket scientists). At about 8:15 we headed out to the gravel space next to the parking lot as Leif set up the telescope on it’s first target.

You are welcome to bring your own telescope, which three other individuals chose to do. The multiple telescopes meant there always seemed to be something different to look at. We simply walked between telescopes and waited in line to see what the owner had it pointed at.

The various equipment was also interesting and appealed to my inner Tim Allen. One guy's telescope was mounted with a lasor beam to help in aiming (so very cool). And I don't even know how to begin to describe the astronomy app on his iPad, all I can say it was freak'n awsome.

All in all we saw Mars Venus, Jupiter, the Orion nebula, the Pleiades star cluster, and the moon of course. My 5 year old was into looking at everything she could, which foretells a promising career in Astrophysics I am sure. My 8 year old, however, was so busy playing tag with the other children in the gravel that he only looked twice in a telescope and at some very lame objects to boot. You can lead a horse to water…..

The lame objects happened to be Mars and Venus. I don't mean to be disrespecting our nearest neighbors. It was kind of cool seeing them with my own eyes but, unfortunately, they just look like little balls. I guess I was hoping make out the rover on it or something. In contrast, I was floored by the clarity of the mountains and craters on the moon. You see the moon almost every night but the telescope really makes it pop. The biggest thrill was seeing three of the actual moons of Jupiter with my own eyes. You could also just barely make out the lines of color streaking across Jupiter’s surface. Had we stayed a little longer we could have seen a fourth moon appear from behind it but it was getting late and the kids needed to get home. We left around 9pm

Food Options: The event takes place at dusk so you likely will have already eaten but there are many nice places nearby to grab a nice dinner/dessert should you prefer to eat in Parkville. (which I have not done but hope to one of these days) Snacks for the little ones will come in handy when watching the slide show and waiting for the telescopes to be moved between objects.

If you have any interest in star gazing this is definitely a must see event. The staff at the H.M.S Beagle are friendly and helpful both in the store and behind a telescope. I had a telescope as a kid but having it in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing and where to look makes all the difference in the world. Before you make your trip out to Parkville, be sure to check the website to get an idea of what objects are in the sky and be warned that clear skies are a must for this event (But they do post make-up dates).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Activity: Kansas City Auto Show

Kansas City Auto Show

Location: Bartle Hall Convention Center, 301 West 13st, KC MO 64105

Cost: Adult Tickets: $10, although some coupons are out there. Kids: Free for under 7. Parking is additional as well so budget accordingly. I believe it is about 10 bucks.

Age appropriate: all

Things at Bartle Hall can be pretty cool if you get just a bit adventurous and go. Sure, you would think that a bunch of toddlers wouldn't want to go to an auto show but you would be wrong. If you put some serious thought into it, then it is clear that an auto show is practically an amusement park to anyone under 6. Big motors, race cars on display and the chance to push the buttons on over 1000 vehicles without anyone telling you to stop. It's practically Disney.

And as cool as it was to see the newer models of cars getting ready to roll off the line and into our hearts, the true greatness of this event were the oddities that surrounded it. Well, that and the corvettes because those things are still bitching. I made the kids get out so I could sit in it alone and dream that one day, I would own one. And have hair. Both would be awesome.

But the things that surrounded the auto show is what I think made it a truly great experience for both the kids and the adults. Let's start with the U.S. Army that had a section of the floor. Look, I know that they are trying to recruit my youngsters and I'm fine with that. I'm fine with that because they had a life sized video game where my 5 year old held a life sized M-16. You want awesome, there is your awesome. And for the record those things are heavy. It turns out that my daughter is a pretty good shot as well. The Army section was well done and geared probably toward the young teen, but we enjoyed it as well. Along with the shooting gallery they had a football toss station, free golf towels for dad and at the end of it they gave the kids dog tags. We called them all patriotic necklaces.

There was also a museum of sorts of past Army vehicles that included a hummer, a racing motorcycle and various WWII vehicles. We do love our history at KCDADS. One of the kids did get stuck in a tanker truck whose cab was 6 feet off the ground. Entertainment followed when said father had to get up in there and get her.

Of all the exhibits for cars though, one of the best done was the Jeep section. They actually had an obstacle course. You would ride in one of the Jeep models (they drive) and then proceed to see all that the jeep could do. From going over logs to driving up a 30 degree incline to simulate a mountain. I found it very well designed and promoted. The kids loved it although there is a height requirement on it. However the younger kids did enjoy just watching the older kids go on it.

I also want to give a big thumbs up to the Kansas City Royals who set up an exhibit that included the worlds biggest baseball as certified by Guinness World Book of Records. I didn't get the stats on this thing, but it's probably over 13 feet high. We did get yelled at a bit when one of the kids disregarded the vaunted red ropes and touched the baseball. But let me just say this: the kid is less than 2 feet tall, what kind of damage is she going to do to a baseball? Seriously? I'm not saying that we should have touched it but I am saying that I could understand how a 2 year old would want to. It's a huge baseball, how could you not want to touch it.

Now for a few words of caution though for those who are thinking they might want to go. I would head down on one of the off days, which means not a Saturday. We had fun because it wasn't that crowded and it was easy to keep track of our kids running from one car to another. Second, bring a sack lunch and do not eat there. The only place to eat at the actually show was a Quizno's and I found that 23 bucks for a couple of sandwiches, drinks and chips was a bit to much for not that much food. So save some money and just brown bag it. There are tables to the side where you can sit and enjoy your food.

Also, bring some extra water. The space is large and there aren't many fountains around so be smart and just bring your own. Finally, beware the red velvet ropes and your kids. Easy to bypass and it's easy for dad to get distracted while drooling over the brand new minivan that he has his eye on. The price is a bit high for what we usually go to with the 10 buck ticket and then parking on top of that. I hate paying parking but we had fun despite that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Activity: Camping at Clinton Lake

Location: 798 N 1415 Rd, Lawrence KS. Park Office Phone: 785-842-8562

Cost: Varies depending on what type of site you want. But in general: Under 10 for a basic site, Under 20 for site with hookups. There is also a park registration vehicle fee upon entering the park, $4.

Age Appropriate: Depends upon the child, Dad's call on this one.

KCDADS do like to camp and hopefully I'll be able to put up all the sites we go to on the blog here for future KCDADS so that they will know what to expect. I won't be able to include all that there is to offer but will do my best to tell you about our experiences there.

We have been camping at Clinton Lake several times and have had an enjoyable experience each time. Let's start with the campsites themselves. There are many to choose from and I believe that Clinton Lake has 3 separate campgrounds to choose from. Some may be closed at times so make sure you call if you have your heart set on any specific campground to check availability.

The sites that we have been to I have found to be pretty decent. They are spacious and offer heavy tree areas if that is what you are looking for, which we were. But there are also camp sites that are more open and spacious so feel free to use those. We wanted areas that provided good shade and space and we were easily accommodated. You will also want to check the website for the rules of the campground and hours of operation. But in general, the park closes down at 10pm and quiet time is from 11pm to 6 am. The campsites we stayed at were well drained and offered nice flat levels. I believe that the rule is 2 tents per site max but again, please check the campground and sites.

As for activities, there is plenty to do around Clinton Lake and you wont' be disappointed if you are eager to get your outdoors on. We'll start with the beach because this is one area that I was a bit disappointed about. The beach itself is a bit rocky and access is not easy. It's a pretty good hike to reach it and you have to climb down long stairs to get to it. This makes it difficult when you are trying to lug a cooler out that way. It's not bad but it could be better. There won't be much in the way of building sand castles here though and your feet will get a bit sore after a while.

Clinton lake does offer some great hiking trails that I found pretty decent, maybe around average from what I've seen around her. But there are plenty of them so if you like to hike this is a good place. They offer a little challenge but do give you some great scenic views of the lake. The upkeep is ok, not great, but I don't think that's a bad thing at all considering the number of miles that there are to hike.

If you have a boat, this is a great lake for that. Easy access to the lake which is a must when boating. The lake itself offers some great places to roam around on and the kids will have a great time out on the water. The other boaters are courteous and it makes for a very good time.

Now back to the campsite. Sitting out by the campfire enjoying the stars is what makes this a great place to go. Clear skies and easy going park staff make a night here worth it. If you are looking for an easy experience, this is a good place to start. There are some playground equipment at some of the campgrounds but they are older and not much to write about. The second time we went camping here we didn't even bother with going to them.

As for the bathroom and facilities, I would again say it's about average. Showers are neither hot nor cold but spacious which makes it easy when trying to get a kid to wash off mud. The toilet area can be bug covered so if you have a kiddo, go in there first and kill some bugs and spiders first so that they don't freak out.

Clinton Lake is a good campground for us to go to. It's decently close and offers what we like best: peace and quiet.

Activity: Puppet Show, Downtown Library

Location: Downtown Kansas City Library, the best library in the state. 14 w 10th St, KC MO.

Cost: Free

Age Appropriate: All ages

Once again our children's librarian, Claire, takes care of the KCDADS. I have no idea why she takes such good care of us and our kids, but she does and we are grateful for it. This time, Claire and her library had a puppeteer come in and put on a puppet show for Kansas City. Claire made sure that we knew the date and the time and we offer her our thanks for making sure we were included.

When Claire does bigger events such as this, it's usually not held on the 2nd floor of the library but up on the 5th floor. Keep that in mind if you get lost. And if you remember, this is also where you go to have lunch on the roof, one of our favorite places in all of KC.

Now for the puppet show. It was amazing. There was quite a large crowd there but seating was plentiful. The kids got to sit on the floor in front of the stage and it was easily accessible for the rest of us. The show itself was fun and kept the attention span of both us and the children. The jokes were pretty decent and the kids loved it when the puppets ran into stuff or banged each other with fake swords. The show lasted for about 30 minutes which was a good amount of time to expect the kids to stay still.

One of the best parts though was after the show when the puppeteer came out from behind the stage and answered questions. He also brought the puppets out for the kids to see and gave a short demonstration on how they worked.

Once again, another great free even put on by Claire and the KC Library.

Activity: Ice Skating

Location: There are several ice skating rinks and community centers that offer this activity. We went to: Line Creek Ice Arena. Contact nubmer 816-513-0760.

Cost: Varies depending on where you go. Look for the fee to be under 10 bucks a head. Our cost was 5 bucks for ice time and 2 bucks for skate rental.

Age appropriate: 3 and up. Keep the younger kids at home.

The KCDADS were fortunate enough to have a KCDAD set this up for us which might have made all the difference in the world. He offered to take us and our kids out on the ice and give us Ice Skating lessons. We would like to offer a big thank you to Jimmy for taking the time to do this for us!

With that said, I did find that the staff at the community center very helpful. They took their time with us and helped make sure that we got the right sized skates for the kids. Most of our kids, and some dads, had never been out on the ice before so it was reassuring that we had Jimmy there and the staff to help us make a smooth transition.

As for the ice itself, I have no idea what makes "good" ice and "bad" ice so I will say that it seemed great to me. Another neat little thing that they had was bleachers and a locker room with a glass wall so that you could watch others skate while you tied your own boots on. As you would imagine, this was helpful when some of our kids darting out that way while we were still lacing up.

What made this a great activity for us and the kids though was the home made "ice walkers" that they provided to us. As you can imagine, none of our kids really knew how to ice skate. To avoid a bad experience of noses and butts hitting the floor, we were giving the ice walkers. These were little walkers were made out of plastic tubing and resembled a walker. The kids would grab on to these to maintain balance while out on the ice. We had enough of them as well so that almost every child could have one. And when we were short the kids easily shared between breaks. As you can imagine, this can be a physically challenging task which is good. We need to push our kids at times and this was a good activity to do that.

We were able to skate for about an hour while our KCDAD gave pointers to the kids. As this ice rink was inside, this is also an activity that is good year round. It was a good activity and something that I think we will do again next year. I know that this activity can sound daunting but don't let that deter you from giving this a shot with the kids.