Thursday, May 27, 2010

Activity: World War I Museum

100 West 26th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 784-1918

Tuesday-Sunday: 10am to 5pm
Adults $12
Seniors (65+) $10
Students (18+ with ID) $10
Youth (6–17) $6
**Parking is free**

Appropriate for all ages.
If you haven't been to the WWI museum yet, you should drop what you are doing. Go find a priest. Confess your sin and ask for absolution. There is no excuse for not seeing this. This is one of Kansas City's most spectacular museums (I've seen a lot, trust me) and lives up to whatever expectations you have. Besides, we are stay at home dads, how could we not love teaching our kids about giant guns?

Start your visit by going up top of the museum, where all the granite is. This is one of the best views of downtown and a great picture spot. Check out the huge giant griffons and the really great buildings on top. And if you are feeling particularly adventurous, take the kids to the top of the Liberty tower. It's a long way up man, but take a try and work that heart. This is also a great space for the kids to run around in and not break anything.

Then go to the museum itself. Before you enter, there are several interactive displays showing photos of soldiers from that time period. That sums up this museum, interactive. Once you have your tickets you crossover a glass walkway. Underneath is the poppy field and it's pretty amazing but also somewhat freaky. Some of your kids may be a little scared about doing this but that's ok because they also have black mats that you can walk over. You can choose which entrance you would like to do first: The American side or the European side. Both are very much worth it and you can do both in one visit without to much worry.

Inside the museum it's safe to let the kids off the leash a little bit. There is nothing that they can break. Thick glass displays protect most of the exhibits. The things that aren't protected are huge steel guns and I would pay money to see a kid actually destroy one of those monstrosities. Throughout both sides there are plenty of well done "movies" playing that inform you of the time period and of the war. In fact, there is so much of this that you won't be able to watch them all with kids present as you are constantly being pulled to the next exhibit. You will defiantly want to come back again to get the full experience.

Also on each side of the museum (American/European) they also have some really cool exhibits that give you an idea of what it was like. From a life size, walk through trench to a bomb crater, you will get a feel for what soldiers went through. You kids will really dig this. But what they will dig the most is the middle of the museum. Here is what I call the "situation" room. It's a very large table that has many stations on it. At each station is an interactive exhibit to keep everyone busy. It contains information on just about anything you could want to know about the war. From the weapons that were used to the movements in the actual war. You shine a miniflash light on what you want to know and the display starts. Totally worth it. To the side of the situation room is also something very unique. Sounds of the era. These are little rooms where you can hear original recordings of songs, speeches, diaries, you name it. Worth the stop.

Which brings to the one thing I have to warn you about concerning this museum. The Theater. We usually skip theaters because our kids don't sit still. However, this one is a little bit different and hard to describe. It's a movie describing the war but one of the best done complete immersion experiences I have ever had. You sit in a balcony. Below you is a recreation of a battlefield. A good recreation. Behind that is canvas that serves as the screen. It is realistic enough and scary enough that your kids may freak out during this. Movies start every 30 minutes and very worth it but just be warned that the kids might not do so well.

When you are done with the museum, the front is a great place to have a picnic on a nice day. There is really to much to describe here so just look at the pictures. Then decide to go, you'll be happy you did.

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