Sunday, July 11, 2010

Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden

8909 W. 179th St.
Overland Park, KS 66085

Open seven days a week
April 10-Sept. 30: 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1-April 9: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cost: Free


Appropriate for all ages

Got nothing to do today? Want to get outside? This is your place.

The 300 acre Overland Park Arboretum is a great place to go. This place is all about getting outside and enjoying some nature. There is a small welcome center that is a good stop if you want to find out what's in bloom and what's good the time of year that you go. But you won't spend much time in there, the Arboretum is all about getting outside.

There are basically two routes to go when you do this. You can go the paved paths through the gardens or you can go the hiking paths for a more woodsy experience. We have written about the hiking paths before so click here for that review. This time we'll focus on the actual garden.

Make sure you pick up a map at the visitors center, it's a little easy to wander around here. But once you get going the place is a great relaxing trip. Tons of flowers, tons of trees and an easy walk. You don't need to do the massive hike here to see everything. It's just a great stroll.

As for the highlight for us, check out the kids garden. As my kids are 2 and 4, this is the place that really excelled. In the kids area there is actually more to do than just look at flowers. Which is great because I get the feeling that after 15 minutes the kids don't appreciate it as much as they should. We're working on that.

The kids area has "fossils" that embedded in the ground. This is actually pretty interesting to do and a good start to the kids area. Once they get tired of that, there is a mini "corn" maze that the kids loved. It's really just high grass that comes up about three feet. For the more adventurous there is a flower tunnel that leads to it but there is also a back way out. While your kids play at the sand pit, there are plenty of benches for you to sit and talk to your dads. Finally, there is a path that passes right next to the stream that looks like a great place to find frogs.

All in all, this is a great days experience and given that it's free, what more do you want?

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