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When I was little, my dad took my sister and I all over North America by car. He was a driver with Greyhound for 23 years, so long road trips were nothing for him. With a family of my own, I strive to instill my love of travel with them, too.
Just last month I tweeted to ask my followers where they recommend we go this winter:
Just 90 minutes later, I was given the opportunity by Visit Overland Park to take a trip to Kansas City – Overland Park with my family.
We just got back from the trip, and I want to show why after just one full day there my kids said that it was even better than going to Disney! Mind you, while on our trip we got word from the vet where we were boarding our dogs that our 13-year-old Yorkie had passed away. Despite this terrible loss for our family, we couldn’t have been in a better place to help take our mind off our grief.
Kansas City – Overland Park truly is a hidden gem in the Midwest. Here’s what we did:
We checked into our hotel, Marriott Overland Park. They’ve got a pool, and the most ridiculously comfortable beds. The guy who brought room service told me that they were brand new beds. The staff were very friendly, and they’ve even got a Starbucks on-site… which made my husband very, very happy.
After getting checked in, the kids and my husband headed straight to the pool…for hours. I stayed in the hotel room and caught up on my fave TV show on Netflix (in case you’re wondering, it’s The 4400).
The kids had more pool time while I worked from the hotel room. That evening, we went to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria located at Prairiefire. The ambience was super warm and inviting, but that wasn’t the best part. Any parent of a toddler knows how overwhelming it is to wait for the food to come out while also keeping the kiddos occupied… but Grimaldi’s had us covered. They brought out round pizza pans with flour and dough for the kids to play with while we all waited for the food! Brilliant! I may just have to start doing this at home 😉
We ordered bruschetta and pizza, which were quickly devoured.
While in the area, be sure to check out the fire pit and toy store next door.
After checking out the area for a bit, a chauffeur picked us up for our holiday lights tour all over Overland Park. He greeted us with cookies, hot chocolate, and candy canes (Christian’s favorite!).
We went to The Lights on Farmstead Lane at Deanna Rose, Christmas Place neighborhood, the Vince & Associates Building display, and the Park Place shopping district/outdoor ice rink. My favorite was The Lights on Farmstead Lane– the effort that goes into each display is incredible! You really cannot go wrong with any of ‘em though!
Here’s a little clip of the show at Farmstead Lane:
— Kathy Haan, MBA (@IAmKathyHaan) December 2, 2017
We started off our day with breakfast at The Big Biscuit – every single thing we ordered was over-the-top delicious. I’m not really a big breakfast eater, but I devoured every last morsel on my plate – and then some! You must get a loaded “sticky biscuit” – loaded. I’m kicking myself for not ordering some to go!
We had a little bit of time to kill after breakfast, so while looking up local things to do, I found the one thing Kennedy has been obsessed with for a couple of years now. She’s never, ever had it… but watches videos on Facebook all day:
Rolled ice cream.
That day, all of her dreams came true.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, we went to iFly to do indoor skydiving! Indoor skydiving isn’t quite like the real thing – which I’ve done (and so did Christian while he was in-utero… whoops). This isn’t scary at all, and they even offer a night for those who have special needs.
You have to be at least three to participate. By the time it was our turn to fly, Christian was having no part in it, but we were able to swap out so each of us could still go while one parent watched him.
Once it got dark, we headed to the Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Garden. They have thousands of candles and holiday lights, creating a real-life winter wonderland!
Santa made a special visit, and we even got to enjoy hot (or cold, if you prefer) cider from the Boy Scouts! My fave part though? All of the cute little houses for the gnomes!
For dinner that night, we went to Dave & Buster’s. I’ve been there before, but no one else had. It was hard to get the kids to eat their dinner – they were so excited and just wanted to go play!
After checking out of the hotel, we headed back to Prairiefire to have a special holiday brunch with Santa at Pinstripes. This place was over-the-top with all kinds of yummy, made-from-scratch food… including a chocolate fountain! You’d think the kids had died and gone to heaven! The girls were down to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, but Christian was having no part in it. Only from afar ☺
After brunch, we went bowling right there at Pinstripes. This place was so fancy – just my style! It’s all electronic, and you can each have bumpers if you want them. It also has bocce pits if that’s more up your alley!
All in all, our family had such a lovely time. I hope this has convinced you what a fun, hidden, Midwestern gem Overland Park is! It’s only about five hours from me in NE Iowa, and absolutely worth the trip.