Wyandotte County, Kan., claims the Kansas Speedway, Sporting Kansas City major league soccer and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival among its popular attractions.
While those seasonal experiences won’t be available until later in the year, the county offers other significant pleasures that can be thoroughly enjoyed this weekend – from delicious ethnic food and indoor water fun to fascinating historic sites and eye-opening prospects for nature enthusiasts.
Not been to the "Dotte" recently? Explore the possibilities. Your free time will thank you.
This regional family getaway provides ample entertainment for all ages. First and foremost, there’s the 84-degree indoor water park featuring Fort Mackenzie, a four-story interactive tree house; Howling Wolf, a toboggan-inspired ride that transports passengers throughout the park; and a giant funnel drop that’s not called the Triple Twist for nothing. The Cub Paw Pool also allows toddlers to “spray and play” in less than two inches of water. An arcade, mini-golf and interactive fantasy/adventure games are some of the other attractions that beckon kids, while parents may choose to unwind in rentable cabanas. Take that, Old Man Winter! Open daily; 10401 Cabela Drive, Kansas City, Kan.; room rates start at $135.99 per night.
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior. Mouth-watering tacos and a myriad of other expertly made-to-order menu items qualify Bonito Michoacan as a must-try for anyone seeking authentic and affordable Mexican fare. The accompanying grocery store is an appetite-delighting destination in itself, including real-deal Mexican candy and desserts guaranteed to captivate the sweet tooth of the uninitiated. Open daily; 1150 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
Located on the Frontier Military Scenic Byway, Wyandotte County Lake and its vista-friendly environs constitute a wonderland for both casual outdoorsy types and devoted nature lovers. A variety of feathered and furred wildlife can be viewed from your vehicle or by way of a hiking trail that goes around the 300-acre body of water built in the 1930s by the WPA – thank you, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Pretty views abound from any of 16 picnic shelters and several adjacent playgrounds. And be sure to visit the Mr. & Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center, where educational materials as well as snakes, turtles and other small critters can be observed up close. Open daily, 6 a.m.-midnight (library open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday); 4051 West Drive, Kansas City, Kan.
Also known as the Wyandot National Burying Ground, this two-acre cemetery nestled in the midst of downtown Kansas City, Kan., is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places. And for good reason: The cemetery dates back to 1843, when many members of the Wyandot Nation who were forced to migrate from Ohio became sick and died while camping along the nearby Missouri River. Their bodies were buried at the site of the current cemetery, which remains a source of Native American pride and a modern reminder of the historic struggle of native people in this country. Open 24 hours a day; Seventh and Ann Streets, Kansas City, Kan.
Learn about the history of Native Americans and white people who subsequently settled in Wyandotte County. Artifacts on display include the remains of a dugout canoe discovered near the Kansas River that could be up to 300 years old and a fire cart used by the Edwardsville Volunteer Fire Department in 1915. An exhibit devoted to the one-room school house also provides teaching moments – such as never, ever dip a classmate's pigtails into her inkwell, unless you think she might like you. Hey, it was another time. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon; 631 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs, Kan.; admission: free.
6. The 403 Club
On Saturday, come celebrate the first anniversary of the local bar's new location with the best variety of pinball machines –hands down – but keep those flipper fingers up! The 403 Club invites patrons to guide the path of the bouncing silver orb as best they can while playing such themed pinball games as “Walking Dead,” “Wizard of Oz” “Metallica Premium” and “Iron Man,” to name a few of the joint’s 10 available machines. If that’s not enough, there’s also a pool table and an internet jukebox. Bring quarters. Monday-Friday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-2 a.m.; 614 Reynolds Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
7. Slap's BBQ
Although Slap’s BBQ is one of the metro’s newer barbecue emporiums, it’s already known for smacking the competition with its contest-winning meats. But before you put on your bib and head over – yes, in that order – understand that Slap’s is a lunch-only deal. And if you show up after 1 p.m., there might not be any food left. Actually, if you show up before then, you still might leave hungry. So set your watches. Now where did I put that bib? Open daily except Sunday; 553 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
This look at the two sides of the Wyandotte County/Johnson County line is part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism.
We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them. Become a source for KCUR as we investigate Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.