Christmas break is something we all look forward to each year. It’s a great time of year to spend with our children while they are out of school. Family time is great when you’re exploring the world around you, together. Many places to visit are closed on Christmas and/or Christmas Eve, for obvious reasons. I think I’d rather be at home with family on those very special days of the year like most people anyhow. But, if you’d like some inexpensive or even free things to do around Kansas City, MO during Christmas break this year, here is my list.
Union Station, 30 West Pershing Road, KC, MO 64108, 816-460-2020, ww.unionstation.org
During the holiday season Union Station is even more beautiful and it’s worth the trip just to show your little ones the gigantic Christmas tree in the front lobby. Admission to the building is FREE. Union Station offers attractions as low as $7, as well as combination packages for around $20. Visit the KC Rail Experience and venture through the history of the American raiIroad. Other attractions include the Gottlieb Planetarium and Regnier Extreme Screen. If you’d like to visit Science City, with more than 50 interactive areas, where kids can play and learn as they go, admission is $14.50. For a little more money, visit Science City’s Saturday Family Workshop on December 19 to lend a helping hand in cooking chocolate. Yes, chocolate! Learn how chocolate is made and why our brains love it so much! For more information or to reserve a workshop call 816-460-2020. Union Station is open Tues-Sat, 9:30-5:30, Sun. 12-5:30 and closed on Mondays. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Paradise Park, 1021 NE Colbern Rd. Lee’s Summit, MO 64086, 816-246-5224, www.paradise-park.com
There is only one word to describe Paradise Park in Lee’s Summit, awesome! They offer great fun for children of all ages. The “Edutainment” side offers lots of different play areas for children under 9, including its very own grocery store, bank and pizza shop where kids can pretend-play for hours on end. There’s an art, building and cooking area as well as a soft-play ball pit and toddler/infant area. Children 3-9 are $9, under 2, $4.50 and under 1 are FREE. Save $3 on “Mom’s Mondays” when adult admission is FREE with purchase of child. The Family Entertainment side offers a game room (tokens), bumper cars($5.95), miniature golf ($5.95), go karts($7.95), foam factory($5.95) and rock climbing($5.95 for 3 climbs). Choose any 3 attractions for $15.95. Winter outdoor attractions may close due to weather. Usually open daily 9:30-6, but hours can vary due to large parties. Closed Christmas day.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St, KC, MO 64111, 816-751-1ART, www.nelson-atkins.org
Admission to the museum is FREE. Come explore more than 33,000 works of art, from American Indian to Modern and Contemporary. Take a walking tour on Saturday, December 26 of one of three different available tours, starting at 11 am with “Making a Masterpiece: 75 Years of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.” Other tours include “Highlights of American Art” and “Highlights of American-Indian Art.”
Kaleidoscope, 2500 Grand Blvd. KC, MO 64108, 816-274-8300
Take your kids to a FREE family art session at Kaleidoscope. Each 40 minute session gives you and your little ones time to make an amazing art project using various art supplies and recycled materials. Visit Kaleidoscope during the week before or after Christmas on Mon December 21 through Wed December 23, or Mon. December 28 through Thurs. December 31, sessions start at 9:40 am and end around 2:30 pm.
Bass Pro Shop (2 locations)
Independence, MO -18001 Bass Pro Dr. Independence, MO 64055, 816-795-4300
Olathe, KS- 12051 Bass Pro Dr. Olathe, KS 66061, 913-254-5200
Visit Santa’s Wonderland until December 24. Kids will love to play free games and activities during store hours or explore Santa’s winter wonderland. Take advantage of a free photo with Santa Mon-Wed December 21-23, Noon-9pm.
The Nutcracker, Kansas City Music Hall 301 West 13th St. KC, MO 64105
For a little more money, make the time this year to show your children the beauty of the ballet, The Nutcracker. Based on the book, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker ballet has become a classic must-see theater event for the holidays. Tickets are going quick, but for as little as $20 per ticket, you can see the ballet at the Kansas City Music Hall, starting December 16 and running through December 27. There’s even a Christmas Eve show scheduled on December 24 at 1:00. Buy your tickets online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Crown Center Events, 2450 Grand Blvd. KC, MO, 816-274-8444
(Santa Claus arrives via a horse-drawn carriage at the Crown Center Shops Entrance on November 27th at 10 am and stays until Christmas Eve, for more information call 816-274-8444)
Santa’s Crayola Christmas Land AND Santa’s Gingerbread Village, FREE admission
Come show your little ones these fun Christmas wonderlands. Get a picture made with Santa for a fee. Open Nov. 27th-Dec. 31st during store hours
Crown Center Ice Terrace, 816-274-8411
What a great way to have some fun during the holidays. Crown Center Ice Terrace is open Sun-Thurs 10 am- 9 pm, and 10 am-11 pm Fri-Sat. Holiday hours are: open Christmas Eve 10 am-6 pm, closed Christmas Day, open New Year’s Eve 10 am-6 pm, New Year’s Day 12 pm-11 pm. FREE for children under 4 and adults over age 60, $6 admission, $3 skate rental.