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Travel: The flavor of Kansas City

Thursday, May 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:44 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So you’ve decided to take a drive to Kansas City. You’ve made a swing through the city zoo, spent a few hours exploring museums and Union Station and may have even caught a Chiefs game. But what’s next?

Kansas City has lots to offer, and we’ve done quite a bit of digging to find the best of the city’s varied options.

You can hardly call your visit to Kansas City complete until you’ve tried Gates Bar-B-Q. There are six locations, and each one is staffed with cooks, managers and servers that have all gone through rigorous training classes at Gates College of Bar-B-Que Knowledge, better known as Rib Tech.

Once your appetite is sated, further expand your KC knowledge with a visit to the American Jazz Museum. There you may be able to catch a live performance or attend an educational storytelling program.

Entertain your children ­— or excite your inner child — with a trip to the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City located on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. Or try a tour of the Harley-Davidson assembly plant, which may just awaken your deep desire for a road hog of your own.

In warm weather you can hit the beach at Blue Springs Lake, and each winter, Snow Creek ski resort offers more than 10 ski and snowboard trails, a terrain park and a snow-tubing park.

And did you know that Kansas City is also known as the City of Fountains? It ranks second only to Rome in the number of fountains. A walking tour offered through the Fountains Foundation will allow you to see some fountains that are more than 300 years old.

Read on to find information and more ideas to explore Kansas City.

— Stephanie Twining

Top 5 teams and sports venues in Kansas City

1) Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs finished the regular season last year 9-7 before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts in a wild-card playoff game. The Chiefs play in the NFL’s AFC Central division. Tickets start at $54.

Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Drive, Kansas City, MO 64129, 816-920-9300

2) Kansas City Royals

The Royals opened the 2007 season April 2 by defeating the Boston Red Sox 7-1. They are coming off a 62-100 season last year, good for last place in the American League Central Division. The team doesn’t have anywhere to go but up. Tickets start at $8.

1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129, 816-921-8000

3) Kansas City Wizards

The Wizards finished last season with 38 points, only one point behind the last qualifying Eastern Conference playoff team. This year, the MLS team looks to rebound into the playoffs after two years of not qualifying. The season runs April to October with the championship game on November 18. Tickets range from $16 to $20.

Arrowhead Stadium, 913-387-3400

4) Kansas City Brigade

The Brigade is Kansas City’s Arena Football League team. The team is coming off a 3-13 first season. Tickets start at $9.

The Brigade play in Kemper Arena. 1800 Genessee, Kansas City, MO 64102, 913-383-8020

5) Kansas Speedway

Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile track located on the Kansas side of Kansas City. The track, which opened in 2001, is host to both a Nextel Cup stock car race and an Indy Racing League open-wheel race. The IRL race is in April and the Nextel cup race happens Sept. 30.

400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66111, 866-460-RACE(7223)


Arabia Steamboat Museum

The Arabia sank in 1856 but was rediscovered in 1987. Much of the cargo was intact, including preserved foods that are still edible.

400 Grand Blvd., 816-471-1856,

The National World War I Museum

The nation’s official WWI museum, as designated by Congress, opened at the Liberty Memorial site in December 2006. The museum includes weaponry, uniforms, letters and postcards.

100 W. 26th St.; 816-784-1918,

Airline History Museum

Located at the Downtown Airport in Kansas City, the museum includes collections of photographs and artifacts from early aviation. It also has an aircraft collection, including the propeller-powered Lockheed Super Constellation.

201 NW Lou Holland Drive; 800-513-9484,

Truman Presidential Museum & Library

The Truman Library and Museum celebrates the presidency of Harry S. Truman, the only Missouri-born president. Exhibits about Truman’s presidency and his life away from the presidency are on display.

500 W. US Highway. 24, Independence. 800-833-1225,

National Frontier Trails Center

It’s the jumping-off point of the Oregon Trail and includes information on the Santa Fe and California Trails. Independence was the starting point of all three trails.

318 W. Pacific St., Independence (816) 325-7575,

Venues for families

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

This 10,000-square-foot museum celebrates the history of Negro Leagues Baseball. The museum even includes a field of legends with bronze Statutes of players, including Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil.

1616 E. 18th St., 816-221-1920, 888-221-NLBM,

Union Station

Union Station has something for everyone including an interactive science museum, exhibits on Kansas City railroading and the Kansas City Museum. Opened to the public in 1914, the station replaced one that was damaged by the second Great Flood of Kansas City in 1903.

30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO. 64108, 816-460-2020,

Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City

Visitors can get a feel for how things have evolved over time by looking at both antique and 20th century toys.

5235 Oak St., 816-333-9328,

Kansas City Zoo

The zoo is home to almost 900 animals and has representatives from six of the seven continents.

6800 Zoo Drive, 816-513-5700,

Worlds of Fun

The amusement park has something for kids as well as thrill-seeking adults. The park opens during the week starting May 14.

4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue, 816-454-4545,

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