7 Awesome Reasons to Meet in Overland Park

Posted: March 1, 2014

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From our central location in the heart of the country to a brand new entertainment district, consider Overland Park, Kansas for your next meeting or event and we’ll show you the awesome.

The Heart of Awesome1. The Heart of Awesome
Located in the Kansas City region, Overland Park provides visitors the perfect blend of metropolitan amenities and Midwestern hospitality. With easy access to interstate highways I-70 and I-35, Overland Park is centrally located in the United States and is within a day’s drive for more than 60 million people. In addition, Overland Park is located just 30 minutes from the Kansas City International Airport and just 15 minutes from Kansas City’s most popular attractions.

Convenient Location + Short Travel Time = Happy Attendees.

2. Silicon Prairie
The Kansas City region is nationally recognized for its innovative spirit in the heart of the country. Not only will you and your attendees love our Midwestern hospitality, but you’ll appreciate our destination’s forward-thinking approach and technology offerings. Free group page in our VisitOP mobile app? Check! Expert social media consultation? Check! Hybrid meeting technology? Check!

3. N.Y.C. in the O.P.
A brand new museum and entertainment district will soon burn bright in Overland Park. Opening this May, Prairiefire will feature the Museum at Prairiefire. This heartland outpost will be the first venue outside of New York City to continually host American Museum of Natural History traveling exhibitions. Located just four miles from the Overland Park Convention Center and area hotels, Prairiefire will be a haven for gatherings, special events and teambuilding activities. Groups anywhere from two to 5,000 will enjoy everything Prairiefire has to offer, and meeting planners can select from a variety of very unique event spaces.

4.  Meetings on Our Mind
Overland Park’s hotels are heavily invested in the meetings market and strive to offer the finest amenities, food and beverage services and modern design. Just last fall, the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel and the Holiday Inn and Suites West each completed multi-million dollar renovations to their meeting and public spaces.  This summer, the Overland Park Convention Center will complete a soft renovation alongside two more properties, each within walking distance of the complex.

5. Variety is the Spice of a Planner’s Life
In Overland Park, we recognize a planner’s need for options. Each group is different and each attendee has varying needs and expectations.  We are proud to be the home of the three largest hotels in the entire state of Kansas (by room inventory), each offering over 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The award-winning Overland Park Convention Center features 237,000 sq. ft. of meeting, classroom and exhibit space for groups both large and small. Combined with our ultra-unique off site venues, we can customize the perfect destination package for your group. In O.P., the choice is yours!

6. Burnt Ends Anyone
When you meet in Overland Park, you’ll notice your attendees eagerly sniffing and searching for the best Kansas City BBQ around. Luckily, Overland Park is home to almost a dozen BBQ joints and is located minutes from dozens more around the Kansas City metro.  And to make it even more convenient, the Convention Center has an exclusive catering relationship with Jack Stack BBQ, one of Kansas City’s finest. We encourage you to offer plenty of wet naps at your registration desk since stained shirts and saucy hands may be inevitable!

7. Two Words: Free Parking!
Daily parking for a multi-day meeting or event can cost you and your attendees an average of $50. We rather you spend that money on bottles of Kansas City BBQ sauce or other souvenirs from your time here! All of Overland Park’s 36 hotels and the Convention Center offer FREE parking. All the time. No fine print.

Contact me today to discuss your next meeting or event, or feel free to submit your online RFP!


Digging into the World’s Largest Dinosaurs Exhibit

Posted: October 18, 2013

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Prairiefire DinoI recently had the opportunity to visit the temporary home of the Museum at Prairiefire and their first exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History, The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, which will be on exhibition through January 4, 2014.

Sauropods were a successful group of dinosaurs noted for their enormous size that thrived as a group for 140 million years. The exhibit explores how scientists study fossils and living animals to understand sauropod biology, and what we can learn from them about what it means to be big.

World's Largest Dinosaurs ExhibitWalking through the doors I am greeted by a life-sized, detailed model of a 60-foot-long mamenchisaurus. This exhibition is a guided exploration with innovative and interactive displays of the sauropod’s body systems; including the circulatory system (how fast their heart pumps to keep blood flowing through their body), the digestive system (how much they need to eat daily/weekly to stay nourished), and the respiratory system (the efficiency of their lungs for the size of the dinosaur), to name a few, but there is so much more to learn about these amazing creatures and this exhibit provides information about it all.

PrairieFire Dig Pit for the World's Largest Dinosaur ExhibitFinally, there is a “dig pit” for young “paleontologists” to put on their goggles and use a brush and “uncover” sauropod bones, fossils, and other artifacts carefully without damaging them. As I exit the exhibit there is a gift shop that offers everything imaginable for the dinosaur enthusiast.

Through my entire experience I thought what a great educational teaching tool we have here in Overland Park at the Museum at Prairiefire. I look forward to visiting the upcoming exhibits from the American Museum of Natural History in 2014 and long term.
Construction is continuing on the Museum’s permanent home which is slated to open in spring 2014.


5 Ways to Live Like a Kid in Kansas City (and the Reasons to Do So)

Posted: May 14, 2013

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As a mother of a toddler, I am constantly amazed at how much I learn from my child. These are not difficult life lessons, but maybe that is the point. Adults can over complicate life and many important lessons are found in the simplistic acts of childhood. Here are the top five ways I’ve relearned to live like a kid, and the reasons everyone should take a lesson from childhood. I have also found some great ways to “live like a kid in KC” and provide insider tips on ways to bring out the kid in you.


1. Enjoy the arts
Children have an amazing passion for arts – from puppetry to parade bands, from finger paints to play dough. Art includes everything from visual art to performing arts and music. Art is healing. Research has shown that art can be therapeutic. It has benefits for patients experiencing anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, cancer, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, and other serious health conditions. Furthermore, research has shown the benefits of art on brain function and the significant benefits to Alzheimer’s patients through offering new ways to communicate and connect in a non-verbal manner, express emotions, promote relaxation and improve moods. Enjoying the arts should be a life-long hobby and has a proven track record from young to old.

Live Like a Kid in KC: Learn to decorate a cake or create the perfect dish at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. Engage in a discussion of the unique works of art at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and sign-up for an art class of your own. Take in a performance at the New Theatre Restaurant, featuring Broadway-style musicals and comedies.

2. Let it Go
Children do not hold grudges. They may be furious one second and your best friend the next. We may joke about these mode swings, but kids understand the power of forgiveness and know how to let it go. The dictionary defines forgive as granting pardon for an offense; to cease to feel resentment against. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the hurt you felt and allows you to focus on more positive aspects of your life. It doesn’t mean you deny the other person’s responsibility in hurting you, it just allows you to move forward and no longer be gripped by the anger and hurt you felt. Research has shown that forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression and lower the risk of substance abuse.

Live Like a Kid in KC: Visit the National WWI Museum to discover the global implications of hurt . . . and how the world can move forward after destruction.

Photo Credit: American Museum of Natural History

3. Curious George
Kids are curious about the world around them. As we age, we become less curious – almost complacent about life. But, curiosity brings meaning to life and with it comes a host of health benefits. Curious people live longer. Curiosity decreases the likelihood of developing hypertension and diabetes, has a positive correlation with intelligence and neurological health, increases problem-solving skills and analytical abilities, and allows relationships to develop more easily. In fact, curious people report more satisfying relationships and marriages. Happy couples describe their partners as interested and responsive. So live long and prosper, my little Curious George. I think John Holt said it best, “Children do not need to be made to learn” since they are already born with what Einstein called “the holy curiosity of inquiry”.

Live Like a Kid in KC: Unlock the secrets of the world at The Museum at Prairiefire, the only satellite location for the American Museum of Natural History. Exhibits are deeply engaging and entertaining for all ages! World’s Largest Dinosaurs opens in fall 2013. Escape to another world of mystery and intrigue as you delve into a good book from Mysterscape in Downtown Overland Park.

4. Active Play
Children love to play. But play is more than just about having fun. Active play may involve games with rules and can be social or solitary, but the distinguishing features are a playful context, combined with activity that is significantly above resting metabolic rate. Adults have a way of making working out less fun and more work. Active play brings back the fun in excising, which brings a lifetime of healthy benefits. Benefits include building strong hearts, muscles and bones; developing and maintaining motor skills, improved movement, balance, coordination and reaction time; increased mental awareness; improved self-esteem; healthy weight management; and, prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer and other health conditions. As George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Live Like a Kid in KC: Splish, splash and slide at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, open May through September. Skim, spin and swirl along the ice at the Park Place Ice Terrace, open November through February.

5. Simple Pleasures
Kids understand that some of the best things in life don’t come in packages at all, sometimes it is the packaging. Life is filled with simple please, the gifts of life that bring us much happiness. Everything from making a yellow light to finding money you didn’t know you had, from putting on clothes straight from the dryer to making someone smile or laugh. Finding happiness and pleasure in life leads to an increased life span, better immune system, more energy and better mental health. It is now claimed that happiness could be more important than smoking in determining your health. Remember, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness, you have to catch it in the moments that come your way.


Live Like a Kid in KC: Take a nature walk at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. This 300-acre arboretum is a serene and tranquil place to enjoy nature with miles of trails and multiple gardens, including an International Sculpture Garden.

What lessons have you learned from a kid that will last you a lifetime?