Summer 2014 Destination Checklist

Posted: June 23, 2014

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If you’re coming to Kansas City this summer you don’t want to miss our latest and greatest!

T-Rex at Museum at PrairiefireThe Museum at Prairiefire, a one-of-a-kind partnership with New York’s famed American Museum of Natural History, opened its doors May 12th. This heartland outpost is the first venue outside of New York to continually host two American Museum of Natural History traveling exhibitions a year. The first rotating exhibition is Water: H2O = Life. The exhibition will be featured through July 13 and will be followed by Mythical Creatures opening in August. In addition to the rotating exhibitions, there will be permanent exhibits including a tyrannosaurus rex, the American Museum of Natural History’s Picturing Science, paleontology gallery, and a Discovery Room for children that will provide an incredible “hands-on” learning experience for those ages 3-12 and so much more. The museum is part of a unique and dynamic entertainment, shopping, and dining district located in the heart of Overland Park, Kansas.

Verruck at Schlitterbahn On June 5, 2014, the world’s tallest waterslide – Verruckt – made its debut at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas.  Taller than the Statue of Liberty and Niagra Falls, Verruckt beats out the world’s current tallest water slide, Kilimanjaro in Barra Do Pirai, Brazil. The word Verruckt means “insane” in German.  Thrill seekers will hike up 264 steps then plunge down a 17-story breathtaking drop while strapped in a 4 person raft only to be blasted back up over a five story hill.  Don’t close your eyes while you’re up there or you’ll miss the awesome views of Kansas City and the waterpark! Verruckt joins other popular attractions at Schlitterbahn including four tubing slides and chutes, the world’s longest tidal wave river, Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride, Soaring Eagle Zipline, 13 mini slides for kids, relaxing beaches and a giant hot tub.

Penguin Plaza at KC ZooLast fall the Kansas City Zoo just got a whole lot cooler with the addition of a 17,600 square foot penguin exhibit and more recently The Tuxedo Grill opened Memorial Day weekend. The Helzberg Penguin Plaza features a 100,000 gallon cool pool for cold water penguins and a 25,000 gallon warm wet area for warm water penguins. The Kansas City Zoo acquired four types of penguins which include Humboldt, King, Gentoo and Rockhopper species. Each exhibit provides child-friendly and magnificent views showcasing these extraordinary black and white birds in a recreated natural environment including snow for the cold water feathered friends.

Black Smith Shop at Deanna RoseAn oldie, but a goodie, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park depicts a turn of the century farm. New this season is Ray’s Barber Shop, Pat’s Photography Parlor and John’s Blacksmith Shop. These new shops allow you to experience the good ole days. View authentic artifacts and learn about the bowl cut and more from the attendant in Ray’s Barber Shop. Watch a forging demonstration at John’s Blacksmith Shop and transport yourself into an old photo at Pat’s Photography Parlor. Kids of all ages enjoy the varied attractions and activities in this 12 acre educational environment that cultivates an appreciation of farm life, wildlife and Kansas Heritage. Long time popular attractions include petting and feeding the animals, pony rides and fishing.

Discovery of King TutNow at Union Station until September 7 is The Discovery of King Tut Exhibit. Unknown and forgotten, Tutankhamun lay for almost three and a half millennia in the Valley of Kings until British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922. His tomb and treasures have been faithfully reconstructed to scale, giving visitors a realistic impression of the overwhelming opulence of the offerings meant to serve the king on his magical journey into the Underworld. State-of-the-art multimedia technology provides exhibit goers information and a vivid illustration of the culture and spiritual world of the ancient Egyptians.

Visit Kansas City this summer and you won’t be disappointed!

~Donna

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!

~Kelly

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.

~Kim

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