Posted: July 30, 2012
Written by: Justin S.
This year, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Class of 2012. It was a 6 month class of 30 people from all different businesses (lawyers, contractors, bank representatives, etc.) in Overland Park and it was an opportunity to learn more about city and surrounding area. There were a few class requirements that had to be completed upon graduating from the class in late June.
One of the main requirements of the class was to conduct a community project of some sort. After a few weeks of narrowing down our choices, the class voted to assist the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead with a project that they were in the early stages of doing. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead opened in 1978 and is a family-friendly facility that sits on 12 acres and consists of 200 animals and birds of prey. In addition to the animals, the farmstead has a variety of vegetable and flower gardens throughout the facility. One of the things Deanna Rose was looking into improving was to create an easier flow of pedestrian traffic while enhancing the safety of visitors in their parking lot area. They specifically wanted to create a safer walkway area in and around the ticket booth for not only visitors to the farmstead, but staff.
After we had a couple of our classmates meet with representatives of Deanna Rose, the project started to take shape in what they had in mind to improve the front of the Farmstead. Our class was going to design and build a total of 7 planters for the entrance area. We are not talking about small planters either. The planters we had in mind when completed would be large enough and heavy enough to improve the flow of pedestrian traffic in the entrance area, and would add to the beauty of the farmstead.
The class had until June 20 to complete the project. We had to come together as a class of 30 people to designate who was going to take on what tasks for this project. We broke it up into three sections; fundraising, building crew, and paint/planting crew. The plan was with a lot of this having to do with the cooperation of the weather was to have the project completed over the first two weekends in June. The first weekend would consist of building the 7 planters, and the second weekend would consist of painting the planters, filling them with dirt and planting flowers in each of them. The weather cooperated and we were able to have the project completed the weekend of June 9.
I took my family out to Deanna Rose the following weekend and the planters looked great! That was the first time I had been to the Farmstead. It was a great time and we had a great experience. I plan on bringing my kids to it many times in the future. I was glad to have the opportunity to work on a project that had a bigger purpose and an impact for years to come. I want to thank Deanna Rose for giving our OP Leadership Class of 2012 the opportunity to further enhance your wonderful farmstead!
Posted: May 3, 2012
Written by: Guest Blogger
If you’ve never heard of Overland Park, Kansas, there’s a reason. We’ve been keeping it a secret. But now, it’s finally time to share this wonderful city that my family and I lovingly call home.
Over the last seventeen years we’ve lived in Overland Park, and have watched our city grow and flourish with family-friendly activities and events. I’m delighted to share my six favorite attractions in Overland Park with you.
Ask a local for something fun to do in Overland Park, and the first place they’ll mention is the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Sixteen years ago we enjoyed introducing our daughter to a few goats, hens, a buffalo and a Texas Longhorn that made up this delightful petting zoo. To say that Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead has grown over the years would be an understatement! Now families enjoy over 200 animals, lush gardens and turn-of-the-century buildings filled with indoor activities. Children can experience endless fun during their visit such as pony rides, bottle-feeding goats, fishing with a cane pole and worms, and mining for gems, just to name a few. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the entire day exploring and playing with your family.
The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a relatively undiscovered gem in the southern part of our city and shouldn’t be missed. This 300-acre outdoor destination boasts eight natural ecosystems with endless trails through colorful gardens and forests. The Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are continually transforming with the seasons, offering new discoveries with the changing weather. Families also enjoy the beauty of the Monet Garden, searching for turtles in Margaret’s Pond, discovering art and sculptures around every corner, watching woodland animals from the bird blind, and listening to the sounds of the interspersed water features. Kids especially love a visit to the Children’s Discovery Garden where they can put on a puppet show, climb the spiral walkway to Sky Watch Mountain, wind their way through the grass maze or learn and discover through outdoor play. The newest addition to the Arboretum is the train caboose and soon to be developed Train Garden. It’s sure to be a hit with train-loving kids! Your older kids will love the Geo-Arboretum: a high-tech treasure hunt that uses a hand-help GPS to track down two hidden secret treasures. The Arboretum also offers outdoor education classes for children and adults, and you certainly won’t want to miss Arts for Kids in October and the Holiday Luminary Walk in November/December.
If you want to spend more time outside, you’ll love Overland Park’s bike and hike trails. Miles of paved trails, varying in distance, are located throughout the city and are easily accessible with convenient parking, allowing you to pick up a trail anywhere around the city. The trails lead you along forested paths through neighborhoods, past golf courses and even to some of our favorite Overland Park attractions. The paths are wide and primarily flat; perfect for every bike rider in the family.
Looking for a day of picnicking and play? It will be hard to choose just one of our 83 unique parks. Each park is unique in size and offerings. In addition to traditional playground equipment, some parks offer ball fields, basketball, sand volleyball or tennis courts, trails, nature preserves, shelters or even a fishing hole. We also have a skate park for those older kids who like to “grind.” Our beautiful parks are tucked into quiet neighborhoods or sit on the main streets beckoning families to come and play. It’s never hard to find a place to let a little energy out around our city.
Introduce your kids to a little culture for your kids by bringing them to the beautiful Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art located on the Johnson County Community College campus. This stimulating contemporary art museum will get your kids’ creative juices flowing with new ways to create interesting art. After your jaunt through the galleries, you can continue an art walk around the campus or enjoy a delicious lunch at Café Tempo located in the museum.
Last, but not least, Overland Park is now home to one of only 11 American Girl stores nationwide. Located at Oak Park Mall, your doll can enjoy a special day of pampering at the doll hair salon while you and your lucky girl peruse the vast selection of clothes, accessories, and books. And just in case you have a little man in tow, he’ll enjoy a ride on the two-level carousel in the center of the Mall.
Explore Overland Park for some family-fun all year ‘round. I’ll be looking for you!
Brenda is the founder of Smart Mom University, a website dedicated to providing simiple ideas for real parents.
Tags: American Girl
, Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead
, kids activities
, Oak Park Mall
, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Posted: April 12, 2012
Written by: Guest Blogger
Overland Park offers plenty of entertainment options. Whether you enjoy a matinee at The New Theatre Restaurant, pet goats at Deanna Rose Farmstead, or explore the changing kaleidoscope of creativity at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, there’s something for every age and interest. Add hundreds of restaurants and shops, and you’ve got a great environment to explore and enjoy.
But what if you want to take a day trip, or a side trip off of the highway, while traveling across Kansas? How do you know where to go? Here are a few ideas:
• Near Topeka, check out Paxico, known as the Antiques Capital of Kansas, or enjoy a decadent slice of the coconut cream pie named America’s Best Slice, by Good Morning America, at Sommerset Hall Café in Dover. In town, call for a tour of more than a dozen stained glass church windows designed by Tiffany, at First Presbyterian Church.
• In Kansas’s northwest corner, drive through our state’s miniature Grand Canyon – Arikaree Breaks. Most of this amazing terrain lies in Kansas, with portions extending into Nebraska and Colorado. There are lots of gravel and dirt roads, so driving a car with good ground clearance is important.
• Visit Sweden without the plane fare when you visit Lindsborg, located in north central Kansas. Grab a sandwich in the restaurant that Mikhail Gorbachev visited, see the first U.S. location for an Anatoly Karpov chess school, and savor Swedish pancakes or a smörgas sandwich.
• Kansas offers dozens of festivals. Operating in Independence for more than a week each fall, since 1919, the state’s largest annual festival is Neewollah (Halloween, spelled backwards). The 10-day Kansas State Fair has taken place each September, in Hutchinson, since 1913. And Wichita’s biggest annual party – Riverfest – offers nine days of music, entertainment, crafts and much more, every June, as it has since the 1970s.
For more great destinations and events check out my book, An Explorer’s Guide: Kansas. It’s available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in Downtown Overland Park at The Tasteful Olive or The Complete Traveler.
~Lisa Waterman Gray
Lisa is a veteran freelance writer with more than 3,000 published articles, news stories and reviews. Her areas of expertise include travel, food and restaurant, human interest, health and business writing.
Tags: An Explorers Guide to Kansas
, Arikaree Breaks
, day trips
, Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead
, kansas city
, Kansas State Fair
, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
, New Theatre Restaurant
, Sommerset Hall Cafe
, Tiffany glass