They say the best things in life are free – a hug from a two-year-old, a kiss from your spouse, a good long nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and laughing until tears at your middle school Glamour Shot picture with Bozo the Clown hair. Just me?
The best things in life are free but a close runner-up is having the admirable quality of being cheap. High-quality entertainment is easy to find on vacation, but it can come at a high cost. An easy way to bring the cost down on vacation is by talking to the locals. Is it possible to spend under $50 a day in Overland Park and keep everyone happy and entertained? Of course. Because another best thing in life is knowing where the locals go.
Here’s how to spend a day in Overland Park for under $50 a day.
Be the first in line at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market. There is a wide range of produce, flowers, and unique specialty items you can purchase to bring home but it’s also a hot spot for a hot breakfast. The farmers’ market is voted the best in Kansas. Locals know it’s also a great spot for ready-to-eat breakfast. For around $5, you can grab some French pastries from Velouté (get there early for the beignets! They’re that good), a couple breakfast tacos from Taco Naco (the chorizo and eggs are excellent), or for a few dollars more, the always popular Weiner Wagon (there are too many good ones to recommend).
You’ll need a cooler for this stop unless you decide to eat on the patio. Head over to McLain’s Market and order a sandwich to-go for $9. Bonus: the kids’ menu is a deal at $5. Pack those up in the cooler. You’ll need that later.
Make your way to Scheels for a huge hit with the kids. Shopping, sure. But you’ll also pass through a 16,000-gallon aquarium filled with exotic saltwater fish and coral reefs. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the scuba divers feeding the fish. Once you’re done finding Nemo, you will not miss the 65-foot Ferris wheel in the middle of the store. The Ferris wheel gives a bird’s eye view of mom shopping and it only costs $1 per rider.
Okay, so mom shopped until she dropped and now everyone is hungry. From Scheels, head to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. This local favorite and is a must-see on your itinerary. It’s home to over 200 animals but it’s also a great learning-in-disguise. Visit a one-school schoolhouse, watch a blacksmith, step inside a Kanza Native-American encampment, or take an Instagram-worthy picture in the butterfly garden. Remember that cooler you packed full of McLain’s Market sandwiches? It’s time to pull those out at one of the many picnic tables surrounding the farmstead. Oh – the cost to get in? A steal at $3 a person. Under 2 are free. And if you can hold off until 2 PM, it’s free entry for everyone on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
Come on, kids! There’s more fun! Take the kids to the Museum at Prairiefire. Trust us – you won’t miss the museum. The outside is the perfect spot to make your friends on Instagram jealous that you’re on vacation and they’re not. Inside you’ll find a full-scale replica of the first Tyrannosaurus rex discovered (by a Kansan too!). Entertaining simulation games, art, and a NASA astronaut uniform on display. Head upstairs to visit the discovery room. Every kid will feel like an anthropologist, zoologist, or astronaut. Did you know the moon smells like gunpowder? Tickets for the museum are $5 each and they’re free if you’re military.
Stay in Prairiefire after the museum and get some frozen custard. Well, first, you must get a picture with Bruce Springsteen outside of Rock & Brews because The Boss said so. Then get a treat at Andy's Frozen Custard. There are plenty of flavors from simple vanilla to Pumpkin Pie Concretes and Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes.
Dinner already? What’s a shake without a burger? The locals have spoken in our first Munch Madness – the best burger to find in Overland Park is in Downtown Overland Park. The Snack Shack on Santa Fe is the title holder of Best Burger in OP. Walk up to the window and order one and let the kids play at Thompson Park as you wait. Thirsty? Get the limeade.
Walk around the adorable Downtown Overland Park. $7 left? We suggest a bag of popcorn at Pop Culture. Take your pick from crazy flavors like Loaded Baked Potato to Birthday Cake to Dr. Pepper (for real). Or go just butter. It’s your money well spent.
Reminder: The best things in life.
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