As the second-largest city in the state of Kansas, Overland Park boasts a rich history as a favored destination for families seeking a place to live, work, and visit.

What began as a stop along the historic Santa Fe Trail, Overland Park celebrates its history on Founders’ Day each year on May 20, inviting families and visitors alike to join in the celebration. Explore these 6 spots in Overland Park that offer hands-on history activities for kids, perfect for celebrating Founders' Day.

Strang Park

William B. Strang Jr. is the founder and namesake for one of the city’s best parks.

Strang Park is Overland Park's first inclusive playground and features 11-acres of play space, tennis courts, a walking trail, and a huge fenced-in playground. My kids love visiting this park for the 30-foot tower with a slide, toddler playset and in-ground trampolines. I love visiting for the family-friendly seating and clean restrooms. 

The park incorporates remnants of the original Strang Line railroad and features national historic trail signage. Visitors can enjoy a "words walk" from favorite children’s books along the park's loop trail. Additionally, inspiring excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech adorn the park's signage.

Strang Park Blog Collage

Johnson County Museum & KidScape

Overland Park is the biggest city in Johnson County, KS and home to the Johnson County Museum.

Here you can explore a house straight from the 1950s, view thousands of photos, see historical artifacts, and take a walk through Johnson County over the years.

Our favorite part of the museum is KidScape, a hands-on learning exhibit where kids can learn through play. Visit various exhibits like a diner, train station, city market, school, and doctor’s office to learn about the history of these jobs in OP. This is a must-visit for the kids!

Johnson County Museum & Kidscape

Museum at Prairiefire 

Another hands-on history opportunity in OP is the Museum at Prairiefire. Prepare to be amazed by the gorgeous exterior, where a painted glass mosaic gleams in the sunlight.

Step inside to encounter a life-sized T-Rex, fascinating exhibits detailing Kansas maritime history, and a dedicated Discovery Room designed especially for children.

My kids particularly enjoy digging for dinosaur bones, browsing through books, encountering various animals, and exploring diverse cultural exhibits.

Museum at Prairiefire

Thompson Park & Strang Carriage House 

In the heart of downtown, you'll find Thompson Park. My kids love the playground and splash pad here for outdoor play. I love the outdoor concerts and festivals on the lawn.

Thompson Park has a rich history and was named after Downtown Overland Park business owners and philanthropists, Frank and Evangeline Thompson.

What most people don’t realize is that this park is home to the Strang Carriage House. Overland Park’s founder, William B. Strang Jr., owned this house for his carriages, automobiles, and as a residence for Mr. Strang's personal driver. 

Thompson Park

Clock Tower Plaza & Farmer’s Market Pavilion

Another charming downtown destination in OP is the historical Clock Tower Plaza!

Take a leisurely stroll through the downtown area, exploring the local businesses and stopping by the Farmer’s Market Pavilion. Explore handcrafted jewelry, fresh fruits and veggies straight from the farm, lovely flower bouquets, or locally sourced honey!

After your shopping, relax and enjoy a picnic on the Clock Tower Plaza with your delicious finds. The plaza often hosts live music or performers, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of downtown!

Clock Tower & Farmers Market

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

Our favorite way to get a hands-on approach to history in Overland Park, KS is a visit to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead! This beloved attraction, established in 1978, continues to evolve, offering families unforgettable experiences year after year.

Explore Helen’s Schoolhouse, a charming one-room school, or stroll down the old-fashioned boardwalk featuring John’s Blacksmith Shop, Ben’s Bank, Vic’s General Store, Ray’s Barber Shop, and an ice cream parlor! Don’t forget to explore the mining camp and the Kanza Indian Encampment for a deeper look at local history.

My family always pays a visit to the baby goats to bottle feed them and the nearby pedal tractors. This is a must visit in Overland Park, Kansas!

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Which local spot will you visit for hands-on history and learning? Plan your next vacation, field trip, or summer experience in Overland Park, KS!