Memorial Day is remembering and honoring the lives of men and women lost while serving the United States Armed Forces. It's also the unofficial start of summer. Those men and women paved the way for us to have a summer of freedom every year. Here's your guide to honoring the heroes (and some summer fun too!) around Overland Park and Kansas City.
Honoring those lost ...
It's a day that will be forever remembered. In honor of the victims of 9/11, the memorial at the Overland Park Fire Training Center serves to educate visitors about the tragic events and heroic efforts of that day. A 14-foot piece of steel from Ground Zero is on display. A victim's panel lists the names of those who died and a weeping wall fountain represents those who survived. When you walk to the memorial, you'll walk on a piece of granite pulled from the World Trade Center after the attacks.
Over a million and a half U.S. soldiers served in the Korean War from 1950 -1953. Korean War Veterans Association has erected this Memorial to honor their service and sacrifice in what many called America’s “forgotten war”. 36,940 lost their lives in the war including 415 from the state of Kansas. 8,171 are still missing in action. The backdrop of the memorial has 30 granite panels engraved with the Korean War statistics plus plaques for each of the five military service branches. When you enter the memorial, you will pass standing formations and rocks that represent the rugged terrain of the Korean landscape. The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located near 119th and Metcalf.
When in Kansas City, the World War 1 Museum and Memorial is worth the stop on any day of the week but especially on Memorial Day weekend. Stop inside the museum to view War Remains, a virtual reality experience a look at the Western Front from a soldier's point of view. The National WWI Museum and Memorial has a lineup of events and activities to recognize Memorial Day. The American Veterans Traveling Tribute's Vietnam Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., returns to the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Nearly 400 feet long, the display contains every name etched on the original memorial. A public program on Memorial Day features remarks from dignitaries and a keynote from Lieutenant General Larry Jordan. Veterans and active duty military personnel receive free admission to the Museum. For the general public, admission is half price all weekend.
Also, don't miss one of Kansas City's favorite traditions, Celebration at the Station, across the street at Union Station. Enjoy a performance from the Kansas City Symphony and Kansas City's largest fireworks display.
Photo by Duane Hallock
If you drive down the lifeline of Overland Park named Metcalf, you won't miss it. The Overland Park Lions Club raises over 450 American flags along Metcalf Avenue eight times a year -- and Memorial Day weekend is one of them. The Overland Park Host Lions Club is a local chapter of Lions International, the largest community service organization.
Welcome in summer...
Kick off Memorial Day weekend early at Priairiefire. Every Thursday evening through September 1st, bring a seat for the family and enjoy free live music concerts throughout the summer! Prairiefire closes off the streets to allow for music, dancing, and some of the best food and patios in Overland Park! The band is located in front of Pinstripes and The Brass Onion.
Kick Off Summer Party at Strang Hall
Celebrate the start of sweet summertime with Strang Hall's Kick Off Summer Party on Saturday, May 28 at 5 pm! The Strang Hall chefs will be roasting an entire pig! For $25 a plate, enjoy the taste of the island life with roasted pig, sweet potato chips, macaroni, Poi and a sweet roll. Island bar drinks include Hurricanes, Mai Tais, and Mojitos. Bring the kids too! The luau is kid-friendly and there will be live music by DJ Lee.
Hop on in, kids! Overland Park will be opening it's public pools on Sunday, May 29th. Pools will be open from noon - 7 pm. Young's Pool, Stonegate Pool, and Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center will be opening for the 2022 season. If you prefer a leisurely time at the area parks, Thompson Park, Roe Park, and Sapling Grove Park all have splash pads to cool off with the little ones.
Kansas City has two theme parks under one price. Worlds of Fun is filled with amusement rides from thrilling drops for the teenagers to Camp Snoopy for the little ones. Protip: Cool off on the Viking Voyager or the Fury of the Nile. But if you want to really get wet, Oceans of Fun is where to be -- and it opens Memorial Day weekend. Oceans of Fun is a waterpark sprawling out 60 acres. Fly down extreme water slides like the largest mat racing waterslide in the world, or bring the littles to in the kid-friendly Splash Island. Cool off in the wave pool or lazy river. Oceans of Fun also features cabanas to rent for the family and there is an adult-only pool serving frozen cocktails.
Watch Kansas City's newest professional sports team! KC Current is in the National Women's Soccer League. The team plays at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas while their new historic stadium is being built in Berkley Riverfront Park in Downtown Kansas City. The new stadium is the first soccer-specific stadium purpose-built for an NWSL team. The KC Current takes on Racing Louisville Memorial Day at 2 pm.
The KC Monarchs, a Major League Baseball partner league, will be playing at home playing the Sioux Falls Canaries on Memorial Day Weekend. Friday night is Blues and Brews night with craft beer specials and pregame skydivers. Saturday night is 70s night with fireworks after the game. And Sunday is Jazz in the Park -- bring the family to enjoy some jazz along with Sunday Funday programming including carnival games, inflatables, and catch on the field. There will be a post-game jazz concert. Bring your picnic blankets!
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