As I indicated in the last post, we recently vacationed in Missouri. You ask: Missouri? Why?
Well, for a while now, we have discussed visiting Kansas City to explore the B’s: barbecue, baseball, beer, blues…… And then Harvey decided it was time for another NASCAR race – and the timing was right to go to the race in KC. After a few days in St Louis, we hopped in our rental van and were down the road to KC. Oh – another reason – one of my bucket list items is to visit all 50 U.S. states. I had 3 left – Kentucky, Oklahoma and Kansas. The Kansas Speedway is in Kansas – Check! Only 2 to go!
We had 4 days in KC – 3 to explore and one dedicated to the race. We were pleased to find there was lots to see and do. Here are some of our highlights:
Kansas City has more than 200 fountains, which is more than any city in the world except Rome. We lost count but think we saw about 30. There are maps of the fountains available and it would be a fun way to spend a day (Harvey thinks not). The majority of the fountains we noted were spouting blue water in support of the Royals!
America Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
These two museums are housed in the same building in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.
The American Jazz Museum was opened in 1997 and features the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films. It was very interesting to view the exhibits and learn interesting facts about jazz music and artists. The multiple ‘audio stations’ enhanced the experience. You can learn more about this museum at: http://americanjazzmuseum.org/about-us/#sthash.kl2tgoQl.dpuf
The museum also includes the Blue Room Jazz Club, which offers live music nightly. We didn’t make it back in the evening this trip, but would plan this in a future trip.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of African-American baseball and does a great job of this using exhibits, photos and film. We found it very interesting and informative.
Downtown Kansas City
We enjoyed visiting the City Market, the Union Station and the WWI Liberty Memorial.
Since 1857, the City Market has been one of the largest public farmers’ markets in the Midwest. In an open-air format, the market offers an eclectic mix of dining, shopping, entertainment and attractions.
The Union Station served rail traffic in KC from 1914 – 1985. In 1999, the refurbished station reopened with public attractions and in 2002, it once again became an active train station, servicing Amtrak public transportation.The Liberty Memorial, dedicated on November 11, 1926, honours the men and women who served in WWI and is located at the National World War I Museum. We didn’t visit the museum on this trip – another item for a future trip.
Further Afield in KC
One afternoon, we took a trip to the southern suburbof Overland Park to the Museum at Prairiefire. This museum is a natural history museum and has a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It looked very interesting from peering in the windows because unfortunately it was closed when we arrived. However, the trip was not wasted as the outside of the building is spectacular on its own! We also took a trip past Kaufman Stadium as the KC Royals were playing our Blue Jays. We had looked at getting tickets but the only available were single tickets at ridiculous prices, so we watched the games at various venues. The stadium itself is situated right next to the freeway and it was quite a site to see the masses of blue (for the Royals) in the stands.
One morning while Debbie and Larry were on a walk near our hotel, they came across the American Truck Historical Society. They went in and decided that Harvey must see this, so we stopped in for a visit later that morning. This society is dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of trucks, the trucking industry, and its pioneers. The building contained some interesting memorabilia, but it serves most prominently as an archive of literature surrounding the trucking industry – brochures, manuals, newspaper ads and articles – anything to do with trucks. The readers who know Harvey well, will know of his passion for automobile literature and thus, he was fascinated with this collection. He could have spent hours perusing the items, but in deference to his travelling partners, he just took a brief look around, bonded with the staff, and committed to spending a day there if we were to return to KC.
It is difficult to describe a NASCAR race to anyone who has never attended one. It is a spectacle like none other that I have ever been to, and I’ve attended major league baseball, football, basketball and hockey games, as well as international soccer and skating events. NASCAR fans are a breed of their own – an eclectic mix of car lovers, good old boys and wide-eyed newcomers – 70,000 of them at this race. The camping and tailgating is crazy and the smoke and aroma of barbecue hangs in the air. It’s hard to imagine that watching 43 cars drive in circles 267 times around a 1.5 mile track could be so enthralling. It is not a social event while the race is going on – it’s too loud to hear (and you need earplugs when you aren’t wearing the scanner headphones) – so interaction consists of pointing and pantomime. It really is something that anyone who enjoys cars, racing, big events or just people watching should do at least once!
As I mentioned in my St. Louis post, we tried out a number of local restaurants, bars and coffee houses. Stay tuned for the details on those in St. Louis and Kansas City soon.
Kansas City was a fun place to visit and as mentioned, there are a lot more things we would love to do on a return trip.
Bev & Harv