A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Rockwood Golf Club’s short but challenging par 70 course once attracted the putting prowess of Harry S Truman, a former member before he became president, and still entertains club wielders today. Twosomes of all skill levels will take pleasure in Rockwood’s 18-hole haven of short-game skill, negotiating tight tree-lined fairways and avoiding liquid hazards, such as plentiful ponds and the temptation to drink nonpotable ball-washer fluid. Short approaches to each green are offset by a reliance on accurate tee shots, quality chips, and smooth putts over quick greens. With a loaner from Rockwood’s cart corral, legs can avoid the tiring trek from shot to shot and focus more energy on an aspiring music career.
Known for its history as a pioneer town and home to former president Harry S. Truman, Independence welcomes visitors to its storied sites, making them more accessible with free trolley rides. Tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home and Museum to glimpse a dwelling for law breakers next to a dwelling for a law keeper, and the clandestine tryst between the abodes that resulted in a museum. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate preserves many of the original art and furnishings of the famed Bingham and Waggoner families, while the National Frontier Trails Museum hails the starting point of the westbound pioneers with bronzed pieces of nuts, raisins, and chocolate bits tracing a path westward.
Diamond Bowl, a refreshing fusion of bowling alley and robust restaurant, serves as a hangout for pin-battering rollers hungry for lane-thundering action and thirsty for food. Games ($5) on Diamond’s eight lanes keep hook-happy fingers limber, and shoes ($3) safeguard feet from toe-stomping sore losers. Follow up your fourth turkey with tangible foodstuffs from Diamond's full menu, such as the blackened-salmon sandwich on a kaiser roll ($7.99), the well-rounded bowling burger ($7.49), or the crispy chicken-tender salad ($8.99). Serious contenders can take a break from finger calisthenics to enroll in one of Diamond Bowl's leagues, and casual players can pair their match play with drinks from Diamond’s fully stocked bar, or they can watch a less phalange-intensive sport on one of nine crystalline HD TVs. Hourly games are also available.
When writer Richard Faulk set out to catalog the nation's oddest corners for his book Gross America, Leila's Hair Museum was an obvious choice. There, Leila Cohoon preserves and furthers the off-kilter artform of hair-based crafts, which stretches back to the 1700s and beyond. In a piece for CNN.com, Faulk notes that, in pre-photography days, Victorian artisans would "[weave] jewelry and decorative lace out of human hair" as a means of remembering departed loved ones, with "successive generations [sometimes adding] to the lacework to create a genealogical record, much like a family bible". In addition to these personal mementoes, Leila's collection includes 400 hair-based wreaths dating before 1900, and numerous reliquaries said to contain the hair of Mary, mother of Jesus, St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, and pieces of the cross. Hair pieces belonging to Michael Jackson, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and other presidents also reside here. Although not hair-related, the museum also features a brooch that is said to contain threads from the coat of Joseph, father of Jesus. The quirky outpost has attracted the attention of racontours other than Faulk, too--noted gadabout Anthony Bourdain also paid a visit during an episode of his show No Reservations.
On Tuesday nights, Crossfire Recreation Center’s range masters close things to the public and begin setting up a bowling-pin shoot. After registering for the tournament-style competition, marksmen approach the range, prepare to draw from their holsters or low ready positions, and wait for the buzzer. When it sounds, competitors get 30 seconds to flatten five bowling pins set up 25 feet away.
At all other times, Crossfire’s 10-lane, 75-foot indoor range—rated for most handgun cartridges that are shot or thrown at less than 2,000 feet per second—welcomes guests to hone their marksmanship or train for the next bowling-pin shoot. The range’s cable system positions targets that include both standard and zombie silhouettes. Four instructors uphold the training standards of the NRA, teaching classes from the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course to private marksmanship sessions. For shooters who frequent the range twice a month or more, Crossfire’s staff offers them reduced rates through membership options. Crossfire shares a building with Arms Mart, a pro shop with an onsite gunsmith.