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.
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.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.
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.
When it comes to fun at Bowlmor Lanes, folks aren't locked into just bowling, though there's plenty of that. Glow-in-the-dark lanes and banquette seating beckon players to try their hand at bowling or chill out and order drinks and snacks from lane-side servers. But for the pin-weary, there are other forms of entertainment including billiards, air hockey, and ping pong for purchase. These myriad amenities make Bowlmor Lanes a destination for group get-togethers such as birthdays and "No-Kevins-Allowed" club meetings.
Zipping at a faster pace and racking up higher scores than their grass-stained outdoor cousins, the iconic Missouri Comets streak through MISL play from the inner orbit of the new Independence Events Center. From their midfield seats, footsport fans can enjoy an unobstructed view as they brush up on their knowledge of indoor soccer, which features six players to a side, legal plays off of walled sidelines, and the frenzied neon lights of the multi-ball round. Visitors will get to cheer on the newly resurrected team led by former Danish soccer star Kim Roentved as they go head-to-head against the Chicago Riot or the Omaha Vipers—teams that weave Midwestern footwork narratives that rival the toe-typed tales of "Handless" Studs Terkel.