Kansas City pit-masters are a bit like wizards: with dashes of sauce and wisps of wood-smoke, they summon barbecue aficionados from across the world. But tourists aren't the only ones who hunger for their savory-sweet brisket, ribs, and burnt ends??locals do, too. Bethanie Schemel, owner of KC Barbecue Tours, gives both locals and travelers insider's access to the rich history??and deep flavor??of the city's smoked-meat scene through bus-guided food tours.
On these tours, groups visit famed barbecue hot-spots. They also make stops at beneath-the-radar barbecue joints. "We do have a couple smaller places on our tour that we tend to keep a secret because they are the hidden gems that not a lot of people know about," owner Bethanie Schemel told KCTV 5 News. Food isn't the only reason for booking a spot on one of KC Barbecue Tours' expeditions?participants also get a peek at behind-the-scenes preparation techniques, and can ask pit-masters for tips on what type of wood chips to use or how to build a xylophone from leftover rib bones.
Kansas City Fun Tours visit upwards of 17 locations on every 75-minute tour of the city. Hopefully, among the mix of museums, tourist attractions, architectural sites, and shopping plazas, there will be three or four places that visitors can't wait to explore on their own. That's the challenge—and the reward—of discovering a new city, and Kansas City Fun Tours makes it so sightseers don't have to resort to any truck-stop crystal balls to show them the way.
If the company's primary mission is to convey the lay of the land, its second job is to make the excursions as fun and comfortable as possible. For each tour, passengers hop aboard classic red-and-green trolleys, which are old-fashioned in every way save the air conditioning, cushioned seats, and sound system. As the trolley rolls along, charming guides narrate the entire journey, illuminating the history of Kansas City with facts and local anecdotes that you couldn't hope to find just by digging up the time capsules at a local park.
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.
The trained chauffeurs driving Vegas Limo's luxury new-model limousines pick guests up and take them around Greater Kansas City in style. Lincoln stretch limousines, stretch Hummers, and Escalade limousines come stocked with ice and bottled water, with guests encouraged to bring their own drinks for the ride.
The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe transports brave souls into a house where Poe's macabre poetry and short stories come to life. Literature buffs and horror enthusiasts will both be enthralled walking into such cryptic Poe classics as The Raven, Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and Cheerleader Motel. Enter Poe's nightmarish House of Usher and attempt to escape the ghoulish reverberated sounds emanating from the walls. Your morbid journey replicates the feeling of being buried alive, suffocating, claustrophobia, suffocating, and being buried alive. This deal also gets you a line pass, so you'll skip to the front of an often-lengthy queue.
This duo of history-rich houses showcase antebellum architectural styles, while providing insight into the mores of the era. With four tour tickets total, the historically inclined can visit each house twice or bring a friend along for each visit, while family memberships net unlimited entries for the nuclear unit, along with advance invites to special society-only events. A Greek revival-style home from 1858, the John Wornall House beckons history lovers in to watch costumed reenactors living in the past, where they play period-specific video games while drinking period-specific Mountain Dew. Regular special events at the house include paranormal investigations by local ghost hunters and recreations of the house’s past as a Civil War hospital. Dogs can sprint across the lush grounds while their two-legged companions waft in luscious scents from the herb garden, which contains a variety of delicate plants used in medicines and recipes.