Charlie Parker's Grafton saxophone, Louis Armstrong's trumpet, a sequined gown worn by Ella Fitzgerald?at the American Jazz Museum, each of these artifacts represents a mark on a musical timeline. Established in 1997 at 18th and Vine, the museum immerses guests in jazz via several mediums: films, sheet music, album covers, and concert posters, to name a few. Listening stations emit interviews and samples of classic tunes, but to hear entire songs, you can visit Jazz Central, the in-house musical library of more than 100 recordings.
Preserving the jazz stylings of the past is not the museum's only mission, however. At mixing boards, visitors can create their own melodies without bringing their stand-up bass from home. As for live jazz, there are more than 200 yearly performances and events at the museum, such as the annual Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival. There's also the Blue Room?a smoke-free jazz club inside the building itself, where musicians play at least four nights a week.
Founded in 1990, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a privately funded, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rich history of African-American Baseball. Experience a tour of multi-media displays, museum store, hundreds of photographs, and artifacts dating from the late 1800s through the 1960s.
With 41,500 square feet dedicated to men's collegiate basketball, The College Basketball Experience provides hours of all-ages amusement. Learn about influential hoop-dreamers in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and rediscover and get schooled in key moments in Kansas City's role in shaping the game. Visitors can also participate in hands-on, interactive exhibits that place them in front and at the center of the courtside action, from announcing plays to sinking game-winning shots.
Looking for something to do? Why not visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The Arabia was a steamboat that plied the waters of the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers before it struck a fallen tree and sank near Parkville, Missouri in September of 1856. No lives were lost, but the mud and fast-moving current eventually hid all traces of the large steamboat. In the years that followed the Arabia’s sinking, the Missouri river shifted its course a half-mile east, leaving the steamboat buried under 45 feet of earth. Almost one hundred and fifty years later, the steamboat was discovered on what had become a farm in Kansas City, Kansas. Once the steamboat was unearthed, its cargo and pieces of the boat were moved to the museum that bares its name. Learn the entire amazing story and see what was pulled from the mud of that Kansas City farm by visiting the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
Generally, adulthood forces people to give up childish pleasure, robbing them of the joy associated with playing in puddles, unearthing hidden treasure, and being silly in public. Sierra Adventure Sports wants grownups to regress, if only for a day. In service of that goal, the company organizes a variety of novel races that range from city scavenger hunts for the casual adventurer to creative triathlon courses for the ambitious athlete.
Scavenger Blitz, for instance, turns exploring one's city into a fun, fast-paced race scattered with clues, obstacle courses, and riddles. Racers in teams of at least two scour the urban jungle in search of 12 clues, which can include challenges, riddles, or orders that need be completed before crossing the finish line. Some send racers hunting for a snapshot in front of a landmark, whereas others challenge them to complete some special feat, such as conquering an obstacle course on stilts. The Mad Mud Run challenges participants to sprint and frolic through a dirty and deliciously fun outdoor obstacle course littered with manmade obstructions such as cargo nets, hills of hay bales, monkey bars, and slimy mud pits. Extreme Heat Adventure Races combine equal parts triathlon and scavenger hunt to create a 10?12K journey filled with running, river rafting, and mystery challenges that could pit teams against anything from blindfolded puzzles to wall climbs. Most Sierra Adventure Sports events encourage racers to compete in costumes of all types save for gremlins, which multiply in water and unfairly dominate the timed results.
Hilliard Gallery's constantly rotating selection of art and artwork showcases regionally, nationally, and internationally known artists in equal measure. Pick up a mind-bending limited-edition lithograph by artist Philippe Bertho for $395, or a framed photograph of KC from Andrea Nigh for $300. Hilliard's wide-ranging selection of paintings, photography, and sculptures will give art enthusiasts plenty of better wall decorations than their current collection of holes left by fleeing cartoon cowards.