If summer could talk, it would brag about how every year, it gets to spend its final days at the Washington Town and Country Fair. The all-ages festival combines the quaintness of the old-fashioned with the marvels of modern times, much like Charlotte's Web, but with more monster trucks. Showing off the "town" part of Town and Country, classic rock and country stars perform on the main stage, while the Midway twinkles and rumbles with carnival rides. The fair shows its "country" side with livestock pavilions, farm mechanic exhibits, and Agriland, where wee ones leans the joys of farm living while participating in pig chases. Adults get to cheer on monster truck rallies, tractor pulls, bull riders, UTV, and motocross races.
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.
The fun and friendly staff at the locally owned sports bar serves up hefty portions of an eclectic selection of American fare to hungry sports fans and hopelessly lost Sartre scholars alike. Start with a stack of ultimate nachos, and flirtatiously fight with a dashing date over the last chip topped with queso, olive, jalapeño, guacamole, meat, and chives ($8.29, substitute blackened chicken for $1 extra). Or indulge an indecisive friend with an appetizer combo platter loaded with potato skins, toasted ravioli, cheese wedges, chicken strips, and a Tex-Mex roll ($12.99) before moving on to the main course. Krieger’s eclectic menu, packed with pizzas ($8.49+), salads ($4.29+), pasta ($8.95+), sandwiches ($8.49+), and wraps ($7.99+), offers something for even the most picky eater in your fantasy croquet club. A beefy bacon cheeseburger ($8.49) and St. Louis–style ribs basted in smoky barbecue sauce ($13.99 for a half rack) satisfy humankind's primal desires for handheld meats, and a veggie wrap with lemon-ranch sauce ($7.99) gives herbivores their own excuse to eat with their hands. Krieger's boasts a full bar and room for more than 200 boisterous fans to catch the Little League championships and other games of interest on the 30-plus televisions peppered throughout the eatery.
At Doennig Sport Swings and Ozark Paintball, the theme is "go big." This slogan is apt, since kids and parents sway and soar atop mammoth Sport Swings and navigate giant obstacle courses. In between, they race each other in a bungee run or hop into large inflatable bounce houses to joust and box with oversized gloves before boarding a bus shaped like a log cabin called the "Hillmobilly" for a one-of-a-kind hayride. Also blanketing the park is a paintball field filled with wood-slat bridges, timber watchtowers, tunnels, trenches and plenty of thick brush to camouflage players. After a day's worth of colossal attractions, groups can wind down around camp-like bonfires with hot dogs, s'mores, and other scorchable treats in hand.
Founders Mika and Jeremy Fue have packed Kidzone's indoor facility with a 20-foot single slide, an 18-foot double slide, and an obstacle course that stretches more than 30 feet long through which youngsters can maneuver under their parents' supervision. Three trampolines and roomy bounce houses accommodate bounding tykes and double as landing zones for confused flying squirrels; an interactive area supplies toddlers aged 2 and younger with age-appropriate games. Parents can drop off their kids every Friday night for three supervised hours of pizza, games, and inflatable play, or host their child's birthday celebration with an open or private party package.:
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.
Under the oppressive heat of the Missouri sun, rafts and their passengers float atop the languid current of Coyote Creek as it traces a 900-foot perimeter around Adventure Oasis Water Park's flooded playscape. The sprawling park offers a respite from the summer swelter with water activities and attractions for guests of all ages, highlighted by three towering slides, including the Sidewinder—a 308-foot raft slide—and the Scorpion, a tube slide that emulates passage through a cosmic wormhole or gigantic piece of penne pasta with a 197-foot plunge. The chutes bottom out in a placid pool, where guests can catch their breath or scale Cactus Climb, a climbing wall that hangs over the water. As grownups relax in a deck dotted with striped parasols, younger guests can run amok at Halfpint Paradise, a smaller playground stationed in a shallow pool.
A 25-yard lap pool with multiple lanes awaits more serious swimmers at Roadrunner Pass, which also boasts a diving board for those looking to perfect their swan-dive form or execute the world's first pool cannonball that actually explodes. In addition to free-range fun, Adventure Oasis's friendly waters host swim lessons and aquatic exercise programs.