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.
Each night, KC Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze undergoes a bone-chilling transformation. Its family-friendly rides and activities vanish in the gathering dusk, replaced by the five frightening attractions that make up KC Fear Farm. Ghastly clowns terrorize guests amid the Circus Asylum's dark, billowing curtains, and a Buried Alive attraction horrifies all five senses with a realistic simulation of being six feet under. The corn maze—aptly renamed the Field of Screams—elicits cries of horror from visitors who dare to wander its pitch-black corners. Available on a separate or combined ticket, the Zombie Apocalypse paintball adventure pits turret-mounted paintball guns against armies of bloodthirsty undead.
As summer turns to fall and the barbecue grills begin their migration south, The Patch at The Farm welcomes visitors to celebrate the dawning of the harvest season across its 30 acres. Taking up 11 of those acres, the corn maze's twists and turns test visitors' problem-solving skills. Bright-orange pumpkins pepper a 4-acre patch, patiently awaiting families to bring them home, where they'll fully blossom into pies or grinning jack-o'-lanterns. Over in the petting zoo, goats, chickens, and mini-donkeys entertain wee ones with rides and their ability to speak five languages. Other attractions include a hayride to Lanesfield Museum, ziplining, pumpkin bowling, a pedal track, and bounce houses.
Pedal Hopper turns bar hopping into a workout. Aboard the company's European-style party bikes, up to 16 people?10 of whom are pedaling?cruise between nightlife spots, making brief stops at three of their favorite watering holes. A professional driver steers the bike for the gang as they cruise along, reaching top speeds of 8 mph. For added safety, the vehicle is also extremely well-lit, outfitted with headlights, taillights, LED lights, and a glittering disco ball in accordance with state law.
Jingle Bell Drive harnesses more than half a million lights to illuminate its half-mile evening path of enchanting seasonal spectacles. After deactivating headlights, vehicles slowly inch through a light- and cone-lined trail boasting more than 100 new displays, a 150-foot color-changing tunnel, and Christmas trees adorned with thousands of extremely patient fireflies. Throughout each voyage, 96.9 FM spins a plethora of beloved Christmas and wintertime tunes synchronized to the drive-through park's exhibitions. Jingle Bell Drive brightens holiday evenings seven nights a week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, or until a hibernating Y2K realizes it forgot to set its alarm.