Witness high-flying college teams making it rain from three-point range while defending shots with their armbrellas. Established in 1937, the inaugural NAIA Tournament has called Kansas City home for 74 years. Featuring 32 teams pivoting and sprinting atop a lustrous hardwood battlefield, it has grown to be known as the longest-running collegiate national championship tournament in the country, not counting the infamous Skull and Bones Underground Cavern Games that took George Washington's real teeth. This year’s tourney will feature several trophy-hungry NAIA teams, such as potential participants Martin Methodist College, Texas Wesleyan University, and NAIA top-ranked Mountain State. Behold a flurry of high-flying buzzer beaters and frustrating defensive schemes at the Kansas City tradition that has featured such big names as John Wooden, Dennis Rodman, and Terry Porter.
Prompted by the nod of the lifeguard’s head, the intrepid swimmer takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and bravely flings his body into the dark confines of the Barracuda Blast. The slide’s gushing flume speeds its intrepid passenger down covered loops and twists until it spits him out unceremoniously into the warm waters of the pool below.
Boasting a host of aquatic activities, along with nearly 1,000 feet of water slides including the fearsome Barracuda, CoCo Key unleashes the inner merpeople of guests of all ages. Stationed along the pool and at each attraction, licensed lifeguards keep their eagle eyes peeled to ensure the safety of their guests as they play water basketball or engage in leisurely floats down Adventure River. Nearby, a zero-depth-entry kiddie pool serves as a merrymaking haven for children or recently unbottled miniature ships less than 48 inches tall, and a sun-drenched outdoor tanning deck enables visitors to bask in skin-browning rays. To prevent growling stomachs from interrupting watery romps, crews of chefs bustle about CoCo Key’s dining facilities, whipping up culinary sustenance for hungry swimmers.
MVPs, Gold Gloves, and a World Series title pepper more than 40 years of Kansas City Royals history, replete with powerful pitches and bat-cracking home runs. The recently renovated Kauffman Stadium treats visitors to a giant high-definition video board, which wears a 40-foot crown and waves a scepter made of massive glow sticks. During breaks in the action, fans can visit concessions stands, play mini golf in the kids’ area, or count each of the stadium’s 37,903 seats. Open until the top of the eighth inning, a 7,000-square-foot Hall of Fame guides guests through a maze of memorabilia, including photos of Royals past and future.
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.
Lush greenery, stone-trimmed ponds, and sun-soaked bridges give the 18-hole Championship course its storybook beauty. Designed by notable local architect Don Sechrest, Adams Pointe features challenging elevation variation, scenic holes, and a front nine that includes one of the toughest par threes in the Kansas City area, according to Tee Times Golf Guide. A GPS cart preserves golfers' precious energy reserves as they play through the course's 18 holes (up to a $49 value). Hone skills until they're sharper than the scythe that shreds children's dreams, and knock off a small bag of balls (30–40 per bag, $5 value) on the acclaimed driving range. After the game, celebrate with a liquid of choice: domestic beer, bottled water, or a pop ($3 value).
Overland Park Racquet Club lets members play tennis year-round with 14 courts inside a climate-controlled facility and eight out in the sun. A staff of experienced instructors—including former collegians and top-ranked amateur players—imparts skills and fundamentals during clinics, lessons, and Quickstart programs, which feature a scaled-down version of tennis for racketeers younger than 10. Off the courts, the club offers a full set of amenities including a fitness room, full-service restaurant and bar, and Olympic-sized outdoor pool where you can test out the buoyancy of your new suit sewn from tennis balls.