Though it was once the sport of choice for the nation’s well-heeled gentry, croquet slowly found itself relegated to being a game played at family reunions with equipment found in your grandparent’s basement. Wanting to halt one of their favorite childhood pastimes slide into obscurity, the team at Kactus Creek Croquet Club decided to open up a six-wicket club specializing in these fun, less-formal games of American golf croquet. Greenery, a large waterfall—and the club’s namesake cacti—surround the USCA-certified club, creating a scenic spot for guests to learn the game under the helpful eye of an onsite instructor or hone their skills with an afternoon of match play. The club’s groundskeepers maintain the cushy hybrid bermuda grass to a fast golf-green quality with water supplied by caught rainwater, preserving the environment without having to buy pedal-operated golf carts.
The next time you’re at Paul & Jack’s Tavern, sidle up to the bar and ask the local sitting next to you to describe the tavern’s original owners. Following an initial smile, you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. That’s because brothers Paul and Jack founded their eponymous bar and grill all the way back in 1948—a time when North Kansas City still lacked a laid-back tavern where the neighborhood’s diverse crowd could gather for live entertainment and old-fashioned American burgers and chili.
Though the tavern’s popularity has climbed steadily in the six decades since the brothers opened their doors for business, its menu remains a testament to mid-century Americana. The dining room tends to be rowdiest around lunchtime, when crowds descend to sample footlong hot dogs, deli sandwiches, and bowls of chili still made according to a 50-year-old recipe. Later in the evening, after dinners of USDA Choice steaks and deep-fried catfish, guests can head out to the enclosed back patio and throw bouquets of hot wings at the live-music performers they most enjoy.
For years, David Allison and Ryan Gerster—both standup comedians—worked as bartenders and cooks at bars and pubs, alternating work nights with comedy gigs. So when they decided to team up and take the reins at First Ward House, a storied saloon first opened as a hotel in 1878, they already had a vision for the place. "We've worked in bars and we know what people want," Allison told a writer for St. Joseph News-Press. Their formula consists of a broad selection of beers and spirits, live bands, and nourishment that ranges from specialty burgers to late-night pulled-pork tacos.
Dark wood floors and exposed brick walls lend First Ward House a timeless ambiance in which visitors can entertain themselves with games of Keno, billiards, and pool. With its close proximity to the historic French River Trade Route and the paths of the Pony Express, the pub is rumored to be haunted by spirits who finish patrons' beers when they're not looking.
Associate conductor Steven Jarvi channels the combined melodious might of the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus, KC Brass, Allegro Children’s Choir, and Rezound Handbell Ensemble through an all-new holiday celebration of sound. Mobs of merry musicians, rumored to include 12 drummers drumming and a possible 11 pipers piping, will feed hungry ossicles symphonic arrangements of Christmas traditions. Families coasting on waves of Yuletide joy will yearn to sing along with timeless carols perfected by years of door-to-door focus testing. To complete each holly-jolly evening, Santa Claus himself will make an appearance to play a 30-minute free jazz solo on his signature fur-fringed soprano saxophone.
In an age of stringent airport security and fewer flights to Narnia, theater remains the easiest and most rewarding way to be transported to new worlds while seated in a row of cushioned chairs. Today's Groupon invites you to one of 24 performances of Green Whales at Unicorn Theatre. For $15, you get one ticket to a Friday- or Saturday-night show at 8 p.m. (a $32.50 value). You can also get a ticket to a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.; a Tuesday-, Wednesday-, or Thursday-night show at 7:30 p.m.; or the one-time Saturday matinee on March 6 at 3 p.m. for $12 (a $27.50 value). Shows start with the previews on March 3 and 4 and run through closing day on March 28. Once you receive your Groupon, call the theater's box office to schedule the date you would like to attend.
Roller skates, rainbows, and glitter erupt in flamboyant fashion in Starlight Theatre’s production of Xanadu, a mythology-inspired camp-rock romp that raises eyebrows and elicits laughs from the audience as winged horses and Greek gods skate across the stage. Inspired by the 1980s cult-classic, Tony Award–nominated film of the same name, Xanadu tells the timeless love story of a man, his muse, and his roller disco. Sincere yet intrinsically campy, this parody unleashes a glitzy onstage discotheque populated by a roster of tuneful trolley-shoes, each sporting sparkling costumes while belting out memorable hits from the likes of Olivia Newton John and Electric Light Orchestra.
The nationwide chain of Improv Comedy Clubs hosts comedians en route to the big time, with an impressive roster of past performers including David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Jerry Seinfeld. At the Kansas City club, burgeoning funsters step up to the mic while company-wide head chef JR Grady sizzles award-winning American fare and barkeeps pour signature cocktails. The schedule hosts upcoming performers including veteran comedian Bobby Slayton (January 19–22), whose distinctive gravely voice has drawn off-color laughs in numerous feature films, The Tonight Show, Family Guy, and his pro bono advertisements for shale. Adam Ferrera (March 8–11) courts chuckles with skills sharpened from stints on the FX hit Rescue Me and material that made him a two-time nominee for best male stand-up by the American Comedy Awards.