The stresses of the city seem light years away for guests who retreat to Screamin' Oaks Farm, a working farm with goats, pigs, peacocks, chickens, cows, geese, quail, donkeys, and hound dogs. Visitors meet the farm's fleet of white and black goats, whose milk is sold onsite and also made into creamy chèvre goat cheese and homemade ice cream. Farmhands foster introductions to creatures large and small, letting guests milk the goats themselves and pet the furry mane of a young donkey. Turtles idle along in their own dedicated habitat as peacocks stalk the grounds, opening and expanding their turquoise plumage when a mate is nearby or when they want to take up two seats on tractor rides.
Dr. John L. Bean and his wife Marsha couldn’t have named Belvoir Winery any more aptly. Belvoir is French for “beautiful view,” and, with 170 lush, vibrant acres to its name, Belvoir Winery certainly doesn’t disappoint. Once a hub for the historic Odd Fellows, the estate now blooms with the vineyards planted by Dr. Bean more than 15 years ago. Vines ripe with golden muscat, chambourcin, and vingnoles grapes anchor the winery’s six signature vinos, which include the floral semi-dry Plumeria and the Lucky Pierre, a sweet red dessert wine. The winery’s newly renovated interior unfolds across five luxurious event spaces, an ornate tasting bar, and a cozy ice-cream shop that overlook the property’s towering 100-year-old trees and stunning marble gazebo. No stranger to supernatural happenings, Belvoir also hosts monthly investigations of its grounds with the Paranormal Research Investigators, a local troupe of ghost hunters also trained in the art of summoning lost car keys.
It’s hard to make new friends in a park; but, thanks to KC Crew, friendships have been blossoming all over Roanoke Park, One Park Place, and Penn Valley Park. The secret to their success is rec leagues, in which players compete in softball, tennis, and sand volleyball, a beachy sport far preferable to speed eating shells. The organization provides umpires, a game schedule, and a $100 credit at a local bar awarded to the winning team. And after the sun goes down, the organization offers more in-depth studies of the area nightlife through bar crawls, themed to celebrate holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or simulate a zombie apocalypse.
This duo of history-rich houses showcase antebellum architectural styles, while providing insight into the mores of the era. With four tour tickets total, the historically inclined can visit each house twice or bring a friend along for each visit, while family memberships net unlimited entries for the nuclear unit, along with advance invites to special society-only events. A Greek revival-style home from 1858, the John Wornall House beckons history lovers in to watch costumed reenactors living in the past, where they play period-specific video games while drinking period-specific Mountain Dew. Regular special events at the house include paranormal investigations by local ghost hunters and recreations of the house’s past as a Civil War hospital. Dogs can sprint across the lush grounds while their two-legged companions waft in luscious scents from the herb garden, which contains a variety of delicate plants used in medicines and recipes.
Kansas City's Ghosts and Gangsters Tour takes thrill-seekers by coach for an authentically spooky look at KC's paranormal and Mafia life. Strap on a proton pack and let an engaging guide tell of the history and hauntstory of landmarks such as the Hotel Savoy, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, and St. Mary's Church, which the ghost of Father Henry David Jardine is said to haunt to prove his death wasn't a suicide and his car wasn't a bicycle. In addition to spectral sights, you'll see several worldly Mafioso spots, such as the location of several late-1970s bombings and bullet holes from a 1933 massacre of four police officers and a fugitive at the Union Station railroad depot. Tours, which start at 1300 W. 12th Street, are held by reservation on Friday nights and Saturday nights from 6 p.m.–9 p.m. and 9 p.m.–12 a.m.