A kid ricochets down a spiral waterslide, hugging each curve as a smile stretches across his face when he hits the water with a splash. Already having made a safe landing, his sister raises her fists in victory, having proven the speed slide is faster. Elsewhere in the sprawling waterpark, toddlers splash safely on a padded playground, away from their nosy older siblings. After recovering from swimming laps in the six-lane pool or sunning on the deck, parents meet up with their kids to refuel at the full-service Cannonball Café with burgers, chicken strips, and snow cones.
The journey to the more than 50-acre pumpkin patch begins with a spirited tractor-pulled hayride. Amateur squash hunters can romp through the field in search of filling for jack-o'-lantern pie or select a pre-picked pumpkin. An additional 20 acres of the farm are strictly designated for family fun. There are play areas for kids, including a melon-scratching Little Munchkin corn maze and a hands-on petting farm. Place your corn bets on Uncle Lester's Pig Races, with curly-tailed contestants including Pork Chop, Lean Cuisine, and Even-Toed Ungulate. Sprouts and sprout-tenders can hop aboard Little Bud's Railroad for a half-mile journey around the farm's many landmarks ($3 per person per ride). After digging up wholesome veggies, kinds can uncover precious minerals and candied dinosaur bones at Uncle Earl's Mining Camp ($5 per person).
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.
As days start to shorten and the leaves start to fall, guests of all ages congregate at Campbell's Farm for an annual autumn celebration. General admission grants kids access to a petting zoo, a purple dragon bounce house, and a pumpkin-painting station, and extra amusements such as pony rides, face painting, or a challenging needle-in-a-haystack game provide enough family-friendly fun to last an entire afternoon. Children can also wind their way through the cornstalk-lined path of a 4-acre fun maze, while the bravest among them dare to navigate the labyrinth after dark, risking chance encounters with spooks around every twisting turn. After a spine-tingling tour on one of the farm's haunted hayrides, groups can also be spotted warming up around the glow of rented bonfires as they roast hot dogs or marshmallows to quell hunger pangs or construct extremely perishable birdhouses.
Originally founded by former president and Harlem Globetrotter Ulysses S. Grant, the 281-acre farm is the ancestral home of the Busch family, which amassed its fortune by tapping into the frothy subterranean beer deposits that flow so abundantly beneath the farm’s soil. Today, the farm is a family-friendly home to more than 900 animals from more than 100 different species; guests and small children will get close enough to hear, smell, and even touch the friendly beasts. Exotic animals including bison, zebra, antelope, and jabberwocky wander the natural setting of Deer Park, while the famed Budweiser Clydesdales saunter through the fields, displaying their equine might and modeling their naturally chic hooves to footwear fetishists and passing fashion photographers alike.
Paradise Park started its life as a simple miniature-golf course in 1992. Since then, the park has grown with Lee's Summit, mirroring the suburb's population growth with additions that have turned it into a sprawling temple to family fun. Outdoors, guests can still show off their putts and best gopher impressions on the miniature-golf course, or head over to the go-kart track to face off against fellow drivers on a 1,000-foot road-inspired course. Inside the park's huge indoor area, kids play and learn at the Children's Edutainment Center or blast each other with air-propelled balls at the Foam Factory. A game room harks back to the arcades of old with token-fed classics such as Ms. Pac-Man, as well as offering new amusements including a SpongeBob SquarePants game.
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