Friday, May 10, 2013

Adventure in Kansas City: Kaleidoscope at Hallmark

We recently had the joy of visiting Kansas City, MO, for three days. While Ben was in work meetings, the kids and I explored the city. My only requirement for our outings were that they would be free and educational. This is the third installment of our adventures there. 

One of our favorite stops in Kansas City is the Kaleidoscope Family Art Sessions at the Hallmark Gold Crown Center. This fun activity is for 40 minutes of creativity in a space that only Hallmark could dream up. We made a day of it by going in early and shopping at the Crown Center Shops and eating at one of the fun restaurants there.  Some of the eateries there include:

  • The American Restaurant
  • Big Momma's Bakery-Café
  • Chip's Candy Factory
  • Chip's Chocolate Factory
  • Crayola Café
  • d'Bronx
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Fritz's Railroad Restaurant
  • Greek Food, Ltd.
  • K.C. Bar B.Q.
  • Milano Italian Dining
  • Pak Ling Express
  • Potatoes and More
  • Sheridan's Lattés & Frozen Custard
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Taste of Philly
  • Three Little Pigs BBQ
  • Topsy's Shoppes

You can get free parking for a few hours in the Gold Crown Center parking garage, if you have your parking ticket validated. So we shopped, played at Funville, and then had it validated when we ate. We then drove around the block and parked again to reset the "free time" on a new parking ticket. We had that validated at the Family Art Session and didn't pay one cent to be parked downtown most of the day. :) If you've ever been city sight-seeing before you know what a deal that is. (When in Denver, Philly, or DC I've had to shell out as much as $20 to park!)

You will want to call ahead if you have a group of 15 or more. Also you will want to get there to line up early. The sessions fill up fast, and it's first come / first serve. The mornings are all school sessions, so you will want to get in on the two afternoon ones, unless you come on a Saturday. Here's the link to their calender

Arriving early to get our tickets, we watched as the parents and kids all lined up to go in. Having been there before, the kids were SO excited. When the doors opened the kids spread out into a large room with work stations and color everywhere. It's like all the card making supplies at Hallmark - and a Crayola factory - collided with a cartoon landscape!

The kids were given a bag to write their name on and began creating cards and pictures, and even pressed out their own puzzles. There were disco balls and black light rooms and all kinds of fun things to see and touch. It was an absolute blast. I'll let the pictures say the rest.

Our time was up quickly. This was too soon for the kids, but just right for me who had a hard time keeping track of all four in the large crowd and room. After we were finished we took a much quieter stroll through the Hallmark Visitor's Center, and made it just in time to "meet the artists". This was a fun intimate opportunity to visit with a couple of the people who paint, craft, and design the Hallmark Cards. The kids got to ask good questions like: "what did you study in college to do this?" and "How do you like doing this for a job?"

During the visitor center tour we got to watch a machine assemble a gift bow at the push of a button, and to get our picture taken and emailed to us. All of the staff were friendly and helpful, and we really enjoyed our visit to Hallmark. In our previous visit we also went to Union Station (right across the street) but this time we ran out of time. :)

Adventure Fridays
This post is part of our Adventure Fridays series. If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you return every Friday for something new! If you have a field trip to share, add the button on the right to your post and feel free to link up HERE. 

As always, I would welcome a guest post here on my blog about some place fun you've been. If you have something yet-unpublished to submit, please use the contact tab above to let me know. 

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