Kansas City’s Best Parks – Or at Least a Guide to Some Good Ones


Whether you’re looking for cheap entertainment or just craving some green space, the Kansas City area offers an abundance of parks to meet your needs.

And by abundance, we mean you could make a full-time hobby out of exploring our local parks.

In the interest of space, we can only name a few. But suffice it to say, there is something for everybody out there. We’ll get you started. Then follow the links at the end of this article to continue the journey on your own.

For the Kids: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

13800 Switzer

Overland Park, KS

What started in 1978 as a petting zoo has become an agricultural theme park that continues to grow. The park brings frontier farm life to the “city folk” of KC. 


More than 250 animals and birds

  • A full-scale, one-room country schoolhouse
  • Kanza Native American display
  • An early 1900s main street, including a bank, ice cream parlor and general store
  • Bottle-feeding of baby goats
  • Milking of cows
  • Horse-drawn wagon rides through the woods
  • Playgrounds
  • Fishing pond
  • Butterfly gardens
  • Flowers and vegetables

Parties and group tours are available.

For hours and admission rates, visit the Deanna Rose website.

For Fun Seekers of All Ages: Antioch Park

6501 Antioch Road

Merriam, KS

The oldest park operated by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, this 44-acre park provides a multi-faceted, all-around good time, including:

Two scenic fishing lakes

  • Tennis courts
  • Basketball / bocce ball courts
  • Playgrounds
  • Historic Dodge Town play area
  • (a child-sized replica of a town straight from the Wild West, including a bank, schoolhouse, general store, train station and more)

  • Picnic shelters

Find information on reserving a shelter here

  • Grills
  • Walking / running path
  • Memorial Arboretum and Helen Cuddy Memorial Rose Garden
  • Vietnam Memorial

If you need a review to decide if this park is a “must-see,” ask one of the 700,000 people who visit each year.

Find hours and more information here.

For Theater Lovers: Shawnee Mission Park

7900 Renner Road

Shawnee, KS

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District operates this 1,600-acre park, the largest park in Johnson County and the most visited park in the entire state of Kansas.

Its claim to fame is The Theatre in the Park, the country’s largest community theater. Nestled in 10 acres of the park grounds, the iconic amphitheater has been a local favorite since 1970. Annual attendance is about 35,000. 

Other park features include:

  • A 120-acre lake, offering boating, fishing, sail boarding, a marina and swimming beach
  • Disc golf course
  • Dog park
  • Hiking / biking / bridle trails
  • Eleven shelters
  • Playgrounds
  • Archery range
  • Softball fields
  • Lookout tower

Find hours and detailed information here

For Plant Lovers: Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

8909 W 179 Street

Overland Park, KS

Popular as a year-round destination, the arboretum offers a wide variety of educational, recreational and cultural experiences, as well as seasonal programs.

About 85 percent of the 300-acre property is dedicated to the preservation of natural ecosystems. The rest includes an educational center and 45 acres of botanical gardens.


Find hours, scheduled events and admission rates here

For History Lovers – Loose Park

5200 Wornall Road

Kansas City, MO

This 75-acre park south of the Country Club Plaza is rich in history:

  • 1864 – Site of the Battle of Westport, where Union soldiers won against Confederate forces
  • 1896 – Became one of the city’s premier golf courses
  • 1927 – The Loose family acquired the property and donated it to the city for use as a park named in honor of Jacob Loose, founder of Sunshine Biscuits
  • 1931 – The Kansas City Rose Society established the iconic rose garden* 


  • Playground / sprayground
  • Pond with fountain
  • Tennis courts
  • Paved trails
  • Picnic shelters
  • Civil War markers
  • Lots of green space

*About the rose garden

When The Kansas City Rose Society established the garden with its original 120 plants in 1931, few could have imagined the exquisite landmark it would become. Today, about 4,000 roses of nearly 168 varieties are showcased in the 1.5-acre garden. It recently underwent a $400,000 renovation.

 Find hours and details here

For a Good View: Richard Berkley Riverfront Park

1298 River Front Road

Kansas City, MO

Named for former Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley, the park consists of more than 300 trees and a nearly mile-long esplanade running parallel to the Missouri River.

It is host to KC RiverFest (the city’s annual Independence Day celebration), various 5k run/walk events, corporate picnics, weddings and concerts. But for most patrons of the park, its appeal is the respite it provides from the urban jungle.


  • Loads of green space with lots of benches
  • Free Riverfront Fitness classes (in-season)
  • Sand volleyball courts
  • Wetlands restoration area
  • Riverfront Heritage Trail – the 15-mile hiking/biking trail runs through the park 
  • Great views of the Bond Bridge and the Missouri River

Find directions and details here

And now for that new hobby… 

Parks and Recreation departments throughout the metro are committed to providing a wide range of experiences for people of all activity levels. Check out the links below for a comprehensive list of area parks:

On the Kansas Side

Johnson County, KS

Wyandotte County/Kansas City KS


Overland Park




Prairie Village

On the Missouri Side

Kansas City, MO

Jackson County, MO

Be sure to check out our other guides for the Best Places to Hike in Kansas City and Best Bike Trails in Kansas City.