Kansas City Day Trip


One of our favorite things to do in the summer is taking a day trip to Kansas City. It’s an easy drive from Des Moines and there are plenty of things to do to keep us busy while we are there.

We call these one-day trips “Daycations” and love to venture to various places around the midwest. Here is how we spent a recent day in Kansas City. 

Kansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms Blog

In the Car

Part of the fun of Daycations is the road trip there! We like to leave Des Moines around 8am with a quick stop at Starbucks. I pack snacks that are new to us, our favorites, or fun (kinder eggs, Annies Fruit Rolls). We also have some kind of a game or activity ready too. Mazes, word finds, and Mad Libs are some of our favorites. Hint: Don’t get these things out until someone says “are we there yet?”

I also try to make this entertaining for me while I’m driving. If the kids have their headphones in, I will listen to a podcast or music that I enjoy. Another hint: Eat a heavy brunch before you arrive at your destination. We usually stop at somewhere like a Subway to get an egg wrap or sandwich. I would love to say the trip home is part of the fun, but it’s usually pretty quiet from tired kids!

Science City at Union Station

We typically arrive at Science City around 11:15am. We have been to Science City twice in the last year, and it has become one of our favorite places to visit! Both of my boys are in elementary school and there are plenty of activities here to keep them both completely entertained for a full day.

First, we check if there are any shows or demonstrations we want to see. My boys like to watch things like this so we try to take in at least one while we’re there. Then, we take our time and visit each area. There’s something for everyone here! Since it was a beautiful day, we also planned to spend a lot of time outside on the Science City playground. You can leave and come back in if you need to get some food. We try to do the entire museum before we leave. We typically spend about 4 hours here. 

Kansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms Blog

Kansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms Blog

Lunch at Fritz’s

During the trip, our nephew and niece were with us. My nephew LOVES trains, and I planned this particular trip around him. Since Science City is at Union Station, I thought he would enjoy seeing the real freight trains come and go throughout the day. Then we headed across the street to Crown Plaza for lunch at Fritz’s. The highlight of this burger joint is that the food is delivered to the tables by model trains. It was a lot of fun and we will definitely be back. We were all so hungry that our burgers, fries, and shakes were gone in no time! After lunch, we loaded the car and headed back for Iowa. We arrived home around 8:15pm after a very quiet car ride home. We stopped for some fast food in the car for dinner. 

Kansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms Blog

Other Ideas

Over the past few years, we’ve loved visiting the following places: 

  • Ice Skating
  • Crown Plaza (Hallmark Cards, Crayola Cafe)
  • IKEA– let’s be honest. This is totally for me. However, I leave my husband and kids at the restaurant and they eat while I shop. No complaints so far! 
  • Kansas City ZooKansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms BlogKansas City Roadtrip Des Moines Daycation Des Moines Moms Blog

Of course, there’s plenty to do in KC for a family vacation as well, but these are some ideas for a one-day down-and-back daycation! 

(Thanks to my brother, Tim Noring, for all of the photography from our trip!)


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