My son is now at that age where he can attend events and go to big activities and actually enjoy it, and even remember it down the road. Because of this, I have been bringing him to a handful of these museums and events so that perhaps he will get an interest in History and get a chance to explore things other than our house and the PlayStation. Covid-19 made my family a bunch of shut-ins for the past year, so its been tough not doing things! One of his favorite things are petting zoos, and more importantly seeing goats, which he fell in love with due to the game Goat Simulator. Any chance we get to see farm animals, he is all about, so I definitely wanted to take him to, perhaps, the best petting zoo in the area.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead; Overland Park, Kansas
I’ve actually been to Deanna Rose once before, for a family reunion, and it has expanded quite a bit since then. I don’t recall there being nearly as many animals or attractions at that time, so if you are a person that hasn’t been in a while, it will probably seem like a new place for you as well.
The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a family attraction in Overland Park, Kansas. The facility shows farm animals, birds of prey, show gardens, butterfly gardens, a nature trail, a Kanza Native American display, and a full-scale one-room schoolhouse. The facility also provides playgrounds, a fishing pond, horse-drawn wagon rides, and pony rides. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is the perfect place to learn, grow, and have fun.
This one was tough. I’m not going to lie. With historical aspects of this theme part, I figured that I wanted to do an entry on it, but going with my tradition of having a book read to accompany it was tough. I wanted something that would accompany a place that has aspects of Nineteenth Century farmstead life as depicted with the Indian Camp, Mining Camp, and one room schoolhouse. It would have been easy to do Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular book Little House on the Prairie, but I wanted to go more obscure. I recalled a series by Rhoda Wooldridge that I came across when I was looking for a physical copy of a book on Fort Osage that I had read. Rhoda is a local author from where I live (now deceased) and as far as I can tell, her books are all about this area. With it being a book about the hardships of that time period, local, and specifically about running a farm, I knew it was the one. For a full review of this book, please click HERE.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is located in Overland Park, Kansas – despite being from Kansas I generally don’t go there due to my distaste for overly aggressive driving. That said, I have found that driving on a Saturday isn’t so bad, as most of my woes come from people driving to and from work. We went on the 3rd of July and it was the perfect weather for it. warm, but not too hot and a bit overcast so no sun blaring down on us. The facility is ostensibly a hybrid of a zoo and a “theme park”, but lacks the rides that many think of when that term comes up. Instead Deanna Rose contains attractions related to both history and agriculture including an extensive petting zoo, playgrounds, and teaching areas.
This would be a perfect place to take your child to teach them about how life was in the past, and as with my reading, sometime in the middle to late nineteenth century. Granted, this isn’t a living history museum, there aren’t people in period dress or anything, but the feeling you get from the area is a much simpler time long long ago. As I stated there are a handful of educational areas to visit, I wanted to talk about each one that we were able to see. Due to Covid, not everything was open, sadly, but we got the most of it. And with $3 admission, we will definitely be back.
An actual one room schoolhouse was picked up and moved to the farmstead from the turn of the century. Decked out with period materials such as chalkboards and desks, as well as dunce caps, and even old-timey lunch pails are there for children to see. Most kids don’t realize how school used to be so this is an interesting opportunity to open their eyes a bit. When we went the tour guide was dressed like an old time teacher (so I guess a few people are technically in costume) and delivered a child friendly lecture on some notable things in the room.
We were able to catch a bit of a blacksmith demonstration where the man delivering the lecture made a spoon for us and explained different ways it could be done. Seeing craftsmen like this is always pretty cool, so it was interesting to witness.
Kansa Indian camp
The Farmstead contains a recreated Kansa Native American camp with a dug-out mound-house and a teepee to show the way indigenous people may have lived in the past. Full of artifacts and another child-friendly tour guide, this was a cool opportunity.
Sadly, with the spectre of Covid-19 still looming large on this area, a lot of the re-created historical shops, such as an old barbershop, and old bank, and an old photography parlor had restricted access with long lines or were entirely closed. Perhaps our next trip will yield better results. One thing we were able to see was an old ice cream parlor, where we had lunch!
For a small fee, kids are able to pretend to be gold miners during the turn of the century. In lieu of gold, children get a bag filled with polished colorful rocks of various minerals from the area. These get dumped into a sifting tray in a running mining sluice until all the sand is gone and only the treasure stands.
The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a wonderful place to take kids. The animals, historical items, wagon rides, and even the food is a blast for young and old alike. My little dude worse himself out from all of the fun was having, so I’d definitely recommend it. Admission is really inexpensive, and the park itself is huge. If you are looking for something different, and don’t want to deal with how packed the Kansas City Zoo can be, maybe this is a good option.
This is part of my 2021 series History Boy Summer, which you can read more of following this LINK.