World War I Museum – 27/100

World War I Museum

# – World War I Museum
2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108

Cost: $
Features: Museum, special exhibits, online collections.
Good for: History buffs, children, families, etc.
Tip: Take your time at the museum – there’s so much to look at and see.

World War I Museum

World War I Museum

The World War I Museum is the nation’s official World War I Museum. It’s probably one of the best museums I’ve been to, and it’s right in my backyard. There’s something everyone will be interested in, with over 75,000 artifacts from all countries involved in the Great War.

World War I Museum

Liberty Memorial

Along with your ticket to the World War I Museum, you get access to the Liberty Memorial.

World War I Museum

The Liberty Memorial was actually the first part of the complex, before the museum itself. The gorgeous 217-foot memorial was funded solely by Kansas Citians. In 1919, KC citizens raised more than $2.5 million in just 10 days. That’s about $34 million today.

World War I Museum

When the Liberty Memorial was done in 1921, more than 100,000 people gathered to see the supreme Allied commanders dedicate the site of the Liberty Memorial. It was the first time in history the five leaders were together in one place.

During museum hours, you can take an elevator up to the top of the tower.

World War I Museum

About the World War I Museum  

The museum was built in 2006 underneath the Liberty Memorial. As the official World War I museum of the United States, the museum is pretty impressive. There are over 75,000 artifacts, interactive exhibitions, videos and more.

World War I Museum

It tells the story from the first shots in 1914 until the end in 1919. I like that they tell the whole story without national narrative – it’s simply facts and stories about the war.

World War I Museum

The tickets are a little pricey – $16 each, but there is so much to see in the museum, and the tickets good for two days. Wait till Wednesdays if you want half price.

World War I Museum

World War I Museum

Explore the Area

Liberty Memorial Mall

The area outside the museum is beautiful. There are gorgeous murals, fountains, statues and walkways. There’s even a great view of the city without a ride to the top of Liberty Memorial.

World War I Museum

Union Station

Right across from the World War I Museum, is Union Station. The building itself is pretty incredible, with has amazing architecture and history (It was built in 1911!) There is a room of model trains, entertainment for kids and some great restaurants. I love grabbing happy hour at Pierpont’s bar.

World War I Museum

Street Car

Hop on the street car at Union Station and head to the Crossroads, Power and Light, Downtown or the River Market. It’s free to the public, and one of my favorite parts of living in the Crossroads.

Crown Center

Enjoy the shops, restaurants or the Hallmark Visitor’s Center in nearby Crown Center. If you’re visiting in the winter, definitely go ice skating!

Penn Valley Park

The grounds of the World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial are connected to Penn Valley Park. Take the trails up to the Kansas City Scout for another great view of the city.  xx, Libbie.

World War I Museum

Providence Medical Center Amphitheater – 26/100

Providence Medical Center

#26 – Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
633 N 130th St, Bonner Springs, KS 66012

Cost: $$
Features: Concessions, GA pit, reserved seating, lawn seating.
Good for: Big artists on summer nights.
Tip: Get dinner before the concert at the Legends Outlets.

This 18,000-seat open-air amphitheater is a located just outside of Kansas City – near the Legends Outlet Mall. In addition to the 75 designer stores, Legends is home to many Kansas City attractions, including Great Wolf Lodge, Sporting Kansas City stadium and the Kansas Speedway.

Providence Medical Center

About Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

Apparently Providence Medical Center Amphitheater has changed names about five times since it opened 1984 – Sandstone Center, Verizon Wireless, Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone, Cricket Wireless and now, Providence Medical Center. Longtime locals apparently still call it Sandstone.

This year’s major events at Providence Medical Center, included Pentatonix, Ted Nugent, Glass Animals, Chance the Rapper, Korn & Rob Zombie and Luke Bryan.

Overall, I think it’s an okay outdoor venue for a big artist. It’s big, it’s outside, but the ambiance just doesn’t do it for me.  It just screams 80’s theme park to me?

Providence Medical Center

Of the 18,000-seat capacity, there are 3,100 reserved seats and multiple open-air suites (GA pit and the lawn). The GA pit is jammed full, and it almost always becomes a mosh pit. (I guess I’m getting old, because it doesn’t look like fun to me) The lawn is where the cheapest seats are, but you sacrifice sight and sound quality, so I always go with reserved seats.

Providence Medical Center

Pricing is relatively cheap at Providence Medical Center. We paid $30 each for our seats, plus $10 parking. There are concession stands that are decently priced, too, or at least not as bad at Royals games. 

Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

Our Night at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

Of the outdoor concert venues, I prefer Starlight Theater and CrossroadsKC, but this year PMC was host to Buzz Beachball, a two-day alternative festival.

We got tickets for just one of the two days and saw 12 bands. My favorites of the night:  Hippo Campus, Marian Hill and Spoon (!). They had two stages set up for the festival – the main stage and one in the lawn.

Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

I’ve been to just one other concert at PMC – Modest Mouse and Brand New. Even though it’s not my favorite place, as long as they keep booking some of my favorite bands, I’ll keep coming back. xx, Libbie.

Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

Weston, Missouri – 25/100

Weston, Missouri

#25 – Weston, Missouri
Weston, Missouri 64098

Cost: $$
Features: Wineries, breweries, shops, restaurants, parks.
Good for: A day trip away from Kansas City.
Tip: Take a day or weekend to explore this quaint town.

This charming, historic town is just a quick 45-minute drive from Kansas City. The 22-block historic district is filled with shops, restaurants, adorable houses and wineries – making Weston the perfect day or weekend trip.

Weston, Missouri

About Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri has a 22-block historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the district, there are more than 100 buildings of significant historical and architectural interest. Many of today’s shops and restaurants are in buildings built before the Civil War.

Weston was a significant mid-nineteenth century Missouri River port community. In 1850, over 265 steamboats a year docked at the Port of Weston, making the city the second largest port on the river, second only to St. Louis.

At one point in the town’s history, William Buffalo Bill Cody lived in Weston, as the town was a “jumping off” point for the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush. After major flooding and the Civil War, Weston’s population decreased, and it became the rustic, small town it is today.

How to Spend (a Very Busy) Day in Weston:

Start with coffee and a snack at Weston Coffee Roastery. (Just always start with coffee. It’s a necessity).

Take a quick hike alongside the Missouri River at Weston Bend State Park. A popular 3.25-mile trail connects with Weston’s City Park, so you don’t even have to drive to get to gorgeous scenery.

Weston, Missouri

Enjoy a tour at the sheep farm, Green Dirt Farm. Be sure to schedule it a week in advance, or just stop in their Creamery in Weston for a treat. If you’re famished from the hike, try their GDF PB&J with fresh cheese, season jam and nut butter on local bread.

Head to Pirtle Winery for a wine slushie and a picnic basket lunch. They’re housed in an old church that was built in 1867. They have a wine garden, and recently added a deck on the back for more outside seating. With cheese, warm bread, summer sausage and an apple, their picnic basket is a great light lunch option.

Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri

Explore the shops along Main Street. There’s about everything you could want – antiques, clothing, home & garden and much more. Some of my favorite spots are:

  • Renditions Polish Pottery Shop. I love exploring the shelves and shelves (and shelves) of pottery. Everything is gorgeous, and you will need that deviled egg platter even though you make deviled eggs once a year.
  • Pacific Breeze. They always have the most gorgeous sterling silver rings. I’ve bought myself one each trip I make to Weston.
  • The Celtic Ranch. This shop is an eclectic mix of Western and Celtic fashion and home goods. In the back, they have a huge selection of whiskey and scotch, and do tastings for $1.50.

Weston, Missouri

After shopping, grab dinner at Avalon Café. This is one of my favorite places in Weston, and I think others feel the same because it’s always busy. For dinner, I’d be sure to make a reservation for their rooftop patio, so you can enjoy the view along with delicious food and wine.

Finish the night off with a beer at O’Malley’s/Weston Brewing Company. The Weston Brewing Company was first established by German immigrant, John Georgian in 1842. The brewery closed in 1919 during the Prohibition (unlike many bars in Kansas City) and did not reopen until 2005. It now uses one of the original underground storage cellars as O’Malleys, a unique cavern-like bar. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy live music.

Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri

Weston, Missouri

I debated not counting Weston in my 100 Days of Kansas City, but it’s too fun not to include. Just outside of KC, it’s the perfect spot for a girl’s weekend, a romantic getaway or family trip. xx, Libbie.

Weston, Missouri

Thomas Hart Benton Museum – 26/100

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

#26 – Thomas Hart Benton Museum
3616 Belleview Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111

Cost: $5
Good for: Artists, locals, history buffs.
Tip:  Stop at Room39 on nearby 39th Street for breakfast before the tour.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

About Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton is Missouri’s most renowned artist of the 20th century. His art career spanned seven decades, and he worked until his death at 85 years old.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Benton was born in Neosho, Mo. in 1889. He was the son of Missouri Congressman Maecenas E. Benton and great, great nephew of Missouri’s first senator, Thomas Hart “Old Bullion” Benton.

As a young man, Benton wanted to be an artist, but his father opposed. He wanted Thomas to study law. It wasn’t until Thomas did one year of military school that he father finally allowed him to study art at the Art Institute of Chicago and several academies in Paris.

Though his career began as a cartoonist, Benton is known for his large-scale Regionalist murals. His art largely interprets realistic American lifestyles and cultures, and can be found across the United States. His most famous works include:  

In his early career, Benton spent several years perfecting a new method of painting he called “The Grand Design”. He would travel the country, sketching as he went. When he returned home to his studio, he would sketch again to determine the flow of the painting, then use clay models to help with the spatial organization. Once the models were built, Benton would paint a gray scale canvas, then a small painting with color, grid out the small painting and begin the process of the actual piece. The process was a long one, but successful.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum
Clay figures from Benton’s Grand Design process.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

About The Thomas Hart Benton Museum

The Thomas Hart Benton Museum is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a Missouri State Park. The beautiful old house in located in Midtown, near 39th street and Miami Ice.

My first apartment in Kansas City was actually just around the corner from the Thomas Hart Benton Museum. I walked by the museum a lot when I lived in the neighborhood, but never made the time to go until now. The museum was once the Benton’s home between 1939 and 1975. It is like many other homes in the area – gorgeous, large and made of limestone.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

The house is just as the Bentons left it, with many of their personal belongings and Benton’s original paintings still in place. His studio is the same – coffee cans of paint brushes, numerous paints and a stretched canvas still filling the space. Thomas Hart Benton died in his studio on Jan. 19, 1975 just after he finished The Sources of Country Music, a mural painted for the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

After the death of Tom and his wife, the State of Missouri purchased the house in 1977, and have preserved their history ever since.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

The museum is open 10am to 4pm on Monday and Thursday-Saturday and 12pm to 5pm on Sunday. For just $5 you get a 45-minute guided tour from a knowledgeable guide. Because there are no set tour times, tours start whenever people show up.

It was an enjoyable hour learning about The Bentons, the art and the home. xx, Libbie.

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

Thomas Hart Benton Museum

 

KC Fountain Tour – 24/100

 

KC Fountain Tour

#24 – KC Fountain Tour
Kansas City Metro Area

Cost: Free
Good for: Spending the day exploring different areas of the city
Tip: Use this Google Map for the main KC Fountains, or rent a KC BCycle and cruise around from fountain to fountain.

Kansas City is said to have the most working fountains in the world – more even, than Rome, Italy. In 1992, the city even added the “City of Fountains” to its official corporate seal. The City of Fountains Foundation has its own KC Fountain Tour, but I modified mine a little.

I love the fountains because there is just something so serene about them. They’re a place in the city to relax and reflect. They’re a happy place. In my KC Fountain Tour, I made it to 25 fountains over the course of a week, going to them randomly, as I felt. You could easily make a day of it, and try and find them all.

KC Fountain Tour
The History of the Fountains

The first Kansas City fountains served a practical purpose – hydrating the horses, birds and dogs of the city.

In 1889, Kansas City hired George Kessler to develop a master plan for our park and boulevard system. He designed two fountains – one at 15th and Paseo and the other at 9th and Paseo. Though the fountain at 15th street was destroyed in 1941, the fountain at 9th street, The Women’s Leadership Fountain, still exists. Kessler would go on to build many more fountains for the city.

Throughout the 1900’s a majority of Kansas City’s fountains were built. Fountains for decorative use exploded in the 1920s after developer J.C. Nichols used them throughout the Country Club Plaza. One of the most popular Kansas City fountains is appropriately named the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain.

KC Fountain Tour

On a trip to Rome, local philanthropists, Harold and Peggy Rice, noticed that many of Rome’s fountains were in disrepair. They didn’t want the same to happen to Kansas City’s fountains, established The City of Fountains Foundation in 1973.

The foundation raises funds to construct new fountains, manages trust funds to cover maintenance costs and increases awareness of the importance of Kansas City’s fountains. The City of Fountains Foundation works with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department to operate and maintain Kansas City, Missouri’s 47 publicly-owned fountains.

KC Fountain Tour

There are 200 official Kansas City Fountains. In my KC Fountain Tour, I made it to about 26, but they are just so magical. I chose to visit many of the publicly-owned fountains that were of the most interest to me (and close to activities I was already planning on doing). I broke my KC Fountain Tour into four areas:

Downtown:

KC Fountain Tour
The Muse of Missouri – 9th & Main
KC Fountain Tour
City Hall Fountain – 12th & Oak
KC Fountain Tour
10th Street Fountain – 10th & Main
KC Fountain Tour
Barney Allis Plaza Fountain – 12th & Wyandotte

Crossroads:

KC Fountain Tour
Westside Fountain – Southwest Blvd & Summit St.
KC Fountain Tour
Kansas City Star Fountain – 18th & Grand
KC Fountain Tour
Crown Center Square Fountain – Grand & Pershing
KC Fountain Tour
Firefighter’s Memorial Fountain – 31st & Broadway
KC Fountain Tour
Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain – Pershing & Main
KC Fountain Tour
Westin Crown Center Fountain – Pershing & Main
KC Fountain Tour
Liberty Memorial Fountains – Pershing & Main

Midtown/Plaza:

KC Fountain Tour
Laura Conyers Smith Fountain – 51st & Wornall
KC Fountain Tour
Neptune Fountain – 47th & Wornall
KC Fountain Tour
Seville Light Fountain – 47th & Nichols
KC Fountain Tour
Pomona Fountain – Broadway & Ward Parkway
KC Fountain Tour
Boy & Frog Fountain – Nichols Road
KC Fountain Tour
Fountain of Bacchus – Wyandotte & 47th
KC Fountain Tour
The Mermaid Fountain – Broadway & Nichols Road
KC Fountain Tour
J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain – 47th & Main
KC Fountain Tour
Volker Memorial Fountain – Volker Blvd. & Oak
KC Fountain Tour
Eagle Scout Fountain – 39th & Gilliam
KC Fountain Tour
Vietnam Vets Memorial – 43rd & Broadway

Etc.:

KC Fountain Tour
Northeast Concourse Fountain – Benton & Gladstone Blvd.
KC Fountain Tour
Carl J. DiCaprio Fountain – Cliff Drive
KC Fountain Tour
Kauffman Stadium Fountains – Kauffman Stadium
KC Fountain Tour
Helzberg Garden of Stars Fountain – Starlight Theater

I love to see people gathered around the J.C. Nichols Fountain, or children playing in the Crown Center Square Fountain. The Kansas City Fountains are such a specialty that people all over the city get to enjoy on a daily basis. Whether you visit one or 101, take five minutes to sit by a fountain and relax, reflect or rejoice. xx, Libbie.