KC Parks News | Kanas City Parks & Recreation Department

KC Parks News

  1. KC Parks to Offer Free Beginning Swimming Lessons

    KCParks_FreeSwim_SocialMedia_050317KC Parks is helping keep kids safe this summer by offering  FREE BEGINNING SWIMMING LESSONS to area youth in the first two skill levels of Learn-to-Swim lessons. Lessons will be offered throughout June and July at outdoor Water Parks, Major Pools and indoors at Gregg/Klice, Southeast and Tony Aguirre Community Center pools. In celebration of Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s  125th anniversary, KC Parks announced a goal of teaching 1,125 kids to swim in 2017.

    The intention of the FREE beginning lessons is to lower the possibility of a water-related incident and to increase water safety knowledge in Kansas City children. May is also water safety month! As we swing from spring to summer, it’s time to get ready for the swimming season which officially kicks off Memorial Day weekend.

    Water safety is of the utmost importance. National statistics from the CDC show:

    • From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about 10 deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
    • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
    • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative).

    The safety of Kansas City children is paramount to KC Parks. The FREE lessons reaffirm our commitment to education and well-being for all of our residents. Call Midwest Pool Management at 816-350-2628 to register at Water Parks Major Pools.  Call the Community Centers directly to register at the community center pools. Classes must meet minimum enrollment levels to be held.


  2. NEWS: Partners Plant More Gardens with Native Plants at Loose Park~May 25

    Due to inclement weather, the gardens will be planted on Thursday May 25.

    Two new gardens adjacent to existing Monarch Demonstration Garden will display native plants well suited for planting in part shade.

    City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation and  volunteers from The Westport Garden Club, a 55 member local club that is a part of The Garden Club of America.  Eric Tschanz, former President and Executive Director of Powell Gardens, will be laying out the plants based on Alan Branhagen’s design and supervising the Westport GC volunteers.

    Two NEW native plant gardens, designed by former Powell Garden Director of Horticulture, Alan Branhagen, are being planted by volunteers from The Westport Garden Club in front of the Loose Park Garden Center Building.

    •  Included in the design for these gardens are 700 native plants.
    • All these plants have benefit to wildlife, attracting birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

    Thursday, May 25 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania
    These gardens flank the main, north-facing door of the Garden Center and are right across the sidewalk from the existing Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.

    Native plants support the nature we love.  Butterflies, pollinators and birds depend on native plants to survive.  How can you make your own yard an oasis for monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and the like?  The gardens planted in front of the Garden Center demonstrate how.  The new gardens next to the building showcase many shade plants.  The Monarch Demonstration Garden displays an array of plants that thrive in the sun.  Learn about plant selection and garden design from these gardens.  Alan has selected plants that are appropriate for urban and suburban gardens.  Choose native plants that come with the added benefit of being low maintenance.  Most non-native plants have little or no value to the nature we love and the natural services we depend on; these plants help control storm water and keep water clean, sequester carbon and clean the air.  In addition, every third bite we eat is dependent on the pollinators that native plants feed.  Bring interest and beauty into your own yard.


    In 2015 Burroughs Audubon was awarded a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Monarch Conservation Fund, which paid for all the plants and the interpretive signage at the Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.  Partners in the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative (KCNPI) worked together to made this garden a reality.  Powell Gardens’ Alan Branhagen designed the garden and has supervised the maintenance over the first year of its life.  KC Parks provided the space and has also provided maintenance support.  The Westport Garden Club members volunteered to plant and maintain the garden.  The Grow Native! organization helps citizens plant their own native gardens by working with local retailers to make native plants available and by providing information on their website.

    The interest and enthusiasm in the Monarch Demonstration Garden led several private donors to contribute the funds to create an example of how to use native plants in shady areas.  These are the gardens that will be planted on May 23.  The Partners continue to work together in the same roles to bring more native plant gardens to our Kansas City Community.

    Education is a part of these gardens. On September 23 from 10am to 1pm KCNPI partners will host The Monarch’s Miraculous Migration – Learn & See the Wonder at the Loose Park Monarch Demonstration Garden.  Partners are working together to give the public an opportunity to learn about the monarch, its life cycles, its amazing migration and the plants it needs to survive.

    Kathy Gates, kfggkc@gmail.com or 913.362.5406.

  3. Kansas City Museum Foundation Announces Honorary Leadership for Capital Campaign to Support Renovation Project

    Pictured from left to right inside Corinthian Hall at the Kansas City Museum on May 10, 2017, Mr. Henry Bloch, Mr. Edward T. Matheny, Jr., and Mr. Bill Dunn, Sr. Photo by JIM BARCUS

    Pictured from left to right inside Corinthian Hall at the Kansas City Museum on May 10,
    2017, Mr. Henry Bloch, Mr. Edward T. Matheny, Jr., and Mr. Bill Dunn, Sr. Photo by JIM BARCUS

    The Kansas City Museum Foundation announced today the honorary leadership for “Making A Museum KC” (#MakingAMuseumKC), the Foundation’s innovative fundraising initiative and capital campaign to increase awareness, raise private funding, and build community support for the Kansas City Museum’s leading-edge, multi-phased renovation project to create a premier museum of Kansas City’s history and cultural heritage. The Honorary Chairs of #MakingAMuseumKC include:  Mr. Bill Dunn, Sr., Mr. Edward T. Matheny, Jr., and Mr. Henry Bloch, who have been close friends and colleagues in Kansas City for more than 40 years. They are WWII veterans, and they have been dedicated to arts, history, culture, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship in Kansas City. As Honorary Chairs, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Matheny, and Mr. Bloch will work with the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Museum Foundation to strategically develop #MakingAMuseumKC and guide its priorities.

    “I couldn’t be more honored, grateful, and proud for the Kansas City Museum to have the support and endorsement of these three extraordinary and esteemed leaders, who have accomplished so much and whose legacies individually and collectively have significantly contributed to Kansas City’s history and development,” Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera said. “As the Kansas City Museum aims to become a nationally recognized museum of Kansas City’s local and regional history, the wisdom and experience of Mr. Dunn, Mr. Matheny, and Mr. Bloch will illuminate our path forward.”

    Adding to the #MakingAMuseumKC honorary leadership, the City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks Department—which operates and manages the Kansas City Museum—has also enlisted the guidance and support of another legendary trio:  Mrs. Anita Gorman, Mr. Ollie Gates, and Mr. Carl DiCapo to serve as Honorary Members. From 1986 to 1991, Mrs. Gorman, Mr. Gates, and Mr. DiCapo served together as Parks Commissioners. Collectively, they were responsible for the revitalization of Starlight Theatre, the Kansas City Zoo, and the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

    “As KC Parks celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2017, we are thrilled to have our former Parks Commissioners representing the important legacy of the Kansas City Parks system,” Parks Director Mark McHenry said. “These venerated civic leaders will contribute their commitment and vision once again to another major Kansas City cultural asset and community anchor,” Parks Board President Jean-Paul Chaurand stated.

    In advance of officially launching #MakingAMuseumKC, the Kansas City Museum Foundation already has raised $1 million in private funds for Stage I Construction, which includes the restoration and renovation of Corinthian Hall into a leading-edge 21st century history museum with exhibit galleries, programming and education spaces, interactive technologies, a museum café and demonstration kitchen, museum retail store, contemporary thematic art installations, and many other amenities.

    Of the $1 million already raised, $500,000 is a lead pledged grant from the R.A. Long Foundation and will name the Grand Hall on the first floor of Corinthian Hall the “R.A. Long Foundation Grand Hall.” More details on #MakingAMuseumKC will be available in June 2017 when the Kansas City Museum Foundation launches a comprehensive website at www.makingamuseumkc.org that features the Museum’s renovation project. Currently, www.makingamuseumkc.org is a landing page for becoming a Museum member and learning more about the Kansas City Museum Foundation.

    Located at 3218 Gladstone Boulevard in the Historic Northeast community of Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Museum is comprised of five original buildings, including the mansion Corinthian Hall, which was built in 1910 by Robert Alexander Long. The estate became a public museum in 1940. It is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri and operated and managed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Department. The Collection contains more than 100,000 artifacts and several thousand more archival materials that interpret Kansas City’s local and regional history.

    The Kansas City Museum is in the process of architectural design development to create a premier museum of Kansas City’s history through a multi-year, multi-staged restoration and renovation project. International Architects Atelier is the lead architectural design firm, and J.E. Dunn Construction Co. is the Construction Manager. Museum Management Consultants produced the Museum’s Strategic and Business Plans, which were adopted in Fall 2016, and Gallagher & Associates produced the Museum’s Visitor Experience Plan that provides the parameters for exhibition design and development.

    The Kansas City Museum Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to develop initiatives, convene leaders, and mobilize resources through inclusive partnerships to support the mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities of the Kansas City Museum.



  4. Boy Scouts and KC Parks to Plant 18,000 Flowers on Mother’s Day Weekend

    Northland BSDD17Giving back is a staple of the Scouting program and on Saturday, May 13, the Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America and Kansas City Parks and Recreation are teaming up to make Kansas City beautiful. More than 500 Scouts, volunteers, and KC Parks employees will celebrate DIG DAY by planting more than 18,000 flowers across 100 of the city’s community flower beds on Mother’s Day weekend. More than just beautifying Kansas City, DIG DAY also helps save the city time and money. What would normally take two months to complete, Scouts will help KC Parks complete the project in just one day.

    From 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Scouts and KC Parks employees will report to their assigned dig sites to plant flower beds across the city. Media are encouraged to visit dig sites between 9:30 am and 10:30 am.

    Featured Locations:

    • Swope Park Entrance – 6601 Swope Parkway | Kansas City, MO
    • 55th & 57th & Ward Parkway – Median south of intersection at 55th & Ward / 57th & Ward
    • Mirror Pool – 62nd & Ward Parkway | Kansas City, MO
    • Loose Park – 5200 Wornall Rd.| Kansas City, MO
    • 12th & Paseo – Along medians in area
    • Admiral & Oak – North of Courthouse | Kansas City MO

    The Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America serves 19 counties in and around the Kansas City metropolitan area and serves more than 29,000 young people through more than 1,100 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, and Explorer posts.  If you would like more information about Scouting in Kansas City call (816) 942-9333 or visit hoac-bsa.org.

  5. Starlight Summer Camps Registering Now

    Act Like An Animal CampIf you want to give your aspiring young artists a summer camp experience that will keep them active, engaged and inspired to perform, Starlight Theatre’s summer camps are the ideal choice. Registration is open now for children in kindergarten through eighth grade!

    For the past 12 summers, Act Like An Animal Camp (grades K-4), a collaboration between Starlight and the Kansas City Zoo, has been a wildly popular choice for Kansas City kids. And, for the slightly older set, Camp Take-a-Bow (grades 5-8) is ready for its fifth performance-packed summer.

    Act Like An Animal Camp sessions in 2017 are scheduled June 12-23 and July 31-Aug. 11. During their two weeks at Act Like An Animal Camp, children spend half of each day at Starlight learning specialized theatre skills, including acting, movement and music. The other half of the day is spent at the Kansas City Zoo interacting with animals, creating crafts and playing camp games. Camp concludes with a live performance and art display for families. The cost is $400 for the two-week camp session, and campers meet from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each weekday. After care is available for an additional fee. Maximum registration for each camp session is 60.

    Camp Take-a-Bow will meet July 10-21. During the two-week Camp Take-a-Bow, tweens and young teens have fun as they explore their inner performing artist. Theatre professionals help campers hone their acting, singing and dance skills and gain hands-on experience in creating and staging a musical. They even get to assist with backstage crewing and sets, props and costumes. At the end of camp, they showcase their new skills in a fully-produced musical for families. The cost is $350 for the two-week camp, and campers meet from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each weekday. After care is available for an additional fee. Up to 30 campers will be accepted.

    To register, visit www.kcstarlight.com/education. For more information, call 816.997.1134.

    Parents had great things to say about last summer’s camps:

    “It was so fun for me to see my 8-year-old blossom from not being sure about performing, to practicing his moves at home, singing to and from camp, and performing with confidence.”
    – Parent of 2016 Act Like An Animal camper

    “My daughter loved going each day, and I was happy she got to be involved in the whole process of putting on a show. The camp covered music, acting, dance and art – all of which she very much enjoyed!”
    – Parent of 2016 Camp Take-a-Bow camper

  6. Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence Exhibition

    KC-Parks_Chillida_245x245The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and KC Parks will open an new temporary exhibition, Chillida-Rhythm-Time-Silence, on May 5. Four sculptures will be on view in Theis Park and three will be on display in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park on the south lawn of the museum through December 3, 2017. Admission is free.

    This exhibition will present seven large-scale sculptures by internationally esteemed Spanish sculptor, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002). For the first time, Kansas City visitors will see work by this innovative, sometimes witty, but always powerful artist.

    About Eduardo Chillida
    Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida made his career a life-long study of mass and form within space. His education began in architecture at the University of Madrid, but he abandoned this path to devote time primarily to sculpture. Yet, Chillida’s sculptural works reveal this early architectural training through structural organization, development of various materials, spatial relationships and experimentation with monumental and small scale.

    Early in his career, Chillida focused on traditional representations of the figural form in plaster and stone. Returning to his homeland of the Basque region of Spain in 1951, Chillida’s vision changed to abstraction and its interference within its physical space. His favored medium also changed to the unyielding materials of iron, wood and steel in a specific nod to the industrial practices of the Basque region, particularly ore mining and blacksmithing.

    Chillida’s work experimented in many dualities – interior space and exterior shape, solid mass and empty voids, simplicity and balance, weight and weightlessness. Regarding his sculptures, the artist states they are “a rebellion against gravity.”