Over the last few months, my daughter Emery and I have gone on a “park tour” of Kansas City–touring all the top-rated parks throughout the Kansas City Metro area. We are now ready to reveal our Top 10!
Each park is rated among 5 factors and each factor is given a ranking between 1 (poor), 2 (below average), 3 (average), 4 (above average), and 5 (outstanding). From there, we rank the best parks from 10 to 1.
Factor 1: Special Feature
Factor 2: Beauty
Factor 3: Trail
Factor 4: Playground
Factor 5: Water
These decisions weren’t easy as there were many awesome parks to choose from and we recommend checking them all out for yourself as soon as you can!
With that being said let’s get to the list…
10. Charles David Hartman Memorial Park
Coming in at #10 on our list is Hartman Park in Lee’s Summit. Now don’t take this park being ranked at the bottom of our list as a slight against it. Again, we toured many parks around the metro and all parks making our list are awesome–including this one!
Hartman Park includes a really cool playground, beautiful trails, sports fields, and a really cool stream where you and your family can even jump in to cool off. Emery and I forgot our swim suits so we were unable to test the waters for ourselves this time, but we’ll be back!
9. Ironwoods Park
Ranking 9th on our list is Ironwoods Park over in Leawood, KS. Ironwoods Park has lots of cool features including a rope climbing course, cool event space, beautiful trails, informative wildlife displays, and even a one-room schoolhouse! The ropes course obviously costs some money and requires a reservation–goes without saying Emery and I will wait a few years before we venture out atop the course!
8. Leawood City Park
Also located in Leawood, KS, Leawood City Park is the 8th best park on our list. Leawood City Park has extensive and beautiful biking/hiking trails, a really cool water park, an elaborate playground, and sports fields. Emery and I definitely want to come back next summer to check out that water park!
7. Meadowbrook Park
The 7th best park on our list is Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village, KS. This park had an amazing playground, cool shopping village (we got some tasty treats at The Market!), beautiful water features, and some pretty views. It also has a unique outdoor fitness area. Emery very much wanted to climb atop that sweet playground!
6. Shawnee Mission Park
A large, unique, and the 6th rated park on our list is Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee Mission, KS. This park is based around Shawnee Mission Lake where you can boat, hang out on a “coastal-like” beach, fish, or just enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are also sports fields and playgrounds located around the lake. Emery and I really look forward to laying out on that beach (a really unique feature for the midwest) on a warmer day hopefully next summer!
5. Penguin Park
We’ve now reached the top 5 of our list and coming in at #5 is Penguin Park in Kansas City, MO. Penguin Park has perhaps the coolest playground of any park we went to–especially for young children. It’s also well kept, has a decent walking trail, and a pond you can fish on. Emery was so excited to check out the penguin, giraffe, and other animals featured at this cool park!
4. Swope Park
The 4th rated park on our list is Swope Park in Kansas City, MO. To be frank, outside of some major features, the park itself is below average with below average playgrounds, trails, and honestly isn’t overly well-kept. What boosts this park so high on our list are the cool organizations included within the park–namely the Kansas City Zoo and the Starlight Theatre. Emery and I were so impressed with the KC Zoo that we got a season pass for ourselves and have been back several times! The Starlight also hosts several world-class shows throughout the year (though not so much this year due to CO-VID). Emery and I will definitely be back to Swope Park again–not so much for the park but for the zoo and to hopefully check out a show at the Starlight!
3. Antioch Park
Starting off our TOP 3 at #3 is Antioch Park in Merriam, KS. This park was one of the most beautiful parks on our list with awesome trails, cool water features, a rose garden, and great scenery. The playground (also known as “Dodge Town”) was very unique including a fake town with shops and stores for the kids to play in. The park was well worth the trip for me and Emery and we will certainly be back again!
2. English Landing Park
The second best park in the Kansas City Metro is English Landing Park in Parkville, MO. This park was beautiful, unique, and fun! Located alongside the Missouri River, the beautiful scenery and epic views are numerous at this park! They also have sports fields, a cool amphitheater, and a playground. In addition to the Missouri River, English Landing is also right next to the historic downtown Parkville shopping area, which includes lots of unique specialty shops and even a miniature golf course!
- Jacob L Loose Memorial Park
The top-rated, #1 best park in the Kansas City Metro is Loose Park in Kansas City, MO! This historic park is located in downtown, Kansas City and has a ton of history including displays and information about the Battle of Westport, which occurred during the Civil War. It also has a beautiful botanical garden that is perhaps one of the prettiest park features in the midwest. Additionally, this park has tons of field space for families to play, a cool water exhibit featuring lots of different wildlife, a splash pad, playground, tennis courts, and is just a short walk away from the famous Plaza Shopping District in Kansas City! This park is certainly worthy of the top spot in our ranking and is also worthy of many more trips for me and Emery in the future!
This Kansas City Metro Park Tour has been a blast! These ten parks featured in our Top 10 are by no means an exhaustive list of all the great parks in Kansas City. Emery and I visited many more parks that were also very cool and worth a trip as well, but these ten were simply the best of the best!
Speaking of “best,” though getting to experience all these parks was definitely an unforgettable experience, the BEST part by far was getting to experience it with my daughter and travel buddy, Emery. The memories I got to make with this special two-year old these past few months are memories I’ll cherish forever. I can’t imagine a better person to get to explore Kansas City with!
We hope our experience has given you some information to hopefully make similar memories with you and yours at a Kansas City area park in the near future.
What parks did we miss? Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments below!