Around Town

JoCo Park Series: Ironwoods Park in Leawood, Kansas

Ironwoods Park

14701 Mission Rd. Leawood KS

What we love about Ironwoods Park: This is a really fun play structure and one of the things I like most is that there is a bridge from the little kid side to the big kid side so if your kid doesn’t like climbing ladders or rock walls they can still do the big slides.  Gretchen’s favorite feature was probably the long sloped tunnel.  This park has the standard swings- 2 baby and 2 big kid.  There are numerous slides and climbing opportunities, including ladders that go straight up from the ground under the structure to the top.  A nice sidewalk loops around the playground and is perfect for bikes and scooters.  There are several benches scattered around as well as a shelter right next to the park and indoor bathrooms.  This park is at the south end of Leawood and has lots of other fun features like a nature center to explore (see below for a list).

Ironwoods Park Leawood Kansas

Other things to know about Ironwoods Park:

–  Beyond the playground there is lots to do.  The Prairie Oak Nature Center is located here and has a 2 mile walking trail along with lots of reptiles, butterflies, and amphibians to check out.  It is closed on Mondays during the summer months and there is no admission fee.

– There are also cabins that can be rented and a challenge course with fun activities for older kids, like a giant swing.

– Inside this huge park is an amphitheater where events for kids take place throughout the summer as part of the Grinnin and Grooving series.  (see page 4 of this brochure for dates and more info). There will also be a Sunday evening free concert series in August and September and it’s at 6pm so early enough to take the kids.

– The Historic Oxford Schoolhouse also hosts events for kids including American Girl Doll themed events.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for this great post. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Blackhoof Park in Lenexa, Kansas

Blackhoof Park at Lake Lenexa

9053 Monticello Road, Lenexa, KS

What we love about Blackhoof Park:

The Little Playground: This playground is perfect for the preschool set.   Lots of fun activities like slides, a narrow stationary bridge, and my daughter’s favorite: a steering wheel.  There are also monkey bars and their own set of rings to hang from that aren’t too high off the ground.  This structure also has these hybrid-slides/climbers that are great for kids that want a slide climbing like activity when mom doesn’t actually want them climbing the slides ;)  (recently learned slide climbing is a super hot topic among park moms, lol).  The bathrooms are right next to this little playground, perfect for the frequent potty breaks that 3 year olds need!

Blackhoof Park Lenexa Kansas 1

The Medium Playground: This playground is not far from the little playground and features 4 baby swings, a sand pit, and another fun play structure.  Here you’ll find your average height slides and climbing structures as well as a cool climbing wall.  The sand area is devoid of any diggers or toys so make sure to bring a sand bucket and a shovel for your kids to play here.

Blackhoof Park Lenexa Kansas 2

The Big Playground: This playground is at the top of the hill and nearest to the parking lot. There are 4 big kid swings here. The slides on this structure reach heights not often seen at parks these days!  Gretchen went down one and was wide eyed at how fast she went.  I asked if she wanted to go again and she politely said “no thank you!”  I really like when big structures have normal stairs for the little kids to climb since many enjoy the thrill of the tall slides but can’t manage rock walls or tall ladders.  This one had a great variety of ways kids could explore and climb to the top.  For bigger kids that may feel they’ve outgrown the typical playground, this one has a ton to offer that should still excite them.

Blackhoof Park Lenexa Kansas 3

The Nature Playground: Like Franklin Park and Gezer Park there is a man-made “creek” here for the kids to play in.  Unfortunately we went right before Memorial Day so it was not yet turned on.  We’ll go back in July to check out that feature when it’s nice and hot out!  Even without that feature there is plenty to do over here.  Logs and stumps for the kids to walk on and large rock formations perfect for climbing.  This is a shady and cool area of the park to retreat to in the middle of the day.  Water fountains and the trail connecting to the rest of the walking paths at Lake Lenexa can be found down here.

Blackhoof Park Lenexa Kansas 4

Other things to know about Blackhoof Park:

– Lake Lenexa is 35 acres and open to non-motorized boats as well as fishing.  They is a really cool damn that you can explore.

– There is another small playground right by the boat ramp that is on the lake.  The large playground that I featured above is just up the road at the north end of the park.

– There are lots of paved trails here perfect for walking, running, and bike riding.  Lots of wildlife to see as well!

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for this great post. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Sar-Ko-Park Trails in Lenexa, Kansas

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park

87th and Lackman in Lenexa, KS

What we love about Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park: This park is huge!  There is a large playground right next to the lake with bathrooms right next to it, a little island with a dragon (?) statue that you can get to by walking across the rock bridge, and a trail that circles the lake and then goes on up the hill to the other parts of the park that we have yet to explore.  The Lenexa website says there are 5 playgrounds total, but from what I can tell this playground is the largest.  There is a large playground structure with multiple slides and climbing structures as well as 4 swings (2 baby, 2 regular), and a little ride on frog.  The retaining wall that forms a half circle around the playground is also fun for the kids to walk on: back and forth and back and forth!  There is a picnic table right next to this playground and a couple of shelters nearby that can be reserved as well as other picnic tables and benches scattered along the trail.  The paved trail around the lake is great for kids to explore with their bikes and scooters.

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park Lenexa Kansas

Other things to know about Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park:

– If you park in the lot at Cedar Ridge Christian Church there is a paved path that will take over to the playground.  When you cross the footbridge stop and look around, we saw several frogs/toads and tadpoles!  Gretchen loved scoping them out.

– If barns and historical Kansas artifacts are your thing, check out the Legler Barn Museum at the corner of 87th and Lackman.  There is a train caboose right next to it the kids can check out as well.

– This park also features a pool, disc golf course, and a skate park.

– Lenexa is hosting a concert series at this park in May and June of 2015.

– If you want to check out ALL the parks in Lenexa this summer, go check out their playground passport program.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for this great post. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Leawood Park in Leawood, Kansas

Leawood City Park

10601 Lee Blvd. Leawood, KS 66206

What we love about Leawood City Park: The dinosaurs!  Gretchen loved the 2 dinosaurs and the alligator so much we had to bribe her to explore the rest of the playground.  They dinos rock back and forth and the gator is stationary.  The playground is really large with a separate structure for younger kids next to the dinosaurs.  I really liked that there are ramps for getting on the equipment as we’ve noticed many newer playgrounds make actually getting on the equipment a challenge for kids under the age of 4 or kids that struggle with climbing.  There is a huge shelter with picnic tables and bathrooms right next to the playground.

Leawood Park Leawood Kansas

 

Other things to know about Leawood City Park:

– It’s right next to 435 so the noise from traffic can get pretty loud depending on what time of day you are there.

– We haven’t visited it ourselves, but the Leawood Aquatic Center right next to the playground looks fun.  I spotted a whale slide and a spray ground.  We may have to check it out this summer!

– You can probably tell from the pictures that the park has seen better days.  The turf has lots of holes in it and the playground structure is really faded from the sun.  Not sure what year this playground was constructed but it needs a good sprucing!

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for this great post. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Brougham Park in Olathe, Kansas

Brougham Park

15501 S. Brougham Dr. Olathe, KS 66062

What we love about Brougham Park: Gretchen’s favorite feature at this park was probably the hippo tunnel.  This park is different than many other Olathe parks in that it has a lot more to offer for big kids.  The lower tier of the play structure is great for the preschool set, but then the upper tier is well suited for elementary aged kids or little ones that are adept at climbing.  Gretchen still needs a spotter for some of the taller climbing features but she loved going down the steep slides once she made it to the top.  There is a separate climbing structure (the trees) that she is definitely too small for at this point but she still enjoyed trying and she loved watching the bigger kids climb it.  There are 2 baby swings and 2 big kid swings and a huge open field next to the playground perfect for flying a kit or running around.  This park is connected to the nearby neighborhoods by a trail that is nice for walking or riding bikes/scooters.  There is a nice shelter next to the park that is first come first serve.

Brougham Park Olathe Kansas

Other things to know about Brougham Park:

-There is no parking lot for this park, but you can park along the road next to it or in the evenings/weekends in the school parking lot across the street.

-There are also no bathrooms at this park, not even a port a potty, kind of a bummer.

-This is one of Olathe’s 22 neighborhood parks.  I’m  jealous of the families that live close and can pop over here in the evenings!  This is a lesser known park (I learned about it from a friend) so I imagine it’s not as busy as some of the other parks in Olathe.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for this great post. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Franklin Park in Prairie Village, Kansas

Franklin Park in Prairie Village, KS

8706 Roe Ave. Prairie Village, KS 66208

What we love about Franklin Park:  THE SHADE!  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a park this shaded. So many big trees offer a canopy of shade for the whole playground.  I hate playgrounds where you bake in the sun and the equipment is burning up before noon. This park has a ton for the kids to do. Gretchen is obsessed with swings right now so we spent quite a bit of time over there. There are 2 baby swings, 2 big kid swings, and a tire swing (which she loved!). Gretchen’s other obsession at this park were the ride on toys, a turtle and a duck (at least that’s what she called it, not sure it’s actually a duck!)  There are two large play structures, one geared more towards younger kids, one for older kids.  The real stars at this park are the sandbox and the nature stream.  The huge sandbox is loaded with buckets, shovels, and other fun toys.  The nature stream has a little man-made stream and lots of logs and rocks for the kids to climb on and explore.  Sadly we went too early in the season to enjoy the stream.  Not sure when it gets turned on, maybe after Memorial Day?  We will go back later this summer to check that feature out and I’ll try to update my post at that time.

Franklin Park Prairie Village Kansas

Other things to know about Franklin Park:

-There is a large shelter next to the playground with bathrooms and water fountains next to it.

-This park is popular and can get really busy. I spoke with a mom that said it was a rare day there wasn’t a line for the swings!  I imagine it will be busier once school is out for the summer and the nature stream opens.

-In addition to the shelter there are several picnic tables right next to the sandbox and plenty of green space and shaded spots for a picnic.  With so much to do at this park you could easily spend a few hours here.

-The parking lot filled up fast but there appears to be street parking available adjacent to the park.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for the information. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Blackbob Park in Olathe, Kansas

Blackbob Park in Olathe, KS

14500 W 151st St. Olathe, KS 66062

What we love about this park:  Gretchen loves the “castle park” as she calls it.  The unique castle structure is fun for kids that like to play pretend.  There are 4 slides, 2 bridges, and lots of climbing features for little and big kids to enjoy.  Instead of mulch or sand there are plastic tiles with some bounce to them (not sure what exactly they are called) beneath the play structure.  I like this as a parent as it means I don’t have to stop and empty my shoes (or my kid’s shoes!) in the middle of play time.  Gretchen’s is currently obsessed with swings and this park has 2 baby swings and 2 regular swings.  There is also a shelter that can be reserved for parties, a water fountain right next to it, and bathrooms are just a short walk away.  There are 3 benches and a picnic table near the playground where you can sit and enjoy a picnic.

Blackbob Park Olathe Kansas

Other things to know about Blackbob Park:

-It is home to Blackbob Bay, an awesome pool to enjoy during the summer.  I love the mini me swimming sessions in the mornings that allow you to enjoy the kid areas without the big kids.  You just pay for one adult to get in and 2 kids under 5 get in with you for free.  I also love to go on the evenings that they do water walking in the lazy river, it’s a low impact but effective work out.

-In the summer there are also batting cages and a mini golf course you can use.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for the information. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Antioch Park in Merriam, Kansas

Antioch Park in Merriam, KS

6501 Antioch Rd, Merriam, KS 66202

What we love about this park:  The variety of things you can do here!  Walk the trails, fish in the lakes, explore the rose garden, play in Dodge town or one of the 2 playgrounds, swing on the swings, have a picnic under the huge trees, reserve a shelter and have a cookout, and of course meet up with friends (and make some new ones as we did on our outing!)  There are indoor bathrooms at this park which is great when you have toddlers that are still mastering the art of using the potty in public.

Antioch Park, Merriam Kansas

Other things to know about Antioch Park:

-Kids under 15 don’t need a fishing license. This would be a great spot to take your kids fishing for the first time since you know they’ll tire of it after too long and the playground is right there when they get bored! ;)

-On the south end of the park there are basketball, tennis, horseshoe and bocce courts.

-This park gets straight crazy on a nice weekend!  Weekday mornings are great though, or even in the evening when things have cooled off a bit.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for the information. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Gezer Park in Leawood, Kansas

Gezer Park in Leawood, KS

13251 Mission Rd. Leawood, KS 66209

What we love about this park: The huge playground structure: 4 slides, 2 climbing tubes, multiple unique climbing ladders, and built in awnings to keep the structure shaded.  Swings (seriously these can be hard to find these days!)  2 baby swings and 4 big kid ones.  The sand pit with digging toys and buried “fossils” for the kids to excavate.  The shallow man-made “creek” that winds through the park and is perfect for splashing in (bring water shoes and a change of clothes!)  Picnic tables by the playground have awnings over them to keep you shaded, and there are bigger picnic shelters available as well.  Another perk is there are real bathrooms, no port-a-potties here!  There is a trail and another little pond to see on the east end of the park but we didn’t make it over there tonight, will have to check it out next time.

Gezer Park, Leawood Kansas

Other things to know about Gezer Park:

“The unique park design reflects the contours of the State of Israel, with the Sea of Galilee on one end and the Dead Sea on the other – connected by a 700′ stone wadi that carries water from the west to east end of the park.” source

There is a fire pit on the east side of the park that you can reserve in conjunction with one of the shelters.  Birthday party w/s’mores anyone??

Lots of great info about the park and future additions that are planned can be seen here.

Thank you Pugs not Drugs for the information. If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

JoCo Park Series: Frontier Park in Olathe, Kansas

A good friend of mine loves taking her daughter to the park and spending time outside. She has graciously allowed us to share information from her blog Pugs not Drugs with our readers in hopes that this allows you better insight into the the Johnson County, Kansas Area. You can also find a map of the all the parks discussed here.

Frontier Park in Olathe, KS (aka “the boat park” to my daughter)

Address: 15501 Indian Creek Trail, Olathe, KS 66062

What we love about this park: The pirate ship theme, multiple slides, swings (sadly many parks in Olathe don’t have them any more!).  There are also 2 shelters with picnic tables (cannot be reserved but are usually available on weekday mornings).  There’s lots of green space to run around, a trail, and a baseball diamond.  No bathrooms but there is a port a potty.

Frontier Park, Olathe Kansas

Other things to know about Frontier Park:

Featured at this park is the Olathe Free Summer Concert Series.  We haven’t been to one yet but hopefully will make it out this summer.

The Olathe Public Library hosts story time at Frontier Park during the summer, usually on Tuesday mornings but check their site for more info.

If you have a park you would like to add please leave us a comment below!

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