A new streetcar line, an outpouring of craft libations and a recent World Series Championship have transformed Kansas City into a tour-ific town.
So this Father’s Day (June 19), ditch the neckties and golf balls. Give Dad the meaningful gift of exploring his town. We reckon that, aside from raising you, there’s nothing he’s prouder of than living in KC.
Here’s a selection of gift suggestions, all in the form of tours:
True blue Dad
Did you know that the Kansas City Royals have the second-smallest market in Major League Baseball but the second largest scoreboard? That’s just one of the many facts guide Mike Bratcher mentioned as he maneuvered a golf cart on the Grand Slam Tour around Kauffman Stadium.
The stadium offers several tiers of tours, and this one is toward the top, including the zippy transportation — a nice perk. Still, you get in plenty of steps exploring the fields, luxury suites (complete with sleek decor and cushy padded seats), the press box and more.
What is most dads’ favorite part of the tour?
“Definitely the dugout,” Bratcher said. You can stroll right in and sit where the Royals place their own derrieres. And you can geek out over the four black telephones on the wall, each one a different hotline to the bullpen, instant replays and the like.
Dave and Adam Giles, a father and son from Massachusetts, called their tour of The K earlier this week one of the best in the U.S. — the two are deep into their mission of touring MLB ballparks.
Tours begin at the Royals Hall of Fame, where there’s plenty of inspiration for the fan cave, including a Cooperstown exhibit and a new movie that centers on the 2015 championship season.
“It gives people the chills,” said Morrie Carlson, manager of stadium tours. “And that’s what tours are about — the feeling from the entertainment and the experience.”
If Dad wants a bunch of stats he can search Google, Carlson said.
Kauffman Stadium tours are held year-round at 1 Royal Way. Until Aug. 31, tour days are Tuesday through Saturday, but most aren’t available on days the Royals play at home. You can buy tickets at Gate C or at royals.mlb.com. For more information, call 816-504-4297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ The Legends Tour: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon; lasts about 90 minutes. Stops include the Hall of Fame, dugout, interview room, press box. Adults, $17; seniors (55 and up), $15; children (4-12), $12.
▪ The All-Star Tour: 10 a.m., noon; lasts about two hours. Stops include all of the above, plus Triple Crown and Dugout suites, Craft & Draft eatery and Party Deck. Package includes Kauffman Stadium cap. Adults, $30; seniors (55 and up); $27, children (4-12), $22.
▪ The Grand Slam Tour: 10 a.m., noon; lasts about two hours. Stops include all of the above, plus KIA Diamond Club, Bats Crown Club, View Level Overlook. Also: golf cart transportation and gifts of a Kauffman Stadium cap and stretched canvas stadium picture. Adults, $55; seniors (55 and up), $50, children (4-12), $40.
▪ Group Tour: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon; lasts about an hour. Tour stops include dugout, interview room, press box. $120 gets you 20 tour tickets; additional tickets, $6. Reservations are required.
▪ Royals All-Access Tour: OK, this one is for the Truest Bluest Dads. Get this: It’s on game days. You go behind the scenes leading up to game time on the field, in the booth and beyond. It’s basically the Grand Slam Tour plus batting practice (on-field), Royals Radio Network booth, FSKC Television booth and the Crown-Vision control room. Also includes: one loge-level ticket, a $50 gift card (for food, beverages and merchandise), gifts of an official MLB bat, Kauffman Stadium cap and stretched canvas stadium picture. $350 per person, no matter the age. Reservations required 24 hours ahead.
Main Street Dad
Pop can hop on the new streetcar for the best kind of tour of Kansas City — free! Bonus: Along the 2-mile trek down Main Street, from Union Station to the River Market, other fine experiences are just a few steps away:
▪ World War I Museum, 100 W. 26th St. Rated the top museum in Kansas City and one of the best in the U.S. Two-day pass: adults, $14; seniors (65 and up) and students, $12; youth (6-17), $8; children, free; discounts for active-duty military and veterans; Wednesdays are $7 for everyone. Tours, free with admission, are available at 2 p.m. Thursdays. theworldwar.org
▪ Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road. Self-guided tours of the 1914 structure are free, while events, exhibits, the planetarium and Science City require tickets. unionstation.org
▪ Tom’s Town Distilling Co., 1701 Main St. (Read more in Crafty Dad below.) $10 tours and tastings. toms-town.com
▪ College Basketball Experience, 1401 Grand Blvd. Check out college basketball history and shoot some hoops with Dad. Adults, $14; youth (4-17), $11; seniors (65 and up), $10; children (3 and under), free. collegebasketballexperience.com
▪ Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The Kansas City Public Library was selected as the Missouri stop for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 national tour of “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Free, and on exhibit through June 28. kclibrary.org
▪ Arabia Steamboat Museum, 400 Grand Blvd. Lost for 132 years, the 1856 Steamboat Arabia is a modern-day treasure hunting story. Adults, $14.50; seniors (60 and older), $13.50; youth (4-14), $5.50; children (3 and under), free. Guided tours start every half-hour. 1856.com
There’s a trail to suit any dad in the metro area, from the easy stroller to the strong hiker. Here are three to try.
(And if you really want to give Dad something to unwrap, a good water bottle or a knapsack packed with a picnic lunch will come in handy.)
▪ Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. Want to take it easy on Father’s Day? Mosey along a stretch of this trail, which runs past plenty of places to stop for refreshment or lunch in Brookside and Waldo. The trail runs along Brookside Boulevard and Wornall Road and turns east just south of 83rd Street. kcata.org
▪ Indian Creek Trail. For a more sylvan view, hoof it through the suburban woods in Overland Park. The trail crosses several parks, where you can leave your car and start your hike. Foxhill North Park at Indian Creek Parkway and Roe Avenue is a good choice to start a hike south that connects to the Tomahawk Creek Trail. opkansas.org
▪ Weston Bend State Park. This beautiful park south of Weston offers thick woods and gorgeous views from bluffs along the Missouri River. With hiking choices that range from smooth pavement to rugged trails, you can spend a happy day exploring this natural gem from morning to sundown. mostateparks.com
Dad has an ever-growing number of hand-crafted beverage places to tour and taste from.
▪ One of the newest is Tom’s Town Distilling Co., 1701 Main St., along the streetcar route. The distillery draws inspiration from Prohibition-era political boss Tom Pendergast. The $10 tour offers Kansas City history, a look at the distillery and a tasting of Tom’s Town bourbon, gin and vodka — now available in Kansas liquor stores and later this summer in Missouri. The 2:30 p.m. Saturday tour would be a good time to relax and enjoy the cocktail lounge and small plates. toms-town.com
▪ Boulevard Brewing Co. offers free, 40-minute tours every day. Tickets must be claimed in person, starting at 10 a.m. the day of the tour. They’re claimed quickly, maybe because there’s a tasting at the end. The Smokestack and Unfiltered tours are each 90 minutes and explore much more of the brewery. Each is $20. Tour guests must wear closed-toe shoes and safety glasses (provided there). boulevard.com, 816-474-7095
▪ Two tour companies offer bus tours of the Kansas City area’s growing list of breweries, distilleries and wineries: Barley Bus, barleybus.com, and KC Beer Tour, kcbeertour.com. They typically limit tours to three places to prevent overindulging.
▪ KC Barbecue Tours stop at four restaurants in one day: Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, LCs and Woodyard. $65 buys you meat and a side dish from each place and transportation, kcbarbecuetours.com
(The same company will launch double-decker sightseeing tours of many of the attractions listed above, starting June 14. See kcdoubledeckertours.com)