Spring break week, Kansas City to Terre Haute, WHAT TO DO?!

Title says most of it: my wife, 7-year old son, and I will be driving from Atlanta to Kansas City for a tournament, and then will have a week before a second tournament in Terre Haute. During the week off we would like to find fun things in either city, someplace in between (like St. Louis), or even someplace not TOO far (3-4 hours tops) off the beaten path. Branson qualifies, but during my one visit there, I do not recall any kid-fun stuff. I do also see a nice kid’s museum in Indianapolis, another destination idea, but having lived in eastern states all my life, I am at a loss as to what there is to do beyond the St. Louis arch (worth it?).

Does anyone have any ideas? We leave in about two weeks and I know Six Flags will not be open, no loss as we have one here in Atlanta.

In St. Louis, your kid is sure the enjoy The Magic House Children’s Museum almost as much as you will.

Between the one reply here (for which I am grateful), and the lack of a lot of things outside of the Dells in the other travel thread, I am thinking this is going to be a painful spring break.

*Having been to both, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum beats the ever-living crap out of the St. Louis Magic House.
*The Eiteljorg Museum is an interesting place - it’s a Native American museum, with a side-focus on the American West.
*Next door to that is the Indiana State Museum (worth at least a walk around - it’s free), and next to that is the NCAA Headquarters and Museum if anyone’s a sports fan.
*If it’s nice outside, the canal is right there, with paddleboats.
*There’s a great minor league baseball stadium a few blocks down the street if you’re up for a game.

St. Louis
*The arch is cool - and it’s right off the highway if you want to make quick work of it. Nice little park underneath it to stretch at the very least.

Kansas City
*Again, if you’re a sports fan, the Negro League Baseball Museum is a must-see. And if you’re a jazz fan, the Jazz Museum is right across the street.
*For BBQ, Arthur Bryant’s is a few blocks away from those attractions.
*None of the above are night-time recommendations…
*There’s another children’s museum in KC - Science City. I’ve heard good reports (but I’d lean towards Indy if you just want one.)

St Louis has one of the best zoos in the country, and it’s FREE!

Warning about the Arch - if you want to go up to the top, you might want to get there early - my experience has been that tickets go fast. I think the last time we went, we got there around 10:30 or so and the soonest we could go up was like 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon. Check online - you might be able to buy tickets ahead of time.

Also, if you are the least bit claustrophobic then a ride to the top of the Arch might not be for you.

Munch mentioned Science City in KC, which is inside Union Station. I’ve been there and it’s OK but not great. There are a lot of interactive displays but my recollection is that quite a few of them didn’t work right (or at all). Still, there’s some cool stuff in there, and it has places for an active 7 year old to burn off some energy, so it might be worth a visit.

I don’t know how far Springfield IL is off the beaten path on the way to Terre Haute but that’s another stop to consider. Lots of Lincoln-related historical stuff there.

Ooh! That reminds me - the Indiana State Museum has a limited-time Lincoln exhibit that’s supposed to be fantastic. I should plan a trip over there very soon:


Great replies all and thank you! This makes for a better chance of NOT having to go 4 or 5 hours off the beaten path for a family trip, very much appreciated!

As far as KC goes, I don’t have a kid so I’m not terribly in tune with what kid friendly events there are here in the area.
We do have Worlds Of Fun, opening weekend is April 17th. It’s like Six Flags.

I’m more in tune with restaurants in the Kansas City area, though. So if you give me an approximate area in which you’re staying, foods you particularly like (from uber expensive down to pub grub is fine across any cuisine) and a price range I can help you out.

Being in Atlanta, we are blessed with a wide variety of food types, so I would like something unique to KC (BBQ maybe?) or the region while staying family friendly and no more than moderately priced. Not sure where we are staying though as it will be with family and I have never been out there.

Sadly we will be missing Worlds of Fun by about two weeks.

Already mentioned, but I’ll 2nd the following:

St. Louis
Arch is a must-do
St. Louis has a great science center.
St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Springfield, IL
Abraham Lincoln stuff will keep you busy for at least a full day, and maybe 2.
New Salem is the restored town where Lincoln lived for several years–about 20 miles away from Springfield.
State Capitol Building is beautiful and bigger than the US Capitol.

Ah, I thought you said two weeks out by the 23rd so I figured it would coincide pretty close. Oh well.

As far as BBQ goes I have a few suggestions. For dinner I’d go with Jack Stack’s BBQ which has four locations around the area. They’re “upscale” BBQ but still moderately priced and the large meals are definitely shareable when you order an extra side or two.

For lunch you’ll want to hit Gates which is more “old school” BBQ and will definitely give you a taste of what KC BBQ is all about. They have something like 6 or 8 locations.

My favorite BBQ is Oklahoma Joe’s which you’ll probably not be able to get to, but who knows? The main restuarant is seriously run out of a gas station.

As far as other KC oriented foods, there was always Stroud’s for good old fashioned Fried Chicken but it just hasn’t been the same since the city uprooted them from their original location of 50 years to build a byway.

If you’ve got other cuisines or types you’d like to try (Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Tapas, or just going out for great cocktails) just let me know.

In St. Louis, you simply must go to the City Museum, in downtown. It’s incredible. They’ve recycled a bunch of scrap metal and other “junk” into a three story playground. It’s great for kids, and pretty fun for adults, too. We took my two nieces and my nephew there (bro lives in St. Louis) and they ran around for hours, then fell asleep as we carried them to the car. Seriously, it’s fantastic. Highly recommended.

I’d recommend Hannibal, MO, halfway between KC and Terre Haute. Hannibal was the boyhood home of Mark Twain, and the inspiration for the setting of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. There are a bunch of interesting Mark Twain museums, and steamboat era activities.

As a KC native, I regret that I cannot recommend Science City. It’s big, and it’s new, but it really seems like a lot of flash and not much substance.

When I was 7, I loved the local petting zoo. Though I don’t know how much it’s changed in the last twenty years.

Re: Enderw24’s BBQ suggestions:
Jack Stack’s BBQ - make sure to have the beef brisket. Everything else is great as well.
Gates - you want the ribs here.
Oklahoma Joe’s - best pulled pork in town.

And my recommendation to add (which is at the top of my list):
http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com/ - you want a sandwich. Beef/pork combo is my favorite, but beef, pork, turkey are absolutely fantastic.

You win first place for the least popular spring break itinerary in history. :stuck_out_tongue:

But be that as it may, this is a trip that will be highlighted be an Arch, Lincoln and multiple plates of BBQ and pork tenderloin sandwiches.

One stop I didn’t see mentioned in St Louis was the Science Museum. Also, there is the brewery tour at Budweiser (the processing/packaging equipment may interest the young one, plus you get to quaff a cold one or two).

Munch’s Indy recommendations are great, you can’t miss with any of those. But let me strongly urge you to check out the Children’s Museum. The place is simply awesome for everyone. The Indianapolis Zoo is also pretty cool, especially in the spring or fall when the weather’s nice.

ETA- The Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument in the middle of the city is worth a look. A seven-year old might not appreciate it, but its worth it for adults.