This post is the third in a series exploring all that Kansas City, Missouri (the location of NAFSA's 2010 Annual Conference & Expo) has to offer. Thanks to Michael Hernandez of Park University and the 2010 Local Arrangements Team for this contribution. Add your own Kansas City day trip recommendations and reviews as comments!
Even though the Kansas City metropolitan area offers many wonderful attractions for you to enjoy during your visit, there are several opportunities to travel to other parts of Missouri and Kansas to experience what else the Midwest offers. The following are short-distance half-day or full-day trips of my own choosing and recommendation.
WESTON, Missouri (40 minutes from Kansas City)
This town was voted the #1 Best Daytrip by Ingram's Magazine, a local monthly publication. William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was at one time a resident of Weston, and the town was a major "jumping off" point for the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush.
Today, Weston is the home of McCormick Distilling Company, producers of a large number of liquors. McCormick's was founded in 1856, and is the oldest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi River and the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. Visit the McCormick Country Store, as well as the Pirtle Winery, Weston Brewing Company, which contains O'Malley's 1842 Pub, and the Green Dirt Farm Enjoy multiple museums, including the National Silk Art Museum, and shop for antiques at multiple locations throughout the area.
JAMESPORT, Missouri (1.5 hours from Kansas City)
Jamesport's motto, "In the heart of Amish Country," speaks for itself. Jamesport is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River. Step back in time and into a whole different cultural world, with Amish specialty stores and unique experiences.
JESSE JAMES FARM (35 minutes from Kansas City)
For all Wild West enthusiasts. The birthplace of the legendary Midwestern outlaw, this restored farm preserves the history of both the man and the Civil War era that he lived in.
HARRY S. TRUMAN LIBRARY AND MUSEUM (25 minutes from Kansas City)
Discover the history of the 33rd president of the United States and his times at the Harry S. Truman Library, the first presidential library created from the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act. Truman's presidency was eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War. Travel three minutes south of the library to see the Harry S. Truman home, where he lived from age 22 until his death.
POWELL GARDENS (50 minutes from Kansas City)
This is Kansas City's botanical garden. Enjoy the displays at the spring season's highest point.
LOUISBURG CIDER MILL (55 minutes from Kansas City)
This more than 120 year-old barn was renovated in 1977 and produced its first jug of apple cider that year. Enjoy the flavors, the shopping, and learn the process of making great apple cider when you visit.
TALLGRASS PRAIRIE NATIONAL PRESERVE (2.5 hours from Kansas City)
It is best to get on-board a 1.5-hour bus tour to see and understand the value of this preserve, located in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL HALL OF FAME (25 minutes from Kansas City)
Visit this unique center, charted by the United States Congress to honor the American farmer.
Michael Hernandez has lived in Kansas City, Missouri for 26 years, has worked at Park University for the past 13 years and when a great weather weekend happens, likes to go to one of the many outdoor shopping, eating or just hanging out locations around Kansas City.