The Deanna Rose Memorial Children's Farmstead at 138th and Switzer in the Overland Park Community Park is an ideal place for children to get a taste of life on the farm firsthand. The Farmstead provides a close-up look at a variety of typical farm animals, including ducks, horses, goats, chickens, pigs and rabbits and some not-so-typical farm animals, such as a peacock and buffalo. Demonstration vegetable gardens, perennial beds and displays of farm artifacts are also part of the farmstead. Two-hour tour packages for 10-40 persons include lunch, a wagon ride and animal feeding and must be scheduled in advance. Call (913) 897-2360.
The Creative Arts Center at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak in Kansas City, offers classes year-round in early childhood, parent-child drawing, painting and sculpture. School groups schedule classes during the school year and individuals can sign up for Saturday classes at (816) 751-1236.
Kaleidoscope, Crown Center, at 2501 McGee, Kansas City, is Hallmark Cards' creative art experience where children ages 5-12 are invited to explore, create and enjoy. Kaleidoscope, outside the third level of Hall's next to the Hallmark Visitors Center, offers four 55-minute public sessions beginning at 10:45 a.m., noon, 1:15 and 2:30 p.m., and it's always free. Tickets are distributed in the lobby on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. until maximum capacity for each session is reached. Reservations are needed for groups of six or more. During the school year, reservations are required at weekday sessions. For summer schedule and up-to-date information, call (816) 274-8300.
Lyric Opera Summer Camp is open to youngsters 8-18. The two-week camp, (816) 471-4933, offers such activities as singing and movement, dramatizing and listening to music from an upcoming opera, field trips and visits from the Lyric Opera artistic staff and singers.
Wonderscope Children's Museum is 13 rooms, each with a different theme, of hands-on, interactive exhibits in arts, science and technology for children, from toddlers to 10, at 5705 Flint in Shawnee. For admission price and schedule call (913) 268-8130.
Lakeside Nature Center, 4701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 513-8960. Wildlife education/interpretive programs with live animals, trails and exhibits.
The Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure, in Fleming Park in Jackson County, is open to the public with no admission fee from sunrise to sunset. A safari tour through the enclosure on a hay-filled truck with a close-up look at bison and elk can be arranged by calling (816) 229-8980 for admission price and schedule.
Missouri Town 1855, on the east side of Fleming Park at Lake Jacomo near Blue Springs, is a living history museum composed of over 35 buildings depicting the lifestyles of the mid-19th century. Interpreters are dressed in period costumes. (816) 795-8200, Ext. 1260. Many special events.
Old Shawnee Town at 57th and Cody in Shawnee is a recreated frontier town that includes a log cabin, sod house, blacksmith shop, barbershop, undertaker shop and the first jail in Kansas, built in 1843. Call (913) 248-2360.
Weston Historical Museum, 601 Main St. in Weston, Mo. A preservation of Weston and Platte County history, including prehistoric Indian artifacts, Civil War objects and an exhibit of items focusing on Ben Holladay, the "Stagecoach King." Call (816) 386-2977.
CUBE, 104 W. 9th, in American Institute of Architects, (913) 262-8222. Center for Understanding the Built Environment for kids, includes walking tour.
Story reading happens on a regular basis at many area libraries, which are also good sources for activity brochures from around the metro.