Playful. Imaginative. Fun and free. For the young and young at heart.
See famous “Cars”
119 N Main St
Drive down Main Street in Galena and for a moment you might feel as if you’re in Radiator Springs, the fictional town where Pixar’s blockbuster “Cars” franchise is set. You’ll see the inspiration truck for Tow Mater and a Lightning McQueen replica at Cars on the Route, and Doc Hudson at Gearhead Curios. Another must-visit is Luigi’s Pit Stop. Your kids will enjoy the car replicas and you can take in the abundance of Route 66 nostalgia. Take plenty of family photos, and pick up a few souvenirs.
Hands-on learning and activities
1610 S 21st St
A hidden gem for curious kids to play, learn and discover new things can be found in Parsons. Curious Minds Discovery Zone offers educational and interactive stations, Legos, a magnetic ball run wall, microscopes, creative play grocery store and so much more. The facility also offers a variety of camps for kids during the summer months that encourage exploration and creativity!
Admire exotic animals
1751 CR 1425
Nestled in small-town America is an unexpected exotic animal zoo full of a variety. This beautiful and unique zoo takes you on your own personal tour with a knowledgeable and interactive tour guide. For a more hands-on experience, you can opt to do a private encounter and hold certain animals and reptiles. Animals range from large cats to primates to bears and now even a sloth! To experience a zoo in a way like never before, visit the Safari Zoological Park.
102 National Ave
Take the family to the Museum of Creativity for a fun, family-friendly place to exhibit existing hobbies and explore new ones through workshops, clubs and classes. Train models, Barbie exhibits, photo props and Lego exhibits are scattered throughout the museum. The kids’ play area includes free arcade games, tires, climbing dome, play structures, giant Jenga and more! Make your own crafts to take home. Some crafts are free.
Visit Emporia for all the outdoor fun
75 Soden Rd
West Randolph Ave
Visit the David Traylor Zoo and experience exotic animals and lush botanicals in a beautifully landscaped setting. See bald eagles, lemurs, prairie dogs, a mountain lion, birds, water features and more. The zoo contains nearly 400 specimens of birds, mammals and reptiles representing more than 80 species exhibited in natural habitats. The zoo features a walk-through area where you can enjoy a mixture of native and endangered species.
While in the area, be sure to swing by Peter Pan Park, one of Emporia’s largest and most beautiful parks, with more than 50 acres to explore. This beautiful property offers amenities for all ages including a splash pad, playground, lake, tennis, disc golf, picnic tables, memorials and more. Bring the kids and enjoy the splash pad, bring a buddy and play a challenging game of disc golf, or just sit in the shade and read.
Play with the dinosaurs
4th & Walnut
Dinosaur-themed sculptures made from autos, farm implements and other scrap metal can be seen at the Erie Dinosaur Park. There are around 20 detailed, life-size skeletal dinosaurs.
Open 2nd Saturday & 3rd Sunday or by appointment, but the dinos can be viewed any time from outside the park fence.
Stay a while in Independence
400 Mickey Mantle Way
1300 N 5th
Independence’s Riverside Park & Ralph Mitchell Zoo offer a free zoo (donations accepted) best known for Monkey Island, a mini-train ride, carousel ride, playgrounds, rentable shelters and more! The Riverside Beach Family Aquatic Center is the place for summer fun featuring three pools, four water slides, play structures, a lazy river and concessions. Adventures are endless on this beautiful property in the heart of SEK.