After a rough start to our vacation, we finally hit the road to Kansas City. During the 8-hour drive, the kids managed to entertain themselves in the following ways:
- Watching movies on the iPad and DVD Player
- Listening to music
- Playing the license plate game (we got 38 states)
- Playing ‘Banana,” a game they made up (Yellow sports cars are bananas, blue motorcycles are blueberries, lime green cars are limes, and pink vehicles are strawberries)
- Getting truckers to honk their horns
In addition, I entertained the kids by improvising a puppet show starring their stuffed animals. They were most amused when I sang a song and made the stuffed moose shake his booty.
With all of these things going on in the minivan, the kids hardly had time to ask, “Are we there yet?” Not that they didn’t ask, but they weren’t annoying with it.
My wife, KayEm, and I also scheduled 4 hour breaks to stretch our legs, take a restroom break (much needed for a 3-year-old who was still potty training – no accidents), and eat. This schedule was much better than the marathon, no-stop drives that we experienced as kids.
Kansas City, Missouri – Baseball, Bowling, & BBQ
We didn’t have much time in Kansas City, but we wanted to give the kids a small taste of the town outside of their grandparents’ house.
We visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th & Vine district.
The baseball museum had hundreds of photos and artifacts from the 1800s through the 1960s. Of course there was the typical Jackie Robinson exhibits, but I was most excited to let my son, N, learn about Josh Gibson – the power-hitting catcher whose home run prowess rivaled any major leaguer of his time. N played catcher most of the baseball season and I wanted him to learn about all of Gibson’s accomplishments. I showed him footage of Gibson’s hitting home runs, biographical excerpts and photos. Unfortunately, my son’s enthusiasm didn’t match my own. All he wanted to do was buy a souvenir in the gift shop.
The kids seemed to prefer the jazz museum because the exhibits were more interactive. They got to create their own music, watch videos and listen to famous jazz artists. Their favorite exhibit was the mixing station where they were able to change the volume, panning, reverb, etc. of each track in the song and compare their mix to the original mix. I must admit that I liked this exhibit the most also.
After we left the museums, we went bowling. My kids were excited especially my 3-year-old son, X, because it was his first time bowling in real life (we’ve spent countless hours bowling on the Wii). X managed to bowl a strike (with the help of the bumpers) and I managed to score a 194 (my best score ever) and win the match.
The next day, KayEm, the kids, and my mother-in-law went to see The Smurfs. Since I had my fill of Smurfs in the 80s, I chose not to participate; however, I offered to dropped them off so I could spend a couple of hours at the bookstore and guitar shop. My daughter Nee lucked out because she got to go to the American Girl Store where her grandmother and her grandmother’s friend bought her gifts. Later that night, we got Gates BBQ for dinner. Now this is the section where I’m required to proclaim that KC BBQ is inferior to Texas BBQ. Since everyone already knows this is true, I’ll simply say that Gates is a good place to get BBQ if you’re not in Texas.
The rest of our time was spent catching up on sleep, relaxing, and playing games. Although it wasn’t a fancy European excursion, we had a great time on our simple vacation visiting our family.
Oklahoma City – Bricktown
On the way home, we stopped in Oklahoma City and visited an area called Bricktown. It seemed to be the social hub of the city with a River Walk, Baseball Stadium, shops, and restaurants. We took a ride on a water taxi, visited the baseball stadium, and indulged in some decadent cupcakes. We spent the night and decompressed from all of the activity. Although we had another 8-hour drive ahead of us the next day, we were refreshed and ready to tackle the road one more time.
Question: How was your family vacation?