What do you love more? Family dates? Or dates with your partner or best friend? For me, it is nearly impossible to pick, because I look forward to family dates so much.
You might be wondering if I’m just calling it a “date” because we’re in the month of love. What is the difference between a family date and a family outing?
I draw a definitive difference between the two. A family date is tons of fun for everyone involved (and involves food — mama loves food), and a family outing is more when I take my kids to an indoor park and kind of feign fun ’til I can get back to adult stuff.
Here is the list of some of my favorite family dates to inspire you to share in the family love this month, and months to come.
City Market is an easy one-stop to offer activity, shopping, and a worldly variety of flavorful food fare. Last visit we ate at Habashi House and the hummus was so good we took a quart home. You really can’t go wrong with City Market restaurants, though. Plan to reward your taste buds with a choice from this list.
The weekends are especially fun there because vendors who come to offer their goods while there are also exhibits to look at. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is fascinating for kids and adults alike to watch the magnificent steamboat wheel churning through an indoor water set-up. There are many artifacts to peruse which were recovered from the steamboat which sank near Kansas City in 1856. Adults are $14.50, children over 4 $5.50, and children 3 and under are free.
St. Joseph Restaurant & Glore Museum
Perfect for cooler weather, the Glore Psychiatric Museum is my all-time favorite stop in St. Joseph. This inexpensive tour explains the 145-year history of the state hospital and centuries of mental health treatment. It is a quick drive north for a great opportunity to teach your children about mental health, the absurd practices of the past, and to view historical collections of dolls, artifacts, and memorabilia. The list of family friendly restaurants includes but is not limited to: 54th Street Grill & Bar, Il Lazzarone, El Maguey, and Cheddar’s.
BBQ & Boulevard Drive-in
Since my beautiful family is a blended family, I don’t have to think all that far back to our first dates together. One of my favorites was a summer day in North Kansas City. It was really a marathon date because my partner and I were still new and crazy enamored with each other…well, I’m still crazy enamored with my Valentine today (love you, boo). But anyway, we met at Macken Park for a bit of play with the kids, ate finger lickin’ BBQ at Smokin’ Guns BBQ, and then went to Boulevard Drive-in.
If you haven’t been to the drive-in, you simply must. It’s a great deal for families as kids 11 and under are free (everyone else is $10), plus it holds a bit of childlike wonder for all to watch a movie under the outdoor sky. You are allowed to bring your pets, outside food, and lawn chairs. But be sure to also bring cash, as they do not take credit or debit cards. Each visit is two features, if you can really withstand a marathon, but we generally have to exit after the first. If you aren’t starting from the north side like my family, there is of course the best Mexican food to be found in Kansas City along Southwest Boulevard before the show.
The Parlor & Cool Crest Mini Golf
I am in love with the concept of The Parlor. A food court setup without the mall, everyone in your family can eat whatever they feel like and you receive a text to pick up the food when it is ready. There is a bar on each level if you want a glass of wine while your family dines. Located in Crossroads, The Parlor might not make the list of specifically designed for kids, but I like eating good food. Therefore, any eating establishment where my kids can be loud and energetic without procuring stares counts as a kid place.
Cool Crest in Independence is my favorite mini golf course nearby, but they also have an arcade, kids’ gym, Go-Karts, and batting cages. There are package prices which you can find here, or pricing for a single game of mini golf play (18 holes), is $7.50 per person.
Cars and Coffee & Brunch
No one has ever given me the title of car enthusiast. However, I’m with one (BMWs specifically) and have children who are more car knowledgeable than average. I cautiously attended my first Cars and Coffee at the Kansas City Automotive Museum in Olathe early one Saturday morning. Even if you aren’t particularly into cars, it is so much fun. There are new and old cars alike to appreciate, and it is a free event (the coffee is free, too). It is critical to be respectful of the cars there though, if you have very young or high energy children … this might not be the event for them. There is an oath of no touching to observe, unless a kind man invites your child to sit in their Lamborghini Gallardo. Which has happened, and was a thrill.
Then treat yourself for getting up early on a Saturday to entertain your family with brunch afterward. This is clearly a date my family repeats often, so we’ve been able to enjoy a nice variety of Kansas City brunches. Check out Kate’s Kitchen, District Pour House, Succotash, Louie’s Wine Dive, Taco Republic, Happy Gillis Café & Hangout, The Phoenix, or First Watch.
My family will keep on dating, and keep on loving each other and our time together. I’ll hopefully have more date packages to entice you with in the future, and I know the first day it is warm, we’ll be having a Loose Park date on a blanket with goat cheese, prosciutto, and crackers. As I write this we are in the midst of an ice storm and the kids are bouncing off the walls, so I’m more than ready for that day. But as I said, I really love each and every time we go out and share in these memories together, and hope you will too. Happy Valentine’s this February to you and yours; each family unit is special in your own unique way. I’d love to hear about a date out in our great city that especially meant something to you.