Mom’s Guide to Kaleidoscope

A child lettering a sign with a blue marker next to a sign that says
Kaleidoscope has creation centers spread throughout, including a spot to make your own puzzle.

Kaleidoscope, located at Crown Center, is a free spot for kids to explore their creativity with hands-on arts and craft projects provided by Hallmark Cards and Crayola.

Kaleidoscope has been around for decades, and many Kansas City parents may even remember visiting when they were kids. The space was recently completely remodeled and reopened in the summer of 2022. While the space may be different, many of the features and projects are the same, including a DIY crown-shaped puzzle!

There are five 50-minute creative sessions offered each day and Kaleidoscope is closed  Sunday and Monday.

What Kids Will Love

The freedom to explore and create to their heart’s content makes this the perfect spot for kids to visit. The bright and colorful space has creation centers spread throughout, including a spot to make your own puzzle, decorate a party hat, paint with crayon wax, and make your own see-through kaleidoscope.

The huge magnetic art wall lets you make your own giant silly faces with magnet pieces. Every child can get a paper bag to collect their creations to take home (make sure to have them label it with their name)!

What Moms Will Love

Moms will love the ability to make a reservation and come to a session that has a capped number of participants, so that it doesn’t feel super crowded. The enclosed space makes it a good place to let your kids explore without worrying about them running off.

The designated starting and ending time of each session means you don’t end up giving your kids a “five-minute warning” over and over again when you are ready to leave. Fifty minutes is plenty of time for kids to explore and create, and not get bored. The projects are quick, and there are fun spots for kids to explore and play as well as make art.

Once you’re done at Kaleidoscope there is plenty to explore at Crown Center, including Legoland Discovery Center, Sea Life Aquarium, as well as nearby Union Station.

Whom It’s Best For

Best age will depend on your child and their interest and ability in coloring, drawing, and creating art projects. The stations have some lowered tables that will work for smaller children.

Location and Parking

2500 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108

Kaleidoscope will validate up to three hours of parking, so make sure to ask for a validation slip at the front desk. You can read all the details on directions and parking before you go.

You will want to park on the blue level of the Crown Center parking garage on the east side of Grand. Enter to the right of the security office, and take the elevator to the third floor. Turn left as you exit the elevator, and take the stairs down to the doors that lead outside. Kaleidoscope’s entrance is straight ahead, look for the sign.

If you have a stroller or a wheelchair, you will want to park on the blue level of the garage, but near the 2480 elevator. Take that elevator up to the red level of the garage, and turn left as you exit the elevator and walk toward the garage entrance. Follow the signs to the Hallmark Visiting Center, Kaleidoscope is located next door.

Admission

Free! However you should make a reservation. Walk-ins are accepted as space allows, but a reservation will ensure you don’t get turned away.

Membership

No memberships offered.

Bathrooms

There are bathrooms within the exhibit, as well as in the lobby outside the entrance.

Stroller and Wheelchair Accessibility

Kaleidoscope is accessible for both. Make sure to follow the specific parking/entry directions posted on the website to bypass any stairs.

Seating Areas

There are no seating areas in the waiting area or inside the exhibit itself.

Food Policies and Purchase Options

No food or drinks are allowed. There are may places to eat nearby at Crown Center (I recommend Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant or Spin Pizza) If you want to pack your lunch, you can eat in Lunch Land, which is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Birthday Parties

While Kaleidoscope does not offer party packages, you are welcome to make a reservation, but will need to have one adult for every six kids. There are no party rooms available, but you can use Lunch Land on weekdays, or a nearby restaurant at Crown Center to celebrate before or after your reservation.

Special Events

While Kaleidoscope doesn’t host special events, it does offer a Creative Talent Series online, where you can view short videos from artists at Hallmark.

Don’t Miss This Hidden Gem

There are spots on several of the walls where kids can look inside for a fun kaleidoscope viewing experience.

I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 16 years, my 10 and 6 year old daughters, and our rescue pug Mabel. I’m a social worker turned SAHM and love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.

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