Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is on a 300-acre (120-hectare) site just outside Kansas City. It’s crisscrossed with nature walks and trails that take you through diverse gardens showcasing a range of ecosystems. Head here to enjoy nature in a relaxed environment. The gardens were created in 1996 and so are quite new in comparison to other botanical gardens around America.
Walk around the gardens near the entrance of the park and check out the themed areas. Monet Garden is a favorite and the small waterfalls in the water garden are a nice touch. The path through this section of the gardens is quite short so if you don’t have much time, this is an ideal place to explore. Young ones will enjoy the children’s garden, complete with frog pond and grass maze.
Longer trails take you further into the park with different walks stretching to about a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) round trip. Hike through the more forested areas that showcase local tree species. The trails are a mix of paved and unpaved, and rise to the picturesque limestone bluffs on the south side of Wolf Creek. The half-mile (800-meter) short trail is less challenging and is a good option for less mobile visitors.
The Sculpture Garden and Train garden have more to look at with life-size sculptures and a model train track that winds through the park.
Spring is a great time to visit the park, especially the Erickson Water Garden, which is home to more than 40 varieties of daffodils. If you’re in need of refreshments, swing by the Arboretum Café for a quick snack.
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located about a half-hour drive south of Kansas City. The park is open daily. There is a small price for admission, although it’s free to enter the arboretum all day on Tuesday.