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johnson county recreation
While people in Johnson County work hard, they like their downtime as well, and we offer many wonderful places for individuals and families to learn, play, relax, be active, and enjoy the outdoors. Johnson County’s dozens of parks, recreation facilities, lakes, and public gardens offer something for everyone. Checkout one of Johnson County’s 13 libraries, spend an afternoon at the Johnson County Museum, or when the weather is warm enjoy a movie or Broadway show at Theatre in The Park. Our recreational amenities play a huge role in Johnson County being a community of choice.

Recreation News

BOCC approves new public art for Justice Annex

As part of Johnson County's 1% Public Art initiative, Kansas City artist Beth Nybeck's proposed artwork "Tapestry" was selected for the Justice Annex building courtyard at 588 Santa Fe in Olathe. "Tapestry" is a set of five large, plant-like aluminum figures, one as large as 11-feet tall. Each piece will feature letters, sentences and phrases that tell stories associated with the people who work at, and frequent, the Justice Annex buidling. "Tapestry" will be commissioned for $75,000. The sculpture is schedule for completion in November 2015.

Johnson County Government's 1% Public Art program, established in 2006 by the Board of County Commissioners, is funded through a dedicated stream of revenue generated by County capital building projects. This Program commits 1% of the building cost of newly constructed County buildings to public art. Projects range in size from $75,000 to $1,000,000; however, the County maintains a trust fund that can be spent on smaller projects of the County’s choosing.

Nybeck is an internationally-acclaimed artist who primarily creates large, metal sculptures. Her work can be seen in airports, office buildings, sports complexes and other high-profile places around the country. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Nybeck works out of a studio in the West Bottoms.

It's National Library Week!

Johnson County residents have a lot to celebrate during National Library Week. We've got a robust system of 13 libraries with collections so vast you can find anything you want in nearly any medium. So take some time this week to check out your nearest branch. And if you go today, Tuesday, April 14, it's also National Library Workers Day, so show your appreciation for those who work so hard to make Johnson County Libraries such great community amenities. Find your nearest branch here>

National Library Week is observed April 12-18, 2015 with the theme, "Unlimited possibilities @ your library®."

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

Consider volunteering with us this National Volunteer Week

April 12-18 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize those who donate their time and talents, and to encourage individuals to seek out volunteer opportunities. We are lucky to have so many people who donate time to Johnson County Government. In fact, in 2014, over 10,000 residents volunteered a combined nearly 290,000 hours of service towards a Johnson County Government program.

A great way to get involved is to apply to serve on one of our dozens of boards and commissions. To learn more about that and other volunteer opportunities with Johnson County Government, please click here.

See a Royals game with Take Me Out to the Ballgame 50 Plus social event on April 30

Come enjoy an early spring baseball game with the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This program is called Take Me Out to the Ballgame and will take participants to see the Kansas City Royals play the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. Game time is 7:10 p.m., and with the Royals' winning streak last year, we can hope for a great game and a great time! Participants should plan on dinner on their own at the stadium.

To find this trip in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under special events. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords "social event."

This outing will leave at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, from Antioch Park 6501 Antioch, Merriam, and return at approximately 10:30 p.m. that night. The cost is $39 per person and includes a ticket and transportation. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, follow the "Register for Activities" link and complete a barcode search for 26457.

While the JCPRD's 50 Plus programs are primarily for people who are age 50 or older, interested parties who have not yet reached that magic age may still be able to attend. Persons 18 and older who are interested in a 50 Plus class are invited to call the District's Registration Department at (913) 831-3359, and if space is available without forfeiting the place of a person over 50, their registration can be taken.

The JCPRD's Activities catalog, with information and a registration form, is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches.

Help "Feed the Need" in JoCo during Ntl County Gov Month

Johnson County residents can help "Feed the Need" of by dropping non-perishable food items and toiletries in marked barrels around the county as part of National County Government Month.

Feed the Need is a Johnson County Government employee-led initiative to stock food pantries around the county.

"Feed the Need is one of the most significant food and fundraising efforts for the food pantries," said Deborah Collins, director of the Human Services Department and co-chair of the current campaign. "It contributes literally tons of food that we otherwise would not be able to provide to families."

Employees have contributed the equivalent of 4.5 million pounds of food and toiletries since 1995. Last year, the seven food pantries operated by the County served 3,159 people in 1,189 households.

"When you are struggling to make ends meet -- working two and three jobs like so many of the people we serve do -- and still have to make hard choices at the end of each month such as whether to buy needed medications, pay rent, or buy groceries, places like the food pantries operated out of our Multi-Service Centers become a lifeline," said Collins. "And we don't just provide food. We also provide toiletries so that people can put their best face forward to keep or earn a job. Diapers make the difference between being able to take your child to daycare or having to miss work. Small things have a major impact on lower-income households."

Where to give:

Barrels are located at the following County buildings:

  • Administration building; 111 S Cherry, Olathe
  • Northeast office building; 6000 Lamar Avenue, Mission
  • Sunset building; 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe
  • 588 Building; 588 E. Santa Fe, Olathe
  • Johnson County Museum; 6305 Lackman Road, Shawnee
  • Antioch Park Building A; 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam
  • Shawnee Mission Park Administration Building; 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee
  • Roeland Park Community Center; 4850 Rosewood Drive, Roeland Park
  • New Century Fieldhouse; 551 New Century Parkway, New Century
  • Mill Creek Activity Center; 6518 Vista Drive, Shawnee
  • Okun Fieldhouse; 20200 Johnson Dr, Shawnee
  • Heritage Park Golf Course Clubhouse; 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe
  • Tomahawk Hills Golf Course Clubhouse; 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee

Poverty in Johnson County*

About 35,000 of Johnson County’s 550,000-plus residents live at or below the poverty line. However, most poverty experts agree that people still struggle to make ends meet at 200% of the federal poverty level: $39,580 annually for a family of three. Close to 95,000 County residents fit that description; the same number of residents who live in Lenexa and Leawood combined. If our poverty rate was a city it would be the 5th largest city in Johnson County.

Between 2008 and 2012, the number of low-income residents grew by 30% (22,740 people), six times the growth rate of the population as a whole.

A clearer demographic picture of low-income households in Johnson County:

  • 56 percent are between 25 and 64 years old.
  • 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher; another 31 percent have some college or an associate’s degree.
  • 75 percent of families have at least one member working
  • Only 27 percent is single moms with children

* information provided by a study conducted by United Community Services of Johnson County, May 2014

Sensory Time for children with sensory integration needs

April is Autism Awareness Month and the museum is proud to present, with Toddler Services of Johnson County, an opportunity for children with sensory integration and processing needs.

KidScape can be a loud and exciting environment and sometimes that can be a challenge for some children. Developed in partnership with Infant Toddler Services of Johnson County, Sensory Time at the Museum is a free opportunity for these children and their families to experience the museum at their own pace before the museum opens to the public.

Special activities have been added to the KidScape exhibit to support pretend play while working on fine motor skills along with sensory integration activities such as tactile fun and lacing in the Boutique, go fishing and play golf in the Park, play with echo microphones and practice self-dressing skills with the costumes in the Theater, count the packages at the Post Office and carry the heavy satchel as you make your deliveries, cuddle with a beanbag chair and enjoy some quiet time as you read book and explore the Seeking the Good Life exhibit with a fun seek and find activity!

Fee: Free event

Registration: Call 913-715-2575 to register. Maximum of 20 children.

When: Every First and Third Thursday!

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Location: Johnson County Museum, 6305 Lackman Rd., Shawnee, KS, 913-715-2550.

It's time to audition for The Theatre in the Park

This weekend is your chance to be part of the 2015 season at The Theatre in the Park! General auditions take place this Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 at Blue Valley High School. To learn more about the audition process and see the shows that make up the 2015 season, please visit The Theatre in the Park web site. Break a leg!

Plans for King Louie Move Forward

Artist rendering of museum space at King Louie facilityOn Thursday, March 12, 2015, the Johnson County Commission approved a capital project and approved bonds to fund the Arts and Heritage Center at the former King Louie facility at 8788 Metcalf in Overland Park. Click here to learn more about the project and to see architectural renderings.

Spring Break in JoCo

Get the most out of Spring Break with our guide to events around Johnson County from March 13-22.

Need more ideas? Visit our Staycation board on Pinterest for things to do in the area.




Share your thoughts on the proposed Meadowbrook Park

You have the opportunity this week to weigh in on a proposed plan that would bring a new regional park to northeast Johnson County. The proposed plan, announced in February, would convert two-thirds of the Meadowbrook Golf & Country Club property into public green space and trails.

The public is invited to attend one of two open house sessions this week to learn more about the proposed park and speak with representatives from Johnson County Government, Johnson County Park & Recreation District, the city of Prairie Village and VanTrust Real Estate.

(You can drop in at your convenience at either session)
Tuesday, March 10, 4-8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 11, 4-8 p.m.

Meadowbrook Golf & Country Club
9101 Nall Avenue, Prairie Village

Upcoming Events

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April 28, 2015 | 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Neighbor’s Place Potluck

April 30, 2015 | 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

50 Plus Take Me Out to the Ballgame

May 2, 2015 | 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Enchanted Fairytale Forest