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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

Sensory Time @ the Joco Museum - 5/5

KidscapeSensory Time at the Museum 
 Every First and Third Thursday!
 Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
 Fee: FREE!
 Registration: Call (913) 715-2575 to register. Maximum of 20 children

 KidScape can be a loud and exciting environment and sometimes that can be a challenge for children with sensory integration and processing needs. 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.  ! Kids can pretend play while working on fine motor skills along with sensory integration activities such as: tactile fun and lacing in the Boutique, fishing and golfing in the Park, playing with echo microphones and practicing self-dressing skills with the costumes in the Theater, counting packages, carrying the heavy mail bag and delivering mail at the Post Office, cuddling and enjoying some quiet time as you read books in the Bookstore and exploring the interactive areas within the Museum’s signature exhibit Seeking the Good Life with fun seek-and-find-activity! 

Celebrate Grand Opening of Ernie Miller Nature Center's new Exhibit Gallery on May 14

A Grand Opening for a new long-planned exhibit gallery at the Johnson County Park & Recreation District's Ernie Miller Nature Center has been scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, May 14.

This interactive gallery is titled "Our Changing Landscape" and features live animals, and hands-on exhibits that tell the story of Ernie Miller Park. The celebration will feature wildlife presentations, roving naturalists, and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled to get under way at 1 p.m. There is no charge for this two-hour special event and no preregistration is required.

"It'll give visitors an opportunity to learn what's unique about the park and when they go out and hike, they'll have a better understanding of why this is a special place," said JCPRD Outdoor Education Manager Bill McGowan. "It's really a well-done exhibit hall because it has so many things to see in it. You're not going to be seeing everything in one visit when you come into the room because there are so many different layers of information and hands-on experiences."

The 900-square-foot permanent exhibit area tells the story of how natural and manmade changes have affected this 116-acre park property in Olathe. The exhibit consists of five areas, four of which relate to time periods. Activities, videos, and live animals are featured. There's also a water table, plinko board, and a crawl-through beaver den.

The exhibit area in which most of the new exhibits are displayed is part of a 2004 nature center expansion which doubled the nature center's space. The Ernie Miller Nature Center is located at 909 N. Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe.

All-Electric House has new home

Around 12:30 Wednesday morning, the Johnson County Museum's 1950s All-Electric House was pulled into the future Arts & Heritage Center. The arrival time was about four hours earlier than expected. The early arrival time was due in part to good teamwork, fewer technical issues than anticipated and being able to reach a maximum speed of 11 miles per hour rather than the planned 3-5 mph.

Several media outlets covered the move and we've provided links to their coverage. You can also search #JoCoHouseMove on Twitter to see what others had to say about the move throughout the night.

Kansas City Star


Fox 4




WHAT’S GOING ON AT KING LOUIE? Find out at the Johnson County Museum’s latest exhibition

The Johnson County Museum, 6305 Lackman Road, has opened a new exhibition, What’s Going on at King Louie? The exhibit’s focus is one of the most iconic buildings in Johnson County, the old King Louie West bowling alley and ice skating rink at 87th and Metcalf in Overland Park.

Almost two generations of Johnson Countians knew King Louie as a place to meet up with friends and family, and have a good time.  When the complex closed its doors in 2009, it marked the end of an era for the local landmark.

In 2017, a new chapter in the building history will begin when it reopens as the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.  The center will be the new home for the Johnson County Museum, as well as an indoor home for The Theatre in the Park.  The facility will include administrative and program space for the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s fine and performing arts department, a large event and rental space, and sufficient space to allow the building to serve as one of the county’s advanced-voting locations.

In preparation for the building’s transformation, the Johnson County Museum’s new temporary exhibit, What’s Going on at King Louie?, will share the history of this local landmark, as well as some of the new and exciting changes that will be a part of the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.  During the exhibit, visitors are encouraged to leave their memories of their favorite experiences at King Louie, and vote for which new feature they are most excited to see in the new space.

What’s Going on at King Louie? Opened in late February and will be on exhibit at the Johnson County Museum through Sept. 5.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Admission is free.

JCPRD summer park hours begin March 1

Summer hours of 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. go into effect Tuesday, March 1 for many Johnson County Park & Recreation District parks. These summer hours will stay in effect through Oct. 31.

District parks impacted by the new hours are: Heritage Park, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe; Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee; and Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe. Summer hours for Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Other District parks with year-round dawn to dusk hours include: Ernie Miller Park, 909 North Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe; Sunflower Nature Park, 103rd St. and Edgerton Road, rural De Soto; Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park, 12500 W. 119th Street, Overland Park; Camp Branch Glade, 175th & Mission Road in Aubry Township; Stilwell Community Park, 207th & Metcalf, Stilwell; and all of the Streamway Parks System access points.

For more information, visit the District’s website at www.jcprd.com or call 913-888-4713.

Put a critter on your gift giving list

During this season of gift-giving, the staff at the Ernie Miller Nature Center would appreciate being added to your list.They have a variety of needs in order to care for a wide variety of creatures. There are several ways you can help them care for the animals at the nature center. From monetary donations, to gift cards or purchasing items they need.


  • Peanuts in shell, no salt
  • Corner wood shelf for chipmunk shelf
  • Large rodent ball – for exercise
  • Sweet potato & whole carrots
  • Rodent Chow for mice

Snakes, Turtles and Toads

  • Reptile water bowls that look like rocks (from pet store)
  • Distilled Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Frozen berries, frozen kernel corn and broccoli
  • Clear critter keepers

Birds of Prey

  • One-quarter inch &/or three-quarter inch rope for perches
  • Masking tape and brown duct tape

Outside critters and general animal care

  • Nitrile disposable gloves
  • Sandwich and quart size zip baggies
  • Disinfecting wipes for cleaning
  • Bird seed: black oil sunflower, safflower seed, suet cakes

Donations may be dropped off at 909 N. Highway 7, Olathe, KS, Monday – Saturday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. For more information, you may contact the center’s staff at (913) 764-7759 or @JCPRDemncnature


Cars in the Park event Saturday to benefit Special Olympians

About 200 vehicles and 1,000 spectators are expected to attend the annual Cars in the Park car show on Saturday, Sept. 26, in the marina parking lot in Shawnee Mission Park at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee.

The event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is one of two major annual fundraisers for Johnson County Park and Recreation District's Special Olympics and Special Populations programs. Specifically, these funds are typically used to acquire uniforms and pay for transportation to events. For spectators, admission to the show is free and concessions will be available.

The show typically attracts an eclectic mix of cars, trucks, and motorcycles, from Model A’s to modern and customized vehicles. The show will conclude with a cruise through Shawnee Mission Park at 2 p.m. For more information, click here or call (913) 831-3359.

Johnson County Museum to close for one day on Sept. 22

The Johnson County Museum will be closed for one day on Tuesday, September 22 for routine exhibit maintenance. The interactive areas of the Museum, especially the popular KidScape exhibit, receive a lot of wear and tear during the summer months when attendance surges to record highs. The 1950s All-Electric House will be closed to the public as well.

“In July we set an all-time high monthly attendance record with 5,634 visitors. This one day of routine maintenance will ensure the exhibitions are in the best working order for our visitors to enjoy,” said Mindi Love, Johnson County Museum director.

The Museum and the 1950s All-Electric House will reopen on Wednesday, September 23. The Museum is located at 6305 Lackman Road, Shawnee, Kansas, 66217.  For more information about the Johnson County Museum, click here or call 913-715-2550.

Free party in the park this Sunday

For six decades Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD) has been bringing the community together with award-winning parks, recreation and educational programs. Celebrate this milestone with JCPRD this Sunday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at The Theatre in the Park (7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS 66217). 

The celebration will include an awesome display of giant kites by the Kansas City Kite Club; an assortment of family-friendly activites; and lively entertainment by popular Beatles tribute band Liverpool, Four Fried Chickens and a Coke, Travis Marvin, Jim "Mr. Stinky Feet" Cosgrove, StoneLion Puppet Theatre and magic from Abracadabra Extravaganza.

Best of all, entry to this event is free for all ages. For performance schedules and additional details, go to jcprd.com

Happy birthday, 6 by 6!

Happy birthday! Our 6 by 6, Ready to Read program is turning 6 years old this month and we are ready to celebrate this Saturday! This program emphasizes the six skills that parents and caregivers can help children develop before they learn to read. Various celebratory activities are happening at several Johnson County Library locations between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Click here for details! 

Upcoming Events

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May 4, 2016 | 10:30 am to 11:00 am

Animal Tales Storytime - May Day