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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

See a Royals game during "Senior Day at the K" 50 Plus social outing on June 21

Join other senior groups around the Kansas City Metropolitan area at Kauffman Stadium to root for the Royals as they take on the Red Sox during a late June social outing being offered by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This program is called Senior Day at the K. The outing price  includes a special ‘Senior Day at the K’ T-shirt, transportation with drop off and pick up at the gate, and a ticket to the game. Seats are on the lower level in section 214 or 215.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under travel. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords “social outing.”

Participants will depart from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam,  at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 21, and return at approximately 5:30 p.m. that day. The cost is $72 per person.  Lunch costs are on your own.. For more information or to register by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 39081.

While 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 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-3030 for space availability.

The My JCPRD Activities catalog is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Dino O'Dell concert on June 20 is first in new series of Kid-Friendly Musical Performances at Johnson County Museum

Fun, music, and movement are in store when the Johnson County Museum presents a series of four Kid Friendly Musical Performances beginning in late June. These programs all take place at the museum's new home in the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in the former King Louie Building, 8788 Metcalf, Overland Park.

Kid Friendly Musical Performances  are designed for ages two through ten with an adult, and will all take place beginning at 10 a.m.  To find these programs in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under preschool and then under fine & performing arts. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keyword “music.”

The first Kid Friendly Musical Performance is Dino O'Dell on Tuesday, June 20. Come enjoy Dino’s unique blend of folk-rock and reggae! Whether he is counting monsters, fixing spaceships, or swimming in peanut butter, Dino's interactive songs and tall tales stir the imagination, inspire curiosity, and engage the whole child. The cost for this 45-minute program is $5 per person, or $4 for museum members.

To register for this program by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 38815.

Upcoming entries in the Kid Friendly Musical Performances include: The Drum Safari Show (barcode 38816) on June 26, Jim Cosgrove and the Hiccups (barcode 38817) on July 28, and Rockin' Rob (barcode 38818) on Aug. 23.

These programs are also eligible for credit in the Mindfulness dimension for the JCPRD U holistic wellness program for participants ages three to 18. Participants can complete Achievement Classes (similar to academic grade levels) and earn Achievement  Badges and Awards. To register for JCPRD U, call Nathan at (913) 826-2950.

The Johnson County Museum is a department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District. The My JCPRD Activities catalog, with information and a registration form, is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Twilight Swim event planned at Roeland Park Aquatic Center on June 20

Swim under the stars on a beautiful summer night during a special event at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center being presented by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This event is called Twilight Swim, and is for all ages. It’s a great way to beat the heat while spending some quality time with your family! A special snack package will be available for purchase at the snack bar.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under Fun For All and then under special events. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keywords “family fun."

The Twilight Swim will take place beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park. The cost for one 90-minute event is $5 per  person.  For more information or to register, call the aquatic center at (913) 432-3905, or register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 39383. Participants are asked to register at least one week in advance.

Another Twilight Swim is planned for July 25. The barcode for that program is 39384.

Printed copies of the My JCPRD Activities catalog are available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

New intergenerational Pickleball Pals event is June 16 at New Century Fieldhouse

Add pickleball as another family tradition through a new intergenerational special event being planned by the 50 Plus Department of  the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This event is called Pickleball Pals and is for ages 50 plus and their grandkids.  Pickleball is a cross between tennis, badminton, and table tennis played on a court with two players per side who use a wiffleball and paddles. This fast-growing sport is fantastic for folks of all ages. This event includes a lesson from a pickleball local and time for lots of real game play.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog, 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 “special event.”

Pickleball Pals will take place beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 16, at the New Century Fieldhouse, 551 New Century Parkway, near Gardner. The cost for one two-hour event is $9 per individual, or $16 per child and grandparent. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 39069.

Printed copies of the My JCPRD Activities catalog are available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

"This is Not a Box" is subject of next museum storytelling program on June 16 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center

With the Johnson County Museum reopening at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in the former King Louie Building, a new session of entertaining and educational stories involving nature, history, culture, and art is being presented by local Storyteller Jo Ho beginning in mid-June.

Titled simply Jo Ho Storyteller, this series of stand-alone programs is for ages three to five. These programs take place beginning at 10 a.m. on one day each month at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. The cost for each one-hour program is $6 per person, including adults, and museum members are $3. Each ticket includes admission to the museum and the new and expanded KidScape experience. To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under preschool and then under fine & performing arts. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keyword “storytelling.”

The first program in the series is called "This is Not a Box!" on Friday, June 16. These “building with boxes” stories are well insulated with hilarious characters, concrete plots, and framed with lots of role-playing for carpenters of all ages. 

For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 38812.

Other upcoming Jo Ho Storyteller programs this season will include: “Turtle Tales” (barcode 38813) on July 19, and “My Big Purple Crayon,” (barcode 38814) on Aug. 16.

These programs are also eligible for credit in the Mindfulness dimension for the JCPRD U holistic wellness program for participants ages three to 18. Participants can complete Achievement Classes (similar to academic grade levels) and earn Achievement  Badges and Awards. To register for JCPRD U call Nathan at (913) 826-2950.

The Johnson County Museum is a department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

New series of Museum Art Adventures for ages six to 12 begins on June 14 & 17

Join  a practicing artist for art adventures as seen through history’s lens during a new series of programs being presented this summer by the Johnson County Museum.

This series is called Museum Art Adventures and is for ages six to 12. Each session will focus on experimenting with new art techniques and materials. Participants are guided through the process as they learn about the art and history of each theme. Projects change monthly and are connected to the museum’s permanent, temporary, or KidScape exhibitions. This is a drop-off class, but parents are welcome to stay.

June Museum Art Adventures have the theme Route 66 Signs, after the museum's temporary exhibit, "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." Participants can be inspired by images of motels and diners along Route 66 and create their own mixed-media sign! This programs is being presented twice: once on Wednesday, June 14 (barcode 38819), and again on Saturday, June 17 (barcode 38820).

July programs will have the theme Cadillac Ranch Inspired Sculpture. Participants will learn the history of Cadillac Ranch sculpture and other roadside oddities and create their own version of this impressive artwork using miniature cars and other materials! This program will be presented on July 12 (barcode 38821), and July 15 (barcode 38822).

In August, the theme is Before and After Drawing. Working with reproduced photos from the museum’s collection, young artists will experiment with exhibiting artist Natalie Slater’s idea of creating interactive photography illustrating Route 66’s changes over time with transparencies, markers and paint! This program will be presented on Aug. 9 (barcode 38823), and Aug. 12 (barcode 38824).

To find these programs in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under youth and then under fine & performing arts. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keyword “art.” To register for these programs by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for the barcodes listed above.

These programs all take place beginning at 1 p.m. at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, located in the former King Louie Building at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. The cost for each one-hour program is $13 per person, and museum members are $9. This cost includes admission to the museum and the new and expanded KidScape experience.

These programs are also eligible for credit in the Mindfulness dimension for the JCPRD U holistic wellness program for participants ages three to 18. Participants can complete Achievement Classes (similar to academic grade levels) and earn Achievement  Badges and Awards. To register for JCPRD U, call Nathan at (913) 826-2950.

The Johnson County Museum is a department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District. The My JCPRD Activities catalog, with information and a registration form, is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Johnson County Park & Recreation District named one of four finalists for prestigious national award

For the second consecutive year, JCPRD is a finalist for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), recently announced.

“To be nationally recognized in this manner is a huge honor, and to be recognized in back to back years is even more impressive,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller. “We take seriously our mission of providing high quality parks, programs, and services that enhance the lives of the residents of Johnson County.  Being a national Gold Medal Finalist is validation that we’re doing good work to that end. “

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. which demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development, and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation, and one class for state park systems awarded on odd-numbered years.

JCPRD is a finalist in Class I, which is for agencies serving a population over 400,000, and is the largest of the five population-based categories. The district was previously a finalist in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2016. The agency won the Gold Medal Award in 1995.

The district offers more than 4,000 programs and activities each year, and it manages over 9,900 acres of parkland, more than 90 miles of trails, and multiple recreational facilities. A recent study by The Trust for Public Land, found that JCPRD parks, trails and programs are key economic drivers which contribute more than $97 million annually in economic benefits to the community.  Last year alone there were 2.5 million participations in the programs presented by JCPRD, and 7 million visitations to the district’s parks.

For the Gold Medal Awards, agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.  JCPRD joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.  The other 2017 Class I finalists are BREC, Baton Rouge, La., Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, Minn. and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, Lake Worth, Fla.  

Through a series of short essays required as part of the application process, JCPRD emphasized partnerships, conservation efforts, and public safety/outdoor education programs. Recent partnerships have included working with the city of Prairie Village on the development of the future Meadowbrook Park, working with Johnson County on the construction of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in the former King Louie Building, and partnering with the Shawnee Mission School District for the district to operate and manage a recently-announced new aquatic stadium in Lenexa. Conservation efforts have included the planting of 130 acres of native prairie plants over the past three years.  The application also highlighted the dual roles of Johnson County Park Police officers in law enforcement and outdoor education.

Asked how the agency has positively impacted the community in the past three years, officials noted the agency’s 4,000 programs and events serve 2.5 million participations.  Highlights included the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, which in 2016 involved 32,000 participants from 220 companies, Ernie Miller Nature Center with its new permanent exhibit that attracted 31,000 visitors within its first months of operation, JCPRD’s Out of School Time programs that impact 1,800 children daily, and the Johnson County Museum that is preparing to open a new 17,877-square-foot exhibit at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials, including five-minute videos the finalist organizations submit in early June. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the Grand Plaque recipient in each of the categories will be announced in September at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal or www.aapra.org.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

Let "Howard and the Wompoopus" spark your imagination during mid-June special events

“A little imagination may lead to big adventures. Join Howard and discover the Wompoopus!” 

Join local Illustrator Laura Ballard as she reads her newly-released book, “Howard and the Wompoopus,” during an art-related intergenerational special event being presented twice in mid-June by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This program is for all ages and is also called Howard and the Wompoopus. In the wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated book, author Allison Krieger tells a story about an imaginative character from original stories her father, whose name is also Howard, told her when she was a child. The story relates the adventures of a young boy named Howard in a magical world he creates.

Following Ballard's telling of this tale,  children will have the opportunity to create their  very own imaginative creature during the local special event!  Parents are asked to stay for the duration of the program. 

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under fun for all and then under special events. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keyword “art.”

Howard and the Wompoopus is offered on Tuesday, June 13, and again on Saturday, June 17. Both sessions will take place beginning at 10 a.m. at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, located in the former King Louie building at 8788 Metcalf, Ave., Overland Park.  The cost for this one-hour event is $10 per person for Johnson County residents or $12 for nonresidents. For more information please call (913) 826-3163 or email devin.rumley@jocogov.org.

To register by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 38952 for the June 13 session, or 38953 for the June 17 session.

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

Experience Miami, Oklahoma's, Coleman Theatre during 50 Plus Day Trip on June 11

Tucked away in the small town of Miami, Okla., is the beautiful vaudeville-style Coleman Theatre and movie house, which opened in 1929 with a full house of 1,600. Visit and experience this historic place during a mid-June day trip being offered by the  50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

Coleman Theatre is the name of this trip. Participants will spend the day touring the theatre, learning its history, and hearing about the renovations which have taken place. After lunch, travelers will enjoy “Livin’ A Ragtime Life,” featuring Dennis James, master of the pipe organ, and legendary Broadway vocalist, Ron Young.  Dennis James will accompany Ron Young with authentic ragtime-era music, and present two silent films.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under travel. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords “day trip.”

This trip will leave at 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 11,  from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam, and return at approximately 5 p.m. that day. The cost is for this nine -hour day trip, including  tours, admission, lunch, and transportation,  is $79 per person.  For more information or to register, call (913) 826-3030. To see this program online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green “Register for Activities” button and complete a barcode search for 39057.

While 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 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-3030 for space availability.

Printed copies of the My JCPRD Activities catalog are available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

50 Plus Plans June 10 Adventure Hike in Missouri's Van Meter State Park

Visit Missouri's Van Meter State Park during an adventure hike being offered in early June by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

The program is called Van Meter State Park Adventure Hike and will take place on Saturday, June 10. This 1,104-acre park is located in north-central Missouri north of Marshall, Mo., amidst the remnants of the Missouria Tribe village at the great bend of the Missouri River. Hike participants will hike the hills, the rugged earth trails, and the wetland boardwalks to see the burial grounds, a hand-dug earthwork fort, and visit Missouri's American Indian Cultural Center.

This hike is expected to require a difficult of exertion due to steep elevation changes and a variety of terrain. To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 plus and then under nature & outdoors. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keywords “adventure hike.”

This program will depart at 8 a.m. from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam, and return about 5 p.m. the same day. The cost for one nine-hour outing, including transportation to the walk site, is $31 per person for Johnson County residents or $34 for nonresidents. Lunch (with costs on your own) will take place at  Picosita's Grill & Pizzeria in Marshall. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on the green the “Register for Activities” link and complete a barcode search for 39010.

While 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 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-3030 for space availability.

The My JCPRD Activities catalog is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Upcoming Events

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June 2, 2017 | 7:00 pm to 7:45 pm

Stories Under the Stars

June 3, 2017 | 5:00 am to 11:00 pm

Free Fishing, Boating & Archery Weekend

June 3, 2017 | 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

A Day in the Park