We had been at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park for awhile when my boys spotted the pedal tractors – suddenly, it was as if nothing else there existed.We had seen the sheep and the goats, buffalo, pigs and bunnies. We had enjoyed larger-than-life wind chimes in the middle of a butterfly forest. We had watched the coy in the fish pond; walked on colorful letters in the soon-to-be-sprung vegetable gardens; slid down slides that looked like they came from the top of a grain silo; and played on a play set modeled to look like a fort. My older son had listened with rapt attention at a man explaining what banking was like in the 1890s, and Grandma and Grandpa treated at the ice cream parlor.All of this was fun, but those pedal tractors drew them like moths to a flame.The little one literally made a beeline through a grassy-green field to get there. His older brother, after he realized what was happening, was not far behind. Of course, that meant Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa had to rush to join them, but what a wonderful thing.Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is so exciting your children will literally RUN to enjoy it.There is something that is sure to draw any child, and the comfortable bench swings carefully placed with ample shade, make sitting and watching a child go endlessly around a pedal tractor track (or whatever they decide to enjoy) relaxing and enjoyable for adults too.This well thought out place is actually a city park. That could explain the shade and picture perfect landscaping. But this park is a delightful treasure with lots to do and a nice mix of park features, like slides and swings, with educational venues and activities. The farmstead opened in 1978 with just a few animals, a vegetable garden and some farm replicas for the kids to enjoy. These days, it has grown to include more than 200 animals and a wide variety of farming and historical features. The idea is to expose kids to what life was like in Kansas in the late 1800s, but it is not a museum. It is focused on fun. It made me think about a child's farm animal book. Visiting here feels like you walked right into one.In recent years the farm has had some significant building upgrades. This year they are focusing on new programing, offering free school days programs in their one-room school house and farming life demonstrations on their outside pavilion area several times a day.Here’s the best part: During the week admission is FREE. It only costs a small amount ($2) on the weekend. There are some activities, like wagon rides, pony rides, fishing and gold mining that cost a small additional fee, but you can do all those things for a $10 ticket, and most of the park can be enjoyed without the extra fee, which really makes this a great deal for the kids and the whole family.If you have not been to the Deanna Rose farm I would highly recommend it on your next trip to the Kansas City area. If you live nearby and have small children or grandchildren, the trip to southern Johnson County is well worth it. The Farmstead is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 1 to October 31. From Memorial Day to Labor Day it is open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.Karen Ridder is a freelance writer living in Topeka. A former News Producer for KSNW-TV in Wichita, her work can also been seen in print publications including: Topeka Magazine, TK Magazine and the Topeka Capital-Journal. She has written for several national blogs and was recently recognized as one of the 2011 winners in the Annual Kansas Factual Story Contest. Karen has lived in Kansas for 15 years and married a native Wichitan. Together they are raising three little sunflower boys and a dog named George.
Posted on April 10, 2012 10:46AM