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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

50 Plus Plans May 10 Adventure Walk to visit Missouri's Katy Trail

Enjoy a classic adventure walk on one of the most beautiful sections of Missouri's Katy trail during an adventure walk begin offered in early May be the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

The program is called Katy Trail Adventure Walk and will take place on Wednesday, May 10. Participants will walk on a section of the trail located near the Rocheport (Mo.) trailhead, which is considered one of the most engaging portions of this trail which stretches a total of 225 miles across Missouri from St. Charles to Clinton, Mo. This area is a perfect place to find beautiful scenery, solitude, nature and a chance to spend time along the Missouri river.

This hike is expected to require an easy level of exertion.  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 walk.”

This program will depart at 8 a.m. from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam. The cost for one nine-hour outing, including transportation to the walk site, is $27 per person for Johnson County residents or $30 for nonresidents. Lunch (with costs on your own) will take place at  Abigail's Restaurant in Rocheport. 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 39012.

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 pick-up at all Johnson County Library branches. 

First of three Yoga Adventure programs offered for adults at TimberRidge Adventure Center

Come spend a few hours outdoors with kindred souls and refresh your inner being during a new program being offered for adults at the Johnson County Park & Recreation District's TimberRidge Adventure Center.

This program is called Yoga Adventures at TimberRidge and is for ages 16 and older. Participants will spend time outdoors exploring yoga on the lawn combined with another outdoor activities, to include hiking, journaling, kayaking, and archery.  Prior experience is not necessary and participants will choose their own level of activity. Be sure to dress for the outdoor weather. The first of three Yoga Adventures at TimberRidge will take place on May 7 and will emphasize hiking and journaling. Two other sessions will follow including a June 11 session emphasizing kayaking, and another on July 9 emphasizing archery.

To find these programs in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under adult and then under nature & outdoors. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “yoga.”

Each program will begin at 2 p.m. on a Sunday at the TimberRidge Adventure Center, which is located at 12300 South Homestead Lane, Olathe. The cost for each two -hour program is $12 for Johnson County residents or $13 for nonresidents.

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 38724 for the May 7 program, 38725 for the June 11 program, and 38726 for the July 9 program.

The TimberRidge Adventure Center is is a 200-plus acre facility adjacent to Kill Creek Park, which JCPRD also owns and operates. TimberRidge, which was dedicated in 2002, features a professionally-certified challenge and ropes course featuring 28 low elements, a 300-foot zip line and a climbing tower with three other high elements. In addition to the Challenge Course, TimberRidge offers other outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, archery, canoes, and paddleboats. The center is accessible via an entrance which is separate from and south of the main entrance to Kill Creek Park, and is available only by reservation or as part of programming.

The JCPRD's My JCPRD Activities catalog, with information and a registration form, is available for pick-up at all Johnson County Library branches. For more information about this program, call  Outdoor Adventure Specialist Lysa Holladay at (913) 856-8849 or lysa.holladay@jocogov.org.

To register, call (913) 831-3359. To register online and for updated program listings, see the District's website at www.jcprd.com.

Enchanted Fairytale Forest event planned at Ernie Miller Park on May 6

Celebrate the magic of nature and discover the hidden world of the wee folk and friends - both real and make believe - during a special event at the Ernie Miller Nature Center in early May.

Enchanted Fairytale Forest is the name of this event, which is now in its seventh year. This program is for all ages, but children up to 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Guests can visit activity stations at their leisure. Participants will follow the pixie path on a pirate treasure hunt through the forest. Don’t worry about the trolls as you search for nature's treasure. Guests can let their imaginations go wild as they design a fairy house and wand with the Green Fairy’s repurposing supplies. Enjoy a sweet treat at the tea party. The Fairy Queen will tell stories of magic and mischief. Live animals, music, and a trip through the wish tree make this an enchanted day to remember!

In case of inclement weather, this event will take place indoors. 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 keywords “nature & outdoors.”

Enchanted Fairytale Forest is offered twice on Saturday, May 6, at Ernie Miller Park, 909 N. Kansas-7 Highway. One session will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, while another will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. For either time, the cost is $6 per person for Johnson County residents or $8 per person for nonresidents, including adults, and is payable on-site. Advance registration is required and can be accomplished by calling (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, follow the “Register for Activities” link and complete a barcode search for 38678 for the 10 a.m. session, or 38679 for the 1 p.m. session. Printed copies of the My JCPRD Activities catalog are available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Visit the decommissioned Missouri State Penitentiary during 50 Plus day trip on May 5

Enter the Missouri State Penitentiary, as many inmates did between 1836 and 2004, during an early May day trip being offered by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

History of the Big House is the name of this trip, which will take travelers to the what has been called “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time magazine due to the number of murders and assaults that took place there. The decommissioned prison is located near Jefferson City, Mo. Participants tour the upper yard, the oldest housing unit and the underground cells. Imagine life in the penitentiary as an inmate behind lock and key or a guard on watch while learning its history and listening to interesting stories. The Missouri State Penitentiary was once the largest prison in the United States, housing 5,200 inmates at its peak. After lunch, a guide will take the group on a tour of the “Puppies on Parole,” a program that allows prisoners to train shelter dogs making them more adoptable.  The trip will end with an ice cream stop at Central Dairy in Jefferson City.

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  7:30  a.m. on Friday, May 5,  from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam, and return at approximately 6 p.m. that day. The cost is for this nine-and-one-half-hour day trip, including  tours, admission, lunch, and transportation, is $89 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 39046.

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. 

The Lawrence Levee Trail is next destination for 50 Plus Spring Strolling program on May 3

A May 3 outing to the Lawrence Levee Trail is the first in a series of Wednesday Walks being presented  by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District this spring and summer.

Also called Summer Strolling, this program lets participants make friends while exploring the great outdoors.  JCPRD does the driving while you can relax, listen to the wind and experience new destinations! Each outing takes place on a Wednesday and will depart at 9 a.m. from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam. The cost for each six-hour outing, including van transportation to the walk site, is $19 per person for Johnson County residents or $21 for nonresidents. Participants should bring a sack lunch for a picnic after the walk, as well as a few dollars in case the group decides to stop for ice cream. Walkers should register at least one week prior to departure, and bring their own water bottle. The Inclement weather date for each walk  is the following week.

The Lawrence Levee Trail is a 9.3-mile trail on the north bank of the Kansas River. The trail runs along the top of the flood-control levee on the outskirts of Lawrence. It offers views of the river, nearby farmland, and downtown Lawrence. This walk is expected to requires an easy level of exertion.

To find these programs in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under nature & outdoors. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords "Wednesday Walks.” For more information  or to register, call (913) 831-3359. To register for the Lawrence Levee Trail walk at www.jcprd.com, complete a barcode search for 39015.

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.

Other upcoming summer trolling outings include: a walk at Kansas City's Loose Park Municipal Rose Garden on June 7 (barcode 39016), at Walk at Ted Ensley Gardens in Topeka on July 12  (barcode 39017), and the annual Walker's Choice walk on Aug. 16  (barcode 39018) to a destination that participants will choose.

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

 

New season of Animal Tales Storytime sessions begins May 3 at Ernie Miller Nature Center

A new season of Animal Tales Storytime sessions is beginning at the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe. Young children and their parents are invited to come listen and learn during any or all of the six sessions scheduled on Wednesdays between May 5 and July 19.

Animal Tales Storytime is for ages two to six. All children must be accompanied by an adult. This program will feature stories, songs, and surprises. Participants will also get to meet a special animal friend at each session. Animal Tales Storytime was one of the many programs cited when the Ernie Miller Nature Center won an Oracle Award for Organizational Service and Leadership in the South Central Region from the National Storytelling Network a few years ago. To find this program in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under preschool and then under nature & outdoors. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “storytelling.”

The first program of this new season will be offered on May 3 when the theme is “Fairy Tales.” Other upcoming storytime sessions are scheduled for: May 17, "Animal Babies;" June 7, "Peek in a Pond;" June 21, "Forest Friends;" July 5, "Snake Surprise;" and July 19, "Turtle Time."  Each session takes place on a Wednesday and will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The cost per 30-minute session is $2 per person, including adults, payable at the event. Advance registrations are not necessary for this program.

Ernie Miller Nature Center is located at 909 N. Kansas-7 Highway, Olathe. For more information, contact the Nature Center at (913) 764-7759.

Free New Horizons Band Concert set for May 2 at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City

A free concert by the New Horizons Band is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at the St. Thomas More Parish, 11822, Holmes Road, Kansas City, Mo.

This concert is the first of two the group is offering this May. For this event, the entire 45+ member ensemble is expected to play for about an hour. This top-notch entertainment is free of charge.

The New Horizons Band is a program of the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District in conjunction with the University of Missouri - Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and Meyer Music. The band is a group of music-loving adults age 50 and older who meet about once a week to practice. The group includes brass, woodwind, and percussion. New Horizons has been in existence for more than 16 years and currently has about 45 band members, including members who come from as far as Blue Springs to participate.

The other upcoming New Horizons Band concert will take place one week later on Tuesday, May 9, at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood, Roeland Park.

For anyone interested in joining the group, the band meets for practices weekly on Tuesday nights beginning at 6 p.m. at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park. Beginning band lessons are also available. For more information about the band or the concerts, call (913) 826-3160.

Mildale Farm Community Day set for April 29

The public will have an opportunity to explore and fish at the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s Mildale Farm property during a Mildale Farm Community Day set for Saturday, April 29.

The five-hour event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will give interested parties access to the 158-acre site including the 22-acre rental property in southwest Johnson County as well as to about 136 acres which are actually part of the adjacent 578 acres of agricultural property, all of which was purchased by JCPRD in 2005. Visitors will be directed to park in the large lot near Mildale Farm’s main barn.

The public can bring their own bait and tackle and practice catch-and-release fishing in any or all of seven ponds within the 158-acre area. While District fishing permits have been waived for this event, Kansas residents ages 16 to 74 and nonresidents 16 and older need to have a Kansas state fishing license, which will not be sold on-site.

Arts and crafts activities for kids will take place  in the main barn and visitors can explore and picnic on the grounds. The centerpiece of the Mildale Farm property, the high-quality equestrian-style barn featuring peg construction and a hand-laid brick floor, will be open. Restrooms will be available, but the property’s two homes and other outbuildings will not be open during this event.

Rules for this event will be posted and will be the same as other district properties. Among them: no alcohol, pets must be on-leash, and vehicles must remain on roadways. Park Police will be on hand to enforce these as well as the catch-and-release fishing provision. To find this program in the 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 keywords “family fun.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the development of Phase I of the Big Bull Creek Park Master Plan is also being planned for 10 a.m. on April 29. This will take place at the nearby site of the future Sunflower entrance to Big Bull Creek Park,  located at 20425 Sunflower Road, Edgerton, and will feature a number of local officials from Edgerton, Gardner, Johnson County, and JCPRD.

Initial plans for Phase I of the 1,980-acre future Big Bull Creek Park include a combined park maintenance building and Johnson County Park Police substation to be located just north of the intersection of Four Corners Road and 199th St. Other anticipated amenities include a parking lot, two picnic shelters, a restroom, a discover nature playground, and a three-quarter-mile paved trail on Sunflower Road north of 207th St., and a group campground near 213th St. east of Spoon Creek Road. Officials anticipate an early 2018 completion.

Mildale Farm is located at 35250 W. 199th St. Officials anticipate a planned maintenance project on 199th Street will begin on April 14. Here’s the latest directions to Mildale Farm from the Johnson County Public Works website.

From the north, take Interstate 35 south to Homestead Lane. Proceed north on Homestead Lane. Turn left onto 199th Street and proceed west 1.6 miles. Mildale Farm will be on the right.  From the south, take Interstate 35 north to Sunflower Road and proceed north of Sunflower Road 0.7 miles. Turn left onto to 207th St., and proceed west for 0.1 miles. Turn right onto 8th St. (Edgerton Road) and proceed north 1 mile. Turn right onto 56 Highway and proceed east 1 mile. Turn right onto 199th St. Mildale Farm will be on the left. For the latest roadway information and directions, go to: https://www.jocogov.org/dept/public-works/projects/road-closings.

For more information about this event, call Sarah Vogelsberg  at (913) 826-2957.

 

Public invited to TimberRidge Adventure Center Open House on April 29

If you haven't seen or experienced the Johnson County Park & Recreation District's TimberRidge Adventure Center, or even if you have, an open house scheduled for Saturday, April 29, is your next chance to do so. Also on the same day, a related Open House for the center's 40-foot-tall Hawk's Nest Climbing Tower will give interested parties 12 and older who register in advance a free opportunity to experience the tower's two climbing walls.

The TimberRidge Adventure Center is located at 12300 South Homestead Lane, Olathe, and is a 200-plus acre facility adjacent to Kill Creek Park, which JCPRD also owns and operates. TimberRidge, which was dedicated in 2002, is accessible via an entrance which is separate from and south of the main entrance to Kill Creek Park. With the exception of this annual event, the facility is accessible only by reservation or as part of programming.

The TimberRidge Open House will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the Climbing Tower Open House will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The open house events are meant to give visitors an opportunity to explore the facility, which is used primarily for adventure and challenge programming, as well as for rental opportunities for a variety of events, including outdoor weddings, corporate events and picnics, and family reunions.

Open House activities will include: kayaking, canoeing, and pedal boating on Catfish Pond, the largest of TimberRidge’s three ponds, and use of the facility’s archery and BB gun ranges for ages 8 and older. Cops-n-Bobbers, a local nonprofit organization with the goal of bringing kids, police, and the community together for educational and fun community events, will have a mobile station with rods, reels, and bait available, or you can bring your own.

Staff from JCPRD’s Planning and Development Department will be on hand during this event with information boards about the ongoing master planning effort for TimberRidge.

In addition, the center’s trails will be open for hiking and fishing in the ponds is allowed. While JCPRD fishing permits have been waived for this event, Kansas residents ages 16 to 74 and nonresidents 16 and older need to have a Kansas state fishing license.  Licenses will not be sold on-site. The Challenge Course is central to TimberRidge and is used to promote problem solving, and enhance teamwork through safe and challenging situations.

The activities at the center’s 40-foot-tall Hawk’s Nest Climbing Tower will give interested parties 12 and older who register in advance a free opportunity to experience the tower’s two climbing walls. Participants will be required to complete medical and liability releases prior to participating, and those under 18 will also need the signature of a parent or guardian. Sign up online at https://goo.gl/forms/P634HJSNm1UBzVV63.

The open house is also an opportunity to give the public a look at two other features of the facility  including  the Whispering Pines Shelter, which can accommodate groups of up to 200 people and  the large curving deck on the back of the Welcome Center which can accommodate up to 80 people.

This event is also held in conjunction with Outdoor Kansas Kids Day. Started in 2001, this program is an initiative of Kansas Wildscape to provide multiple outdoor recreation opportunities for Kansas youth with adult partnering and mentoring to encourage outdoor recreational opportunities, and promote and provide an active lifestyle as an alternative to sedentary activities. The program covers the entire state of Kansas and involves Kansas State Parks as well as other organizations and venues such as city and county parks and recreation departments.

For more information about the open houses or the TimberRidge Adventure Center, contact Adventure Program Coordinator Lysa Holladay at (913) 856-8849.

Spring Fling Geocaching offered on April 29 in Nall Park

Register by April 24 in order to geocache with the Johnson County Park & Recreation District during a late April special event.

Spring Fling Geocaching is the name of this program, which is for all ages. Staff will teach participants how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver donated by Garmin to track caches filled with small prizes. GPS units will be provided on this modern-day scavenger hunt. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. After the hunt, join us at the shelter for hotdogs and s’mores. Participants registered as a family will be loaned one GPS unit per family. Those registering as individuals will be loaned one GPS unit.

To find this program in the JCPRD’s 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 “geocaching.”

Spring Fling Geocaching will take place beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, in Nall Park, 48th and Nall  Ave., Roeland Park. The cost for one two-hour outing is $13 per person for Johnson County residents or $14 per person for nonresidents. A family rate for up to four people is also offered at a cost of $31 for Johnson County residents or $34 for nonresidents.

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 36962.

This program is also eligible for credit in the Environmental 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 (913) 826-2950.

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

Upcoming Events

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April 29, 2017 | 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

TimberRidge Adventure Center Open House

April 29, 2017 | 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Mildale Farm Community Day

April 29, 2017 | 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Big Bull Creek Park Groundbreaking Ceremony

April 29, 2017 | 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Spring Fling Fun Geocaching

April 30, 2017 | 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

21st Annual Panzon’s Fundraiser