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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

Mildale Farm and Lanesfield School both plan free fall events on Oct. 27

Now there are two reasons for venture out to southeastern Johnson County on Oct. 27 for some fall fun.

The day's activities include the annual Mildale Farm Fall Fest as well as the new Lanesfield School Fall Open House at the Lanesfield Historic Site. Both events are being presented by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and are free. To find these programs in the My JCPRD Activities catalog, browse first under special events and then under fun for all. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the  keywords “family fun.”

The Mildale Farm Fall Fest 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 located at the northernmost part of Big Bull Creek Park. Visitors will be directed to park near Mildale Farm’s main barn. 

A number of fall-related activities are being planned for the event, all of which are  free to the public. A pumpkin patch will be situated in front of the main barn. Children 12 and under can pick out a pumpkin. Cider and hot cocoa will be provided in the barn, as will information on other district programs and activities. A tractor-drawn hayride will take visitors to a fire circle in the south-central portion of the Mildale site, where they can roast marshmallows and enjoy storytelling and nature walks. Other activities include a petting zoo, and a  putting green with kid-sized clubs is available. Chris Cakes pancakes will be serving pancakes while supplies last. 

Catch-and-release fishing in any or all of seven ponds within the 158-acre area will also be offered during Fall Fest. While district fishing permits have been waived for this event, anglers 16 and older need to have a Kansas state fishing license. 

Visitors can also explore and picnic on the grounds. Restrooms will be available, but  the property’s two homes and other outbuildings will not be open during this event. The centerpiece of the Mildale Farm property is the high-quality equestrian-style barn, which features peg construction and a hand-laid brick floor. Though designed with an equestrian motif, the barn has never been used for keeping animals is available as a rental location for social functions, including weddings, family gatherings, and other social and business events. Inquiries regarding information or reservations for Mildale Farm should be directed to Sarah Vogelsberg at (913) 826-2957.

Rules for this event will be posted and will be the same as park rules in place on other district properties. Among them: no alcohol is allowed, 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.

Mildale Farm is located at 35250 W. 199th St., Edgerton. 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 more information about this event, call Sarah Vogelsberg  at (913) 826-2957.

During the new Lanesfield School Fall Open House event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants  of all ages can celebrate autumn 1904-style while they experience life as a student in a one-room schoolhouse! Visitors can have old-fashioned fun with hands-on activities like practicing penmanship or spelling under the supervision of a costumed teacher, or play stickball or have a sack race in the yard. Visitors to the site can learn about the history of education in Kansas and Johnson County in the visitor center. Refreshments will be available. 

Lanesfield Historic Site is located at 18745 S. Dillie Road, Edgerton, which is about three miles from Mildale Farm via Us Highway 56 to 191st St. to Dillie Road. The Lanesfield site is a one-room limestone schoolhouse, the last remaining structure in the former town of Lanesfield. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988. 

Live Well Age Well event is Oct. 29 at Marriott Overland Park

Spend the day enjoying vendors, screenings, and sessions on topics relevant to aging well in Johnson County when the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s 50 Plus Department presents a special event in late October called Live Well Age Well.

Previously called Senior Fest, this free event is now in its eighth year, and will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Marriott Overland Park, 10800 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. Participants can experience what JCPRD has to offer through a variety of program demonstrations. Meet and explore the many businesses and services available to you or your aging loved ones.  The event schedule includes bingo at 11 a.m., a trivia game at 2 p.m., and chair yoga at 3:30 p.m.  Presentations will include an 11:30 a.m. session called A Time For Sharing: Your Health, Your Life; a 12:45 session called Recreation: The Possibilities are Endless; and a 2:30 p.m. session called Brain Health and Aging. A variety of screenings, and program demonstrations are scheduled throughout the event, and flu shots will be available. 

This event is brought to you by JCPRD in partnership with Barry Law and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, and sponsored by Shawnee Mission Health. To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog , browse first under special events, and then under 50 Plus. Look for the keywords “special event.”

For more information about this event, call (913) 826-3030. The My JCPRD Activities catalog is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

Don’t miss Healthy Halloween Spooktacular event for all ages on Oct. 27

Start your family’s Halloween off with a healthy morning that will keep your kids energized throughout the busy day during a special event being planned by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. 

Healthy Halloween Spooktacular! is the name of this event, which is for all ages. Participants are invited to come in costume visit the freaky photo booth, play games, make creepy crafts, and show off on the dance floor!  

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

This free event will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park. Sponsors for this event are also being sought. For more information, contact Lisa at (913) 826-3161 or email lisa.scharnak@jocogov.org

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

Green at Heart Hike for adults is Nov. 4 in Ernie Miller Park

Adults are invited to experience the power of a walk in nature fused with the awareness of yoga to stretch and renew their mind, body, and spirit during a program being offered for adults by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

Green at Heart Hike is the name of this single-session program for ages 16 and older at the Ernie Miller Nature Center. Participants are invited to workout in the beauty of the natural world, stimulate their senses, and reap the benefits of hiking combined with the centering relaxation of yoga.

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

This Green at Heart Hike will take place beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Ernie Miller Nature Center, 909 North Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe. The cost for one 90 minute session is $8 per person for Johnson County residents or $9 for nonresidents. Because space is limited, preregistration is required. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359 or register online at www.jcprd.com. 

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

Learn more about the Buffalo Soldiers and World War I during Nov. 2 day trip for 50 Plus

Leavenworth, Kan., and the national World War I Museum in downtown Kansas City are destinations for a busy early November day trip being offered by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

WWI and Buffalo Soldiers  is the name of this day trip.  Travelers will visit Leavenworth's Richard Allen Cultural Center, which opened in 1992 to highlight African-American history. Participants will learn about the accomplishments of African Americans from General Colin Powell, to buffalo soldiers, and including freedom papers from former slaves. Part of the museum is in the former home of U.S. Army Captain William Bly, a Buffalo Soldier during World War I.  Members of the 9th & 10th Calvary Association will tell stories from the past. The group will visit the Buffalo Soldier monument on Fort Leavenworth followed by lunch on base at the Solarium Buffet at the Frontier Conference Center.  Participants will then travel to and spend the afternoon touring the National WWI museum dedicated in 1921 by allied commanders. Learn about the Great War that changed everything.  The Collection includes over 75,000 items including a tank, canon, trench, and hear how the war is believed to have reoriented the world and changed the role of the United States.

To find this trip 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 depart at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam. The cost for this nine-hour day trip is $77  per person and includes transportation, lunch, and admissions. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359 or register online at www.jcprd.com.

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.

JCPRD winter park hours begin Nov. 1

Winter hours of  7:30  a.m. to 8 p.m. go into effect Nov. 1 for many Johnson County Park and  Recreation District parks. These winter hours will stay in effect through Feb. 28.

District parks impacted by the new hours are: Heritage Park, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe;  Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe; Lexington Lake  Park, 8850 Sunflower Road, De Soto; Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam; and Big Bull Creek Park, 20425 Sunflower Road, Edgerton. Winter hours for Shawnee Mission Park, 7900  Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa, are 6 a.m. to 8 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 and Metcalf, Stilwell; and all of the Streamway Park System access points.  

Park hours are reduced each winter to reduce costs and to allow for the reallocation of a staff time to other activities at a time when fewer people typically visit the parks because of colder weather and earlier nightfall.

As of  Oct. 15, outdoor restrooms and water fountains in JCPRD parks are in the process of being turned off and weatherized to avoid damage from freezing. Notable exceptions are the "off-the-grid" restroom at the Heritage Park Off-Leash Dog Area, which uses solar panels on the roof to heat water in a tubing system to provide radiant heat to the building, restrooms in the foyer area of the new addition to the JCPRD Administration Building near the 79th St. entrance in Shawnee Mission Park, which are climate controlled and will remain open during park hours throughout the year; and two restrooms in the recently-opened Big Bull Creek, including one at the combined park maintenance building and Johnson County Park Police substation located at 19770 Four Corners Road, and another near the nature-themed playground at 20425 Sunflower Road, Edgerton.

For more information, visit the district’s website at www.jcprd.com or call (913) 438-7275.

Continuing park and facility growth and popularity addressed with new JCPRD Safety Plan

Earlier this year, the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners approved a safety plan prepared by JCPRD staff to address safety needs for the years 2019 through 2030.  It includes a review of Johnson County Park Police staffing and equipment to ensure appropriate safety and security within the district.  The Johnson County Park and Recreation District has opened and will continue to open additional acres to the public, substantially increasing JCPRD managed greenspace available for public access.  Additional trail miles and recreation facilities are opening as well, requiring increased provision of safety services.

“As we open new parks and trails, the JCPRD board wanted to ensure that safety was not lost as our agency’s top priority,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller. “They established a goal for staff to develop a district-wide safety plan in 2018.  The plan recognized that between 2016-2024, JCPRD will see an 82 percent increase in park acres open to the public, a 42 percent increase in paved trail miles, and a 27 percent increase in JCPRD facilities.  The plan identified the need for four officers to be added to the park police force each year from 2019 to 2024, and the installation of security cameras at parks and facilities.  The Board’s unanimous adoption of the plan is evidence of their commitment to the continued safety of our park patrons, program participants and staff.“ 

In addition to JCPRD’s growth in acres and trail miles, visitations to the agency’s parks and facilities are at an all-time high.  The number of visitations to JCPRD’s various parks and facilities in 2017 was 8.9 million. Projections through 2024 are for a 32 percent increase in visitation, and the projection through 2030 anticipates a 42 percent increase.

It is important that residents feel safe in JCPRD parks and facilities and on district trails.  Safety on trails has been of heightened concern in recent years due to crimes committed on other metro area trails not owned and operated by JCPRD.  Currently, one bike patrol officer, supplemented by park safety aides on bike, patrol in the busier summer months.

Additionally, automobiles visiting JCPRD’s park amenities are sometimes a target for burglaries, and there has been a rise in this activity in the past year.  Greater visibility of park police, safety aides, and the installation of security cameras will be a strong deterrent to such activity, and is an anticipated outcome of the safety plan. 

Current Park Police Staff include: one chief, two captains, four sergeants, and 16 patrol officers. 

"Our goal is really to get our new JCPRD Safety Plan implemented, and it really starts with recruiting, hiring, and training officers," said Superintendent of Safety and Outdoor Education Terry Anderson. "We have those four new positions to fill for 2019 as part of the safety plan, and with three more positions to fill due to recent attrition, in the next six or seven months, we will probably hire a record level of new officers."

Safety has always been a top priority for JCPRD, and it is evident with the increase in park acres, trail miles, and recreation facilities that additional park police services are needed.  The recent opening of the park police substation in Big Bull Creek Park provides better responsiveness for patrons. The opening of a second park police substation is proposed in 2022, with a third substation to follow in future years.  Closely monitoring activity and visitations in new parks in the coming years, JCPRD will evaluate and determine the best locations for a these substations.

Funding for implementation of the safety plan has not been identified, and will require approval from the JCPRD park board, as well as the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners as part of the annual budget process.

Tea Dance - Monster Mash for 50 Plus is Oct. 26 at Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center

Join us for a spooktacular tea dance event with Roland and the Playboys being presented by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District in late October.

This Tea Dance - Monster Mash will take place on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.  Wear a costume for a chance at prizes. Bring your favorite sweet treat or potluck dish to share. Refreshments will be  provided. To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under special events and then under 50 plus. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “dance.”

This event will begin at 2 p.m. The cost for this two-hour event is $5 per person. Pay at the door, or register in advance by calling (913) 831-3359 or online at www.jcprd.com.

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, with information and a registration form, is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches.

Explore "Spooky Spas" in Excelsior Springs during Oct. 25 day trip for 50 Plus

Learn the story of The Elms Hotel & Spa and how the area was “America’s Haven of Health.” during a late October day trip being offered by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Spooky Spas is the name of this day trip, which will take place about a week before Halloween. 

Drawn by the alleged healing properties of the area's mineral water, guests have been coming to Excelsior Springs since the late 1800s. Two devastating fires destroyed The Elms hotel in 1898 and 1910, and the current  Elms opened in 1912. During the 1920s and 30s, The Elms prospered as a speakeasy, and Al Capone was a frequent visitor. The hotel has also been the site of some notable activities, including serving as a training camp for boxer Jack Dempsey, as the summer camp for the 1948 New York Giants football team, and as Harry S. Truman's election night hangout, also in 1948. The Elms has long been said to be haunted and was featured in a July 2013 episode of SyFy’s "Ghost Hunters.” Some ghost legends purport that the lap pool area entertains the spirit of a gambler involved with illegal activities during Prohibition, and another story says the housekeeping staff has a spiritual adviser in the form of a ghost wearing a 1920s-style uniform.

Participants in the Spooky Spas trip will enjoy lunch and stories of the hotel’s hauntings. The group will also tour the Hall of Waters, one of the most complete health resorts in the US in 1937, and learn about the “miraculous” waters from the springs. The trip will conclude with a step-on-guided tour. Be advised that many steps are involved in this outing.

To find this trip 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 depart at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, from Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam,. The cost for this seven and one half hour day trip is $86 per person and includes transportation, tours, and lunch. For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359 or register online at www.jcprd.com.

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.

Be a part of an 1850s Kansas Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 27 the Johnson County Museum!

A regional historical reenactors group will give participants a taste of what local government was like 150+ years ago during a new special event being presented by the Johnson County Museum in late October.

This Interactive 1850s Kansas Town Hall Meeting will take participants back to Territorial Kansas, where pro-slavery and free staters lived side-by-side. Join the Lecompton Reenactors for the town hall meeting, then stay to meet a reenactor portraying James Lane, a partisan during the Bleeding Kansas period that immediately preceded the American Civil War, a United States Senator, and as a general for the Union during the war.

The Lecompton Reenactors is a group dedicated to research, and study of the Territorial Kansas era of 1854-1861, as well as to education about that time through living history interpretation.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog, browse first under special events and then under fun for all. In the printed catalog, look for the keywords “family fun.”

This Interactive 1850s Kansas Town Hall Meeting will take at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center located at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. The cost for one 60-minute program is regular museum admission: $5 per person for adults, $4 for seniors ages 60 and older, $3 for children one to 18, and museum members are free. No advance registration is necessary for this drop-in program.

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

Upcoming Events

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Fri, 10/19/2018 - 4:30pm

Trick-or-Cache - Three Sessions!

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 10:00am

Cars in the Park

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 6:30pm

Haunted Kansas

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 7:30pm

International Observe the Moon Night

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 2:30pm

2018 Fall Trout Program - two locations!

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Thu, 10/18/2018 - 9:30am
Fri, 10/19/2018 - 7:30am
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 5:30pm
Tue, 10/23/2018 - 5:30pm
Wed, 10/24/2018 - 9:00am
Wed, 10/24/2018 - 6:00pm
Thu, 10/25/2018 - 9:30am
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 9:30am
Thu, 11/08/2018 - 9:30am

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