Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival

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Today is the last day of the Santa-Cali-Gon Festival in downtown Independence, celebrating the  three major trails heading west:  the Santa Fe, California and Oregon.
Enjoy fried dill pickles, brisket, root bear and much much more.


Shop for jewelry, tie die, Native American art, and much much more.









Cool off with some  shaved ice.

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Funnel cakes are sold on every corner.




Have some melt in you mouth cotton candy.




Take time to watch the performances.  The  Cowtown Cloggers will keep your hands clapping and toes tapping.
See Independence’s first fire engines—Santa’s sleigh never shined so bright.












If you miss this year’s festival, add it to next year’s Labor Day activities.

Powell Gardens

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Where can you crawl through a bear’s den, see how you measure up against an eagle or stand on a butterfly?


















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My grandchildren darted from sculptures of bear cubs to rabbits, saw butterflies and dragonflies, smelled flowers, and raced down trails.


They climbed the silo, tried new vegetables, walked on tin cans stilts, played with hoops and drew chalk pictures on the sidewalk.


In the Visitor Education Center they saw the stages of meal worms, made garden decorations/scare crows out of mylar balloons, identified coffee beans, corn kernels,  sun flower seeds, and more.  
It was a full fun morning, and there was still more trails to trod and gardens to enjoy, when we left.  We can’t wait to return.





My Neighborhood

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Today we went on a walk through my neighborhood.  We turned off the cell phone and the video games, took off the ear buds,  and watched what was happening around us.  And guess what we saw.


A mailbox shaped like a horse.


A playful moose  wrapped
in lights
waiting for Christmas.



A lucky penny–my grandson
would have missed,
if he had been playing
his video game.

A tree trimmer bouncing from limb to limb
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Please share the surprises you find on your walks.

Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center

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This week we found a library where we not only read about  prehistoric animals, but also touched a wooly mammoth tooth and a  mastodon fossil.
We pet a skunk pelt, felt an alligator head, met Oreo, a California king snake; Franklin, a yellow mud turtle, and other reptiles and amphibians.
At the Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center (4051 West Drive at Wyandotte County Lake Park, Kansas City, Kansas) the learning doesn’t just take place inside.  We hiked the nature trails, identified birds at the feeding stations, counted butterflies and dragon flies at the butterfly garden and saw native plants at the Lewis and Clark Garden.

Hallmark Visitors Center

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Yesterday we visited the Hallmark Visitors Center
next to Kaleidoscope in Crown Center
and found surprises for every age.  
We saw Christmas trees,
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Scooby Doo and Maxine,
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Winston Churchill’s paintings
and learned why wrapping paper was invented.  
Before we left we watched Kaleidoscope die cuts pressed, made bows, had our photo taken with funny digital hats and emailed them home.
The Visitors Center was a great place to wait our turn for Kaleidoscope, a world of infinite imagination.


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Kaleidoscope at Crown Center is an annual event for my grandchildren.  As soon as they come to Kansas they ask if they can go.



Give my granddaughter paper, scissors, crayons,
glue, glitter, stickers, etc., and she will be busy for hours.
No wonder Kaleidoscope is her favorite place to draw, color, paste, paint and create.  It’s as limitless as her





We went again yesterday.  She woke up early and was dressed by 7 a.m.   





Not to be out down, her brothers
woke up at 5:30 a.m.






Is it a fly? Is it a frog?  NO!  It’s a hand washing machine!  Complaints of “Do I have to wash my hands?” transform into pleas of “Just let me wash for one more minute!”







Even my one-year-old granddaughter
enjoyed being there. She ran to the
crayons and started decorating.











With ever changing supplies, it’s
something new every time we visit.








Kaleidoscope is open Monday-Saturday from 9:30-4:30.
The first session begins at 9:40 with sessions
beginning every 50 minutes.

It is amazing: all this fun and it’s free.


Penguin Park

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If my grandchildren had their way, they would still be at Penguin Park on N Vivion Rd. & N Norton Ave. in Kansas City, MO.


Divided into three sections, the park is designed for children from toddlers to ten-year-olds.
My older grandchildren gathered atop the elephant. When their enthusiasm spilled out of the tube slide,
they hung out on the monkey bars, glided on the zip line, spun in the gyroscope and swung until their toes touched the clouds.
 Beneath the giant penguin, the toddlers were safe the from the older ones’ exuberance.
My two-year-old grandson climbed inside the giant penguin, crawled on, over and through the tube obstacle course
  and told the children on the school bus to, “Move on back.
He shouted, “Ye haw,”  as he rode the bouncy horse and shared a ride on the  purple dragon with a new friend.
Then he whirled on the tire swing and slid down the frog.
When everyone was hot and hungry, we gathered under the penguin shelter to recharge for one more round of fun before it was time to go.