The museum boasts both the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the largest collections of historic toys on public display.
If you had a favorite toy when you were a kid, it is likely on display at the museum.
There are many aviation-themed toys in the collection, but we’d love to jet on over now to see a new exhibit in the museum’s Hall of Collections.
On display are more than two dozen Trans World Airlines (TWA) toy airplanes from the collection of retired TWA pilot Cooper Weeks.
Here’s some of the TWA history shared on the sign by the exhibit:
The collection ..”harkens back to the heyday of the airline, one known as the Airline of the Stars. Initially formed in 1930, TWA became one of four major domestic airlines after World War II. The airline was headquartered in Kanas City, MO and in 1962 opened a hub for international flights at Idlewild (later known as John F. Kennedy) Airport in New York. TWAS was acquired by American Airlines in 2001.”
Kansas City is well-known for its tangy barbecue, its jazz and blues history and its more than 200 fountains, some of which date back to the days when horses were said to outnumber people in the city.
“The American Humane Society began putting water troughs at every corner to keep the horses hydrated and, over time, the fountains became more ornate and more popular,” said Derek Klaus of Visit KC. “Now the City of Fountains Foundation maintains a database of more than 215 local fountains.”
Today, the City of Fountains is cosmopolitan, yet authentic. While $10 billion worth of investment has been poured into the region, this city of more than 2 million people still treasures its easy-going Midwestern vibe.
“Kansas City is at the heart of American creativity — a home for arts, culture and innovation,” said Tim Cowden, CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council.
As the home to major companies such as Garmin, Sprint, H&R Block, Cerner, Hallmark Cards and Russell Stover Chocolates, plenty of business travelers find themselves swinging through the city for work.
“Visiting business travelers are always impressed by our thriving downtown, which includes a streetcar, galleries and dining options ranging from world-class BBQ at Jack Stack to cocktails at the Monarch Bar and whiskey tasting at the J. Rieger Distillery,” Cowden said.
If you’re in town for a business trip with just a few hours to spare, we’ve gathered some tips to help you make the most of your off-duty hours.
Downtown Kansas C
If a downtown meeting wraps up early, head over to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is a
short walk or Uber ride from the Plaza (officially, Country Club Plaza), a
15-block shopping, dining and entertainment district dotted with fountains.
Admission is free to the museum’s permanent
collection and many of its temporary exhibitions, so it’s easy to stop in for a
short tour of some of the museum’s vast holdings. For a quick bite, the museum
has a restaurant and coffee shop and is open on Thursdays and Fridays until 9
p.m. There’s even a happy hour on Thursday evenings starting at 5 p.m.
Back on the Plaza you
can take care of that age-old question: “What did you bring me?”
The Made in KC Marketplace on the Plaza carries work by more than 200
area artists, designers and makers and has both a cafe and a bar.
And since you’re in Kansas City, you might want
to tuck into some world-class Kansas City barbecue, known for the thick, rich
tomato sauce lathered on during and after the cooking process.
“We slow-smoke our barbecue for
several hours—sometimes up to 18—for that ‘low and slow’ Kansas City
technique,” said Derek Klaus of Visit KC
If you haven’t changed out of your business
attire and fancy an after-meeting cocktail in an opulent setting, stop into The
Monarch Cocktail Bar & Lounge, in the West Plaza district where the drinks
take their inspiration from the flight paths of the Monarch butterfly.
For example, many cocktails celebrating the Monarch’s
journey from Canada through the U.S. Midwest and into Mexico pair whiskeys and
rums with citrus and fresh fruits.
Jazz and baseball history – plus a great
Kansas City’s downtown 18th and
Vine historic district is home to both the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum,
and they are conveniently co-located in the same building.
The American Jazz Museum has listening stations and displays
memorabilia and personal items that tell the stories of jazz legends. Don’t
miss a rare treasure: Charlie Parker’s Grafton saxophone.
The museum’s Blue Room Jazz Club hosts live
music four times a week, with several early shows that shouldn’t interfere with
those morning meetings.
The Negro Leagues
Baseball Museum features photographs, historical artifacts and interactive
computer stations that document the story of the players and the teams from
after the Civil War through to the 1960s. A mock baseball diamond with 10
life-size sculptures of the league’s greats is a popular centerpiece exhibit.
Two blocks away is the Paseo YMCA, the
founding site of the Negro Baseball Leagues in 1920. The building is on the
National Register of Historic Places and outside there’s now a small baseball
diamond where you can run the bases and take a photo in front of a large mural
portraying Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil and other Negro Leagues
players who also played in the major leagues.
Wonders from down under
If you’ve finished your meetings and have a
late afternoon or early evening flight, try one of these bonus attractions
located not far from downtown.
The KC Streetcar is free to ride and will take
you from downtown to the historic River Market area, and its year-round weekend
The River Market is also home to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts.
The fully loaded Steamboat Arabia sank on the Missouri River in September 1856. The steamer lay beneath the water for decades. But with erosion, the river chaged course and a century later, the Arabia and its 60 tons of still-intact cargo was dug up from beneath a Kansas cornfield in 1988. The recovered treasure is on display. It includes everything from dishware and fine jewelry to guns, toys and still edible food.
For history with a twist, Uber over to the J.
Rieger & Co. in the East Bottoms neighborhood, which celebrates the
resurrection of a local distillery with roots dating back to 1887.
In addition to daily distillery tours (samples
included), the site houses The Monogram Lounge (cocktails, coffee and small
plates) and the swank Hey! Hey! Club.
Bonus: Anyone is welcome to take a ride on the
40-foot indoor slide.
A few bonus items:
I ran out of room in the CNBC story for two other Kansas City treasures.
The toy side is home to one of the country’s largest collection of antique toys.
The miniatures side of the museum is filled with the world’s largest collection of fine scale miniatures. They may look like toy-sized, but they are highly crafted works of art that are not for children at all.
It’s getting a much-needed new terminal and has promised it will be ready to welcome everyone who will visit the city when it hosts the 2023 NFL Draft.
In the meantime, the coolest amenities you’ll find at KCI are the SouveNEAR vending machines filled with gifts, souvenirs and unusual items made by Kansas City artists. So there’s no excuse to go arrive home empty-handed.