KC Parks News | Kanas City Parks & Recreation Department

KC Parks News

  1. KC’s Founding Father and Early Trading Partners to be Honored with Historical and Educational Fountain

    kwan-wu-chouteauNearly 200 hundred years after the area’s first fur trading post was settled on the bluffs of the Missouri River, Kansas City is preparing to honor the French pioneer Francois Chouteau who established it, and the Native Americans with whom he traded. Francois Chouteau is widely acknowledged as the Founding Father of Kansas City, and the City of Fountains is planning to honor him with an historical fountain to be located fittingly along Chouteau Parkway.

    On November 10, 2016, the City Council and Mayor approved a resolution sponsored by 1st District Councilwoman Heather Hall. The fountain will be located in the southern portion of Kansas City’s 1st District on the west side of Chouteau Parkway, south of I-35, north of Parvin Road and adjacent to the Chouteau Rain Gardens.

    A group called the Chouteau Fountain Founders in working with the City of Fountains Foundation to raise private funds and other grants to underwrite the educational, historical and multicultural monument to Kansas City’s earliest history.

    Early in 2016, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department conducted a study to determine a suitable site, then partnered with Landworks Studio to develop a design and landscape treatment. The KC Parks Board of Commissioners and KC Municipal Arts Council reviewed and endorsed the project.

    Local sculptor Kwan Wu, who created the beloved George Brett statue at Kaufman Stadium, will create the larger-than-life statues of Chouteau and his Native American trading partners which will sit atop the 8-foot tall limestone bluffs and overlook a recreation of the Missouri River.

    To contribute to the Chouteau fountain, go to City of Fountains Foundation page>>

    To follow the Choutteau fountain’s progress like their Facebook page>>

  2. Rally Mantis Jr. Passes Away

    rjmRally Mantis Jr: April 12, 2016 – November 1, 2016

    Mr. Rally Mantis Jr. has passed away of old age after a long and plentiful life.  Alas he was a lifelong bachelor choosing a life of baseball over the standard mantis copulation beheading ritual.  His passing up to the big ball diamond  in the sky  coincides  with the date his beloved  Royals won the 2015 World Series.

    He was preceded in death by his 569 sisters and brothers his beheaded father Walter and his fertile  mother Hildebrand. Rally wished for a  small funeral and his wishes were observed with a muted flush.

    Well wishes and those wishing to remember his life may call at Lakeside Nature Center on  Saturday,  November 5 from 10:00 to 10:15 AM. His passing words were “Forever Royal”.  Play Ball!


  3. KC Zoo Shatters Attendance Record

    Zoo EntranceKansas City Zoo continues to break new ground and this year is no exception. So far in 2016, more than 950,000 guests have experienced an adventure at the KCZoo, shattering last year’s already impressive record. With the addition of two adorable koalas and the births of chimpanzee and orangutan babies, 2016 marked the highest attendance in Kansas City Zoo history.

    As of November 1, 950,151 guests have enjoyed the Kansas City Zoo in 2016. That’s already 38,000 more guests than we saw in 2015 when we finished the year at 911,336 visitors. In 2014 we had 886,200 guests and in 2012, 882,194 people visited the Zoo. With the million mark on the horizon, we are asking YOU to help us make history! Be the millionth guest and be showered with Zootastic prizes including a 2017 FOTZ Membership and a chance to get beak to beak with our feathered friends. The millionth guest to walk through the gates will enjoy a penguin ice shelf experience with up to nine of their friends or family. Bring your flock to the Zoo as often as you can for your chance to win before December 31, 2016.

    There are at least a million reasons to visit the Kansas City Zoo before the year comes to a close. Our adorable marsupial friends are heading back to San Diego at the end of the month. Be sure to see the Koalas before they leave KC on November 30. December is packed with holiday cheer as well! Catch our gentoo and king penguins marching in the chilly air outside Helzberg Penguin Plaza at scheduled times each weekend. Santa Claus is also making the journey from the North Pole to take a dip inside the cold penguin exhibit. See St. Nick diving with penguins on November 25, 26 & 27 and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 at 2 p.m.

    “WOW,” exclaimed Randy Wisthoff, Kansas City Zoo’s Executive Director/CEO. “It’s heart-warming to see how all of Kansas City has embraced the Zoo’s growth since I began here in 2003. That following year we hosted 469,471 guests and embarked on improvement plans. To imagine we’ve more than doubled our attendance and are heading toward one million guests is a tribute to all the support this city and surrounding areas have provided. Thank you Kansas City! Thank you residents of Jackson and Clay County for supporting the Zoological District! Thank you all for visiting the Kansas City Zoo time and time again. We hope every day at our Zoo is a new adventure for you, your families and friends.”

  4. Take a Tour of Veterans Memorials Located in KC Parks

    Clay County VeteransKansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation appreciates those who have served and are currently serving our country. We are honored to have several memorials that pay tribute to veterans located in our parks, including the following:

    Black Veterans Memorial
    Clay  County Veterans Memorial
    Gulf War Veterans Memorial
    Liberty Memorial
    Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain

    In observance of Veterans Day, KC Parks offices will be closed on Friday, November 11. All KC Parks Community Centers will be open with normal operating hours. A full schedule of activities is planned all weekend at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Observances will also take place at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Black Veterans Memorial.

    **Discounts are being offered to active military and veterans at several KC Parks facilities through Veterans Day. More>>

  5. NEWS: 200 KC Volunteers To Build Playground in Six Hours


    Watch the playground be built in this 2-minute video via the KC Star>>

    225 volunteers from CarMax, Cornerstones of Care, City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation and the local Kansas City community


    More than 225 volunteers from CarMax (@CarMax), Cornerstones of Care(@CornerstonesKC), City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation(@KCMOParks), organizers from KaBOOM! (@kaboom) and Kansas City residents will join forces to give area kids a new playground to explore, imagine and create. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special design event in August.

    A playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain expander, friend maker and muscle builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. It enables children to learn, grow and simply enjoy being a kid.

    Currently, many of the toddlers in the Hyde Park and Old Hyde Park neighborhoods do not have a dedicated safe and accessible place to play. This playspace will bring Kansas City one step closer to becoming more playable, by making it easier for kids to get the balanced and active play they need to thrive. A playful child has unlimited potential, and in building this playground together, more than 1,500 Kansas City kids will have the play-filled childhood they deserve.

    Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids because KaBOOM! believes #playmatters for all kids.

    The CarMax Foundation has provided the majority of the funding for the playground through its national partnership with KaBOOM!, supporting The Foundation’s commitment to furthering the cause of children’s healthy living. The project is among 33 playgrounds The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM! will build across the country by the end of 2018 – a $5 million investment.

    Wednesday, October 26 (Times approximate)

    8:30- 9 a.m.: Kick-off ceremony
         10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Best viewing of playground construction 
    1-2:30 p.m.: Final construction phase
    2:30-3 p.m.: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

    Hyde Park, 3790 Gillham Road Kansas City, MO  64111


    • Before and after shots
    • Volunteers assembling, carrying, and installing brightly colored playground equipment
    • Volunteers moving 43,740 square feet of safety surfacing by hand
    • Ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the playground

    Cornerstones of Care: Cornerstones of Care is a family of human service organizations dedicated to strengthening children, families and the communities. It positively impacts the health and well-being of communities by delivering prevention, treatment and support services at its Gillis, Ozanam, Marillac and Spofford campuses. Learn more about its collective impact at cornerstonesofcare.org.

    City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation: Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation provides facilities, programs and recreational opportunities for the community that contribute to an aesthetically pleasing environment and enhanced quality of life. The department maintains 220 parks, 12,242 acres of parkland, 158 miles of trails and bikeways, 29 lakes, hundreds of athletic fields and tennis courts, 103 playgrounds, and five public golf courses.  Miles of scenic boulevards and parkways crisscross the city, where 48 fountains and 119 monuments and sculptures surprise and delight. Ten community centers, along with five museums, provide the setting for socially equitable and community-driven programming.

    The CarMax Foundation: The CarMax Foundation is designed to enrich the communities where our associates live and work and has donated more than $30 million since 2003. Funding programs are made available through a portion of CarMax, Inc.’s pre-tax profits. CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for 12 consecutive years, is the nation’s largest retailer of used vehicles. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, CarMax currently operates 160 superstores in 79 markets. The CarMax consumer offer features low, no-haggle prices, a broad selection of CarMax Quality Certified used vehicles, and superior customer service. During the 12 months ending February 29, 2016, the company retailed 619,936 used cars and sold 394,437 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at www.carmax.com  For more information about The CarMax Foundation, visit foundation.carmax.com.

    About KaBOOM!: KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.

  6. KC Parks Director McHenry Elected to Leadership of National Organization

    Mark L. McHenryMark L. McHenry, director of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation, was sworn in as President-Elect of the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (AAPRA) at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress and Exposition held earlier this month in St. Louis, Missouri. He will assume presidency of AAPRA in October of 2017.

    AAPRA was established in 1980 and is dedicated to advancing the knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; encouraging scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; promoting broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration that advances the profession.

    The membership is made up of practitioners and educators who have served at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a park and recreation agency or as a recognized educator in parks and recreation administration. They also must have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation or assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. The Academy is limited to 125 active members nationwide. The Academy, in partnership with NRPA, administers the National Gold Medal Awards which honor agencies that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services.

    Mark McHenry is the director of Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation, appointed in 2003, becoming the seventh director in the 124 year history of the Department.   Mark has more than 40 years of experience in the Parks and Recreation profession serving in various capacities.

    McHenry holds a Parks Management Degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Public Administration degree from UMKC. He completed studies in the Graduate Program for Senior Executives from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Executive Development Program, at Indiana University.