KANSAS CITY, Mo. – During FOX4’s Zip to the Cockrell Mercantile, we also featured two places you can detour to during your journey: Powell Gardens and the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area.
In Kingsville, Powell Gardens is a landscaper’s dream. Its history dates to 1948 when George E. Powell, Sr., purchased a 640-acre farm. Some 73 years later, Powell Gardens spans nearly 800 acres with 175 acres open to the public, and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
It’s a very multi-generational place. Grandparents, their kids, their grandkids and then they always, the generations just keep coming back,” CEO Tabitha Schmidt said.
Powell Gardens is home to eight themed gardens, featuring fountains, edible plants, even a bubbling brook.
“Families, we have our fun and games play in the garden which is a permanent play exhibition that will just remain. We have 13 play moments for families to explore, everything from geocaching to an enchanted forest to an ice game on the silo and play structures and everything in between,” Schmidt said.
“We, actually this year, are officially and fully launching our four seasonal festivals. We finished our bloom fest which is actually going to be re-titled ‘Painted Garden.’ It’s an art and garden experience in the spring. We work with a lot of the cultural partners. Bloom Fest is our summer festival. Harvest Day gather in the garden is our fall activation and then this year is our fifth annual Festival of Lights.”
Powell Gardens is open Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We are for everyone. Nature is for everyone. This garden is for everyone. Everyone needs nature, they need plants and we really want everyone out here to just experience the gardens,” Schmidt said.
Sixteen minutes away in Lee’s Summit, the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
You can fish, you can hike, you can bird watch, you can use the equestrian trails,” Gilbert Randolph told FOX4.
There’s more than 3,000 acres of land with 12 lakes and ponds.
“It’s a really popular fishing spot. There is really great bass fishing, they stock trout, channel catfish. It’s really accessible for kids or for people who have disabilities, there are a lot of disability accessible ramps and docs that people can fish from,” Randolph said.
The area’s expansive woodland and wetland grounds is also popular for hunting.
“Hunters do need to check in at the office. There is a kiosk that has a sign-in slip and they need to report how many animals they have taken, if they were small game hunting,” Randolph explained.
It’s free, and open daily between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.