Zip Trip detours: Take a walk or a ride at these two peaceful stops in Johnson County

Zip Trips

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When you make your next trip to RoKC, FOX4 has two detours you should also check out in Johnson County.

Horseback riding in Paola

S&S Stables is a family-friendly destination. Kayla and Farley Ratzlaff purchased the stables five years ago and never looked back.

“We didn’t retire. We just went to a different full-time job, basically, is what we did,” Kayla said.  

The stables offer horse boarding and guided trail rides.

“We board 19 horses here, which is real convenient because we are right next to Hillsdale Lake, and we have almost 50 miles of trails right across the road. You don’t have to haul anything anywhere to ride,” Kayla said.

“We specialize in people who have never been around horses before. You don’t have to know anything about a horse to come out here and enjoy a trail ride. The trail rides are beautiful. We go by Hillsdale Lake. We have different levels of trails we can go to.”

You can call the stables to make a reservation.  

“This way I’ll talk to you a little bit. I’ll get your height, weight, and I can find out your experience level. I can match you with a horse that you’ll be most comfortable on,” Kayla explained.

Botanical Gardens in Overland Park

Thirty minutes away, the Overland Park Arboretum is open for business.

“We have gardens with different themes. We have 4 miles of trails through the woods, and we have 180 acres of Prairie in the back at the south end of the property,” supervisor Karen Kerkhoff said.

The arboretum was established in 1990 as an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the area.

“You can spend a few minutes in the gardens or 4 hours in the gardens, or if you have kiddos, grab a big stick and take a walk through the woods,” Kerkhoff said.

There’s plenty going on at the Johnson County botanical gardens.

“We have had a series this summer of nature story time. It’s targeted to pre-K kids, and it’s adorable. We have yoga in the garden that kind of alternating Thursdays and Saturdays, and we have wine tastings right here on the patio.”

It’s a big job to take care of the grounds. There are 16 full-time employees, a lot of part-time help, and that’s not all.

“Our volunteer base is very strong. We have, depending on how you counted, anywhere from 600 to 800 volunteers who help us through the year,” Kerkhoff said.

The arboretum and gardens is open seven days a week. The next free admission day is Sept. 7.

“There’s a lot of room. So if anyone feels too hemmed in, there’s a lot of other places to go,” Kerkhoff said.

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