Fun Things To Do
Just minutes from downtown Kansas City, Independence is located six miles east of the Kansas City Royals Baseball and Kansas City Chiefs Footballs Stadiums on Interstate 70, and 12 miles east of popular area attractions including Steamboat Arabia Museum and the acclaimed National WWI Museum.
One of a limited number of cities with a presidential museum and library (Harry Truman’s hometown), Independence is a haven for history buffs. It was the beginning of the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails in the 1800s. Attractions allow you to experience life as the pioneers on the trail did.
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum Built on a hill overlooking the Kansas City skyline, on land donated by the City of Independence, the Truman Library was dedicated July 6, 1957. Two floors of exhibits show his life and presidency through photographs, documents, artifacts, memorabilia, film clips and a film about Truman's life. The library's replica of the Oval Office is a feature that has been copied by the Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush libraries. (The museum has been closed for renovations, so please check the website before planning your visit.)
Harry S. Truman Home and National Historic Site After serving nearly eight years as President, Truman went home in 1953. For Harry and Bess, the love of his life, home meant 219 North Delaware Street in Independence, where they had lived together since their marriage in 1919. Visit the Truman Home for an in-depth view of the personal and family life of the 33rd President of the United States and see a selection of artifacts from the Truman family.
National Frontier Trails Museum Visit the history museum, interpretive center, and research library dedicated to telling the rich history of America’s principle, pioneering trails, including the Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails, Lewis & Clark and Mormon Pioneer Trails. The ill-fated Donner Party left from Independence, MO in 1846 for California. Did you know most pioneers had to walk the 2,170 mile Oregon Trail due to storage and wagon weight? Covered wagon rides offered on request.
Clinton’s Soda Fountain Step into Clinton’s Soda Fountain, sit at the marble bar, and experience a moment in history. Decades ago, young Harry Truman worked at a pharmacy and soda fountain at this very location on Independence Square. Whether you order Harry’s Favorite (a butterscotch sundae with chocolate ice cream,) they also offer classic soda phosphates with flavored syrups, edible cookie dough and other treats for your sweet tooth - and they have a small lunch menu. Clinton’s is a must-stop destination.
Midwest Genealogy Center At the Midwest Genealogy Center, you will find access to databases, books, periodicals, microfilm, and maps that cover the United States as well as countries around the world. Information like this can help you move back through generations in your family's history. Don't miss a visit to the largest free-standing public genealogy facility in the nation.
Community of Christ International Headquarters (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) The Church of Christ Temple was designed by Gyo Obata and evokes the spiral shell of the nautilus with a stainless steel spire that rises 300 feet. The facility displays art which comprises a collection of modern and traditional religious art from around the world. Visit the Temple, Heritage Plaza, Mormon Visitors Center and more. (All tours of the museum are subject to docent availability.)
Leila’s Hair Museum This is the only museum in the world dedicated to this art form that died out in the early 1900s and features over 2300 framed hair wreaths and pieces of jewelry made out of hair. There is no exact date that can be pinpointed as to when and where hair art began, but it is known to have flourished in the Victorian times and can be traced back to the 12th century. Call before planning your visit. 816-833-2955
Adventure Oasis Water Park This small water park offers a lazy river, three water slides, diving areas, interactive family pool, climbing wall, lap pool and a children's area. Concessions are available and there are lawn chairs if you just want to kick back and watch the fun.
George Owens Nature Park This nature park offers families the opportunity to reconnect with their natural environment. Explore the DeWitt Center and experience 86 acres of beautiful forest and wildlife, two stocked fishing lakes, hiking trails, nature center, turtle enclosure and aquariums. The park is open year round.
World of Fun/Oceans of Fun Amusement Parks Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun covers more than 235 acres featuring 23 slides within 17 attractions. Oceans of Fun is the foremost water park in Kansas City conveniently connected to Worlds of Fun. Splash in our Surf City Wave Pool or float down 720 feet of lazy river. Located just 16.5 miles from the hotel.
WW1 Museum This museum and memorial center is dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The museum offers over 100,000 artifacts in this state-of-the-art museum honoring those who served in The Great War. It is designated as the official WW1 museum by Congress. The centerpiece structure is the Liberty Memorial Tower, rising 217 feet above the main courtyard with an open-air observation deck at the top, offering spectacular views of the city.
Arabia Steamboat Museum This is a unique Kansas City attraction: a time capsule of life on the American frontier in the mid-19th century. In September 1856, the Arabia was carrying over 200 tons of cargo intended for general stores and homes in 16 midwestern frontier towns. The steamer was still fully loaded when it hit a tree snag and sank just 6 miles west of Kansas City. The treasures of the Steamboat Arabia will connect you to American history in a new and exciting way.