Ages 12-14 | Nature & Animals

Watch stingrays 'fly' over your head, see sharks close-up along with more than 5,000 other sea animals at SEA LIFE Aquarium.  Your visit will take you through themed rooms that are home to seahorses, jellyfish, eels, and more.  Hold a sea star or horseshoe crab, or take some time to watch a scheduled feeding.  And learn about some amazing facts and conservation efforts!

Before Your Visit:

Explore SEA LIFE in KC:

  • If you want to learn about the animals, grab a Quiz card before you enter the aquarium.
  • The Shoaling Room hosts a tank with a 360 degree view of the fish.  There are about 1000 fish that will grow as they age so the tank will begin to look more crowded.
  • Learn about native fish from Missouri and Mississippi rivers in the Freshwater streams room, which also has an indoor waterfall.
  • Reading the walls as you tour the aquarium is a must - there are really interesting facts in every room.
  • You're never too old to experience a touch tank with sea stars, horseshoe crab and urchins - and you might be able to see the horseshoe crab eating lunch.
  • Watch the screen and read the boards to learn about sea turtle conservation efforts.  Talk to the Educational Specialists and they can tell you more about conservation.
  • Don't miss the barracuda as you enter the next area!
  • There are quite a few tanks in the Shipwreck Room - spend some time here crawling underneath and getting a magnified look at the fish.
  • One of the biggest draws in the Underwater Tunnel, along with the full-wall of glass around the corner.  Both areas have great viewing of the sharks and stingrays.
  • Did you know that jellyfish have no blood or brains?  Stop to consider what they are made of.
  • Stand on the glass platform over the tank in the Stingray Bay room and see the stingrays and eels swim below.  Ask the Education Spealist about the moray eels - you may have to look at the back of the tank to see them.
  • Don't forget to stop and see the seahorses.

Learn More:

  •  Visit Planet Ocean at Discovery Education to explore more about the ocean, barracudas, blue whales and more.

If your kids have yet to read a book by Carl Hiassen, introduce them to this environmentally-conscious author of the book "Flushed", a funny mystery about kids who uncover a the 'stink' on who's polluting local waters.


"Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers & Wetlands" by Cathryn Berger Kaye describes the issues that face our waters (such as runoff pollution and bottled water) and lists various projects teens can do to make an impact.


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Come and see animals native to our area that use to roam the prairies of the Midwest.  Fleming Park hosts a 110-acre enclosure that houses bison, deer & elk.  Walk right up to the fence to get an eye-to-eye view of these amazing animals.

Before Your Visit:

  • One of the best parts of visiting is feeding the animals - bring some small apples or long carrots (with the green on top) and carefully feed them through the fence.
  • Bring binoculars so you can see the animals if they are near the back of the enclosure.
  • Don't forget your camera for some cool photos!

Explore the Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure:

  • Sometimes the bison and larger elk hide near the trees - make sure to look near the lake and towards the back too. 
  • Walk along the fenceline to get a better look at some of the elk and bison that are grazing or resting near the front of the enclosure.
  • Make sure to be respectful of nature when you're visiting - don't scare the animals and please don't litter.

Learn More about Bison & Elk:

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To see more animals around Kansas City, visit:

  • Kansas City Zoo

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Watch your teen act like a kid again – it’s easy to do at Deanna Rose!  Come feed baby goats, learn about how milk gets from the cow to the store shelves, visit an Indian Encampment and ‘do lessons’ in a one-room school house. 

Before Your Visit:

  • Bring a water bottle with you.
  • If you plan to feed the goats, remember that they like to chew on strings and may step on your feet - be careful if you wear flip-flops.
  • Some of the fun things for older kids will cost extra money (mining, fishing, bottle-feeding goats) so bring some extra $.

Explore Deanna Rose:

  • NEW THIS YEAR:  The Educational Pavilion (located near the General Store) will host FREE public programs at 11am, 1pm & 3 pm daily.  Programs will highlight turn-of-the-century farmlife and be interactive for kids.
  • Bottle-feed the baby goats ($).
  • Visit the Kanza Indian Encampment to see artifacts and teepees. 
  • Go mining for gem stones ($).
  • Tour the Dairy Barn to see calves, watch a movie about milk and quiz yourself at the video stations.  You can also see live milking demonstrations twice a day.
  • Go shopping in the Country Store.
  • Visit the animals in the older part of the farmstead:  bobcats, horses, prairie dogs and birds of prey.
  • On a hot day, seek out the waterfall and cool off your feet!
  • Try fishing with cane poles ($).

Learn More:


If you haven't yet, introduce your kids to Laura Ingalls Wilder with "Little Town on the Prairie" or "Farmer Boy" after a visit to the farmstead.


Other engaging novels for this age would include "Hattie Big Sky" by Kirby Larson and books that discuss the Orphan trains from U.S. history.


Discover More:

Enjoy some time at these other great Kansas City attractions:

  • Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure
  • Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farmstead

View Deanna Rose Farmstead, 13800 Switzer Rd., Overland Park, KS 66221 in a larger map

More than just plants, the Overland Park Arboretum has geocaching, great hiking trails, a snack bar and some fun places to learn about gardens.  Stop at the Visitor's Desk for a list of coordinates, bring a hand-held GPS (or download an app to your phone) and search for the hidden caches throughout the gardens.

Before Your Visit:


Explore Overland Park Arboretum:


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Try your hand at orienteering, canoeing or fishing by registering for one of the free programs at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center.  They have some amazing programs along with nature movies, trails and a nature center all waiting to be explored.

Before Your Visit:


Explore Burr Oak Woods:

  • Watch one of the various nature films in the theater.
  • Go geocaching - there are 3 known caches in the area.
  • Take a hike on one of the nature trails.
  • Sit in the indoor or outdoor viewing area and watch the birds and other animals.
  • Look into one of the activity programs, like orienteering or hiking.

Learn More:

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Come to the Kansas City Zoo and see what it feels like to be as high up as a giraffe - take the skyride across Africa to get a new look at the animals.  Explore the research areas of the zoo to learn about conservation and animal sciences.  Or just relax and watch some of your favorite animals - like the chimpanzees, lions, meerkats or apes. 

Before Your Visit:


Explore KC Zoo:


Learn More:


DVD – Bear Gryllis “Man vs Wild” Alaska episode produced by Discovery Channel

Online crossword puzzles on animal biology and current issues (ages 12-14, 15+)

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