Ages 6-8 | Nature & Animals

Kids will enjoy exploring the many tunnels, passages and rooms at SEA LIFE Aquarium.  Watch sharks, stingrays and fish swim over your head.  Learn some fun fish facts, hold a sea star or horseshoe crab, and discover more than 5,000 sea creatures during your visit.

Before Your Visit:

Explore SEA LIFE in KC:

  • Kids this age will love the Quiz Game stations located throughout the aquarium - pick up a card before your tour at the front desk.
  • The first room you enter is called the Shoaling ring - it's a huge tank that surrounds you and the kids will love seeing the fish swim in a full circle.  Have them pick one fish and see if they can follow it around the room as it swims!
  • Don't miss the indoor waterfall!
  • Stop at the touch tank in the Harbor Room to hold a sea star, horseshoe crab or sea urchin. 
  • Make sure you stop and read the walls with the kids - there are fish facts in every room (some are very entertaining).
  • Enter the Shipwreck Room and you'll feel like you've walking right into a scene from the movie "Finding Nemo" - check out the bubble tank - crawl inside to see the fish.
  • Kids will want to spend some time in the Underwater Tunnel and next to the large sea tank as they watch the sharks and stingrays swim.
  • Stop by the jellyfish tank and watch them as they 'change colors'.
  • Find the tunnel behind tank in Stingray Bay and you should get a good view of the moray eels.  There's also a glass platform above the tank that you can stand on and see the fish swimming below.
  • Don't miss the Seahorse tank - they are cool creatures!  Read about seahorses to see if the mom or the dad seahorse has the babies!
  • Stop at the play zone and sand table - there's also another 'bubble tank' in the last room that kids can crawl into.

Learn More:

  • Great printable coloring page that explains how trash in our neighborhood can reach the ocean and hurt marine life.

Create Your Own Ocean-scape

  • Create your own Ocean-scape to learn more about habitats and ocean zones.
  • Books are always a great way to kids to expand on what they see - try some of these fun & informative reads: 

"The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor" by Joanna Cole takes the class on a trip through the ocean.  Kids will recognize a few friends from the aquarium, along with some new creatures too.

In "Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures" by Bonnie Worth, kids will travel through the various ocean zones and meet some of the creatures that live in each area.


Discover More:

While you're at Crown Center, you would also enjoy:


    View SEA LIFE Kansas City in a larger map

    Do you think owls can really turn their heads all the way around?  Come and learn more about owls, hawks and other animals and reptiles at Ernie Miller Nature Center.  Explore the hiking trails, visit the animals and find some great hands-on learning activities.

    Before Your Visit:

    • Visit the Ernie Miller website to find out about storytimes or animal encouters that you may want to attend on your visit.
    • If you plan to hike the trails, wear good hiking shoes and bring any needed items (i.e., sweatshirt, sunscreen, etc.).  Many of the trails are stroller-friendly. 

    Explore Ernie Miller:

    • As you walk up to the main building, have kids look at the animal prints on the sidewalks.  Can they identify which animal left those tracks?
    • Before entering the main building, visit the homes of the 2 large birds (red tail hawk and owl) that live outside the center.
    • Ask at the front desk for a scavenger hunt sheet - use this as you explore the center.
    • In the lobby, you’ll find some native salamanders and snakes – talk to your kids about the fact that all the animals they see at the center live in our area.
    • Visit the outdoor courtyard in the middle of the main building – you will find some amazing owls.  Facts and info about the owls can be found on the windows of the exhibit.
    • You will find two types of turtles at the center – a soft shell turtle and a hard shell tortoise.  Ask your kids about why each turtle has that type of shell.
    • Kids will also want to visit the large fish tank, and the birding room that overlooks the outdoor feeding area.  They will also find books and nature items to explore in the birding room.

    Learn More:

    Discover More:

    Other great places to explore nature in Kansas City include:

    Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..”  You can visit the bison who use to roam our plains right here in Kansas City.  The Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure at Lake Jacomo has bison, elk and deer roaming free in a 110-acre enclosure. 

    Before Your Visit:

    • Bring some small apples or long carrots (with the green on top) and you can carefully feed the animals through the fence.
    • Bring binoculars to view the animals if they are toward the back of the enclosure.
    • Bring a camera for some great pictures!

    Explore the Native Hoofed Enclosure:

    • Look carefully – sometimes the animals are hiding in the shadows or trees.  Also look near the lake.
    • Park and walk – park your car in the parking lot and walk along the fence line.  Many times the animals are grazing or resting in the front of the enclosure.
    • Talk to kids about being respectful - remember you are visiting 'Mother Nature's home'.  Don't litter, and don't scare the animals.

    Learn More about Bison & Elk:

    Discover More:

    You can visit more animals around Kansas City at:

    View Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure in a larger map

    How would you like to see your kids bottle-feed a kid (baby goat)?  Or watch a cow being milked?  Bring them to see some of their favorite farm animals, hike the trails, feed the chickens and play on the slides.

    Before Your Visit:

    • Remember to dress for the weather, and wear comfortable shoes (closed toed preferrable if you're feeding the goats or riding the horses).
    • Bring water bottles & snacks as kids are always getting hungry at places like this.
    • Don't forget your passport, if you already have one. If it's your first time out this year, stop by Ben's Bank to pick one up.

    Explore Deanna Rose Farmstead:

    • Grab a map when you enter the farmstead - it's quite a large place.
    • 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.
    • Pet and feed the goats or bottle-feed the baby goats ($).
    • Hike the nature trails and see the butterfly garden.
    • Tour the schoolhouse, write on slates and see what kids learned years ago!
    • Visit Ben’s Bank and pick up a passport clues are located in black boxes around the Farmstead.
    • Explore the General Store to see what items people needed when they lived in prairie towns.
    • Take a pony ride ($).
    • Tour the Dairy Barn to see calves, watch a cow being milked (daily at 9:30 am and 4:30 pm) and milk a pretend cow yourself.
    • Don’t forget to take a trip down the Barn Slide!
    • Watch the prairie dogs dig tunnels - can you count how many there are - you may have to estimate!?

    Learn More:

    • If your kids enjoyed the movie in the milking barn, try a visit to Shatto Dairy where they can experience where milk comes from first-hand!
    • Enjoy some of these fun reads:


    "A Year at a Farm" by Nicholas Harris

    A great glossary of terms and beautiful pictures walk you through what happens each month at a farm, with seasonal changes and events.


    "Farm" by Elisha Cooper

    A beautiful look at a farm family that describes the sights, smells and activities of farm living.  Kids will get a realistic view of the life on a farm, with longer text to fit this inquisitive age.

    Discover More:

    • After your visit, ask your child which was their favorite animal and why.  Also ask them what buildings were missing from the prairie town - see what they might notice as places in their community that didn't exist years ago.

    • Other KC locations that include animals & historic buildings:
      • Mahaffie Farm & Stagecoach Stop
      • Missouri Town 1855

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



    Want to explore a tunnel covered in vines? Look for frogs, butterflies and bugs? Hike a trail through the woods? Come to the Overland Park Arboretum and explore nature, smell herbs, and play in the Children's Garden.

    Before Your Visit:

    • Some trails are paved while others are mulched, so wear good walking shoes.
    • Talk to your kids about the rules - stay on the trails, no climbing rocks & trees, and don't pick the flowers.
    • The arboretum has some cahces if you have a hand-held GPS.  Bring it along and pick up a geocaching guide for $1 at the Visitor's Desk. 

    Explore OP Arboretum:

    • Kids love to visit the Story Tree and sit in the tree stump chairs.
    • Climb through the vine tunnel or walk to the top of the Sky Watch.
    • Walk around the lake and look at all the different paths through the gardens.  Stop at the herb garden to smell some of the plants.
    • Hike one of the nature trails through the woods.  Keep your eyes open for some great birds and animals.
    • Visit the new lifesize railroad cars in the Train Garden.
    • If you have a hand-held GPS, or a device with a GPS app, stop at the visitor's center for a GeoArboretum Passport (cost is $1). 

    Learn More:

    • Kids will enjoy reading some fun books about gardens:


    Discover More:

    • Kids may enjoy visiting the Beanstalk Children's Garden located in Swope Park - they are part of the Passport to Adventure program in 2012, and are open from June 13th thru October 19th.


    View Overland Park Arboretum in a larger map

    Amphibians, birds and turtles, oh my!  Come visit some of your favorite animal friends.  See a 3,000 gallon fish tank, explore the many animal homes, watch a nature film or hike a trail at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center.

    Before Your Visit:

    •  If you're planning to hike some trails, wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
    • Check the Burr Oak website to see if there are any programs you want to attend before you visit (registration is usually required).
    • Bring some water and a snack - there's a great place to sit and eat.

    Explore Burr Oak Woods:

    • Watch a nature film in the theater – different ones show each day.
    • Find all kinds of fish in the 3,000 gallon (huge) fish tank.
    • Explore all the animal areas to see who lives at Burr Oak Woods - frogs, turtles, snakes and more.
    • Explore some of the hands-on exhibits in the kids area.
    • Sign up for one of the nature programs or family programs.

    Learn More:

    Discover More:

    Visit other great Kansas City nature centers:

    • Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, KS
    • Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, MO
    • Prairie Oak Nature Center in Leawood, KS
    • Schlagle Library in Kansas City, KS
    • Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Center in Liberty, MO

    View Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in a larger map

    What's your favorite animal: sea lions, a polar bear or elephants?  Come visit some of your favorite animals at the Kansas City Zoo.  You can visit the tropical Rainforest house, climb into a huge ant hill and ride the Endangered Species Carousel.

    Before Your Visit:

    • Bring a snack for your visit - kids usually get hungry.
    • There's a lot of walking so wear comfortable shoes and bring a stroller if you have young kids that might get tired.
    • If you plan to ride the Skyride, bring a jacket or sweatshirt as it gets windy up there!
    • Don't forgot your FOTZ card if you're a member.

    Explore KC Zoo:

    Kids love visiting the animals at the zoo - here are some ideas:

    • Make sure to put your kids favorite animals on your list.
    • You can get an up-close look at some animals in the Discovery Barn - and act like the animals by sliding, crawling and climbing.  Make sure to visit the ant hill out back.
    • Check the feeding times for the lorikeets so you can experience this fun exhibit.
    • Watching Nikita (the polar bear) is lots of fun so make sure to stop and see him.
    • If your kids like big animals, head to the Africa area of the zoo to visit giraffes, elephants and lions.
    • Take some time to sit and watch the kangaroos - this is one of the best open-area exhibits at the zoo!

    Learn More about Animals:

    • Some favorite animal stories & series that kids will enjoy reading:


    The Magic Tree House series have quite a few books about animals.  Try "Polar Bears Past Bedtime or "Good Morning, Gorillas" by Mary Pope Osbourne.

    Discover More:

    If your kids love animal-watching, visit:

    View Kansas City Zoo in a larger map