Coterie at Crown Center
Living Life and Loving It
(more summer fun)
Kaleidoscope is unique to Kansas City. Provided by Hallmark Card, it is a place where children and their families are invited to be creative, have fun, and feel good about their own special ideas.
At Kaleidoscope, children use their imaginations to make art with materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes. Some are cut into shapes, while others are left just as Hallmark sends them. And Hallmark provides different materials so the projects are ever-changing!
Hallmark Visitor’s Center is a walk through history. There’s so much to see at the Hallmark Visitors Center. Interactive displays and fascinating exhibits give a glimpse into the rich history and creative spirit of Hallmark.
The favorite is the bow making machine where one can watch a bow being made with the touch of a button.
Fritz’s is a Kansas City Tradition which dates back to the 1920’s. Fritz and Virginia Kropf started their own fifties-style drive-in restaurant at 32nd and Brown Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.Fritz added a second location on 18th street in the mid 1960’s. During this time, Fritz’s inventor skills lead him to the development of a food delivery system that he designed and tested in the basement of his home. The patented system was primarily intended to help with the shortage of labor which was a constant headache as he tried to operated both restaurants efficiently. Once the system, nicknamed the “Skat Kat,” was installed at the 18th street location in the early 1970’s, however, people began calling it a train. At first Fritz played down the railroad aspect of the Skat Kat, but he eventually decided to go with this popular theme. Train memorabilia and engineer’s hats for the kids enhanced this concept. Fritz was still tinkering with the trains when he died in 2004 from complications following a wreck on his motor scooter at the age of 83! He and Virginia both believed in living life to its fullest. Virginia, now 83, still does some of the bookwork for the restaurants.Fred and Mary were approached by Crown Center Development to open a Fritz’s at Crown Center in conjunction with the re-opening of Union Station. Just when they thought they might be able to relax a little, they were thrown back into the frying pan so to speak! Installing a train that delivers food back in the 1970’s was one thing. Installing it to meet all the new government safety regulations was a true challenge.Shortly before Christmas in 1999, Fritz’s Crown Center opened. The tradition continues!
My daughter Becca was the first to arrive. Not long after was my son B.J., his wife Jenn and their son Jack!
One fun activity was to go to the Crown Center. Jack enjoyed Santa’s Gingerbread Village. (Crown Center Shops, Level 1 Atrium.) Three locomotives travel through a Santa’s gingerbread village in the North Pole, all created by the chefs at The Westin Kansas City and Sheraton Kansas City hotels. You can see the reindeer stable, Santa’s sleigh garage, the elves’ dorm, a doll, rocking horse, and ball factory, and even Mr. & Mrs. Claus’ home.
We also went to Sea Life. A most enjoyable afternoon!
And the colorful sea life at Sea Life:
Can you spot the fish? They are the vertical yellow and black stripes!
Prior to Christmas we kept busy with lots of activities:
We took our ride in a Cinderella Carriage like this one:
An old Kansas City Tradition. The Fairy Princess first appeared in Kansas City, Mo. in 1935 in the toy department at Kline’s Department Store, one of the many department stores located within the downtown shopping district. Kline’s Fairy Princess delighted children for as many as 30 years until the closing of Kline’s in the 1970s.
Twenty years ago, The Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall revived the Fairy Princess tradition. Thousands of area children have whispered holiday wishes in the Princess’ ear, and experienced the magic and splendor of the season at Corinthian Hall.
It us a very unique Christmas tradition and I think it is a Christmas tradition uniquely found only in Kansas City.
We started a new tradition this year. Each Wednesday we visited grandpa at work. We all got to see where grandpa worked and then we had lunch in the hospital cafe.
Of course we had to do a repeat of the train restaurant in the Crown Center,
To see the train/food delivery system in action, watch this video:
Of course we had to visit Santa-land at the Crown Center and
We visited a new place in downtown Overland Park called Kookiedoodle. Kookiedoodle Crafts is a family owned and operated arts and crafts studio for children ages 3 to 12. It is an interactive, hands on, creative experiences that get kids imaginations going. It is a fun, unique place created completely and totally for kids.
It is located :
7924 Santa Fe, Overland Park KS 66204, Phone: (913) 387-4065 www.kookiedoodlecrafts.com
Another very unique Kansas City experience is Paul Mesner Puppets.
Paul Mesner, puppeteer, author and performer became interested in puppetry at an early age. As a teenager he studied with Lee Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska before starting his own puppet theater in Omaha. He toured his shows throughout Minnesota before studying at the prestigious International Institute of Puppetry in Charleville-Mezier, France. He moved to Kansas City where in 1987 he founded the Paul Mesner Puppets. His lively performances present classic stories recast in contemporary terms. Audiences across the United States have delighted in the precise craftsmanship, dynamic presentation and joyful blending of humor and education in all his productions. Paul Mesner believes wholeheartedly in entertaining his audiences and doesn’t mind including deeper meanings and life-lessons when no one is looking.
We all made our way to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral to see the Paul Mesner Puppets in “The Nativity.” They were wonderful.
Are they puppets or marionettes? We wondered. But they seem like something unto themselves to me. Greater than full size … taller than tall … eyes of unusual size. The arms and fabric billow. The heads bobble ever so gently. The bodies sway in the space above the audience as they walk down the aisle. And for humor the sheep poke their heads into the crowd and go “baaaaaa” and the camels lean over and spit. “Putoey!”
When not being funny, the larger than life characters are mostly surreal and other worldly towering over us like figures in a dream. A good dream. In fact if I could hire the Paul Mesner Puppets troupe to star in my dreams every night and portray the contents of my subconscious, I think I would.
To watch go to:
National World War I Museum in Kansas City was another fun activity we did pre-Christmas. In 2004 the Museum was designated by Congress as the United States’ official World War I Museum, opening to the public on December 2, 2006, as the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. The Museum presents a comprehensive interpretation of World War I (1914-1919) and its lasting consequences, providing a vivid and memorable experience for all.