Archive for Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shawnee has something for everyone

May 21, 2014

WHY GO THERE:

With a history dating back to the mid 1800s, Shawnee is the perfect place to visit whether you're searching for a historical adventure or a leisurely day of shopping.

As the third largest city in the state's largest county, Shawnee is home to a host of businesses, activities and special events that keep people coming back for more.

Shawnee is best known for its parks system, which numbers 34 parks citywide.

The city's newest park, Erfurt Park, is currently under construction near Gleason Road and 71st Street in western Shawnee and should be open by year's end.

Shawnee is also one of three cities in Kansas to be designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the American League of Bicyclists. The city features roughly 9 miles of on-street bike lanes, 41 miles of Share the Road and 26 miles of off-street bike trails.

Shawnee is also home two state-of-the-art aquatic facilities: the Thomas Soetaert Aquatic Center, 13805 Johnson Drive, and Splash Cove at the Jim Allen Aquatic Center, 5800 King Ave. Pool season runs through Sept. 1. Hours of operation are 12:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Other Shawnee attractions include its 24,000-square-foot Civic Centre, 13817 Johnson Drive; the Johnson County Museum, 6305 Lackman Road; and the Ice Sports Arena, 19900 Johnson Drive.

A GOOD PLACE TO START:

One of the city's star attractions is Shawnee Town 1929, located in the heart of downtown Shawnee.

Each year the city-owned museum located at 11501 W. 57th St. draws tens of thousands of visitors to the community to experience what living in Shawnee was like back in 1929.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday, from March 1 through the end of October.

In an effort to improve the overall experience, the museum recently completed construction of three new buildings at the historical site off Johnson Drive.

The museum now features a typewriter repair shop, barbershop and city jail.

Helping bring everything to life is a living history program where re-enactors dress in period clothing to give presentations and show what life was like for a family living in Shawnee in 1929.

Visitors are also given the opportunity to help with everyday chores like plowing a field or planting crops.

WHAT'S NEW

While not within the Shawnee city limits, the new IKEA store off Johnson Drive and Interstate 35 is sure to draw a crowd when it opens later this year. IKEA, a Swedish-owned company, is the world’s leading home furnishings retailer.

The 359,000 square-foot store, with 1,200 parking spaces, is being built on the former site of the Merriam Village shopping Center.

Currently the closest IKEA stores to Kansas City are in Centennial, Colo.; Frisco, Texas; Bloomington, Minn.; Bolingbrook, Ill. and Schaumburg, Ill.

The Merriam store, once complete, will be the 39th IKEA store in the United States.

THINGS TO DO

When it comes to children's activities, Shawnee doesn't disappoint.

Shawnee features a number of activities geared toward children including Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 6495 Quivira Road; Little Monkey Buziness, 12219 Shawnee Mission Parkway, an indoor amusement center; and PowerPlay Family Entertainment Center, 13110 W. 62nd St., an indoor amusement park featuring miniature golf, arcade games, go-karts and a soft play area.

The Wonderscope Children's Museum, 5700 King St., is also a popular place for young families to visit.

The museum is known for providing a fun, inter-disciplinary arts and sciences exhibits and programs aimed at children 10 and under.

The museum's philosophy is that children learn best through play and that through fun, imaginative, hands-on learning, they can grow to their fullest potential.

UPCOMING EVENTS

– June 5-8, Old Shawnee Days, Shawnee Town 1929, 11501 W. 57th St.

– June 20, Shawnee Relay for Life, Swarner Park, 63rd Street and Lackman Road

– June 28 – July 6, Flags for Freedom, American flags line Johnson Drive heading toward Merriam

– July 11, Summer Concert Series, Swarner Park, 63rd Street and Lackman Road

– July 25, Summer Concert Series, Stump Park, 47th and Woodland Drive

– Aug. 8, Summer Concert Series, West Flanders Park, 55th Street and Nieman Road

– Aug. 23, Shawnee Rotary Bike Rodeo, Mill Valley High School, 5900 Monticello Road

– Aug. 24, 25th annual Tour de Shawnee, the parking lot of PowerPlay, 13110 W 62nd Terrace

– Sept. 7, The 9th Annual Wheels & Dreams Car, Truck & Bike Show sponsored by Downtown Business Association, in downtown Shawnee

– Sept. 26-27, The 20th Annual Shawnee Great Griller’s Blues & Barbeque, Shawnee Town 1929, 11501 W. 57th St.

– Oct. 3, annual Oktoberfest sponsored by the German American Club, Shawnee Civic Centre

– Oct. 4, Scarecrow Festival, Shawnee City Hall

– Nov. 11, Veterans' Day Celebration, Veterans' Memorial Park, Johnson Drive and Pflumm Road.

– Dec. 6, Christmas Around Town, Shawnee Town 1929 and the downtown area.

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