3 Must-Visit Free Kansas City Museums

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Kansas City is not only home to great Bar-B-Q and baseball….but also to fantastic free museums! If you are looking for some great free & fun educational activities of you and your children, KC has them! Here are a few of our favorites—why not add them to your calendar and introduce your child to the rich history of KC?



Union Station Model Railroad Experience

The train museum, Model Railroad Experience, of Union Station is a bit of a hidden gem. Walk through the gorgeous ballroom of Union Station, and into an unassuming doorway with a sign for the Model Train Museum, and you’ll be taken aback by an incredible display of locomotive wonderland. This museum is sure to please any aspiring engineer.

The train museum also has a train table play area in the back, inviting younger children to come and build tracks and color engines and train cars that they can take home.

Keep in mind, if the Union Station Hall is reserved for a wedding or other event, you may need to follow detour signs to locate the museum—but don’t miss it! This museum is a KC Must Visit Location!


Monday – Saturday: 10 AM to 5 PM

Sunday: 12 PM to 5 PM

Find out more here.



Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art

Driving by, you can’t miss it. With larger-than-life sized Badminton birdies in the front yard, the Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art offers an irresistible invite to come in and explore the art within. This museum’s gorgeous front yard also holds a human-size glass maze that just begs to be explored.

With it’s mission to make exquisite art accessible to all, The Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art welcomes 500,000 visitors a year to experience its 35,000 works of art at absolutely no cost. The museum is named after Kansas City Star publisher, William Rockhill Nelson. When Nelson died in 1915, he provided that after the passing of his wife and daughter, his entire estate would go towards the purchase of an art collection to be enjoyed by the public. His estate, along with a third of the estate of former school teacher, Mary McAfee Atkins (whom the museum is also named for), acquired the unmatched collection of art that visitors enjoy today. 

Because Nelson’s major contribution was monetary instead of art pieces itself, the curators were able to assemble a brilliant collection of art from scratch. Taking place at the height of the Great Depression, there were few people buying art, despite the pieces flooding the market. This became an advantage for the curators, who were able to build this collection of art quickly with remarkable pieces to display in the museum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art is known for its outstanding collection of Asian art. It is also home to a highly prized collection of European art, including The Temptation Of St. Anthony, an original work by Hieronymus Bosch, one of 25 in the world.

This remarkable collection of art found its home on Nelson’s own property, the grounds of Oak Hall, where the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art stands as a brilliant center for culture and art in Kansas City.

Keep in mind that parking in the parking garage will run you $8, and some special exhibits may have a ticketed cost, but other than that, this museum is a perfect free and inspiring family friendly activity any day of the week!

Find out more here.



Shoal Creek Living History Museum

Have your children ever seen a bison up close? …Have you? How about a historic school building?

The Shoal Creek Living Museum is truly a special piece of history in Kansas City. Nestled into 80 acres of the Northland Hodge Park’s 1,000 acres, this beautiful museum is home to seventeen authentic 19th century buildings dating from 1807 to 1885.

As you walk the gravel path from the parking lot into the park, you’ll feel just how special this museum is. Taken care of by volunteers, this expanse of field, grasslands, and historic buildings provides the perfect setting for a picnic. Be sure to stop by and see the bison paddock and chicken pens on your visit, and perhaps take a hike on the wooded trails behind the cemetery.

Special events are held throughout the year with historic reenactments, and private tours and traditional tea parties are available.

And don’t miss the 1st Saturday of every month May thru September, when there is free admission to historical enactment events! Catch a glimpse of what life was like years ago, shop at the mercantile, enjoy family activities and food and craft vendors.

Find out more, here.


Whether you have an aspiring engineer, artist, or historian in your home, these museums are packed full of educational fun for the whole family.

Kansas City has much to offer when it comes to rich history.  Why not pen a trip to each of these 3 fun museums onto your calendar, and enjoy the historical and cultural experience of Kansas City!

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