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A Country Club Plaza Fountain Tour

Article by Andrea Krasnow

Photography by Andrea Krasnow

In the summer of 2014, I found myself as a full time stay at home mom. After my son McKinley was born, I went back to work, but felt the pull to be home with him full time. I knew I didn't have the option of quitting my job, so when I found myself caught up in a layoff, my wish came true. However, now I was in uncharted territory. How did the other stay at home mom's do it? What did they do? And how did they do it on a budget? I had to get creative.

So, one summer afternoon, I loaded up my then three year and headed to the Country Club Plaza. I told him we were going on a Plaza Fountain Tour. He was excited. I was just trying to get us out of the house for a few hours. But, this silly little fountain tour has turned into an annual summer outing to kick off a new school year and to say goodbye to our summer break.

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What does a Plaza Fountain Tour consist of? Well let me tell you what I told him. You walk around the plaza and take pictures in front of every fountain! For the longest time, he thought this was a real thing! Gotta love taking something so convenient and making it appear so realistic! I think Kansas City should add this to their "What to do in Kansas City" tourism site! McKinley and I can be their tour guides! But really, this tour can be anything and everything you want it to be. We make a day out of it. And we begin our tour the large fountain in front of Michael Kors and make our way to the right to check out the cascading fountain in front of Season's 52. From there, we wander!

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The statues themselves are beautiful. The simplicity of some is sweet. The tour can be educational, cultural, full of exercise and fresh air, and best all, it's free! That's how you do parenting on a budget! We take plenty of snacks, and a packed lunch, and find a quiet spot on a bench along the way to talk about what we've seen. I ask him about his favorite fountains. It's the little boy and the frog. Why? "Because I like frogs. And it reminds of the book "Little Ree" by Ree Drummund where her brother caught a frog in a pond." Love it! And I love how it comes back to a book reference. And speaking of reading, for the older kids taking the tour, you can turn this into a reading exercise. I ask McKinley to read me the inscriptions and descriptions of the plaques associated with each fountain as they apply. For the younger ones, make sure you bring along plenty of pennies to toss! For the big kids too!

My favorite fountain you ask? It's the JC Nichols Fountain located in Mill Creek Park. When I was younger, and had just moved back to Kansas City after college, I lived in an apartment complex that sat directly across the street from the park. I loved walking the trail, feeling like I was part of the city, and the sounds of the rushing water from the fountain were soothing. McKinley and I wonder over that way on the tour, sit on the edge of the fountain, take a Mama and McKinley selfie, and just linger for a little longer than at most fountains. I like to think he's soaking up the city as well.

This is the turning point of our tour. This is the walk back to the car. We pass the fountain of what we call Poseidon. Then pass by the boy and the frog (just past Starbuck's), the mother and child which is on the same sidewalk, and the long rectangular fountain with fountains on each corner. We continue down to the fountain by J.Crew where he hugs the penguins every year and we stop in for gelato at Southern Charm Gelato Factory. The small bowl is the perfect size. And just the right treat to end a sweet day! 

And that, you all, is the Country Club Plaza Fountain Tour! I love this little tradition that my son and I have kept for the last several years, and to be completely honest, I hope it's one we continue even when he's 18! And if your up for more fountain, and little extra piece and quiet, head over to the Kauffman Memorial Gardens located just off the plaza on Rockhill Road. The dancer fountain is my personal favorite!

With spring in the air, get outside, get some fresh air, and enjoy some family time in this great city!