With plenty of museums, parks, and activities, Kansas City  is definitely a kid-friendly destination for those interested in a family getaway. One of the best local kids hang-outs is Crown Center , which hosts the Crayola Cafe and Kaleidoscope , an interactive arts environment that encourages creativity.
During the summer months, head outside Crown Center to a fountain playplace that evokes shrieks and giggles from kids of all ages. Traveling in winter? Make tracks to Crown Center’s ice terrace, an outdoor skating rink with a prime view of the surrounding area and Mayor’s Christmas Tree.
A short walk away, Union Station  houses Science City , an interactive museum where kids can dig fossils, participate in a newsroom, and learn about the inner workings of a crime lab. And in the center of downtown, big and little kids alike will have a blast at the College Basketball Experience , a basketball-themed museum that puts you at center court, or behind the sports anchor desk—your choice.
Kansas City’s parks are also great places for family-friendly entertainment. The lawn surrounding the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art  is also a sculpture garden, and a popular weekend spot for Frisbee, picnics, and other outdoor activities. Swope Park  is an all-in-one destination complete with ample greenspace and play equipment and is also home to the Kansas City Zoo  and Starlight Theater .
For a more action-packed adventure, head to Kansas City ’s side-by-side amusement and water parks, Worlds of Fun  and Oceans of Fun . Both offer plenty of kid-friendly rides and attractions like Worlds of Fun’s Camp Snoopy or Oceans of Fun for kids. If you’re headed to the west side of the city, spend a day at the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Waterpark , a tropical paradise complete with slides, swimming pools, and other watery rides.
A sampling of kid-friendly itineraries is available at www.visitkc.com , the official site of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association.
Midwestern hospitality, a signature of the Kansas City  area, extends to all travelers. The annual gay pride festival (early June) and other events like the Kansas City AIDS Walk (April) are well attended by both gay and straight celebrants.
Visit the website of Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City (www.lgcc-kc.org ) for more information on upcoming events, support groups, and radio broadcasts. While you’re out on the town, look for a free copy of Camp, “Kansas City’s voice for the LGBT and allied communities,” online at www.campkc.com .
Several pet-friendly hotels, including Intrigue Park Place  and Aloft Leawood , make traveling in Kansas City  with pets relatively easy. Treat your four-legged friend with a trip to one of the city’s dog parks, including Penn Valley Park Off-Leash Dog Park (Pershing Rd. and Main St.) or Wayside Waifs Bark Park (3901 Martha Truman Rd., 816/761-8151, www.waysidewaifs.org , $3 daily access).
If you’d prefer to leave your pet in caring hands while you explore the city, consider one of several pet boarding and play services like Citydog (4706 1/2 Holly St., 816/561-4504, www.citydogwalking.com , $25 for one hour of park time, $20 for one dog visit), Dog’s World of Fun (1220 W. 31st St., 816/931-5822, www.dogsworldoffun.com , $11/day for daycare), or Kate’s Canine Resort (2823 Main St., 816/753-4188, www.katescanineresort.com , $15/day for daycare), all of which are centrally located near downtown Kansas City.
In 2008, the Kansas City  city council passed a no-smoking ban intended for businesses, restaurants, and other commercial buildings except for casino gaming floors. Although decried by some who worried about a negative economic impact as a result of the ban, it’s a move that’s largely been supported by residents and visitors alike. Smoking is still permitted outdoors, and hotels are currently allowed to designate up to 25 percent of their rooms as smoking rooms.