12 things to do in and around Johnson County this summer — now that we have summer back

With COVID-19 restrictions beginning to relax, there's plenty Johnson County residents can do this summer — from swimming at city pools and going to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead to taking a day trip and going to a baseball game. Above, a swim team practicing at Young's Pool in pre-pandemic times. Photo credit city of Overland Park.

Johnson County may not have had much of a summer in 2020, but 2021 is shaping up to be different.

Unlike last summer, Johnson County residents will be able to more fully enjoy city pools, farmers’ markets, professional sporting events and other diversions this summer.

What’s more, there’s new restaurants to try, regional attractions returning to form and a selection of city-sponsored events.

The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated individuals can go most places and do most things without a mask.

While the county lifted its mask mandate, many local businesses are still asking patrons to wear masks and maintain social distance when appropriate.

If you are unvaccinated, long-standing safety guidance like masking and physically distancing still apply. And health officials say families with kids 11 and younger (who are not currently eligible to get vaccinated) should also take precautions with their children.

And despite rising vaccination rates, Johnson County and the wider Kansas City region are far from reaching herd immunity, so health officials warn that COVID-19 can still spread.

Those caveats aside, here are 12 things to do this summer in and around Johnson County:

Head to a city pool

Roeland Park aquatic center slides
The newly renovated Roeland Park Aquatic Center is just one of the city pools opening this summer. Part of the Roeland Park Aquatic Center renovation included two new slides, pictured above. Photo courtesy of the city of Roeland Park.

While nearly every city pool was closed in summer 2020, most city pools in Johnson County will be open for the 2021 season.

This includes the municipal pools in Lenexa, Mission, Prairie Village, Merriam and the newly renovated Roeland Park Aquatic Center.

Here’s a full list of what city’s pool plans are this summer.

Go to the petting zoo

Johnson County springtime
Johnson Countians can head to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead for some summer fun in 2021. Above, a child feeds a baby goat at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Photo via city of Overland Park website.

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is back up and running after being closed in summer 2020 due to COVID-19.

Shawnee Mission Post Editor Kyle Palmer’s two sons have already given the farmstead some test runs this year.

The farmstead is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and guests are currently required to maintain social distance and wear face masks while they’re there.

Sip on a daiquiri

KC Daiquiri Shop drinks
KC Daiquiri Shop, a Kansas City restaurant, expanded to Overland Park at 8725 Metcalf Avenue. Photo via KC Daiquiri Shop Facebook page.

KC Daiquiri Shop recently opened up a new location in Overland Park in the former Boardroom Family Pub on Metcalf Ave.

There’s a number of different daiquiri flavors to try — and some Cajun-style food like crab legs and gumbo to accompany it.

You can just taste summer, can’t you?

Spend the day at an amusement park

Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun are both opening this summer with relaxed COVID-19 safety measures. Photo via Worlds of Fun Twitter.

Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, landmarks for Kansas City area kids for decades, are opening for summer 2021.

Reservations will be needed ahead of time for Oceans of Fun, but not for Worlds of Fun.

Guests will be required to wear masks unless eating or drinking, but there won’t be any ride capacity limitations.

Tickets can be purchased online here.

Check out a farmers market

Johnson County farmers' markets
Johnson Countians can head to a number of farmers markets this summer for fresh produce, flowers and more. File photo.

Several Johnson County farmers markets will be fully open this summer, such as Merriam Farmers Market and Overland Park Farmers Market, which is still being operated from the Matt Ross Community Center parking lot.

Fresh produce, locally sourced meat, homemade crafts, sweet treats and a variety of flowers are just a few of the items that can be found at markets this summer.

Grab a scoop of ice cream

The Golden Scoop opened in mid-April, and employs adults with developmental disabilities. File photo.

Check out places like The Golden Scoop, an Overland Park ice cream shop that employees adults with developmental disabilities.

The Golden Scoop has a number of flavors, but also has a scoop of the month each month, a flavor chosen by their “Super Scooper” of the month.

Take in some history at the National World War I Museum and Memorial

The National World War I Museum and Memorial will have a number of events this summer, including several happening Memorial Day weekend. Photo via National World War I Museum and Memorial Twitter.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial, located in Kansas City, Mo., will be open daily this summer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guests not only will be able to attend the museum, but can participate in a number of upcoming events such as a Kansas City Symphony Concert happening on June 25.

Visitors can also check out the museum’s new immersive virtual reality experience of trench warfare, “War Remains,” produced with the help of popular “Hardcore History” podcaster Dan Carlin.

A full list of upcoming events can be found online here.

Attend a Juneteenth celebration

The first Prairie Village Juneteenth Celebration and Poster Contest will be held this year at Franklin Park. File photo.

STAND Up for Black Lives+ Prairie Village, the Johnson county NAACP and Prairie Village’s diversity committee are hosting the city’s first-ever Juneteenth Celebration and Poster Contest this summer.

Children ages five to 12 and their families can participate in the contest to learn more about the Juneteenth holiday and can submit a poster for the event by June 14.

The Juneteenth celebration will take place June 19 at Franklin Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature entertainment, face painting and a poster contest awards ceremony.

Try some Korean barbecue

Chosun Korean BBQ 2
Chosun Korean BBQ 2, with a parent location in south Overland Park, opened a second location at 7800 Shawnee Mission Parkway — the former Sobhan Korean Restaurant space. Photo via Chosun Korean BBQ Facebook page.

There’s a few different places to try out some Korean barbecue this summer, but Chosun Korean BBQ recently opened a second location in northern Overland Park.

Located at the former Sobhan Korean restaurant space, Chosun offers a lunch special daily that comes with a meat option, dumplings, rice and vegetables.

You can also try out Ssong’s Hot Dogs in Overland Park, which offers a unique twist on a popular Korean street food.

Celebrate Fourth of July

VillageFest
The city of Prairie Village will bring back VillageFest To Go in 2021, which will feature a drive-thru parade, prizes and more like the 2020 event. Above, Mayor Eric Mikkelson waves to a family participating in VillageFest To Go 2020. Photo courtesy Meghan Buum, assistant city administrator.

VillageFest, the city of Prairie Village’s annual Independence Day celebration, is back in 2021 — drive-thru style.

VillageFest To Go will feature surprises and goodie bags courtesy of the city.

The Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park is also hosting a special Fourth at the Farm event, and the KC Air Show returns to New Century AirCenter in Gardner on July 3rd and 4th.

Unfortunately, the Northeast Johnson County Fireworks Display — one of the county’s biggest Fourth of July shows, held each year at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park — has been canceled for the second straight year.

Take an outdoorsy day trip

A number of outdoorsy destinations are within an hour of Johnson County for residents to take a day trip to, such as the Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Mo. Image via Powell Gardens Facebook page.

If you’re in the mood to get out of town, then you can pack up the car and take any number of easy day trips from Johnson County.

Places like Clinton Lake near Lawrence or Powell Gardens in Missouri are less than an hour away and can be fun for the whole family.

Attend a pro sporting event

Johnson Countians can go to a Sporting KC, KC National Women’s Soccer League, Kansas City Royals or Monarchs game this summer. Photo via Sporting KC Twitter.

That’s right, pro sports are back … with crowds!

Tickets for the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Monarchs, the rebranded Kansas City T-Bones who play at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kan., are now available.

Kauffman Stadium has returned to full capacity, though Royals tickets must still be purchased in advance and stadium vendors will not accept cash. The Royals  COVID-19 protocols can be found online here.

The Monarchs are selling up to 7,000 tickets a game and will require masks and social distancing, KMBC 9 News reports.

Sporting KC matches at Children’s Mercy Park are also back to full capacity, according to a press release, with increased COVID-19 safety protocols such as mobile entry and cashless payments.

The Kansas City National Women’s Soccer League team KCWoSo is also playing at Legends Field this summer. Tickets can be purchased online here.