5 to Try: Post readers pick the best parks in Johnson County 🌳

It's been a bit chilly and windy this week, but the weather is set to warm up, and spring is a perfect time to check out our readers' "5 to Try" picks for best parks in Johnson County. Above, Antioch Park in Merriam, the county's oldest public park, is a long-time crowd favorite. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Good afternoon and welcome to a lovely Friday afternoon!

Ok, so it got a little chilly this week, but there’s excellent springtime weather in the forecast for this weekend. Good thing, too, because our “5 to Try” this week features our readers’ picks for the parks in Johnson County at which to enjoy the outdoors. 

We found that there truly is something for everyone when it comes to Johnson County green spaces, from sprawling parks protecting the county’s wilder corners, to smaller plots tucked away in quieter neighborhoods. 

So get out and explore some of the best parks as recommended by our readers, whether it’s your favorite place to go or a new place you’ve never been. Oh, and while you’re there, take a selfie or some other pictures and feel free to share with us on social media!

Meadowbrook Park (Prairie Village)

Photo credit Alexis Lanza.

One of the newest parks to come on the scene in Johnson County, Meadowbrook Park turned out to be the top pick for our readers. 

Located on 80 acres on the southeast corner of West 91st Street and Nall Avenue on a portion of the former Meadowbrook Country Club, this park came online two years ago.

“We are so grateful for Meadowbrook Park in the heart of our neighborhood,” said Post reader Jenny McGinnis. “My daughter likes to ride her bike there and meet friends to hang hammocks, hang out, play on the playgrounds. Our family loves the location and we often bike or walk up there with our puppy.” 

The park offers everything from a “treeline adventure” destination playground, pickleball courts, Meadowbrook Mountain (which, we get it, is not really a mountain but is a good hill for sledding in the winter), a small lake, grand lawn, shelters and a clubhouse with a county-run preschool inside. 

“The long walking paths, artistically designed playground, ponds, beautiful community center, pickleball and the fantastic Verbena restaurant and the Market at Meadowbrook coffee shop make this park the complete package,” said Post reader Michelle Bunte. “I truly believe this has become a destination park for many Kansas Citians.”

Address: 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village

Summer hours March 1 to Oct. 31: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Shawnee Mission Park (Shawnee/Lenexa)

Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Anytime we ask Post readers for their picks on outdoor activities, Shawnee Mission Park inevitably comes up.

Located on more than 1,600 acres at West 79th Street and Renner Road, this is Johnson County’s biggest park. It is so big, its footprint is shared by two cities. 

With a 120-acre lake, swimming beach, dog park, soft-surface and paved trails, disc golf course, playground and trails for horseback riding, Shawnee Mission Park is an excellent place in Johnson County to explore something new each time you go.

Check out more about Shawnee Mission Park in our 5 to Try best trails story, as well as 5 to Try best sledding (for next winter, hopefully no more snow is coming this spring!).

Address: 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee

Summer hours March 1 to Oct. 31: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Antioch Park (Merriam)

Photo credit Leah Wankum.

As the oldest public park in Johnson County, there’s something quaint and classic about Antioch Park, and that’s why our readers love it so much.

Located on 44 acres along Antioch Road in Merriam, just south of Shawnee Mission Parkway, Antioch Park has lots of walking paths, sports courts, a playground and two fishing lakes, including stepping stones over the water.

It’s also beloved by generations of Johnson Countians for Dodge Town, a play area modeled after an Old West town, complete with a general store and jail.

“It has two small lakes, walking trails, is extremely well-kept, and is my all-time favorite park,” said Post reader Jennifer Anderson. “The stepping stones across the water are always an attraction, and Dodge Town is the BEST for kids (and grandkids)!”

Try Antioch Park for your next picnic or enjoy your lunch break here! 

Address: 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam

Summer hours March 1 to Oct. 31: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Park opens at 5 a.m. for pedestrians)

Heritage Park (Olathe)

Dog walkers at Heritage Park. Image via JCPRD website.

Looking for a sprawling park to get out and enjoy this weekend? Heritage Park is a perfect place to head enjoy some fresh air in a relatively remote area.

Located on more than 1,200 acres along Pflumm Road in Olathe, Heritage Park has a ton of amenities, from sports fields and picnic shelters to a 30-acre dog park, plus a playground, 18-hole golf course and disc golf.

“There’s a large lake with a great, wide path all around it,” said Post reader Michele Wills. “There are several picnic areas with play areas. The park also has an exercise area, bike rentals and other cool stuff!”

Since 2018, the park has also featured a sunflower field on part of its property in the fall.

Address: 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe

Summer hours March 1 to Oct. 31: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park (Lenexa)

Photo credit Leah Wankum.

The pride and joy of Lenexa, this park is a mainstay on our readers’ list. 

Located on about 50 acres in the heart of Lenexa, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park is home to the Legler Barn Museum, the Indian Trails Aquatic Center (with one of the city’s best sledding hills right next to it), a skate park, tons of walking paths and shelters, disc golf, children’s playgrounds, roller hockey rink, picnic shelters and a large pavilion.

Much of the park curls around a beautiful fishing lake, which is also the setting for holiday lights during the Sar-Ko Aglow event every winter.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that this park neighbors the city’s Bois D’Arc Park, which enjoys some of the newest and finest outdoor pickleball courts in the area.

“This park has some fantastic walkways, beautiful pond, skateboard area and roller skating rink along with Disc golf!” said Post reader Michelle Bunte. “You can’t beat the lights during Christmas time either.”

Location: Along West 87th Street Parkway, entrances just east of Lackman Road and at Acuff Lane

Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.