“I’m bored.” “Can we play a game?” “I want to do something fun.” If your tot won’t stop repeating things like this over and over again, or you’re just looking for something entertaining to do, it’s time to explore St. Joseph, Missouri. Whether you’re a native to the town or just stopping by, there’s lots to do to keep kids busy and active.
1. Library Programs
If you’re looking for some quiet time with your little sweeties, head over to the St. Joseph Public Library (www.sjpl.lib.mo.us) and join one of their toddler or preschool programs. The library offers toddler story time for kids 18 months old and up, during which they’ll read books, sing songs and rhymes, play with puppets and do crafts. Preschool story time is for kids ages 6 and younger and features the same activities as toddler story time, but children are also introduced to words each week in American Sign Language and Spanish. The library also holds periodic family movie nights for a quiet night in for the whole family.
2. Water Activities
What better way to tire the kids out so they’ll plop into bed as soon as they get home? Water activities! At Monkey Cover Water Park (stjosephramada.com), located in the Ramada Hotel Conference Center, kids can go wild splashing, sliding and swimming around. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the perks. Daily passes are offered that include access to the entire water park, which features slides, a pool, lazy river and even a hot tub for Mom and Dad to chill out in. There’s also a kiddie area with three smaller slides, a water umbrella and dunk bucket. Aquatic Park (no website; 402 S Noyes Blvd., St. Joseph; 816-271-5511) in St. Joseph is another water park option and has a lazy river, two water slides, a splash pad area, pool and diving board. If you’re not feeling energized enough to run around a huge water park after the little ones, check out one of St. Joseph’s public pools -- Krug Pool (no website; 3500 St. Joseph Avenue, St. Joseph; 816-271-5511) or Hyde Park Pool (no website; 8th & Hyde Park Avenue, St. Joseph; 816-271-5511) -- to swim and hang out in the sun.
St. Joseph is a festival mecca, with activities running most of the year. The Apple Blossom Festival and Parade (appleblossomparade.com) is in May and was voted the best festival/parade in the 2012 St. Joseph News-Press Reader’s Choice voting. In June, kids will go crazy for the Northend Spring Festival (no website; 3500 St. Joseph Avenue, St. Joseph; 816-271-5511) at Krug Park where they can ride rides, jump in the bouncy houses, eat yummy food and watch the parade. The St. Patrick’s Mexican Festival (no website; 1723 S 12th Street, St. Joseph; 816-279-2594) is held at St. Patrick’s Parish and has carnival rides and games and a variety of kid’s activities. In October is Pumpkin Fest (no website; 10th & Penn, St. Joseph; 816-271-5500) where the little munchkins can participate in a costume parade, watch 800 pumpkins being lit at the same time and participate in a variety of children’s activities.
4. Sports and Recreation
Let the little ones tire themselves out with some good ol’ exercise. The Bouncing Place (bouncingplace.com) is an indoor inflatable center with four inflatables where kids can bounce til they drop. Children must be 12 and younger to jump. Arising Stars Gymnastics (arisingstars.com) offers a variety of classes for tots where they learn basic gymnastics and tumbling skills and body movements. Classes are divided up by age. Romp-n-Roll is for 2 year olds, Rock-n-Roll is for 3 year olds and there’s also a boys class for ages 4 to 6 and a girls class for ages 4 to 6. Children get to practice their skills on a variety of gymnastics equipment like balance beams, tumbling mats and trampolines to help improve strength, coordination and balance.