If it hadn’t been for my earlier visit to Assiniboine Park and Zoo in Winnipeg, I probably would have taken a pass on visiting Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park, Kansas. Visiting Assiniboine and seeing all the wonderful work being done in the name of education and conservation changed how I think about zoos. While Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead technically is not a zoo, there are attractions involving animals so it would have fallen into my “do not visit” category. Thanks to my Assiniboine experience, I’ve kept a more open mind about some zoos and places like Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a tribute to Deanna Rose, the only Overland Park Police Officer, and the first female officer in the State of Kansas, to die in the line of duty. I learned Deanna Rose’s story shortly after we arrived to the farmstead and immediately felt an emotional connection. My father is a retired Chicago Police Officer of 35 years. For several of those years, he worked in a specialized school unit; one of his partners was a female officer named Irma Ruiz. In September of 1988, Irma became the second female Chicago Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. Our family had gotten to know Irma over the years so naturally we all were shaken by the tragedy, but not one of us as much as my father. My personal connection to Irma allowed me a deeper appreciation for Deanna Rose, her life, her love for animals, and her law enforcement career.
Even without knowing Deanna Rose’s backstory, I was completely impressed with the farmstead. It really is all about the children, but visitors of all ages will enjoy and benefit from the many activities and attractions. Without even realizing it, there are opportunities to learn about history, agriculture, and science. And let’s not forget about all of the fun! Below are the highlights of our visit to the farmstead.
Through interactive displays, movies, and live cow-milking, learn where the milk we drink comes from. If you’re lucky, you can even get up close and personal with an adorable calf.
It’s a replica of a 1900 one-room schoolhouse, built with original and custom-made materials. The kids, especially my daughter, are always amazed by the one-room schoolhouse concept. They delighted in sitting at the turn-of-the-century desks and I got a chuckle out of my son in the dunce hat.
This attraction is an historically accurate and culturally sensitive replica of a Kanza village. Today, Kanza are known as Kaw Indian Nation, who are indigenous to northeast Kansas. The encampment includes an earth lodge and artifacts significant to the Kanza people.
Pedal Tractors Track
At this racetrack of age-appropriate proportions, youngsters furiously pedal around on miniature tractors. It’s adorable and I couldn’t get my son to stop!
Pygmy Goat Bottle Feeding
I love goats. All goats. Any size or breed. But pygmy goats? My goodness, they’re the cutest! I may or may not have pushed my kids into the pen so they could bottle feed the adorable little pygmy goats and I could snap all kinds of photos and videos. Cuteness overload.
Take a hayride through the woods on a wagon pulled by gorgeous Belgian draft horses! Before or after your ride, the horse’s handler even allows riders to pet and talk to the horses. (What? Not everyone talks to horses?)
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead will always be a special place to my son and me, as it is the site of his very first pony ride. He was so happy and excited! Farmstead attendants lead the ponies and their riders (children aged 3-10) around a figure-8 course. My son loved it but for more experienced riders (like my daughter; she’s a real cowgirl, ya know), it might be a little too tame.
If you go…
- Admission is $2 per person on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. From 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, admission is $2 per person. After 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays (except on July 4), admission is free.
- The farmstead offers use of wagons, free of charge, to visitors. My kids are too old and too big for strollers, but young enough (especially my son) to grow tired after a few hours of walking. I thought it was a great idea!
- Some attractions, like feeding the pygmy goats and the pony rides, are at an additional cost, ranging from $1 to $3. However, families may purchase a Combo Pack for $12 which includes a ticket for the mining experience; one wagon ride; one pony ride; one bottle of milk for the baby goats; and fishing.
- Food and snacks are available for purchase throughout the farmstead, ranging from sandwiches to ice cream. Only outside foods allowed inside the farmstead are water and children’s snacks; however, if you would like to bring a picnic lunch, you may enjoy it at the picnic tables on the west side of the east parking lot.
- Families can easily spend a whole day at the farmstead so be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen.
My family and I were guests of Visit Overland Park and Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Be assured that all thoughts and opinions here are, as always, 100% my own.