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Cover story: Ink’s second birthday


Ink just turned 2, and we’re partying appropriately.

Which means doing all the stuff we loved to do as kids.

Climbing trees. Playing dress-up. Hosting tea parties.

And why not? It’s good for the spirit.

Engaging in childlike activities can transport you to a time without “stress or high-level responsibilities,” said Marita Barkis, a licensed psychologist and director of the Counseling, Health and Testing Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“You can feel some of the same emotions and the same kind of carefreeness,” she said. “You can be in the moment.”

Blow out the candles with us (both of them!) and act like a kid again.

We’ve got 20 ideas to get you started.



Grab your friends and hit The Garment District in the Power & Light District. The collective of nine local boutiques includes a concrete bar near the dressing rooms, so you can sip a cosmo while you raid the racks.

Check out photos of the shop here.

1350 Main St., 816.221.4387



The Kansas City Zoo hosts animal parties for the 21-and-older set, including next month’s Pints for Penguins, a beer tasting and fundraiser.

On April 22, which is Earth Day, you can sample Boulevard suds and appetizers in a natural habitat.

The party’s purpose is “reminding adults that the zoo is for them as well,” said Julie Neemeyer, the zoo’s director of marketing and membership.

Tickets cost $20 to $30. Register online.

6800 Zoo Drive, 816.513.5800



Swap your heels for some wheels at a vintage-chic roller rink like River Roll Skate Center in Riverside or Winnwood Skate Center in Kansas City, North.

Did someone say “couple skate”?

River Roll Skate Center, 4720 N.W. Gateway in Riverside, 816.587.0131

Winnwood Skate Center, 4426 N.E. Winn Road, 816.452.1171

B&D South Skate Center, 13903 E. Noland Court in Independence, 816.252.1084



Several area bars and restaurants serve kid cuisine for grown-ups. Gobble down a peanut butter-and-marshmallow fluffernutter at The Brick downtown, gourmet peanut butter and jelly at Blue Bird Bistro on the West Side, or mac and cheese at Julian in Brookside.

Blue Bird Bistro, 1700 Summit St., 816.221.7559

The Brick, 1727 McGee St., 816.421.1634

Julian, 6227 Brookside Plaza, 816.214.8454



Grab your safety scissors and attend a craft night at local shops such as Urban Arts & Crafts in Briarcliff and Mash Handmade in Westport.
There, you’ll learn how to make something a little more sophisticated than that crap you glued at summer camp. in vacation Bible school. Think knitted coffee-cup snuggies and funky embroidery projects.

& Crafts` href=`http://www.urbanartsandcrafts.com/` target=`_blank`>Urban Arts & Crafts, 4157 N. Mulberry Drive, 816.234.1004

Mash Handmade, 3900-A Pennsylvania Ave., 816.960.7000



Poptopia in Westport brands itself as an “urban vinyl paradise,” and no wonder: The shop specializes in creative and colorful collectibles any age can appreciate.

In this toy-box boutique, you can find designer playthings in plush, wood, plastic, paper and, of course, vinyl, which takes the form of quirky characters in keepsake packaging. We went gaga over a demented vinyl creature ($24.95) by Kansas City-based MAD*L.

4126 Pennsylvania Ave., 816.931.9800



At Reading Reptile, a children’s bookstore in Brookside, you can bone up on anything from Dr. Seuss to Judy Blume.

Owner Pete Cowdin said he sees adults consume childhood favorites in “a comfort-food way.”

Some of the more popular classics?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Stuart Little by E.B. White, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Nancy Drew series and just about anything by Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary.

328 W. 63rd St., 816.753.0441



The humble cupcake is all grown up.

Bakeries around town serve some sophisticated updates on the childhood classic.

Cupcake a la Mode near the Plaza includes such gourmet options such as ChocoLatte, After Dinner Mint, PB&J and Stuffed French Toast.

Babycakes in the River Market features festive flavors such as eggnog and pumpkin.

Dolce Baking Co. in Prairie Village gets a little nutty with pecan praline carrot, orange almond and caramel peanut.

And Bloom Baking Co., a bakery that opened earlier this month in the City Market, makes a Hummingbird cupcake (pineapple, coconut and banana) topped with an edible flower.

Babycakes, 108 E. Missouri Ave., 816.841.1048

Bloom Baking Co., 15 E. Third St., 816.283.8437

Cupcake a la Mode, 1209 W. 47th St., 816.960.1900

Dolce Baking Co., 6974 Mission Road in Prairie Village, 913.236.4411



Try your favorite kiddie drinks with an adult twist. Think milkshakes, hot cocoa and ice cream floats — spiked with alcohol.

Chef Burger downtown and Blanc Burgers & Bottles in Leawood and on the Plaza serve decadent milkshakes with a dash of the hard stuff. At Blanc, you can sip on a Bananas Foster made with bananas sauteed in brown sugar and Bacardi 151.

“I just think they’re fun,” executive chef Josh Eans said. “People grew up drinking milkshakes. It’s little bit nostalgic.”

Yard House, a restaurant and brewery in the Legends Outlets, serves beer floats, made with a chocolate stout or berry brew.

At One80 Lounge in Westport, you can cozy up to hot chocolate with a dose of extra comfort such as Peppermint Schnapps, vodka or raspberry liqueur.

These sweet sippers prove one thing: Booze makes everything better.

& Bottles` href=`http://blancburgers.com/` target=`_blank`>Blanc Burgers & Bottles, 4710 Jefferson St., 816.931.6200; 10583 Mission Road in Leawood, 913.381.4500

Chef Burger, 1350 Walnut St., 816.842.2747

One80 Lounge, 435 Westport Road, 816.389.4180

Yard House, 1863 Village West Parkway in Kansas City, Kan., 913.788.4500



You don’t have to be a Jayhawk to rock chalk.

Join the Chalk Walk on April 24 and 25 at Concourse Park in Northeast Kansas City.

The third annual sidewalk chalk-drawing festival is free and in 3-D. All ages can paint the park pastel.

“We totally give out the same chalk to kids as we do to artists,” organizer Wolfgang Bucher said.



Revisit a recess tradition by signing up for a kickball league. You can register with a number of local leagues, such as the Midwest Unconventional Sports Association, which also hosts dodgeball tournaments.

Bonus: Some athletes meet their mates on the field, like Amanda Sweeten and Greg Shell, who paired up after playing on rival teams through the Kansas City Sport & Social Club.

& Social Club` href=`http://kansascitysportandsocialclub.com/kcssc/index.php` target=`_blank`>Kansas City Sport & Social Club

Midwest Unconventional Sports Association

World Adult Kickball Association



Want to branch out? Put your junk on a trunk with Tree Climbing Kansas City, a group of tree huggers who practice the pastime with ropes and harnesses.

You can always go tether-free, but be cautious of limbs. Yours, that is.

“You only climb as far as you’re willing to fall,” group founder Dan House said.

Find climbing sites here.



Swing by one of Kansas City’s pimped-out playgrounds for some old-fashioned fun.

Heidi Downer, director of marketing for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, recommended Penguin Park in the Northland and Gillham Park in midtown.

Both boast elaborate equipment (and giant animal statues) to climb on.

Gillham Park, Gillham Road and 42nd Street

Penguin Park, Northeast Vivion Road and North Norton Avenue

Find more parks here.



Send it soaring with Kansas City Kite Club. This group of fun-lovers would be happy to pull some strings for you.

The MCC-Longview Flights of Fancy event swoops into Lee’s Summit on April 17. The gathering includes all things kites — and gives new meaning to the term “wind energy.”



Kansas City has plenty of spots to close your eyes and count to 100.

Stage a supersized game of hide-and-seek on the Plaza, at the zoo, in Loose Park — any locale with lurk factor.

Tag. You’re it.



Ditch your daily Earl Grey in favor of a proper tea party at Mitzy London’s in Leawood, a ritzy boutique with a darling tearoom.

Mad Hatter meets Madonna in this stylish spot with a black-and-white checkered floor, plush booths and a stunning chandelier.

“I think it’s definitely an environment where women feel comfortable, ladylike, sophisticated and elegant,” said Kelly Cook, who runs the store.

High tea is served on the second Saturday of every month. For $25 you get a pot of tea, small sandwiches, desserts, fruit and scones.

A pot of tea with scones costs $15 at 11 a.m. and ?3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Call to make a reservation.

You can rent the room for private events.

Bluestem in Westport also hosts spring and Mother’s Day teas in April and May with sandwiches and pastries for $25.

Bluestem, 900 Westport Road in Westport, 816.561.1101

Mitzy London’s, 4541 W. 119th St. in Leawood, 913.661.1775



Scrape up some jingle and hit PowerPlay in Shawnee, an 80,000-square-foot complex that includes laser tag, go-karts, glow-in-the-dark putt putt and bowling.

Plus, more than 250 arcade games.

And a bar.

Just don’t drink too much before hopping on the Tilt-A-Whirl or joining a game of WhirlyBall, which is like lacrosse meets bumper cars.

You can also play hundreds of arcade games at Dave and Buster’s in Kansas City, Kan., and toss skee ball at the Velvet Dog on Martini Corner. Score!

Dave and Buster’s, 1843 Village West Parkway, 913.981.6815

PowerPlay, 13110 W. 62nd Terrace in Shawnee, 913.268.7200, powerplaykc.com, whirlyballkc.com

Velvet Dog, 400 E. 31st St., 816.753.9990



Explore the Crayola Store in Crown Center, where crayons in a rainbow of hues line the walls. You can also pick up 3-D sidewalk chalk (see No. 10).

Next door, you’ll find the Crayola Cafe, a colorful eatery where you can scribble while you wait to be served.

Wax on.

2405 Grand Blvd., 816.274.7500



Horse around at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park, where you can pet ponies and feed baby goats. Awww.

The petting zoo, which opens for the season Thursday, is home to cows, sheep, pigs, horses, donkeys, birds, bison, bobcats and prairie dogs.

Admission is free Monday through Thursday and $2 on Fridays and weekends.

13800 Switzer Road in Overland Park, 913.897.2360



It’s no Slip ’N Slide, but the fountain at Crown Center Square is a wistful way to spend a hot summer day.

Trot through its 49 water jets for a childlike cool down. Warning: May cause double takes.


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