One of the largest parks in the United States is in Kansas City, MO, called Swope Park. It spreads across 1805 acres of land and is twice the size of Central Park in New York City. A park of this size certainly has a rich history and offers plenty of things to do. Read on to find out more about it!

Beginnings of the Park

The park was named after Thomas H. Swope who began to buy and sell real estate when he arrived in Kansas City in 1857. After becoming successful, Thomas H. Swope was able to donate a piece of land so that a city hospital could be built. 

In 1896, he gave 1334 acres of land which ran along the Blue River to the city. The donated land was named Swope Park and it was transformed into a zoo and a golf course during the following years. 

Thomas Swope Memorial

When Thomas Swope died, he got buried in Swope Park as this was his wish. Today, his remains are under the stone slab at the center of the terrace at Swope Memorial. The Memorial sits on the highest point in Swope Park. 

Inside the mausoleum, visitors can see a brass depiction of Thomas Swope’s face on a wall. 

This Memorial has granite columns which are reminiscent of a Greek temple and sculptures of lions can be seen on both sides.

What to Do in the Park

Swope Park in Kansas City MO has beautiful gardens, hiking trails in woodlands, grassy meadows, and plenty of fountains. However, there is much more to do in this park besides enjoying the greenery. For one, the Kansas City Zoo has over 1000 animals for visitors to see and the Swope Soccer Village has a state-of-the-art soccer facility that holds nine full-sized soccer fields. 

There is even a museum called the Battle of Westport Museum in Swope Park. One can also enjoy a relaxing game of golf at the Swope Memorial Golf Course or at the heart of America/Tom Watson Golf Academy. 

Lakeside Nature Center can also be found here, where one can visit different exhibits, native wildlife, and a wildlife rehabilitation facility. Lakeside Nature Center also offers community conservation projects and educational programs. 

Furthermore, if you are in the mood for some entertainment, then the Starlight Theatre at Swope Park, Kansas City MO is an excellent destination for family entertainment as they have the Kansas City performing arts community. 

Other recreational areas like a pool and fitness can be found at the Southeast Community center which also has a full-sized basketball court and meeting rooms. 

Final Thought

Swope Park has something to keep everyone entertained, from the young to the elderly. Special events are also held in this Park, such as the Ethnic Enrichment Festival that celebrates the rich cultural tapestry. One can enjoy dancing, music, and delicious food there. Swope Park in Kansas City MO is known to host over 2 million visitors a year. Considering its size and plenty of attractions such as museums, it is no wonder it is the crown jewel of Kansas City!