Plan for Vacation Day

Health and well-being matters!
Plan for Vacation Day – Tuesday, Jan. 25th

Ah, that feeling of vacation bliss—when you can truly unwind, unplug and relax. For so many of us, that feeling seems like a distant memory. The pandemic has caused us to largely put vacation planning on the back burner, despite the fact that close to eight in 10 (79%) Americans believe vacations are important to their overall health and well-being (Destination Analysts).

Chances are you’ve been carrying a heavy load. Break free from burnout and this National Plan for Vacation Day, let’s do something to give ourselves a lift—ignite that spark we get from the “booking confirmation” page. On January 25, let’s take time to plan all of our time off for the year at the start of the year. And if you need some inspiration, check out www.exploremerriam.com for a few ideas, including:

  1. An art stroll around town–have you seen Bask lit up at night?
  2. Take a history lesson on the walking path at Merriam Historic Plaza, or download the free Otocast app and learn about Merriam’s history digitally while you visit a few sites!
  3. Make time to play at Merriam parks — check out the parks page in the Merriam Visitor Guide and see how many parks you can visit this spring.
  4. Grab a bite at a restaurant you’ve not tried yet in Merriam. 
  5. Get some fresh air with a walk along the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail.

Happy planning from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!

Fall for Merriam!

Autumn is just right in Merriam and we’ve curated a colorful, fall-themed collection filled with festivals, food, fun, and more. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or with family or friends, you’ll find fall fun right here in Merriam…next door neighbor to Kansas City!

FALL EVENTS
Find your inner zen and flow during Saturday morning Yoga in the Courtyard! Free to MCC members and day pass price for guests–through Saturday September 25.

Visit the Farmers’ Market during its last few weeks in September. Open Saturday mornings at the Merriam Marketplace through September 25.

Jam in downtown Merriam with live music, beer, food, a corn hole tournament and more during Merriam Drive Live on Saturday, October 2. Did we mention there will be beer?

Stock up on “new to you” items at the Community Garage Sale. Bring home a new treasure, repurpose a furniture piece, or grab some sweaters for those chilly fall nights. Shop ’til you drop on Saturday, October 9 at the Merriam Marketplace.

Boo! Delight in not-so-scary Halloween Happenings on Saturday, October 23. Enjoy games, a photo booth, a costume contest and more in downtown Merriam.

TAKE A HIKE
There’s nothing better than strolling along the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail in and taking in all of the beautiful colors of autumn. You might even spot a deer along the water’s edge. Antioch Park is also a great place for autumn views while grabbing those 10,000 steps/day.

INSTA-CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Fall is the perfect season to snap a few pics and share socially! Why not take our Insta-Challenge at the same time? From parks and trails to sunsets and events, there’s a lot of photo-worthy spots across Merriam to capture.

FLAVORS OF FALL
Try the pumpkin cream cheese coffeecake on a visit to Merriam’s Strawberry Hill Povitica. Pick up a loaf for yourself and grab one for a friend. Here’s a little incentive discount for you to meander on over to 7226 W. Frontage Road.

Shop the fall collection of scents at Mixture! From the classic pumpkin spice to Fall Harvest or Apple Crisp, pick your favorite fall fragrance from one of Merriam’s favorite makers!

ART & HISTORY, OH MY!
Explore the beautiful art on display at the Tim Murphy Art Gallery located inside the MCC. Or, take an art stroll to find Planting the Seeds, Hmmm, Motherhood or other public art in Merriam. If exploring history is your favorite fall activity, download the Otocast app and trek across Merriam in search of historic sites and markers as you discover Merriam’s fascinating past along the Merriam History Tour.

Happy fall and have fun exploring Merriam!! Learn more about Merriam at www.exploremerriam.com

Summer Staycation Top 10

Summer is just around the bend, but if traveling still isn’t on your radar just yet, we invite you to consider all the great things to see and do in your own community. Have a blast and save some cash while exploring the arts, eats, events and activities in Merriam with our Summer Staycation Top 10.

  1. Make a splash at the Merriam Community Center outdoor pool–open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Click here for hours, rates and more!
  2. Appreciate the arts. From historic murals to sculptures and the popular Tim Murphy Art Gallery, you can art hop across Merriam on a sunny afternoon. Learn more about the artists and their creations here!
  3. Select farm-fresh fruits and veggies on a Saturday trip to the Farmers Market in downtown Merriam.
  4. Discover Merriam’s fascinating history with the Otocast app and the Merriam History Tour.
  5. Pick a park or two and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer while you picnic, play or just relax in the great outdoors.
  6. Join the Summer Movie Club at Merriam’s Cinemark and make a movie date every Wednesday morning at 9:30. With eight weeks of family-friendly movies at $1.50 per ticket, you can’t beat that for affordable entertainment, plus there’s a discount for concessions too!
  7. Hit the trail! Merriam’s Turkey Creek Streamway Trail is the perfect place to get the summer wiggles out. Enjoy four paved miles along the beautiful creek just west of I-35 through downtown Merriam.
  8. Take the Insta-Challenge. Capture Merriam memories with our list of 30 Insta-worthy options for your social media moments!
  9. From Flags 4 Freedom to Family Fun Fridays, there’s an abundance of events all summer long in Merriam!
  10. Grab some local takeout from a Merriam restaurant, then dine outdoors on your back patio or by the lake at Antioch Park.

National Tourism Week…

Merriam is the Power of Travel!

National Travel and Tourism Week 2021 (May 2-8) spotlights the collective power of the U.S. travel industry. This year, there is more reason than ever to celebrate this industry’s strength and its dynamic workforce. The 38th annual NTTW, recognizes the Power of Travel and the critical role our industry will play in bringing back our vibrant communities, restoring the economy, rebuilding our workforce and reconnecting America.

Prior to the pandemic, the travel industry was a powerful economic engine, supporting jobs and driving local economies in every pocket of America. In 2019 in Kansas, travel and tourism generated 36.5 million visitors spending $7.3 billion and supporting more than 66,000 jobs. Nationwide, the industry had experienced 107 straight months of growth, generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.

Unfortunately, that strong growth trend plummeted last year due to the pandemic. Travel spending in the U.S. declined 42%, costing the economy $1.1 trillion, while hardworking Americans supported by travel made up a staggering 65% of all U.S. unemployment.

However, the travel industry is resilient. While we faced extraordinary challenges in the past year, our industry united like never before, lifted each other up, aided one another, and devoted ourselves fully to the task of supporting and restoring this robust economic engine. This year’s NTTW is an opportunity to turn the page to a new chapter in our industry’s story and celebrate its collective power by spotlighting the innumerable ways travel will drive recovery, bring Americans together again and help define our country’s path forward.

Check out how we’re celebrating NTTW in Merriam!

  • We’re sharing a fun Passport to Merriam featuring something you can do each day (May 2-8) to explore all the things to see and do in our community.
  • We’re cleaning up the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail with KC Destinations, a regional tourism association through their annual “Tourism Gives Back” program.
  • We’re highlighting the importance of the travel industry through our social channels with “did you know” facts, tourism tips and helpful resources each day throughout the week.

Stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram @ExploreMerriam beginning May 2; or, download our Passport to Merriam below to start your National Tourism Week activities now.

Happy travels from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!

Merriam’s Spring Break Top 10!

Photo credit: Jim Russell

Have you been cooped up a little too long? We thought so. Even though some schools have just recently reopened for in-person learning, many are still scheduling the annual Spring Break. If you’re looking for a little break too from remote meetings and digital screen time, we’re sharing 10 great reasons you and your family should explore Merriam during Spring Break.

Merriam is an ideal choice in the Kansas City metro for a Spring Break destination!  Whether you live locally and want to check-out nearby things to do, or are coming to town for a quick visit with friends or family, check out these socially-distanced activities for a fun-filled Spring Break. For your reassurance, our hotels, restaurants, and attractions have set up additional precautions and cleaning procedures, making health and safety a continued priority.

Take a look at the top 10 suggestions to kick-off your Spring Break itinerary in Merriam, Kansas:

  1. Start off with the most important meal of the day–dessert! A delicious sampling of hand-made povitica from Merriam’s local Strawberry Hill Povitica Bakery is the perfect choice and comes in over a dozen flavors.
  2. Grab a stroll or bike along the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail — you’ll pass neighborhood pocket parks on this four-mile paved trail, and you might even see wildlife along the creek!
  3. Explore digitally with your GPS enabled device. The Visitors Bureau has two geocaches placed in our city–can you find them? Learn more at www.geocaching.com and search for merriamcvb.
  4. If history is more your speed, you’ll want to download the Otocast app and take the Merriam History Tour. Download this free app on Google Play or the App Store and enjoy your history lesson about Merriam.
  5. Pick a park and settle in for playground fun, a leisure walk or a lunchtime picnic. Better yet, spend a day park hopping to all of Merriam’s parks–they’re free and open to the public sunrise to sunset daily.
  6. Enjoy an art stroll around town; from beautifully created sculptures to permanent or rotating gallery exhibits, explore Merriam’s public art collection for a fun and new learning experience. Check out Artfully Merriam or visit the latest exhibit at the Tim Murphy Art Gallery!
  7. Take a dip in the indoor Merriam pool at the Merriam Community Center. From the lazy river to fun splash zones, water is a great way to tucker out the littles before bedtime. >>Explore the MCC from A-Z on page 14 of the 2021 Merriam Visitor Guide.
  8. Pupusas to go!!! To finish off the day, stop by Anita’s Cuisine or El Pulgarcito for the very best Pupusas around!
  9. Make it a mini-vacay with an affordable night at one of Merriam’s hotels. You can even score a deal with Merriam’s special offers on lodging.
  10. Capture and share your Merriam Spring Break memories via Instagram–learn more on page 12 at the link >> Merriam Insta Challenge!

Happy spring from the Merriam Visitors Bureau! #ExploreMerriam #InstaChallenge #SpringBreak

Five Valentine Things We LOVE in Merriam…

February is the perfect time to get out and explore Merriam with that special someone in your life! With an entire day devoted to love on Sunday, February 14, hearts, candy, romance and snow are all in the air! If you’re still searching for ideas to surprise your Valentine, despite the challenges of COVID-19, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Merriam. We’ve rounded up our top five Valentine’s Day ideas below–check ’em out!

  1. PUPPIES. Need we say more? Send your love a fluffy, floppy puppygram from Merriam’s Great Plains SPCA. The entire month of February, the staff at Great Plains will deliver a sweet puppy visit to your home, office or home office. Learn more at https://greatplainsspca.salsalabs.org/puppygrams2021/index.html

2. SWEET TREATS. Valentine’s Day equals sweets, and Merriam is chock full of them. Start your day with heart-shaped doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Stop by Russell Stover Candy Co for those famous chocolate dipped strawberries or a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Visit Strawberry Hill Povitica bakery to pick-up a loaf of the famous hand-made dessert bread–try the Cokalada (chocolate), White Chocolate Cherry or Strawberry Cream Cheese flavors. Delight in the Merriam-made Valomilk—a chocolate candy cup with a marshmallow flowing center (available at area retailers and grocers). Or, treat your sweetie to a delicious chocolate shake at Georgetown Pharmacy Soda Shop.

3. WINTER STROLL. Yes, it’s cold outside, but a stroll along Merriam’s Turkey Creek Streamway Trail, or a lap around the lake at Antioch Park are beautiful ways to spend time together outdoors. Bundle up and make snow angels or draw a heart in the snow with your names inside and capture a snowy selfie. Check out Merriam parks here!

4. SPEND THE DAY. Make a day out of your Valentine’s date. Start with breakfast at Pegah’s, then venture out to view the new exhibit on display at the Tim Murphy Art Gallery. Shop ’til you drop by perusing the aisles of “must-haves” at IKEA, or explore the alternative and holistic health items at Gemini in downtown Merriam. Gas up and take an “art-drive” around the city to find Merriam’s fascinating public art, then end the day with takeout from a local restaurant. There’s nothing like exploring for a few hours—you’ll always find something special and new.

5. OR SPEND THE NIGHT. We all love to be at home, but this pandemic has us itching to get out. Consider an overnight at one of Merriam’s hotels and pamper yourself with peace and quiet, sleeping in, a great breakfast, and amenities you’ll appreciate. Check out special offers at exploremerriam.com.

Celebrating Galentine’s instead? Celebrate on Saturday with the gal pals. Head to Merriam Cinemark where you can book your own private screening starting at $99 which includes up to 20 guests. Imagine snacking on popcorn, laughing with friends and enjoying your choice of a classic fan-favorite or a newly released movie in the privacy and comfort of your own auditorium. Book a date online–learn more at cinemark.com/private-watch-party

Giving Thanks in Merriam…

As we approach the upcoming holiday season while continuing to navigate this pandemic, there is still so much to be thankful for in Merriam and across the metro region. Things may look a little different this year–gatherings around the Thanksgiving table will be smaller; visits with family may be less frequent and holiday shopping might be a little more online than in-person. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take joy in the little things, create new traditions, or change up the old ones in the name of Thanksgiving. Here’s a few ideas to get you started this November:

BASK by artist Blessing Hancock
  1. BASK in the blessings — New in Merriam this November is the latest public art installment entitled BASK by artist, Blessing Hancock. The artist’s name alone suggests a quick reminder to count our blessings, but once you see these beautiful life-size sculptures in person, you’ll be given hundreds of new reasons to appreciate Merriam. Using the sun and pools as inspiration, this series was created to relate to the surrounding environment and community activities. The three sculptures incorporate public engagement with language collected from Merriam residents. Hancock explores the concept of “inclusive spaces that foster belonging” by merging these works with an eye-catching sequence of elements to invite physical interaction and human connection. At night, the sculptures come alive with color-changing lighting. Visit this new art installation at the Merriam Community Center, 6040 Slater St.
  2. HELP others in need — Perhaps the most genuine way to feel connected to your community is to help those less fortunate. In Merriam, you can do that by donating a new toy or new/gently used coat to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. Barrels are in place at City Hall and the Community Center through the first week in December. Your donation supports low-income individuals, families and seniors to help brighten their holidays.
  3. CREATE a new tradition — If you’re not hosting family or traveling due to COVID-19 and feeling a little down about not seeing those you love in person, try creating a new tradition that you begin in November. Some fun ideas include: asking everyone to make a scrapbook page for a book you can share at your next gathering; host a virtual family walk-n-talk as you trek a new trail or grab a few steps in your neighborhood; host a virtual pumpkin pie baking contest and eat dessert together over Zoom; create and share an upbeat playlist, then host a virtual dance party at a preset time and date; begin a holiday puzzle to be completed by December 25th; bake seasonal cookies and deliver to a home-bound neighbor.
  4. PRACTICE gratitude — Starting now, place a big bowl somewhere visible in your home. Include pre-cut strips of plain paper and markers. Ask family members to write something they are thankful for each day and place the note in the bowl. As you celebrate Thanksgiving, take turns reading the notes aloud.
  5. BE GOOD to yourself — Self-care is often overlooked but so incredibly needed, especially during stressful times. You don’t need an entire day at the spa to practice self-care. All it takes to be kind to yourself is a few quiet moments soaking in a bubble bath; listening to a new podcast; picking up a crystal or stone from Gemini in downtown Merriam; trying out a beginner yoga sequence; starting a new series on Netflix with all your favorite snacks; diffusing a nice blend of lavender and eucalyptus oils while grabbing a 25-minute nap; or, calling a friend for a fun chat. Breaking the normal routine of to-do’s and errands for a little bit of “you time” each day will quickly become a new practice if you let it.

On behalf of the Merriam Visitors Bureau, we wish you a month full of thankful moments. Happy November–may your Thanksgiving be plentiful.

Explore Merriam this fall!

Make the most of cool days and chilly nights with these quintessential fall to-dos’ in and around Merriam!

Pumpkin flavor perks!
A cool fall morning isn’t complete without a Pumpkin White Mocha from Caribou Coffee—hit the drive though on your way to work to savor this delicious fall brew. If coffee is really your thing, check out the KC Coffee Trip by KC Destinations on the Otocast app or learn more at www.kcdestinations.com.

Delight in a symphony…at the park.
Head over to shelter #4 in Antioch Park on Thursday, October 1 for an evening of classical music. Sit back and enjoy the tunes as musicians from the Kansas City Symphony perform in neighborhood concerts in parks throughout Johnson County. For more dates and locations, visit https://www.jcprd.com/1575/Symphony-in-the-Park

Peep the fall foliage.
There’s nothing better than strolling along the Turkey Creek Streamway Trail in October and taking in all of the beautiful colors of autumn. You might even spot a deer along the water’s edge.

Go vintage for the day.
Vintage Market Days® is an upscale vintage-inspired indoor/outdoor market featuring original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, consumable yummies, seasonal plantings and a little more. Visit this 3-day market Oct. 23-25 at Merriam Town Center (tickets required).

Take a history tour.
A perfect way to learn about Merriam’s history is through the Otocast app—download on Google Play or the App Store and explore 13 historic moments throughout Merriam. Learn more at Merriam’s History Tour.

Make a seasonal craft.
Did someone say crafting and wine? Come out to DIY Holiday Décor and Wine on Thursday, Oct. 15 from 5:30-8:30 at the new Merriam Community Center to make an adorable and reversible fall and winter decoration. Sip wine while you craft and create your take-home piece. Registration required at the link above.

Geocaching: Trick or Cache.
Try a new activity this Halloween that the entire family will enjoy! Trick or cache is a fun and safe outdoor activity held at Antioch Park on October 23. Search for caches hidden around the park grounds using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). GPS units, a tutorial, and meal are included during this modern-day scavenger hunt. Register at the link above!

Shop the local scents of fall.
At Merriam’s Mixture, the fall-inspired scents abound. From Pumpkin Spice to Fall Harvest, or even Apple Crisp, your home or office space will be smelling super seasonal. Shop the Mixture outlet M-F from 10-4 or visit online https://madebymixture.com/shop/fall/#shop

Read a good book.
Grab a feel-good fall read or a classic horror novel and spend a few hours reading outside with a mug of hot cider. Not sure what you want to read? Ask a Librarian at Merriam’s Antioch branch of the Johnson County Library or click here for picks by JCL staff.

Partake in some Povitica.
Whether you prefer the classic English Walnut or Apple Cinnamon Povitica, or want to try the new pumpkin cream cheese coffeecake, a trip to Merriam’s Strawberry Hill Povitica is in order this fall. Pick up a loaf for dessert or grab one to share with neighbors and friends. One thing’s for sure…you’ll be back. Here’s a little incentive discount for you to meander on over to 7226 W. Frontage Road. (Povitica is not serving samples at this time, but product can be purchased in-store or online at www.povitica.com).