Road Trip to Merriam

Plan your next summer road trip to Merriam…next door neighbor to Kansas City!

Tired of being stuck at home? Did you have to postpone or cancel the only vacation you planned for 2020? While it’s still a good idea to practice healthy distancing habits, it’s never been a better time to explore somewhere new. Did you know that although millions of Americans have canceled or postponed travel plans, recent travel sentiment studies show that more and more people are already reconsidering their travel plans to include a summer road trip?

What are you waiting for? Grab your keys and gas up the car, bring your social-distance supplies and your appetite for travel, because we’ve got your next summer road trip all mapped out in Merriam, Kansas! Here’s a few items from our jam-packed itinerary:

  • Book your room — discounted rates available.
  • Hit the trails for a leisurely stroll along Merriam’s beautiful Turkey Creek Streamway Trail. This paved path is a great place to see wildlife, grab some steps and connect with nature.
  • Download Merriam’s Sunshine Scavenger Hunt here —snap a selfie when you find the sunshines and tag @ExploreMerriam on social media.
  • Feed the hungry road-trip warriors! Merriam’s got a plate for every palate from handmade tamales at Anita’s, to delicious wraps and burgers at Hurricane Allie’s, to an affordable sit-down dinner at Pegah’s Family Restaurant. Click here for our restaurant selections.
  • Stroll the aisles at IKEA to find home furnishings, décor and essentials, or discover inspiration on the upper level with rooms and rooms of ideas. Don’t forget to grab a tray of cinnamon buns on your way out!

Learn more information about Merriam’s road trip! Here, you can book a discounted hotel reservation, download the 2020 Visitors Guide, print our sample itinerary and map directions to Merriam!

Merriam is a road-trip ready destination just waiting to welcome you! Check out our summer road trip package—we’ve got it all mapped out for you!

Be Merriam’s Valentine!

Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching! Whether you’re a hopeless romantic and this is your favorite day of the year, or you’re more of a year-round love-bug, Merriam’s got the 411 on all things LOVE. Check out these made-in-Merriam treats for your sweet this Valentine’s Day!

candy heartRussell Stover Candies this sweet store offers a candy kitchen, baked goods, custom build-a-box chocolates, fudge, custard, ice-cream, coffee & espresso, Jelly Belly, exclusive Russell Stover boxes and a complete assortment of Russell Stover and Whitman products. Shop today at 10100 Shawnee Mission Parkway!
valomilkValomilk Candy Cup – made in Merriam since 1987, Valomilk is the “original flowing center candy cup”.  Sold online and in retail stores, this beloved candy is made with only the finest natural ingredients, and is still a treat more than 30 years later.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts conversation heart doughnuts return to a Krispy Kreme near you. Stop by for your delicious dozen at the Shawnee Mission Parkway location, just east of I-35.
Strawberry Hill Povitica featured on QVC, this delicious swirled dessert bread comes in over a dozen flavors and is certain to make you a repeat customer. Send your Valentine their favorite flavor of Povitica or the new Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. Visit www.strawberryhill.com and use the 40% off discount code Z10W, or call 1-800-631-1002 to order via phone. This special may be used multiple times. Expires on March 2, 2020.
Traditional-MilkshakesGeorgetown Pharmacy Old Fashioned Soda ShopEnjoy an old-fashioned milkshake with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day! Located inside Georgetown Pharmacy on Merriam Drive, these sippers are handmade right at the counter, and are perfect for sharing.
Kansas City Box has created a special Valentine Box this year for a thoughtful and romantic gift! We like the Elbow Chocolates + Mug Duo–but hurry, delivery time is limited! Order now at kansascitybox.com/shop 

Happy Valentine’s Day and much love from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!
~ xoxo ~

Chiefs are Super Bowl Bound…time to LIV it up!

It’s been 50 years since Chiefs fans have felt this type of hype. The entire city is red, EVERYONE is excited about the big game, and the way this community is coming together is magical! From photo ops at Union Station to spirit week in the local schools and businesses, special Mahomes burgers across the local pub scene and so many more Chiefs celebratory events, Kansas City is on fire about Super Bowl LIV.

Football fans really know how to party when it comes to the Super Bowl. Whether you’re celebrating at home, hitting up a local bar, or you’re one of the lucky ones to head south to Miami, one thing is for sure– there’s no shortage of Super Bowl spirit across Kansas City.

Right here in Merriam, take a look at the Super Bowl LIV events and activities:

Eat, drink and be merry!

  • Did somebody say doughnuts? On Super Bowl Sunday, Merriam’s Krispy Kreme will sell limited quantities of a special KC Chiefs football doughnut. Grab a dozen before they sell out at 8805 Shawnee Mission Parkway.
  • Fight for your right to party at Bilski’s Super Bowl Party & Potluck on Sunday starting at 4:00 p.m.
  • Chiefs Super Bowl in the Allie is another happening game day spot on Merriam Drive! Come cheer the Chiefs on to victory–and sing Happy Birthday to Allie!

Help the fur babies!

  • Find a furever friend at Baron BMW & Mini’s Saturday adoption event in partnership with Midwest Animal Resq from 11-2:00 p.m. Get an oil change, adopt an animal and hang out with 101 the Fox!
  • Paws Up KC is in the spirit of helping the animals too and will be hosting a Operation TAILgate on Super Bowl Sunday ALL DAY LONG in the parking lot of Pegah’s (corner of Antioch & SMP).

Say cheese!

  • Snap a pic with Merriam’s resident bears, all dressed up in Chiefs gear for the big game! 6304 E. Frontage Road at Merriam Historic Plaza. #ExploreMerriam #GoChiefs

Gear Up!

  • Make a statement in new swag–Dick’s Sporting Goods in Merriam has all the AFC gear, jerseys, hats and more! 49ers fans–get yours elsewhere.
  • Merriam’s favorite box curator has some cute Chiefs socks to keep your footsies warm during the big game! Check ’em out at Kansas City Box.

At home hosting?

  • Jenn from Peas and Crayons posted this yummy jalapeno football cheese ball. I made it for the AFC Championship game, so in true superstitious behavior, it will be make a reappearance on Sunday.
  • If sweets are more your style, check out this Two Sisters pin Kansas City Game Day Treats.
  • No tailgate, watch party of any other day of the week makes sense without good ol’ KC barbecue! We really like Woodyard on Merriam Drive!

No matter where you watch, how you celebrate or what team you’re rooting for (but if you’re rooting for the 49ers, you are just wrong), Kansas City is our hometown and we are proud to call ourselves Chiefs Kingdom!

Plan for Vacation!

Did you end the year with leftover vacation days? Take time now to plan for 2020 and use the time you earn. National Plan for Vacation Day is Tuesday, January 28–make a plan to claim your days for the rest of the year at the start of the year! Take a peek below at the staggering statistics revealing the work martyr syndrome of the average American.

  • Last year, more than 768 MILLION vacation days went unused—many of which cannot be regained.
  • 55% of Americans left days on the table.
  • Additionally, these are days Americans have earned and when they are completely forfeited (236 million in 2018), they are losing a key benefit, amounting to $65.5 billion. In other words, Americans essentially donated an average of $571 in free work time to their employer.
  • Those who actually plan their vacation days in advance are far more likely to use all of their earned time off than non-planners.
  • Taking time off is associated with higher productivity, better performance, a more positive attitude toward work, increased happiness, improved mental and physical health, better relationships and social life.

On Tuesday, January 28, we encourage you to take some time with your family to plan out your 2020 vacation. Whether it’s an extended weekend or a week-long journey across the country, it’s YOUR earned time off and you should be the one in charge of it!

If Kansas City is on your radar of 2020 destinations to visit, we invite you to explore nearby Merriam! Just a few short miles from downtown KC, Merriam is ideal for a couple’s road trip , a girlfriends’ getaway or a family-friendly visit. Tree-lined streets, walking trails, flower baskets on lampposts, striking public art, unique dining options, attractions within minutes, and a variety of year-round events and activities deliver plenty of fun things to see and do for everyone.

Use those hard-earned vacation days in 2020! Learn more about visiting Merriam at www.exploremerriam.com or follow us socially @ExploreMerriam! Happy travels.

Behind the Scenes at the Merriam Visitors Bureau…

Summer has come to an end, and while the visitor turnout may slow a bit during the fall and winter season, the Merriam Visitors Bureau is open year-round to welcome and service our guests. From meeting patrons to bridal parties, sports parents to motor coach travelers, the local visitors bureau office is often the first stop for visitors to any community.

Because no two days are alike inside the bureau office, we thought we’d give you a sneak peek into our to-do list and the top five visitor questions we receive from walk-in guests. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes glimpse, and we welcome you to come see us on the East Frontage Road in Merriam.

Top 5 questions at the visitors bureau office:

  1. Why are there bears outside? — The bears are a fun play on Merriam’s history during the operational years of Merriam Park (1880s). A mama bear and her baby cubs roamed the zoo grounds that were located inside the park, and the superintendent would have to coax them back to their den in the evening. Interestingly enough, we also have an elementary school in Merriam with the bear as their mascot!
  2. I never knew this building was here. How long have you been here? — Merriam Historic Plaza and Visitors Bureau was built in 2006 and has been serving visitors from this location ever since. However, did you know we have had a visitors bureau office in Merriam since the late nineties?
  3. What is the difference between a visitors center and a visitors bureau? — Slight differences, but mostly in size, staffing and hours. Visitor centers are typically state funded, operated year-round and solely provide visitor service (maps, directions, restrooms, etc.) Some are located inside convenience stores and rest areas, others are free standing. Kansas has only two visitor centers—one in Belle Plaine and one in Goodland. The local visitors bureau is typically managed through the local city, chamber of commerce or contracted independently. A visitors bureau is often funded by guest tax dollars of visitors staying in that city’s hotels. More than just a walk-in facility, the visitors bureau is oftentimes the marketing branch for the destination, and handles sales and service too.
  4. Where do you get your beautiful flower baskets? — This question is our favorite because our Public Works department actually makes them in-house. They also host a basket making workshop in the early spring, so for around $40, you can make one too. We think Merriam has the most beautiful flower baskets in the metro!
  5. What should I do when I’m in town? — This one varies based on the visitor’s interest (and sometimes the weather). From history to art, food to festivals, we can certainly make some fun recommendations for everyone, but there’s nearly always a BBQ request.

In case these questions don’t quite explain what we do here at the visitors bureau office, we’ve also created the list below of what we might be working on any day of the week, but we’re always happy to customize the visitor experience! It’s one of the reasons we’re named a “top tourist-friendly city in the U.S.” by Expedia. So, if you’re looking for super amazing visitor assistance, please give us a shout!

Here’s a sampling of the CVB day in the life:
Restock visitor brochure racks; respond to visitor inquiries for local places to dine, shop and stay; maintain the bureau office, meeting room and historic plaza grounds; assist walk-in visitors with questions, maps, referrals and suggestions; attend meetings (regional, state, etc. that impact the tourism economy and industry); update website and online offers; conduct site inspections with local hotels and area businesses by request; provide step-on greeting for incoming buses and groups; escort motor coach tours; setup and attend industry trade shows; conduct sales calls and visits; design visitor promotions; market local and regional events; manage social media accounts; write travel blog posts (like this one); design and write the annual Merriam Visitors Guide (big job, lots of coffee); participate in City of Merriam events, employee activities and regional promotions; meet with local businesses to encourage visitor discounts and special offers; provide unified voice on issues related to tourism; connect local residents with visitor services for incoming guests; provide speaking engagements for local and regional groups (Kiwanis, Lions Club, etc.); other duties as assigned, and as the day dictates — this week, for example, we are turning our fountains pink for breast cancer awareness and next week is the annual tourism conference in Junction City.

Community centers are great for visitors, too!

Merriam is embarking on ground-breaking developments – literally! As we celebrate the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony of our new community center on Aug. 30, we thought it would be nice to share how a community center is not only great for our local residents, but also for those who visit our city.

Groundbreaking MCC

Community centers are wonderful facilities that serve as gathering places for fitness classes, recreational programs, dedicated art space, and meetings and events. From daily walking clubs to those who meet up once a month for coffee and a chat, a community center is a hub of activity in any city or town. It serves the needs of various audiences from youth to seniors, business executives to gym goers, and many in between. It’s budget friendly for those seeking affordable recreation and the offerings are always abundant.

But, many times, when visiting a new destination, travelers don’t automatically think of a community center as something they can utilize. How many times have you visited a town and headed down to your hotel’s gym, which may only include a couple of machines and a hanging TV? Maybe you’re a free-weight kind of person or you prefer mat space for a quick yoga sesh. Why not consider the local community center? Yes, it might be more valuable to a local resident who pays an annual membership and frequents it regularly, but there’s no doubt you’ll find a great mix of daily classes, a fully accessible gym with all the latest equipment, weights and floor space, a fancy aquatic center (ours will have a lazy river), and a friendly team of people ready to greet you.

On a trip west last year for my annual conference, the hotel gym was a converted gazebo with two treadmills, an elliptical, and a stack of towels on the water dispenser. It was better than nothing, but my head nearly touched the ceiling and it just seemed thrown together. The workout was just meh. That evening, I called the local community center, and it had a 6 a.m. zumba class the next day – visitors welcomed! It was still dark outside on the drive over, but I was so much happier to greet fellow zumba enthusiasts rather than the boring, squeaky gazebo treadmill again. I paid a rate for a drop-in visitor, enjoyed the hour-long sweat marathon, and headed back to the hotel for opening conference session. Don’t get me wrong – many hotels offer fantastic amenities in their fitness centers, but if you crave all of the bells and whistles, a community center is the ticket.

kitty workout

Let’s explore other community center offerings visitors might enjoy while in town:

  • Access to a wide variety of classes — from yoga to bird-watching, personal finance to nutritious meal prep. You can check out the monthly lineup to see if you can learn something new.
  • Drop-in rate on a special program (bingo, cards, movie matinee).
  • Art gallery exhibits and events — many centers offer public viewing space for rotating exhibits.
  • Meeting space usage — need to work remotely for a few hours or find a space where colleagues can gather? Community center rental spaces are often more affordable options.
  • Walking track — get in those daily steps at the local community center.
  • Aquatic center amenities — take a dip in the pool for a refreshing beginning (or end) to your day.

Merriam’s new community center is on track for construction this fall with a proposed opening in summer 2020. This new facility is just minutes from the hotels in Merriam and will give visitors the same great access that residents can enjoy. Stay tuned on our progress here and, in the meantime, join us as we turn the dirt on Aug. 30.

 

 

Turkey Creek Festival Top 10

TCF TOP 10
Merriam’s largest annual festival is approaching, and organizers are gearing up for this highly anticipated family event. The Turkey Creek Festival officially kicks-off the summer event season in Merriam, and is held on the third Saturday in May each year at Antioch Park.

Whether you’re a seasoned TCF pro, or 2018 will be your first festival, you’ll want to be sure to take in all the sights and fun of the day. Gates are open from 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to delight in all things Turkey Creek! To help you enjoy a sampling of the entire festival, check out the Visitors Bureau’s Turkey Creek Festival Top 10 below.

TCF2.jpg

  1. Get your early morning workout in by joining the Turkey Creek Festival 5K. This family friendly route through some of Merriam’s prettiest neighborhoods will earn you the daily 10,000 step count in no time. Learn more here!
  2. After 3.1 miles, you’ve probably worked up a good appetite…satisfy those hunger pangs at the Lions Club pancake feed in shelter #1 at Antioch Park.  From 7:30-11:30 a.m., for the low, low price of $6.00 ($4.00 for kids 12 and younger), you can feast on pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice until your heart is content.
  3. Right inside the gates, you can interact with Merriam’s first responders! From touring the fire truck to chatting with police and EMS, Merriam welcomes you to stop by and say hi.
  4. Stroll the artisans expo in search of the perfect home decor piece, hand-made jewelry bauble or other fabulous find.
  5. Tackle a little woodworking project with the kiddos at Home Depot’s building area in the park shelter.
  6. Take a lunch break on the beautiful park grounds! Choose your favorite concession fare–turkey legs, gyros, ribbon curl fries, hot dogs–the menu options are endless!
  7. Sway to the tunes during one of the live concert performances. From country to rockabilly, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fine-tune your two-step!
  8. Ride the train…it’s small, but mighty, and will give you a tiny reprieve traveling from one space to another if you need to rest your legs while giving the kids a fun activity.
  9. Once your legs have recovered, the kids will ask to take the boat ride. Warning…you’ll be pedaling, hence they are called pedal boats. They’re a lot of fun, but make sure you’re prepared to pedal across the small lake and back.
  10. Star Wars characters will be strolling the park grounds. If you’re a character chaser, bring your autograph book and a pen! May the force be with you!

    pedal boats

TCF helpful resources:
Festival video
TCF information
Artisans Expo
5K Run/Walk & Youth Sprint

Trek The Steamway Trail!

Turkey Creek Streamway Trail (9)

The sun is shining, you need to reach your daily step count, the dog is all leashed up, and those new sneakers are begging for a few miles. It’s never a better time to hit the Streamway Trail in Merriam.

This four-mile path will guide you along wooded areas, industrial business centers, residential neighborhoods, public parks and Merriam’s newest art installations, Still Time and Planting the Seeds. Winding along Merriam’s Turkey Creek, the Streamway Trail begins on the south end of Merriam at the 75th Street access point and finishes up near Waterfall Park at 51st and Merriam Drive on the north end of town. The trail also offers access points at Chatlain Park, Campbell Park and the Merriam Marketplace. Serious trail blazers can keep moving along Streamway Trail into Overland Park via Antioch Road.

If you’re ready to lace up and head out for a beautiful day of trekking the trail, be sure to check out page 17 in the new Merriam Community & Visitors Guide to learn about all the sights to see along the way. We’ve even included a tasty homemade trail mix recipe from our Parks & Recreation Director Anna Slocum.

Recipe (1)

More trail tips & helpful info:

  • Trail markers are available every 1/2 mile and emergency 911 markers are available every 1/10 mile.
  • The entire trail is paved.
  • Dog-friendly waste stations are available along the trail.
  • Hop off the trail to enjoy lunch or dinner in downtown Merriam.
  • Grab a JCPRD Trail Guide at the Merriam Visitors Bureau at 6304 E. Frontage Road.
  • Share your trail pics with @ExploreMerriam on Instagram.

 

Happy trails from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!