Road Scholar : Home
Signature City Kansas City

Program Number: 13701RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/4/2014 - 5/9/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Price starting at: $895.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities; Art History/Criticism
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt    

In Kansas City, beef meets boeuf bourguignon. Dubbed the “Paris of the Plains,” Kansas City is second only to Paris in wide, scenic boulevards and second to Rome with its 200 ornate fountains. Make no mistake, barbecue joints and KC jazz pulse in this metropolitan area of 2.1 million near the geographic heart of the 48 contiguous states. But the KC experience is also its first-rate culture, a spectacular city park twice the size of New York’s Central Park, and an urban revamp organized into 240 neighborhoods.


• Explore the new wing of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the studio of artist Thomas Hart Benton and the state-of-the-art acoustics of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
• At the American Jazz Museum, learn how native sons Count Basie and Charlie “Bird” Parker rocked the “cradle of jazz” in the 1920s and ’40s, and put your foot to tappin’ during a jazz outing at a Kansas City club.
• Learn at the Truman Library about Missouri farm boy Harry Truman, who succeeded FDR as America’s 33rd president and oversaw the end of WWII and the start of the Cold War.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day.

Coordinated by University of Texas at Austin.

Kansas City

Straddling the Missouri-Kansas state line, Kansas City was a busy point of departure during the mid-1800s for settlers, missionaries and traders beginning their journey west. After World War I, the city became a hotbed of jazz for the likes of Charlie Parker and Count Basie and today is famous for its steaks, barbecues and thriving music scene.

Comfortable hotel near Country Club Plaza.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn
  Kansas City, MO 5 nights
 Holiday Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel ideally situated just two blocks from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City Art Institute, Country Club Plaza, across the street from the Kemper Museum of Art. Crown Center/Hallmark Cards, Science City/Union Station, Crossroads Arts District, Steamboat Arabia, City Market and downtown area a short ride on the Metro Area Express (MAX). Hotel is four miles from Starlight Theater and Zoo/IMAX Theater.
  Contact info: One East 45th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111 USA
phone: 816-753-7400
  Room amenities: Cable, coffee maker, free morning newspaper, hairdryer/iron/ironing board, work desk with lamp, windows open, cordless phone, high-speed Internet.
  Facility amenities: One king or two queen beds, cable, satellite TV w/movie channel and pay-per-view movies, coffee maker, and complimentary coffee/tea, free morning newspaper delivered to room, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, individually controlled air conditioning, work desk w/lamp, largest outdoor pool in the area with sun deck, complimentary underground secured parking, local transportation (2-3 miles), full-service restaurant/lounge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Best seasonal rate available. Additional nights available by telephoning the hotel at 816.216.8006 - Direct to Ali Kelley.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Best seasonal rate available. Additional nights available by telephoning the hotel at 816.216.8006 - Direct to Ali Kelley.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration begins at 4:30PM. You will be staying at Holiday Inn that night.
  End of Program:
11:00AM at the hotel. You will be staying at Holiday Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. To participate in your Road Scholar program, you are required to complete the Participant Information Form, which includes your health and safety information, lodging and meal preferences, and more. Please either complete and submit this online form or complete and mail back to your Program Provider a hard-copy version of the form included in your Preliminary Information Packet. Participants are also required to sign a University of Texas-mandated Release and Indemnification Agreement.
  Parking availability:
Parking is complimentary at the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Kansas City, MO
  Nearest city or town:  Kansas City, Missouri
  Nearest highway: 35 and 70
  Nearest airport:  Kansas City International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Kansas City, MO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Kansas City International airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-243-6383


Per Person/One Way:


$22.00, each additional guest $9; subject to change
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


35 minutes depending on traffic 


Super Shuttle kiosk is located in the baggage claim area.


Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-243-6383
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$22.00, each additional guest $9; subject to change
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


35 minutes depending on traffic 


Advance reservations must be made for the return trip to the airport; reservations can be make on arrival at the Kansas City airport.

Driving Directions
  East Take I-70 West to I-35 South. Continue on I-35 South to Broadway/27th Street. Exit (exit left). Travel approximately 2 miles on Broadway to 43rd Street and turn left (east). Follow up the hill to the first stop light, Main Street, and turn right (south). Follow Main Street to 45th Street, turn left (east). Holiday Inn is on the right side of the street.
  North I-35 Southbound: continue on I-35 to Broadway/27th St. Exit (on left). Travel approximately 2 miles on Broadway to 43rd street and turn left (east). Follow up the hill to the first stop light, Main Street, and turn right (south). Follow Main Street to 45 Street, turn left (east). Holiday Inn in on the right side of the street.
  South I-35 Northbound: Exit Shawnee Mission Parkway/63rd Street and turn right (east). Follow Shawnee Mission Parkway approximately 5 miles, watch for State Line - directly after you cross over State Line stay in the left 2 lanes and merge on to Ward Parkway. Follow Ward Parkway to Brookside Blvd (also Main Street), turn left (north). Follow to 45th Street, turn right (east). Holiday Inn is on the right side of the street.
  West Take I-670 East to I-35 South. Continue on I-35 South to Broadway/27th Street. Exit (on left). Travel approximately 2 miles on Broadway to 43rd Street and turn left (east). Follow up the hill to the first stop light, Main Street, and turn right (south). Follow Main Street to 45th Street, turn left (east). Holiday Inn is on the right side of the street.
Elevation Note: Elevation is 758 above sea level.

Equipment Requirements: Equipment is not required for program participation.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Registration/Welcome & Orientation
(Sunday, May 4)
 Afternoon: ORIENTATION begins in the hotel conference room at 4:30pm. Your arrival packet will contain an updated schedule of program activities, a list of fellow attendees, and your name badge. Start your Kansas City experience with an informative overview of the week to come. The site coordinator will provide contact names and phone numbers of program leaders, address responsibilities, questions, and concerns, review safety guidelines and emergency procedures, orient you to the hotel location on maps and discuss the program schedule and what will be included in the field trips. Begin getting to know the program staff and your fellow participants with a get-acquainted session to introduce each member of the group. If you arrive late, be sure to pick up your packet at the hotel front desk. Breakfast each day in the hotel, lunch and dinner at restaurants in Country Club Plaza and other areas around the city. This Road Scholar program provides opportunities to attend a live Jazz performance, peruse the Truman Presidential Library, American Jazz Museum, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio, Country Club Plaza, engage in lively discussions on Kansas City's famous personalities and regional history with a noted historian.
 Dinner: A nearby restaurant offers multiple entree choices and continuing opportunities to become acquainted with your fellow participants and program staff.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Kansas City History, Walking Field Trip, Jazz Scene History Presentation, Truman Presentation
(Monday, May 5)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Kansas City historian gives an Overview of Kansas City and Missouri which sets the foundation for the remainder of the week's activities.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant in Country Club Plaza.
 Afternoon: Presentation/reenactment of a famous historical figure from Kansas City's past. Participants always love the respect for the past, compassion, and attention to detail shown in this presentation of a memorable character.
 Afternoon: Afternoon guided history, art and architecture walking tour of the Country Club Plaza area with the historian. This 15 block district of shops and fine restaurants is one of Kansas City’s must-see destinations. Enjoy the romantic Spanish architecture and outdoor art as you hear about the work of developer J. C. Nichols, who converted a swampy, unattractive piece of land into an attractive and functional setting.
 Dinner: Catered dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Presentation on History of Kansas City's Jazz Scene.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Kansas City Bus Tour, Kansas City BBQ presentation, Union Station, Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Live Jazz Music
(Tuesday, May 6)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Guided city bus tour of neighborhoods that show the rich history and diversity of Kansas City. See downtown and notable buildings throughout the city. Hear from local BBQ experts as they guide us through their own personal history and trade secrets. Tour a BBQ sauce factory operated by a local family for generations.
 Lunch: Enjoy famous Kansas City BBQ with all the trimmings.
 Afternoon: Guided field trip continues through noted historical Kansas City neighborhoods, Union Station, Liberty Memorial ending with a docent-led exploration of the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. See the historic district around 18th & Vine and learn more about the rise of African-American businesses in the city.
 Dinner: Dinner and live music at popular Kansas City restaurant/club.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Free Time
(Wednesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where an extensive collection of American and Asian art is housed in a building recognized for its impressive neo-classical design. Enjoy the sculpture park and grounds as well as the collection of over 30,000 artworks.
 Lunch: Lunch at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
 Afternoon: Unscheduled afternoon and evening. You may choose to go to the World War I Memorial, or explore one of the city’s many other attractions.
 Dinner: Unscheduled dinner to investigate the multitude of restaurants in Country Club Plaza.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Kauffman Gardens, Thomas Hart Benton Studio, Kauffman Performing Arts Center, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
(Thursday, May 8)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Make a quick stop at the Kauffman Gardens to enjoy this civic gem. Continue on to the home and studio of Thomas Hart Benton, an important American artist. Get an insider’s tour of the artist’s studio and home, which has been untouched since his death. See how he and his family lived as you hear about the influence of his work and murals on other American artists. Visit the spectacular new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Enjoy a guided tour of the city’s dramatic and eye-catching arts center, which opened in 2011. Marvel at the beauty of the building and find out how each of the performance halls was specifically designed to enhance the acoustic and visual experience for patrons.
 Lunch: Lunch in Independence, Missouri.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Truman Library in Independence. Leader guides us through the life and times of the 33rd President of the United States. Find out more about this influential President, from his modest beginnings, rise to political prominence, and activities after retirement.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kansas and Missouri Pre-Civil War History
(Friday, May 9)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Presentation on Kansas and Missouri Pre-Civil War history. Program concludes no later than 11:00 am.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Kansas City, MO Airline History Museum
The Airline History Museum tells the story of early airline travel, with exhibits of all phases. Extensive airline memorabilia, fully restored Super G Constellation and Martin 404, and a Douglas DC-3 being restored. Admission. Telephone 816-421-3401. For additional information, visit
  American Heartland Theatre
Now in its 19th season, American Heartland Theatre is recognized as one of Kansas City's theatrical cornerstones. Each year, the Executive Director, and the Artistic Director travel across the country to find the latest and most popular theatrical works on the American scene. American Heartland Theatre is located in Crown Center on the third level at the south end. For additional information, visit
  Arabia Steamboat Museum
The Arabia Steamboat Museum is home to a true time capsule of frontier life in the 1800's. The Arabia was headed up the Missouri River in the fall of 1856 when she struck a tree snag and sank just north of Kansas City. Her cargo hold was full of 200 tons of supplies bound for general stores and pioneer settlements. As the years passed, the river changed course and left the Arabia buried beneath a Kansas cornfield. Finally, in 1988 a group of modern-day adventurers uncovered the lost Arabia and her magnificent cargo. They were amazed to find fine dishware, clothing, and even bottled food all preserved in remarkable condition. Their find has been called the King Tut's Tomb of the Missouri River. Admission. Telephone 816-471-1856. For additional information, visit
  Hallmark Visitors Center
See one of the world's most creative companies come to life. Located in the Crown Center Complex, the Hallmark Visitors Center celebrates the Hallmark story in a display of 14 remarkable exhibits, from the Hallmark founder's humble beginning in 1910, to the creation of the world's largest greeting card company. Step inside the Timeline exhibit where you'll view historical artifacts that reflect various eras and trends throughout the 20th century America into the new millenium. For additional information, visit
  Kansas City Fire Museum
1910-era fire station housing artifacts, apparatus and hands-on displays, as well as educational activities for kids. Telephone: 816-474-0200. For additional information, visit
  Kansas City Museum
Housed in Corinthian Hall, a 50-room Beaux Arts-style mansion, once home to the R. A. Long family. The museum features displays of regional and natural history, a recreated 1910 corner drugstore complete with working soda fountain, and a 50-seat planetarium.
  Kansas City Symphony
Founded in 1982 and recognized as "The Sound of Kansas City," the Kansas City Symphony's 80-person orchestra performs more than 50 concerts in three series (classical, family and pop). The Symphony's 42-week season runs September through June. For additional information, visit
  Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Since opening in 1994, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has become a leader among modern and contemporary art museums in America. At the core of the permanent collection is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, encompassing art created from the time of the 1913 New York Armory Show to today, the collection includes works by such renowned artists as Daly Chihuly, Petah Coyne, Morris Louis, Georgia O'Keeffe, Fairfield Porter, Jaume Plensa, Matthew Ritchie, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol. For additional information, visit
  Lewis & Clark Overlook at Clark's Point
A marker and statue commemorating the Voyage of Discovery's overnight in Kansas City.
  Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City, presents five performances of four works each year in September, November, March and May. Telephone 816-471-7344 for information and tickets. For additional information, visit
  Mutual Musician's Foundation
Located in the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District. The national historic landmark hosts fierce late night jam sessions Friday and Saturday at 1:30 a.m.
  Nelson-Atkins Museum
Visit the gods of ancient Egypt. Reflect inside an authentic Chinese Temple. Survey the magnificence of Claude Monet’s vast Water Lilies. You are invited to discover some of the 28,000 pieces in the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. From ceramic objects found in ancient Chinese tombs to whimsical sculptures of badminton birdies, the Nelson-Atkins collection spans over 5,000 years of humanity. For additional information, visit
  The Blue Room
A swinging jazz nightclub exhibiting authentic artifacts and featuring Kansas City's finest live jazz entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. For additional information, visit
  The National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial
On December 2, 2006, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial debuted as the first American and only national museum dedicated to the Great War. The 30,000-square-foot museum features more than 49,000 artifacts-the world's second largest WWI collection behind Britian's Imperial War Museum. In September 2007, the U.S. Department of the Interior designaged Liberty Memorial a national historic landmark. For additional information, visit
  Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Dedicated in 1986 to all Vietnam veterans. Includes a memorial wall of 336 Kansas City area Vietnam veterans killed or missing in action.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Kansas City: An American Story

Author: Montgomery, Rich and Shirl Kasper

Description: The best single introduction to Kansas City history, with lots of great illustration.

The Tummy Trilogy

Author: Trillin, Calvin

Description: Trillin was raised in Kansas City before joining The New Yorker staff. He became famous for writing humorous articles about food, starting with an article about Kansas City cuisine that began with the claim that the best four or five restaurants in the world were in Kansas City. This book is great because it tells you where to find the best bar-be-cue, hamburgers, etc., all over the country, and keeps you laughing.

The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob

Author: Hayde, Frank R.

Description: A well-written account of the evolution of the mob from its start in the “north end” during the Pendergast era to its hey-day after World War II and its decline in the 1970s.

The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri

Author: LeSueur, Stephen C.

Description: A fascinating, little known part of Kansas City history, a chapter in the life of Joseph Smith, a major part of the history of Independence, to which Jesus will return at the end of time.

Nelly-Don: A Stitch in Time

Author: O'Malley, Terrance

Description: Kansas City was once an important center of the garment industry. This is the story of the most famous of the garment makers, Nell Donnelly, with lots of illustrations. The book started out as a video project by her nephew. If you are interested in women’s clothes, it is a joy.

Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock

Author: Henry Adams

Description: The drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, trailblazing Abstract Expressionist, appear to be the polar opposite of Thomas Hart Benton’s highly figurative Americana. Yet the two men had a close and highly charged relationship dating from Pollock’s days as a student under Benton. In an epic story that ranges from the cafés and salons of Gertrude Stein’s Paris to the highways of the American West, Henry Adams, acclaimed author of Eakins Revealed, unfolds a poignant personal drama that provides new insights into two of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.

The Plaza: First and Always

Author: Worley, William S.

Description: Well written history, beautifully illustrated.

Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop-A History

Author: Haddix, Chuck

Description: The only scholarly study of Kansas City jazz by the man who plays blues recordings for Kansas Citians on Friday and Saturday evenings on public radio.


Author: Larsen, Lawrence H. and Hulston, Nancy J.

Description: A scholarly and well-written biography of Kansas City’s most important politician.

The Kansas City Monarchs: Champions of Black Baseball

Author: Bruce, Janet

Description: An important story of the black community here is baseball. The Monarchs were one of the best black baseball teams nationally, famous for Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige.

PBS Documentary- Ken Burns' America: Thomas Hart Benton

Author: Public Broadcasting Corporation

Description: Called "the best damned painter in America" by fellow Missourian Harry Truman, Thomas Hart Benton was known for his colorful murals of everyday American life in the 1930s. This program from director Ken Burns tells the bittersweet story of the artist's life, works and ideals. 86 min.

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