Jackson County Parks & Recreation information: (816) 795-8200.
Adair Park, south of I-70 on Lee’s Summit Road in Independence, (816) 373-6960; 40 acres with seven lighted, irrigated softball fields, batting cages, two restroom/concession facilities, five picnic shelters and nature area with trails.
Blue and Gray Park Preserve, seven miles south of I-70 and north of U.S. Highway 50 on Buckner-Tarsney Road, (816) 795-8200; 1,733 acres of hiking trails in oak/hickory woods, organized camping, horseback riding, fishing, two shelters, 16 picnic tables, restrooms.
Blue River Parkway, 2,319 acres along the Blue River from Swope Park south to county line, (816) 795-8200; 4.5 miles of trails, deep woods and limestone bluffs, model airplane fields, horseback riding, fishing, picnic areas, restrooms, soccer and softball fields and canoeing.
Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, one mile north of I-70 East at 1401 N.W. Park Road, Blue Springs, (816) 228-3766; 1,100 acres of woods, prairie, trails (varying difficulty and one wheelchair accessible), limestone outcrops, wildlife refuge and nature center with 3,000-gallon aquarium and restrooms. Operated by Missouri Department of Conservation.
Cave Spring, historic site in 36-acre nature park at 8701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, (816) 358-2283; interpretive center, picnic area, hiking trails wildlife pond habitat, butterfly garden and small cave.
Fleming Park – Lake Jacomo and Blue Springs Lake, 22807 Woods Chapel Road, Blue Springs, (816) 795-8200; at more than 7,800 acres, Jackson County’s largest park, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors a year; two major lakes (Jacomo is 970 acres and Blue Springs is 720 acres), marinas, public swimming beaches, camping, picnic areas, fishing, boating, sailing and boat rentals. Fleming Park contains Missouri Town 1855, a reconstructed historic village with 30 structures; Kemper Outdoor Education Center; Burroughs Audubon Library; a 100-acre Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure with safari tours of bison and elk; picnic shelters, hiking trails and two campgrounds.
Fort Osage, a National Historic Landmark northwest of Sibley, on the Missouri River (816) 650-5737; served as one of the first military outposts and government trade houses in the Louisiana Purchase; reconstructed fort overlooking the river provides insight into the daily life at the Fort in 1812. Also: boat ramp, fishing, hiking, picnic areas and restrooms; adjoins 32-acre Hayes Park. Open April 15-Nov. 15.
Harris Memorial Park, Jefferson Street and Blue Parkway in Lee’s Summit, (816) 969-7494; 23 acres includes pool, recreation center, shelters and playground with castle and miniature city.
Landhal Park Reserve, north of I-70 and west of Missouri 7 on Truman Road (816) 795-8200; 1,397 acres with shooting range (Missouri Dept. of Conservation), ball fields, organized camping, horseback riding, cross-country skiing trails, shelters, restrooms and three lakes.
Little Blue Trace, on the Little Blue River from Longview Lake North to Blue Mills Road, (816) 795-8200; 1,856 acres; 10-mile bike/hike trail, soccer and softball fields, picnicking and restrooms.
Longview Lake Park, I-470 and Raytown Road, (816) 795-8200; 4,852 acres with 930-acre lake (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) that offers power boating, water skiing, fishing, full-service marina, public swimming beach; also picnic shelters, hike and bike trails, softball complex, equestrian park and trails, campground and the championship Fred Arbanas Golf Course. Site of “Christmas in the Park” every November and December.
Macken Park, 716 E. Clark Ferguson Drive in North Kansas City, (816) 300-0545; 60 acres, picnic facilities, walking trail and inline skating trails, tennis, ball fields, 2 playgrounds; 4 large shelters
Mill Creek Park, 1717 North River Blvd., (816) 325-7360; 45 acres with two shelters, five ball diamonds and hiking trails.
Monkey Mountain Nature Preserve, south of I-70 and east of Buckner-Tarsney Road on old Highway 40 (816) 795-8200; 855 acres of wildlife habitats, trails and picnic areas.
George Owens Nature Park, 1601 Speck Road, Independence (816) 257-4654; 85 acres with organized camping, four miles of nature trails, two fishing lakes, nature center with 150-gallon aquarium, picnicking and restrooms.
James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, south of Highway 50 near Lee’s Summit at 13101 S.E. Ranson Road, (816) 622-0900; 2,456 acres with 250 acres of water in 12 lakes and ponds; butterfly and hummingbird gardens; woodland and native grasses, wildflowers, fishing, boating, trapping, hunting and nature trails.
River Bluff Reserve, south side of Missouri River at Missouri 291 (816) 795-8200; 263 acres with nature study area, primitive camping, hiking; section of the Lewis & Clark Trail.
Santa Fe Park, 2900 Santa Fe Road, Independence, (816) 325-7360; 45 acres with ball diamonds, tennis courts and restrooms.
Truman Sports Complex Park, south of I-70 and I-435 on Raytown Road; 220 acres; four racquetball/handball courts and hiking trail.