Thursday, June 26, 2014

Park Place: Shopping, Food, and Fun for the Family

Disclosure: I received a gift card as a thank you for visiting Park Place. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

I'm always looking for great places to take my kids in Kansas City and recently we got the opportunity to tour Park Place in Leawood, a shopping area that is perfect for families. I generally don't get to bring my kids to blogger events, but the rep for Park Place encouraged me to bring my children, so with Connor in the Ergo and Grace in the stroller, we set off on our tour. We got the chance to see some of the many charming shops and learn about the fun events that are going on at Park Place.

In the center of Leawood lies a place that was built for you. With the charm of mainstreet, Park Place offers the best in local, regional and national venues. One-of-a-kind boutiques line the street, where the owners take pride in knowing each customer. Restaurants cater to your every desire – from gourmet sandwiches to delectable dishes designed by celebrity chefs. Specialty food and desserts appear as a work of art. Part-time hobbyists become full-time enthusiasts. And that’s just the beginning… fresh flowers and saltwater fish, a hip hotel and classic home décor, the perfect pillowcase and the prettiest pedicure – Park Place has it all. 

The moment we walked into our first stop, Picasso Exotic Aquatics, I was amazed. I've only seen fish like that in expensive aquariums. Grace ran to the first aquarium and walked slowly showing me every fish along the way. They feature fresh and salt water fish, sea horses, clams and a live coral nursery (in the photo on the top right you can see some of the live coral that they grow.) Not only can your children enjoy looking at the beautiful aquariums, the shop has started a touch tank where children have the opportunity to hold and touch live sea creatures. Grace was able to hold a star fish and she hasn't stopped talking about it since!

Picasso Exotic Aqautics' staff will help you design the aquarium of your dreams and will also maintain it for you. If you are looking for a smaller tank, they offer a Betta adoption center with small fish bowls. You get to pick one of their gorgeous Betta fish and customize your tank. These fish are a perfect way to help kids learn responsibility.

Visit Picasso Exotic Aqautics' Facebook page to learn more about their beautiful fish.

After dragging Grace out of Picasso's with a promise that we would come back to visit the "fishies" soon, we made our way to the favorite store of the day, The Learning Tree. I knew that Connor would not be content to stay in the carrier, so I let him loose to explore. I tried to get more pictures of the kids but they were too busy running around checking out all of the amazing toys set out to play with. Unlike big toy stores, The Learning Tree really encourages kids to try out the toys and have fun. Even when Connor dropped several toys and messed up a display, the employees were encouraging his play and telling me not to worry about it.

Their selection of toys is amazing and I honestly could spend a TON of money here. The employees are knowledgeable (many are former teachers) and the environment is so fun. I mentioned that I had no idea how I was going to get my kids out of there and the manager suggested taking them to the play house in the front of the store that has a small door just for kids. After playing in the play house area for a couple of minutes, my kids happily used the small "special kids door!" This store knows kids and I can't wait to take mine back to spend more time exploring. I know they would have fun picking out birthday gifts for their friends here.

Check out The Learning Tree's Facebook page to learn more about their fun events and products.

Our next stop is a must see for any mom with young children or anyone looking for an amazing baby gift. Sweetpea & Company offers gorgeous clothing, shoes, and accessories for kids. I was honestly so distracted by all of the clothes and accessories I wanted for Grace and Connor that I didn't snap a single picture. Grace walked around the entire store saying "I want this! Look mom, dresses! Tutus!"  Can you tell she's a good shopper? They feature the softest baby clothing I have ever seen and oh my word the shoes! Have you seen Chooze shoes and Baby UGGs? So adorable! They also have accessories that would make great baby shower gifts such as Chewbead necklaces and Aden and Anais blankets. Connor still uses his A&A swaddlers as his blanket in his crib. To personalize your gifts, Sweetpea & Company offers FREE monogramming.

Visit Sweetpea & Company's Facebook page to learn more about all of the great brands they feature!

If you have dogs, you will love the next shop we visited. Dazzle Paws is an upscale boutique and grooming salon for your precious pups. This shop offers designer pet accessories and a full range of goodies that your dog is sure to love. Just a warning, if you take kids into this shop, they will be convinced that all of these cookies and cakes are for human consumption. Connor was very mad that the cookies we got were not for him. But our dogs Buddy and Doc loved them!

Check out Dazzle Paws' Facebook page for more photos of their recently opened store.

While most of the shops we visited were aimed at families, I think the next stop on our tour is perfect for a girls night out. Pinot's Palette is an upscale "paint and sip" studio where anyone can produce a masterpiece. Their instructors guide you step-by-step through creating the featured painting and you get to take your work of art home with you. While you're painting, you are able to enjoy any snacks and beverages that you have brought or they have them available to purchase. This is the perfect place for a party, date night, or bridal shower. They also do children's parties and classes.

To see artwork that students have created in previous classes or for more info on signing up for a class, check out Pinot's Palette's Facebook page.

We finished our tour with a stop at Paciugo Gelato & Caffe.  There were so many flavors of gelato to choose from. Luckily you can sample several flavors to help you narrow down your choices. Grace tried chocolate chocolate chip, Connor tried vanilla, and I tried wedding cake. The gelato was delicious and authentic (trust me I've eaten lots of gelato in Italy!)  This was the perfect end to our day at Park Place and I know that we will be visiting again.

There are many other stores and restaurants at Park Place that we didn't get the chance to visit so we will be heading out there again soon. I have heard great things about The Bar Method workout and Park Place has a studio that I'm considering trying. Friends have told me that BurgerFi is delicious and there is a cupcake place called Cupcake A La Mode that we haven't tried yet (this must be remedied soon!)

Not only does Park Place have great shopping and restaurants, they offer many great events throughout the year that are perfect for local families. They have a concert series every Wednesday from 5-8 PM through the end of July. They also feature weekly kid's yoga and gardening classes. How fun is that? I can't wait until my kids get old enough to participate in these kinds of classes.

There's something for everyone at Park Place! Like their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages to keep up with all of their stores and events.

Disclosure: Thank you to Park Place for hosting us for the tour and providing us with a gift card as a thank you. 

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