The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park

About the Foundation

The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park was founded in 1995 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions as allowed by law. Its purposes include development and promotion of recreational, aesthetic, educational, scientific and cultural potential of the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Overland Park, Kansas.  Since its inception, the Foundation has produced signature community events and raised funds and accepted donations for capital improvements at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, and the Public Art Master Plan.

With the help of the Foundation’s “Friends” membership groups and their Advisory Boards, the Foundation raises funds for capital projects, educational and cultural programs, exhibits and community events.




Community Impact

The foundation’s fundraising efforts combined with contributions from the community leave an impressive legacy of enhancements that impact the future of the Arboretum, the Farmstead, and public art spaces in Overland Park. See below for more information about our most important improvement projects:

Byrd's Grove

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Byrd’s Grove offers a quiet place from which to view Margaret’s Pond and the Amphitheater from the west side. Large, lavishly filled planters will give you ideas for your own containers at home. Byrd's Grove was a gift from Wayne and Anne Byrd.
Cohen Iris Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Cohen Iris Garden is a veritable showcase of many iris varieties and a colorful garden throughout the year. We are indebted to the Greater Kansas City Iris Society for their guidance in making the Iris Garden a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of iris from early bloomers in April to late bloomers in June. The garden is the result of gifts from the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust and Friends of the Arboretum. We are also indebted to Mr. Cohen for including a generous endowment fund for annual maintenance of the garden in his estate. More information on planned giving.
Emily Dickinson Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Thanks to a gift from the David W. Newcomer IV and Gene Ann Newcomer Family Foundation Fund, the Emily Dickinson Garden, located near the waterfall connecting Margaret's Pond and Medina Family Pond, will open in the Spring of 2024.
Environmental Education Center

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Located just beyond the entrance to the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, the Environmental Education Center is the hub of educational programming. Stop by to see exhibits, get a discovery back pack, or choose one of the many activity cards to guide you and your family through the Arboretum. The list of donors who contributed funds to build the center in 2000 is just inside the front door.
Erickson Water Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Erickson Water Garden was one of the first gardens established at the Arboretum in the 1990's. It is home to bird and butterfly plants (including a Buddleia collection), wildflowers and ornamental grasses. Color peaks here in mid-summer. Enjoy the sound of the falls and meandering brooks throughout the garden. Richard and Georgia Erickson are the benefactors.
Greenhouses I & II & III

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Friends of the Arboretum have contributed funds for the two existing greenhouses. The organization will provide 100% of the funds to building a third greenhouse to be completed in time for the 2025 growing season.
Haake Celebration Terrace

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Karen and Chuck Haake came to Friends of the Arboretum with the vision of a tranquil place where they could recognize supporters with inscriptions on patio pavers. Later, Karen and Chuck added funding for the pergola and benches. Covering the patio are beautiful messages of love and celebration. Stop by and take a look!
Josh's Story

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Located just under the dam and across the streamway, this space was designed for an intimate setting, much like your living room. In 2014, the Jim and Carol Burrows family were looking for a peaceful, natural location to remember their grandson, Joshua Shane, a young man who was dedicated to environmentalism and sustainability and rooted in a desire to help others. Keeping to Joshua's passion, the area was carved out in such a way, as to minimize impact and promote the unruly ways of trees and vines in the woods. The "living room" furniture was honed from a large tree trunk and decorated with ipe wood recycled from other local projects. Weathering steel completes the north wall and provides the tops of 3 tables. Each table features quotes, dear to Joshua. The landscape for the area remains "natural" with a little help. Virginia Bluebells, native buckeye and spiderwort surprise visitors during the Spring and Summer. Visions of the cypress valley color Fall with rustic orange and the sycamore tree grace the Winter sky.
Legacy Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The legacy garden showcases plants that may have been seen on Kansas homesteads. There are four time capsules in this garden that are opened every 25 years.
LongHouse Visitor Center

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

LongHouse is a dream come true for those who have worked for over 30 years for the Arboretum to become a world-class attraction in Overland Park. Private donations from over 200 donors totaling over $11 million helped the City of Overland Park complete the new front door to the Arboretum in 2024. LongHouse also serves as Overland Park's premier event center for meetings and celebrations. Visit the City of Overland Park website to learn more!
Marder Woodland Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Legacy Garden showcases plants that may have been seen on Kansas homesteads. There are four time capsules in this garden that are opened every 25 years. It is also a tribute to the Overland Park Legacy of Greenery Committee whose members were and are committed to preserving green space in our community. In the late 1980's, they came to City leaders with their vision for an arboretum and botanical gardens and spearheaded efforts to acquire the property.
Margie's Serenity Point

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Margie's Serenity Point is a beautiful place to overlook the west side of the Arboretum property and woods - and in the future a rose garden. It is named in memory of Margie Engelkemier who was a dedicated and tireless volunteer for over a decade. Her family provided the funds for the overlook.
Monet Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

As you enter the grounds of the Arboretum you pass through one of the premier garden experiences in the Kansas City area - The Monet Garden. It is unique among all of the gardens in the Arboretum because it is operated as a cooperative effort between the Arboretum and Johnson County Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs).
It all started in 2003, when the Arboretum provided the space and materials and the Extension Office agreed to design and maintain the Monet Garden in the style of Monet's garden in Giverny, France. EMG Nancy Branum developed the original design and has worked on numerous enhancements over the years. Each Wednesday morning 35-40 EMGs work together to keep the garden in tip-top condition. Another group meets on Saturday mornings. Last year EMGs in the Monet Garden planted over 8,400 annuals, 3,600 bulbs and 244 perennials; and contributed over 4,400 volunteer hours.
The centerpiece of the Garden is the gracefully arched bridge painted the signature Monet green, the color used for all of the garden structures in the Garden. Six garden sections make up the Monet Garden, each demonstrating various features of Monet's garden in France. They are the Allee, Keyhole, South Walk, Sunset, Woodland Edge and Water gardens.
Permanent Sculpture Collection

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Overland Park Arboretum and the adjacent 320 acres known as Kemper Farm are the ideal location for a unique sculpture garden for the Midwest. The concept began in 2011 when The Arts & Recreation Foundation entered into a partnership with the International Sculpture Foundation and noted sculptor Kwan Wu and accepted gifts of 24 sculptures as part of a cultural exchange with China. These sculptures are currently on a 1/2 mile path that begins just outside the visitor center and east of the Monet Garden. Plans are for the sculptures to move to a permanent home and become the centerpiece of the Sculpture Garden envisioned for 250 acres of Kemper Farms. The sculpture garden master plan and concept emphasizes the relationship between art and nature. Read more about plans for this exciting development.
Rotary Children's Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

This garden is a whimsical and educational experience for young visitors. Children can climb to the top of the Sky Watch, walk through the vine-covered Shrinking Tunnel, and check out the Frog Pond inhabitants. Initial funding came from Overland Park's Rotary Clubs.
Stous Promenade

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Stous Promenade is home to an extensive collection of trees. All are labeled and provide an introduction to the trees of our area within a very short walk. Watch for announcement of "tree tours" led by knowledgeable staff and volunteers. You are sure to learn something and understand how fortunate that our facility is both a botanical garden and an arboretum. The Lakeside Amphitheater – in the Stous Promenade and overlooking Margaret's Pond – is a beautiful location for a wedding or celebration. It is available to reserve. The promenade honors Erma Stous whose gift was the first bequest received by the Foundation to support the Arboretum.
Train Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

This year-round Train Garden includes a life-size caboose and a full-size railroad crossing gate. G-Scale (1/22nd of the actual size) model trains wind through bluffs, over lake and streams, and through model villages. It is a favorite of visitors of all ages. The first railroad layout, The Leaky Roof Line, was completed in 2012. Soon the Leatherwood Depot – a sheltered area with picnic tables was constructed in 2013. The Arboretum's version of Old Downtown Overland Park and the Strang Line Trolley was opened in 2014. The final and largest layout depicting railroading as we know it today began operating in 2017. Plantings are native prairie types of improved varieties such as Little Bluestem and Big Bluestem, Black-eyed Susans and more. The trains are operated by volunteers and will run from 10 a.m. to close, except during wet, extreme cold, high heat and windy conditions. See the list of donors who made the Train Garden possible inside the Leatherwood Depot.
Welcoming Garden

At the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

This garden is at the entrance of the Arboretum on 179th Street. It beckons visitors with a colorful array of shrubs, ornamental grasses and flowers gracing our beautiful hackett and limestone walls. Numerous donors contributed to this project.
Ben Craig Administration Building

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Designed to look like a typical Kansas farm house, the Ben Craig Administration Building was a joint project of the City of Overland Park and Friends of the Farmstead. It is named in honor of Overland Park city leader Ben Craig.
Beverly's Butterfly Garden

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Leave the farm animals behind and a short butterfly-friendly walk! Harvey Bodker donated funds to create the space and continued to provide for annual upkeep and enhancements.
Helen's Country Schoolhouse

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Set among the apple orchard, just east of the Mining Camp, is a replica of a 1900 one-room country schoolhouse.

While the construction materials are new, they capture the architectural features of the past. For example, when suitable windows and doors couldn't be found, they were custom made to duplicate those used in 1900. The interior is a blend of re-creations and antiques. The slate blackboard and coat hooks came from an abandoned school in Kansas City, Kansas. The desks came from all over the United States and show signs of years of learning. Another great find is our working pot-bellied stove. If these antiques could talk, what stories we would hear! The one-room country schoolhouse is closed during history tours, which are generally during the week, in the morning. The Regnier Family Foundation named the Schoolhouse in honor of their mother Helen Regnier.
Dairy Barn

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

The 5,000 square foot Dairy Barn has an open truss system with an all rough cedar interior, a stamped and stained concrete floor to simulate wood, a concession stand, the Cinemoo Moovie Theater and restrooms. Staff care for calves of the major dairy breeds in and around the barn. Numerous donors, funds from Friends of the Farmstead fundraising events, and the City of Overland Park provided funding for this attraction.

Friends Plaza

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

In honor of Friends of the Farmstead's generous contribution toward construction of the adjacent Ben Craig Administration Building, the City named this seating area Friends Plaza.
Grandpa Bob's Fishing Pond

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

There's no waiting here. Cast your old-fashioned cane pole into Grandpa Bob's Fishing Pond and pull out a fish from our well-stocked pond. The pond has an abundant amount of fish, including sunfish, hybrid bluegill and catfish, and is perfect for children of all ages.

Gayle's Exploration Outpost

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

With bleacher seating, Gayle’s exploration outpost is a great family gathering spot during the day. The Farmstead hosts a number of concerts, shows, camps, and events at the outpost. Friends of the Farmstead named this versatile pavilion in honor of Gayle Lindmark.
Georgia's Chicken Coop

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

As many as 60 chickens call the Farmstead home. The chickens often greet visitors in the yard at Georgia’s Chicken Coop. Or, walk through and see the inside of the coop where the variety of breeds stay safe and lay their eggs. The Erickson family donated funds to build the chicken coop and named it in honor of Georgia Erickson, former Overland Park City Council member and long-time support of the Farmstead, Arboretum and public art.
Lucky Strike Mine

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

The ever-popular mining attraction at the Farmstead received a complete makeover in 2023 thanks to the generosity of Larry and Sandy Engelkemier and Friends of the Farmstead.
Main Street

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Vic’s General Store

The Regnier Family Foundation named the General Store after their father, Vic Regnier. Modeled after the Conser General Store that originally operated in this area, the new general store features historically correct interior fixtures and finishes. These include shelves, display racks and sales counters that showcase merchandise as would be found in the early 1900s. In addition to being a replica of an actual early 1900s general store, this facility will also feature an area of nostalgic items for sale such as
  • Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead merchandise
  • old-fashioned wooden toys
  • plush farm animals and John Deere apparel
  • old-time candy and taffy
  • and more

Alex & Emily's Ice Cream Parlor

The Hoffman Family Foundation named "Alex and Emily's Ice Cream Parlor" in honor of their grandchildren. Visitors will go back in time when experiencing the parlor's 1900s back bar which was originally located in Spring Hill, Kan., along with additional furnishings that include period artifacts.

Ray's Barbershop

The Hoffman family funded construction of the barbershop. Stop by to see artifacts from an early 20th Century barbershop featuring barber chairs and utensils. Knowledgeable guides will point out the interesting tools of the trade.

Ben's Bank

Ben's Bank was a new addition to the Farmstead in 2010. This historic bank, dubbed "Ben's Bank," is in honor of former Metcalf Bank President Ben Craig's father - also "Ben." Stepping inside the bank is like stepping back in time with the building's tin ceilings, old-fashioned tellers cage, and cannon ball safe. A docent works inside the bank teaching visitors about banking at the turn-of-the-century. Ben's Bank provides the Farmstead with the capacity to increase educational programs while also providing families with more to see and do including the Passbook Program.

John's Blacksmith Shop

John's Blacksmith Shop is named in honor of John Deere, founder of the company bearing his name, who began his career as a blacksmith. Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead is home to a demonstration blacksmith shop where a blacksmith is there to show all who stop to watch what it takes to turn metal into utensils or art. You're sure to learn something! The John Deere Company provided funding.

Pat's Photography Parlor

Step back in time and see how photos were taken in the old days.
Mackenzie's Island
Prairie Pavilion

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

The prairie pavilion is the perfect space to host a large event at the Farmstead. Learn more about renting the pavilion for your next event. Naming rights for the Pavilion are available.
Kiwanis Repose Garden

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Walk through a variety of gardens, featuring plants, trees, flowers and even vegetables made possible by a gift from the Overland Park Kiwanis Club.
Rotary Prairie Playground and Tot Lot

At Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

This farm-themed playground - initially funded by a grant from the Overland Park Rotary Club - includes a fort, a fountain, a miniature log cabin, a sandbox with sand shovels, ride-on plastic animals, slides, a climbing tractor and a seating area with sun and shade shelters.
Megan's Windmill

At the Farmstead

This windmill was dedicated in loving memory of Megan Kersting, the daughter of Overland Park employee Bert Kersting.
9-11 Memorial

by Mike Christianer

Built entirely with private donations, the 9/11 Memorial was built to remember and honor the victims and educate visitors about the tragic events and heroic efforts of Sept. 11, 2001, a day in the nation's history that will forever be remembered.
Art at the Arboretum

Various sculptures have been donated to display and enhance the beauty of the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, such as, the Chinese-US Sculpture Garden, Corazon II, Geometric Stratum, Monet, Pod Forms, and Red Tail Hawk. Pictured here is Monet by Gary Lee Price, donated by Clay Blair. Media: Bronze. 

A Great Place to Land

by Gary Kahle

This sculpture of stylized birds in flight marks the entrance to downtown and the site of a historic airfield. Media: Stainless Steel. Donated in part by Friends of Overland Park Arts.

by Larry Young

Blackbird landed at City Hall in 2011, created by Larry Young of Columbia, Missouri, a former Olympic medalist and preeminent sculptor. Donated in part by Friends of Overland Park Arts.
City Hall Art Collection
City Hall hosts a collection representing premier local artists (pictured is Marbles by M. Alfie). Donated in part by Friends of Overland Park Arts, which also acted as curator of the collection.

by Steven Richardson

Meant to celebrate the purpose of the Convention Center where people come together, this piece by Steven Richardson is mounted in the central circle drive. Media: Stainless Steel and Cor-ten Steel. Donated in part by Friends of Overland Park Arts.
Pierced Sky

by Matt Kirby

Located at the southwest corner of 103rd Street and Metcalf Avenue, Pierced Sky was a gift to the City from Mary Davidson Cohen.

by Charles Goslin

Located at the Korean War Memorial at Tomahawk Ridge Community Center. Korean War veterans, their families and friends provided funding for the sculpture and the memorial plaza. Donations are accepted for upkeep of the memorial and an annual commemoration ceremony on Veterans Day and can be recognized with inscriptions on bricks and benches.

William Strang

By Kwan Wu

Mr. Strang watches the sun rise over the city he founded. A small fob of his first streetcar, the Ogerita, dangles from his pocket watch chain. Media: Bronze

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P. O. Box 26392,
Overland Park, KS 66225