You’ve probably heard of baseball great Satchel Paige, but what about Cool Papa Bell? Judy Johnson? Josh Gibson?
There is so much Black Excellence on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, I can’t even list all the stars you’ll learn about there.
I consider the museum to be a jewel of Kansas City, and a must-stop for anyone visiting town. Bonus: It’s free in February in honor of Black History Month.
What Kids Will Love About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City
The highlight for your kiddos will probably be the Field of Legends (pictured above).
The baseball diamond has statues of some of the greats with their names on diamonds. This was probably my son’s favorite part. But when you first go through the entrance turnstile, you’ll see a theater that plays a movie, “They Were All Stars,” all about the history of the Negro Leagues, and that’s pretty cool, too.
The movie made me want to go home and watch “42” about Jackie Robinson. My 9-year-old thinks of him as the G.O.A.T. of baseball because the entire Major League retired Robinson’s numbers years after he broke the color line in 1945, becoming the first Black MLB payer.
What Moms Will Love About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
The history! The museum offers you a chance to walk through a forgotten era. The museum tells how the Negro Leagues started right here in Kansas City in 1920. The exhibits show how people used to dress up to go to baseball games, and the fanfare the players put on. It tells you about the players from our hometown team, the original Kansas City Monarchs, too.
Even if you’ve been before (and I’ve been many times), the museum is always adding new touches to the exhibits, and I’ll bet you see something you didn’t see last time. I love the recreations of the hotels players stayed in, the barbershops, the stadium chairs, the jerseys … the museum gives you literal glimpses into the past.
If you’ve got family town, there’s a gift shop with shirts, and my sister always has to get one for herself or a friend back home. There are also children’s books you can buy if you want to teach your kiddos more about baseball’s rich history.
Who the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Is Best For
I think the museum is great for all ages, especially while it’s free! If nothing else, if you don’t think your kids can handle going through the whole thing, hit the Field of Legends, the movie and the gift shop, I’ve done that.
If you want to take in exhibits though, I’d stick with bringing kids over age 7. There is a lot of walking and reading involved, and there’s no way I’d take my wiggly 6-year-old. My 9-year-old baseball fan is the perfect age for it. Plus, all the written info in the exhibits encourage him to read about something that interests him.
If you do take little ones, be mindful that children must be supervised at all times. There are bathrooms, but they’re outside of where the exhibits are, so I’d tell your kiddos to hit the potty before you cross the turn style.
The Negro Leagues were born out of segregation — Black people weren’t welcome in Major League Baseball in the 1920s and beyond. But going to museum shouldn’t make you feel sad or any kind of guilt. Visiting the museum should — and will amaze you — seeing the perseverance, the talent, the joy, the showmanship these players had is nothing short of amazing.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:
Location and Parking
The museum is in the heart of KC’s Historic 18th and Vine District at 1616 E. 18th St. I found a spot on a the street pretty quickly, but there are also parking lots all around. It’s open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: Admission
It’s free through the end of February, but if you don’t make it before the end of Black History Month, regular admission is $5 for children 5-12, $10 for adults and $9 for those 65 and oldersta