Kansas City’s Penguin Park & Slap’s BBQ

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After a long and sobering day at the World War 1 Museum, we were in need of a hot meal and some fun. A quick Google search for nearby barbecue places turned up Slap’s BBQ in Kansas City, KS— about 10 minutes away from our current location.

Screenshot of Google reviews page for Slap's BBQ in Kansas City, KS.

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With close to 5,000 reviews averaged at 4.7 out of 5 stars, we were pretty sure it was going to be fantastic!

(This is a non-sponsored review, and Slap’s BBQ was not notified that we would be reviewing their restaurant. As always, all opinions are our own.)

Slap's BBQ in Kansas City

We crossed the state border from Missouri to Kansas and found Slap’s BBQ. The outside was unimpressive, a brick building that didn’t really catch your eye in downtown Kansas City. We piled out and went up to the counter to order. 

Counter at Slap's BBQ with menu
It was hard to decide what to order at Slap’s BBQ!

Dinnertime at Slap’s BBQ

It is our habit that when we are trying something new, we order lots of different items. That way, we are usually sure to have something for everyone. We ordered three or four meat varieties, and several sides for our family of eight to enjoy. 

Our kids don’t yet appreciate the deliciousness of barbecue (I know, I don’t get it either!). But we knew that the bread and soda would still keep our pickiest eaters happy!

We ordered burnt ends, pulled pork, brisket, and some kind of sausage. There was also baked beans, Mac n’ cheese, baked potato casserole, hush puppies, and coleslaw.

BBQ food at Slap's BBQ in Kansas City

Would you believe me if I told you I could have cried over those baked beans? Oh. My. Goodness. I finally understood why people like baked beans!

Meal at Slap's BBQ including ribs, baked potato casserole, baked beans, bread, condiments and BBQ sauce.
Ribs, Baked Potato Casserole, Baked beans, BBQ sauce, condiments and bread to boot! Delicious!

Most baked beans I’ve tried were just there as a change of pace from eating meat. Slap’s baked beans are a showstopper— the perfect blend of savory, spice, and sweet. WOW.

The meat was perfectly seasoned and tender. Slap’s BBQ sauces were a flavor explosion, and even the sides were addictively good. Let me just say, the reviews did not lie! 

family eating at Slap's BBQ in Kansas City, KS
Tired but enjoying the food.

And now, some Penguin Park fun!

Brian and I could have sat there all evening, just finding room to eat it all. But of course, the kids had already had a long day of learning at the Museum, so we got some to-go boxes to enjoy the leftovers later at our AirBnB, and started back towards Missouri. 

Penguin Park.
Penguin Park, Kansas City, MO

We had passed the Penguin Park on an errand to the grocery store the first night in Kansas City. If you have kids, you know that the sight of a 20-foot-tall Penguin at a playground (along with other oversized animals) has an immediate effect on children. 

“Wow, what’s that?!” 

“Can we stop there please?” 

“Mom and Dad, can we come back later?”

After everyone had had a good dinner, it was still light out for a couple more hours (yay, Daylight Savings!). We decided this was a perfect time to stop at Penguin Park.

A Community Landmark

After everyone had had a good dinner, it was still light out for a couple more hours (yay, Daylight Savings!). We decided this was a perfect time to stop at Penguin Park.

Girl in front of penguin at the Penguin Park in Kansas City, MO

The Penguin Park is the result of committed citizens who took action to preserve a beloved landmark. The Penguin was old and slated for destruction in the 1990s, but local Kansas City folk came together to petition to renovate the Penguin and add several other animal play structures.

The result is this whimsical playground that is fun both to play in and to admire.

All of our kids, ages 4-15, enjoyed exploring this beautiful playground. There are climbing structures, slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and all kinds of other fun things to do. There is also a nice covered picnic area to get out of the sun and take a break. 

What did our kids think?

Our son, Panther, has this to say: “I loved going down the big green slide on top of the elephant! I just kept racing back up the stairs to go down again. We kept pushing past each other to ride the slide over and over!”

The Penguin Park is a great example of one of our parenting mantras— you don’t have to spend money for kids to have fun. Kansas City, we hope we get to come back again to enjoy this fun park and the best barbecue we’ve ever had!

(This is part of a series about our family road trip from Oregon to Georgia and back in the summer of 2021. To start at the beginning of the series, check out our Ready, Set, Reset post.)

On our next travel day, we drove through Missouri and ended up at the Gateway Arch, after some concretes at Ted Drewes. Watch for details in our next post in the series!

© Copyright 2022 by Jennifer D. Warren. All rights reserved.

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About the author

I’m Jenn Warren, Co-Founder and Content Creator for Dinkum Tribe. I'm a Third Culture Kid (TCK) from Jamaica and California, married to my college sweetheart. I've been a missionary kid, pastor’s kid and (former) pastor’s wife. My husband and I traveled as pastors for 12 years throughout the United States and Canada before becoming travel content creators.

I love living in Oregon and exploring new places with my family. We’ve road tripped over 30,000 miles across the United States and Western Canada with our six children since their infancy. Prior to our marriage, I also lived in Spain for a summer and spent another summer in Mexico.

I’ve homeschooled our six children for over 10 years, and served on the board of a homeschool co-op for 4 years. Several members of our family are neurodivergent (gifted, ADHD, cPTSD), and I’ve spent 5+ years learning how to accommodate neurodivergent needs as well as supporting the resultant mental health challenges (anxiety, depression).

I’ve also served as a support group leader and co-director of Pure Life Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports families struggling with sexual addiction.

I write about family travel and road trips, millennial marriage, general parenting, homeschooling, parenting neurodivergent children, grief, and abuse recovery.


  1. It looks like you guys had a great time in KC! Just looking at the picture of those beans made my mouth water, I am a HUGE fan of BBQ, especially the sides! If we ever find ourselves in KC we’ll be sure to stop at the Penguin Park, I know our kids would love it!

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