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Next Stop: Union Station

An Inside Look at One of Kansas City's Best Attractions

If you haven’t visited Union Station in Kansas City, make sure to add it to your list! This spectacular 102-year-old building is the second-largest active train station in the country, making it a piece of art in itself. At Union Station, visitors can shop, eat and most importantly, learn. One of the most popular and most visited features of the Station is Science City.

Attached to the side of Union Station is Science City, a modern science center that has been awarded “Best Visitor Experience” internationally. The science center is geared toward children ages six through thirteen and provides them with a hands-on experience. “We are very focused on guest interaction as opposed to classroom-style learning,” explains Michael Tritt, Chief Marketing Officer at Union Station. “They don’t know they’re learning science.”

Modernized in the last two years, the state-of-the-art planetarium will be showing brand new shows this year. A popular feature of the planetarium is the Live Star Tours. An educator shows the audience star patterns of the night sky using Google Universe. “You can literally tour the night sky. Every program is focused on what you’d see that night if you look up in the sky. The sky is constantly changing, depending on the season you’re going to see different stars. It’s a fascinating encounter with the night sky,” says Tritt.

In addition to the Science City, Union Station provides visitors with the opportunity to learn through exhibitions. Right now, they are hosting Pompeii: The Exhibition. This exhibit allows visitors to learn about one of the most fascinating and tragic disasters in history through the many artifacts brought over from Italy. “[The Pompeii disaster] had all the makings of a feature movie – a volcano dormant for seventeen years, a thriving Roman civilization within miles of the volcano that didn’t understand the danger they were in,” says Tritt, on why Pompeii makes for such an interesting exhibit. “The culture of the Roman empire was so sophisticated that it is amazing. These artifacts were so preserved by the Vesuvius eruption. It is amazing how nature destroyed it, yet preserved it so perfectly.”

As an example, Tritt describes a bowl of fruit from a marketplace that has been preserved just as it was when Vesuvius destroyed it. The artifacts range in size from tiny pieces of jewelry to larger-than-life sized marble statuary. “It is a massive exhibit in the sense that these things have never traveled outside of Italy,” says Tritt. “There are emotional, poignant body casts. You can see the raw emotion of a person’s final moment. It’s all right here but it is very respectful. A number of people who have been to Pompeii, in Italy, tell me they’ve learned more about the events through this exhibit than at the actual site.”

Union Station is perfect for families because there is truly something for everyone to enjoy, but it is extra special for those wanting to learn. From the historic building to Science City and the feature exhibitions, you are guaranteed to walk away from Union Station with more knowledge than you came with. 

- By Ettractions Digital Content Editor PAULA MARINO

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