If you live in the Kansas City area, you’ve probably noticed friends on Facebook sharing status updates on a field of sunflowers that is set to bloom any day now. If you haven’t visited, you might be wondering what it’s all about and how to make the most of a trip there with your family. We’ve got the scoop!
Where: Grinter Farms
Approximate address: 24154 Stillwell Road, Lawrence, KS 66044
Things to know before you go:
- Grinter Farms is a 40-acre field of sunflowers that a wonderful family is kind enough to plant and share with the world every summer (usually late August/early September). There is no cost to visit, but they do ask for a donation of $1/flower if you decide to take any home. Also, if you are having professional photos taken at the field, you or your photographer should make a donation. Donation boxes are located at the edge of the field.
- Peak bloom time is very short for sunflowers, and if bad weather comes through (especially hail) it can destroy the blooms so don’t delay your visit. Go as soon as they announce the field is ready on their Facebook page (NOW!). You can also check their page for daily updates on the blooms and other announcements.
- Come prepared: bring sunscreen, bug spray, and if it has rained recently, you’ll want rain boots or shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. Be aware that there are NO bathrooms so make a bathroom stop on your way over.
- It WILL be crowded. The secret is out about Grinter Farms and thousands of people will flock to visit during the 1-2 weeks that the sunflowers are blooming. Your best bet to avoid crowds is to go early on a weekday morning. The best times to get photos that aren’t squinty and washed out are early morning or in the evening when the sun is not overhead.
- Because of the crowds, parking can be challenging to find. Please check out the “rules of engagement” post on their Facebook page about where they want people to park and where they do NOT want people to park. Most of all: BE CAREFUL. Do not let your kids run ahead of you. Assign everyone a buddy and hold hands to stay safe just like you would in a busy parking lot.
- Please, please do not litter in the field. Try to leave it as you found it. Anything you haul in needs to be hauled back out. Let’s take care of this special place so we can continue to visit for years to come! It is a true Kansas treasure.
After you visit the field, here are some ideas for extending it into a fun day trip:
- Visit their new store, Sunflower General, that just opened down the road from the sunflower field. Baked goods, jams, soaps and other local products will be for sale, as well as Grinter Farms t-shirts! Check their Facebook page for hours and the address.
- I highly recommend combining a visit to Grinter Farms with a trip into nearby downtown Lawrence. My favorite places to dine with kids in Lawrence are Free State Brewery (you can enjoy an excellent beer while your kids enjoy their excellent kids menu) and Ladybird Diner (save room for PIE!). Make a visit to The Toy Store (three stories of amazing toys/games/books), run around in South Park and stop at Sylas and Maddys for ice cream!