Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Paola, KS

  • Published 2022/08/18

Are you looking for the next spot for vacation?

The small city of Paola in Kansas has lots for you to do and see—from excellent museums, wineries, and top-notch golf courses to inventive cafes, craft shops, and everything in between.

It’s no surprise that several publications have named Paola one of the most beautiful cities in Kansas.

If you want to find that unique experience and beautiful picturesque view of the city, you don’t need to wait any longer.

Here are the best things to do in Paola, Kansas:

Visit the Historical Park Square

Gazebo at the Historical Paola Park Square

Paulmcdonald, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Park Square was a gift from one of the city’s founders, Baptiste Peoria, with the provision prohibiting building construction upon it.

You’ll find it very relaxing to watch the picturesque fountain and enchanting Victorian Gazebo at the center of the historic Park Square.

Initially, the Gazebo was a bandstand until its architectural rebuilding in 1913 was designed by Architect George Washburn.

You won’t get lost in the place since the Park Square and Gazebo serve as landmark symbols of Paola.

You’ll also enjoy shopping in the downtown shops and eating in the restaurants.

Be Amazed at the Miami County Courthouse

Exterior of Miami County Courthouse

Matt Fowler KC /

The Miami County Courthouse was constructed between 1898 and 1899 and is still in operation.

It is a stunning building that blends Richardsonian Romanesque and Victorian architecture.

Visit the flower garden and historical informational signs about Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War outside the courthouse.

Clocktower of Miami County Courthouse

Ichabod, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn History at the Miami County Historical Museum

This location best suits your interests if you enjoy studying Miami County’s past.

South of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area is where you’ll find the Miami County Historical Museum.

This is a fantastic location to learn about Kansas history, American history, and even global history.

The museum presents its extensive history, ranging from early life to early settlements, the plight of the Native Americans to the difficulties associated with slavery, and from Christian missions to small-town Americana.

You can visit at your convenience or on a scheduled visit to see antiquities from throughout Kansas.

Additionally, some rooms are a must-see for learning more about the area.

The Indian Heritage Room’s substantial hand-painted mural, which portrays the county’s pre-historic era, should not be missed.

You must also see the historical timeline highlighting the local figures and their prominent roles in the county’s history at the museum’s Main Gallery.

A fascinating collection of artifacts from the four American wars (Visit War, Spanish American War, WWI, and WWII) is located in the Miami County Historical Museum’s Military Room.

If you would like to learn about the history of the residents and artifacts dating from the post-Civil War and Century periods, you should go to the museum’s Early Industry and Business Room.

You can also get hands-on with some of these items if interested in archaeology or anthropology.

Celebrate Cultural Heritage with the Pow Wow

You can find the Pow Wow at John Brown’s Cave Park.

The pow wow is a gathering of Native Americans who come together to celebrate their heritage and culture through dancing, singing, and honoring the traditions of their ancestors.

You can manifest this American Indian culture annually on the second weekend in September and feel astonished with their arts and crafts, games for children, dance performances, and many more fun activities.

This is not the only thing you should learn about this event because its history is far better to hear and know.

The history of this event goes back centuries when Spanish explorers brought Native Americans from their home country to America’s west coast, where they were forced into slavery or death by settlers such as Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson believed these people should be treated as equals, but instead, they were treated like animals they called “red skin,” which means a red-skinned person or tribal member with no name.

You should manifest how they do modern pow wows today with their competition events that you will surely enjoy.

Play a Round of Golf at the Paola Country Club

The Paola Country Club is the place to be if you’re a golfer.

This nine-hole private club has been operational since 1923, which makes it one of the oldest golf courses in Kansas.

It offers other leisure facilities such as a swimming pool and a stunning clubhouse that hosts elegant and casual events and serves excellent dishes.

You may also book a place for parties and special events for the entire family.

It also has an indoor facility that’s open year-round and features a full bar, restaurant, and pro shop.

The Paola Country Club offers a variety of activities, including golf lessons for adults or children, tournaments for both men and women, and camps for kids.

Explore John Brown’s Cave

You can take your adventure trip to the next level at John Brown’s Cave, a popular tourist attraction in Paola.

The cave was discovered by two locals exploring the forest.

They decided to explore further, and what they found turned out to be much more than they had anticipated.

John Brown’s Cave is located off Highway 50.

The solutional cave is not that huge, but the entrance is just enough to enter, and you will be astonished by the fairly voluminous inside space.

If you’re curious about why it is named after a person, it has a story to tell.

It is presumably a reference to Kansas abolitionist John Brown, who is speculated to have used the cave to do his activities as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

John Brown’s Cave is believed to have provided shelter and passage for the escaped enslaved people from nearby Missouri.

Take a Walk at Lake Miola Park

Lake Miola Park is a great place to walk or hike.

It’s a hidden gem located on West 299th Street.

You will feel one with nature because of the beautiful views of the surrounding hills, streams, and trees.

Lake Miola is also home to many waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and swans.

When visiting the place, you should keep your eyes open for these birds because they can be seen anywhere on the lake shoreline,

Lake Miola Park also offers boating, skiing, swimming, and fishing on the 200-acre lake.

There are camping and picnic areas, a playground for your kids, and hiking trails for adventurous family members.

If you decide to go camping during the summer, a camp host is available to assist you at the campgrounds on the west side of the lake.

The camping and boating permit should be taken from the lake caretakers at the park’s office near the boat ramp.

Have an Afternoon of Fun at the Paola Business District

The Paola Business District is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun afternoon.

Many of the area’s stores, eateries, and bars are open until late at night.

If you’re in town on Saturday night, there’s no better place to be than the Paola Business District.

This location has everything from clothing stores selling designer clothes to restaurants serving American cuisine.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch to Enjoy the Fall Season

If you’re looking for a fall tradition, consider going to a pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin patches are a great way to get in the mood and enjoy the season.

Whether you want to pick out your pumpkins or go on an adventure with friends, this is one activity that everyone will love.

Pumpkin patches are also great places for kids because they have lots of fun games like corn hole tosses and other activities where children can play with their families.

Hop on the Miami County Trolley

To experience the most of your visit in Paola, you should ride the Miami County Trolley, which can pick you up at your hotel or any designated place along its route.

These trolleys provide tours throughout Miami County and will take you to see wineries and experience local events.

Miami County Trolley’s mission is to serve you comfortably and stylishly to lead you to the county’s award-winning wineries.

If you have a bunch of visitors during your wedding celebrations, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and corporate events, this tour operator will be happy to lend you a hand.

Enjoy Recreational Activities at Wallace Park

Wallace Park was established in 1910, and its 42-acre vast space offers a playground, tennis and basketball courts, and baseball and softball diamond.

You can wander around the city while traveling along the park’s bike path.

Your whole family can also enjoy the Paola Family Swimming Pool, and picnic shelters are available during your outing.

If you and your kids are fond of skateboarding, you will enjoy the thrills brought by this newest addition to Wallace Park because of the number of challenging ramps, half pipe, and other features.

There are lots of parking spaces and peaceful areas beside the park, so you won’t have to worry about finding one when you decide to visit.

Wallace Park is located along Osage Street and Wallace Park Drive.

Visit the Hillsdale Shooting Range

If you are fond of shooting ranges, you should not miss out on a visit to the Hillsdale Shooting Range on Toe Road.

This facility is owned by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Park, and Tourism and is open to the public with trap and skeet, rifle, and handgun types available.

Make sure you abide by the facility’s rules and regulations while you’re there to protect your safety and that of everyone else there.

Though there are range officers who ensure that the range regulations adhere, be responsible and disciplined.

If you have kids 15 of age and under interested in shooting, bring them with you because their admission will be free with one adult paid.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Wander at Gieringers Family Orchard & Berry Farm

If you’re looking for a fun fall attraction near Paola, visit the majestic Gieringers Family Orchard & Berry Farm in Edgerton.

This venue offers activities you and your whole family will enjoy, including the pumpkin patch, corn maze, playground, and other attractions and seasonal goodies to purchase during the fall season.

There’s also a mini maze for the kids, a pumpkin jump pad, sunflower fields, hay mountain, slides, a playground, apple slingshot, and more.

You won’t need to worry about getting hungry when exploring the farm because there are food trucks offering delicious snacks.

You also have the option to bring snacks with you, and there are shaded picnic tables where you can eat with your family and friends.

Gieringers Family Orchard & Berry Farm is just a 35-minute drive from Paola.

Have a Fun Time at Legoland Discovery Center

Sporting park model in Legoland Discovery Center

Dave Banks, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Legoland Discovery Center is located in Missouri’s Kansas City and is less than an hour away from Paola.

You can spend an entire day in this place, which is filled with lots of attractions to enjoy for children and all ages.

Your children can show their creativity by building whatever they like from over a million lego bricks.

People looking at Legoland Discovery Center's exhibit

Jacob Boomsma /

You can ride on the enchanted cart in Merlin’s magical potions chamber with your kids and become the next wizarding apprentice.

Board a chariot and pretend to be rescuers of the captured princess.

Encounter Sea Creatures at Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium

When visiting the neighboring Kansas City, don’t miss out on a trip to the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium, which will make your day worth remembering.

You will surely be awestruck when encountering sea creatures such as sharks and rescued sea turtles.

You may also want to touch the sticky anemone and be amazed by the numerous breathtaking exhibits to explore.

Experience iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Experience flying at iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Overland, Texas, just half an hour’s drive from Paola.

iFLy Indoor Skydiving has state-of-the-art wind tunnels designed to provide tourists with a safe flight and a memorable experience to look back on.

Kids starting at the age of three and adults who meet their flight guidelines can enjoy this fun place with the help of the class instructors who are experts in this craft.

Once tourists check in before the scheduled flight time, the instructors provide orientation before the flight to guide them on the basics of indoor skydiving.

There’s more to have fun at iFLY Indoor Skydiving—you can also spend your birthday parties, corporate events, team buildings, social outings, and private events uniquely and unforgettably.

Suppose you have kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In that case, there are certified STEM educators who will cater an immersive, hands-on in-person or virtual experience to educate them on how iFLY design and operate the vertical wind tunnels.

Craft Your Own Souvenirs with Madison Stitch

If crafting your own souvenirs sounds like your kind of thing, you can do just that with your friends through the small-group jewelry lessons that Madison Stitch provides.

Start crafting your bracelet, earrings, or card wallet using local-sourced materials such as wood, leather, and linen while learning about the city’s garment industry history from your teacher.

During the session, guests will be served craft beer, wine, and cider prepared by the producers just down the street from the studio.

The crafting session at Madison Stitch will only last for about an hour.

This is a unique way to indulge in the history and taste of Kansas City, located 45 minutes away from Paola.

Join a Zombie Scavenger Hunt

Are you and your friends looking for a fun and unique experience on your trip to Paola?

Take a day trip to Kansas City and sign up for a scavenger hunt with Zombie Scavengers, which will give you a taste of adventure.

The game is a digital treasure hunt that you play on your phone in public areas while staying completely anonymous from players other than your team.

You can explore the city and look for supplies to help you survive.

You will receive points when you finish a challenge and locate a survival item.

Zombie Scavengers provides in-game assistance from a remote host through chat, increasing your chances of finishing the game with more points and escaping the zombie apocalypse.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a quiet afternoon with a good book or some time on the slopes, you get something for everyone in Paola.

Whether you choose to stay at one of the area’s many lodges and resorts or go out into nature and explore the nearby national parks, there are plenty of activities to do here.

So, don’t waste your time and start planning your trip—and don’t forget to save this list of the best things to do in Paola, Kansas!

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