Thanks to the overwhelming feedback we got from the original article, we’re presenting 13 more places we wish still existed in KC:
When it opened in 1980, Bannister Mall was the crown jewel of southern Jackson County. It boasted over 180 shops, including anchors JC Penney, Dillard’s and Sears. As the area began to age it became infested with crime, which scared many of the shoppers away. The mall was demolished in 2009, which included the destruction of those random hollowed-out half-cylinders on top of the stores. Sadly, a whole generation of Kansas Citians will never get to experience those architectural eye sores.
This place made children feel like royalty, and not just because it was built like a palace. Inside, the toy store had just about everything a kid could want — action figures, Barbies and enough silly putty to permanently ruin your house’s carpet. Unfortunately the kingdom crumbled in 1992.
Long before stadium seating and 3D effects, movie goers were wowed by the big screens at Glenwood Theatre. Built in 1966, the theatre was known for its unusual marquee, comfy seats and dimly-lit curtains that would draw back to reveal the feature film. Unable to compete with the megaplex theaters of the ’90s, Glenwood shut down in 2000 and was replaced by an instantly forgettable strip mall with 0% of Glenwood’s character. #StillButthurt
This childhood haven of the 80s is long gone, but the jingle still sticks with us to this day: “ShowBiz Pizza, where a kid can be a kid!” The first ShowBiz opened in Kansas City in 1980, featuring pizza, arcade games and an animatronic hillbilly bear named Billy Bob. The brand, and poor Billy Bob, eventually gave way to the much
uglier rat more esteemed mouse, Chuck E. Cheese.
Malibu Grand Prix
This Lenexa-based race track was a dream for youths who had an unquenchable need for speed. In addition to a 1/2 mile race track, the entertainment complex also featured an awesome video game room and snack bar. All drivers were given a personalized Malibu driver’s license, which was great for access onto the speedway but not so helpful when it came to getting into over-21 clubs.
Like Coldstone, but better, Maggie Moo’s was the greatest thing ever to happen to ice cream. Pick a flavor, pick whatever assortment of candies and nuts floats your boat, and an employee with very strong arms would mix it all up for you into what amounted to a Blizzard, but WAY better. They’re even a hometown chain, founded in KCK in 1989. That didn’t stop them from packing up and leaving, however, and while they’ve still got stores in 23 states, there’s nothing left in the KC area.
Putt Putt Mini Golf
You didn’t need to be Rory McIlroy in order to dominate this OP miniature golf course. The course featured 18 moderately challenging holes, and inside you’d find food, an arcade and a large play center for the kids. Ultimately Putt Putt couldn’t keep up with the more extravagant mini golf courses like Smiley’s, causing us to have a major Frowny.
King Louie West
Home of childhood birthday bowling and ice skating parties, King Louie West was a beloved, if strange-looking, building at about 87th and Metcalf. But despite the fact that seemingly everyone in the KC Metro (or at least Johnson County) went there, it closed in 2009. Unwilling to let the building be demolished, it’s now slated to turn into a “multi-use cultural center” opening in 2017.
This Kansas City, Kan., racetrack helped gamblers get their fix for nearly 20 years by placing bets on greyhounds and thoroughbreds. Marred by scandal and declining attendance, the track closed in 2008. However, there are rumors that it could be reopened in the not-too-distant future. Weiner dog lovers, rejoice!
To a kid growing up in the early 2000s, this place was exactly what it’s namesake said it was: INCREDIBLE. The 64,000-square-foot entertainment center in south Overland Park featured cosmic bowling, indoor mini golf, an enormous arcade, laser tag and private dining. Opened by former Royals pitcher Danny Jackson in 1997, the company closed its doors earlier this year after filing bankruptcy.
Great Mall of the Great Plains
Olathe’s behemoth of a mall opened with great expectations in 1997. The 786,000-square-foot outlet included sporting good stores, a movie theater, tons of restaurants and shops, and brightly colored carpet that caused the worst migraines ever. Despite all the attractions, the mall struggled soon after opening and is now a 112-acre ghost town, save for a few mall walkers and a DMV that is more soulless than the vacant stores surrounding it.
An independently-owned video rental hub in Lenexa from the days when Blockbuster was King of America. With enormous genre collections of everything from Westerns to Science Fiction to Anime and a video game section to match, the only thing that could (and finally did) take it down was the arrival of Netflix.
Jungle Jim’s Playland
This indoor amusement park was a 90s kid’s dreamland. Decked out in amazon decor, the Shawnee play center contained everything a child could ever want: arcade games, bumper cars, a carousel and roller coasters that almost went as fast as the family van.