Location: 4051 West Drive, Wyandotte County Lake Park, Kansas City, KS 66109 (head left as you enter the park, past the kiddie park; the drive to the library will be on your right about 1/4 of the way around the lake. You can’t see the library from the road, so keep an eye out for the signs (there will be one directly across from the drive). If you get to the marina, you’ve gone too far.)
Web site: http://www.kckpl.org/locations.aspx?id=3
The Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Schlagle Library is an environmental library located in the midst of the Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City, Kansas. If you’ve been to the Legends, you’ve been close; the park is just up the street from I-435 at the intersection of K5 (Leavenworth Road) and 99th street.
There are several animals who make the library their home, including woodchucks burrowing on the side of the building by the parking lot and several reptiles. On the main floor, there’s an exploration table, where you can handle all sorts of animal artifacts to your hearts’ content. These include animal pelts, snake skins, bones, antlers and more. Even though these neat things are available, and many are accessible for B/VI children, I wouldn’t recommend the library as a place to visit for the animals or the exploration table alone.
The library itself does not strike me as a terribly accessible building. There are the usual accessible parking spots, and I spotted an elevator to take you between floors if need be, but it’s a building with a lot of stairs. I think you very well may be able to get from place to place with a wheelchair or large assistive device, but it would take work. The presentation area is on the bottom floor of the building, and they tend to rely on natural light there. This can make it difficult to see, and things aren’t as high contrast as they would be with artificial lighting.
That said, I do recommend the Schlagle Library’s programs and events. I don’t think it’s a library I’d go to on a whim—it’s not a drop-in-and-browse sort of place—but their programs are excellent. Over the past few years, Peanut and I visited a bird banding event, where he got to help release a newly-banded tufted titmouse; and I took a solo trip to make a Christmas wreath out of boughs, pinecones and other materials harvested from the park. This past Saturday, we headed over as a family for “Mix and Match Animals.”
As described on their Web site,
Why do birds have feathers? How many legs does a spider have? Just what IS an amphibian? We’ll take a closer look at each animal group as we pass around pelts, feathers, eggs and pictures.
It was definitely a multi-sensory program. We heard the difference between an owl’s wing and a red tailed hawk’s wing, and we listened to a tribe of mealworms eagerly eating their meal. We got to feel different animal pelts and reptile eggs; we saw different models and passed around a bat skeleton; and, best of all, we got to meet a live toad and ball python.
Lana Artz was the presenter for this program, and she was amazing; she’s excellent with kids, and she clearly enjoys her job. I wouldn’t hesitate to take my kids to any event she hosts.
Check out their Web site for their Events Calendar, where you can find out what’s coming up and click on titles that interest you for more information. Note that some events require preregistration, and some do cost; the Christmas wreath class, for example, cost $10 to cover materials, and I did have to preregister so they’d be sure to have enough space and supplies for everyone.