Location: Near the walking trails by the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park, KansasCost: Free!
Web site: The gnomes themselves have yet to set up a Web site, but you can read an article about them on Yahoo! here: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mystery-gnome-homes-appear-along-trail-in-kansas–205523557.html
Recently, a small group of gnomes has taken up residence in Overland Park. While it’s difficult to catch the gnomes themselves, as they are very busy this time of year, it’s fairly easy to visit their homes and drop them a note to say you stopped by. All you need to do is walk the nature trails behind the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and keep a lookout in the trees by the path, and you’re sure to find a gnome home or two.
We took our gnome hunting adventure near dusk on Saturday. We drove out to the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and parked by the east entrance: if you’re at the front entrance to the Farmstead, you’ll want to turn left to go into the overflow parking. Park as close to the end of the lot as possible: you’re going to walk around the farmstead to find a nature trail.
On our trip, we took the pathway the Switzer bridge and headed up the trail through the woods. We were there later in the evening, so the sounds of night serenaded us as we walked. The first gnome home was on the left side of the trail. Peanut and Sprout were excited to find it, and they were delighted with its mailbox and set of clipped-on notes from visitors. I was surprised to find that this gnome writes back: in the basket by its mailbox, there were notes on heart-shaped paper for children who had written to the gnome in previous visits.
A bit further up the path to the right, we found our second gnome home. This one is harder to see: the little yellow door was facing away from us. Sprout loved opening the door and looking inside at the teeny-tiny gnome furnishings.
Even further up the trail, we found our last gnome home of the night. This home was free-standing, had a mailbox and a doll sitting on a swing next to the home. Inside, there was a tiny table and chairs, and even a lit fireplace! Peanut and Sprout were amazed by the mailbox, and they insisted that we leave a note for this gnome as well.
I’ve heard that there are currently five gnome homes in the park, but we were only able to find three due to the approaching darkness. It was a wonderful experience: the kids loved finding these little magical houses on our walk. The pathway is wide and fairly smooth, so it was easy for Peanut to navigate. There were sounds galore, ranging from the rustling of branches to the chirping of crickets, from the trickle of water to the sounds of soccer matches in the fields nearby. This was definitely a good experience and a fun, free family outing.