DESCRIPTION: Kansas City’s Union Station is the second-largest working train station in the country. This fully-restored, 1914 landmark is home to an interactive family science center, planetarium and large-screen 3D movie theatre, a railroad museum, as well as shops and restaurants. The Station also plays host to international traveling museum exhibits, such as the Diana, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit and Real Pirates. A site on the National Register of Historical Places, the Station also houses a live theater stage, a 3-D movie theater, the region’s largest planetarium and the city’s main post office. Union Station also continues to operate as a train station, with several Amtrak trains that stop at the Station every day.
ADDRESS: 30 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, Mo.
LOCATION: Just south of downtown Kansas City at Pershing Road and Main Street.
WEB SITE: www.unionstation.org
HOURS: The Union Station building and the Link to Crown Center: 6 a.m.-midnight. Union Station attractions: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and noon-5:00 p.m. Sun. Visit the Web site for special seasonal hours.
ADMISSION: There is no cost for admission to the Union Station building.
Attraction tickets are available starting at $6. Theater performances, movies and some special traveling exhibits require admission.
ANNUAL ATTENDANCE: Between its attractions, theaters, restaurants and train station, approximately 1 million people visit Union Station every year.
HISTORY: Design for Union Station began in 1906. By the time the Station opened to the public in 1914, the construction cost had topped $6 million. Its first arrival, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Flyer, pulled into the pulled into the Station just after midnight on Nov. 1. Railway use peaked during World War I, with Union Station witnessing the arrivals and departures of more than 79,000 trains. Passenger traffic began to decline during the '50s and '60s as the airline industry gained momentum. In 1985, Amtrak discontinued its Union Station service.
Passed by voters in 1996, a bi-state cultural sales tax—the first of its kind in the country—funded nearly half of the Station’s $250 million renovation. The remaining money was raised through private donations and federal funding. The fully-restored Station reopened to the public in 1999 with new shops, restaurants, theaters and a science center. Amtrak returned to Union Station in December 2002, offering several daily departures.
A non-profit organization, Union Station is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
WHERE TO GET LUNCH: Union Station houses two full-service restaurants, ranging from casual fare for breakfast and lunch at Harvey’s to excellent steaks and seafood available at Pierpont’s for lunch and dinner. Parisi Coffee Shop offers artisan coffee drinks and snacks. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory features chocolate treats, ice cream and other novelties. The Times Square Concessionaire, located in the Theatre District on B Level, features snacks and beverages. Several restaurants in the nearby Crossroads Freight House District are accessible via the Station’s new pedestrian bridge.
HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES: With more than 50 interactive learning stations, education and play go hand-in-hand at Union Station’s Science City. Families can train for space missions, use food chemistry to design a custom beverage, pilot a robot, investigate forensic evidence, and use physics to enhance their golf game or reconstruct a dinosaur bone by bone.
WHAT’S NEARBY: Use the Link walkway to access Crown Center, home to shops, restaurants and entertainment options or visit the Crossroads Arts District via Union Station’s pedestrian bridge. The Liberty Memorial, the national World War I Museum, is across the street.
DID YOU KNOW: Nicknamed “Big Ben of the Plains,” the Union Station’s huge 6.5-foot tall, 3-foot thick clock dates back to 1914 and weighs more than 1,100 pounds. Its numerals are each a foot tall. “Meet me under the clock” developed as a popular phrase among visitors looking to reunite with train passengers. Although parts of the clock were replaced during the 1999 renovation to operate more efficiently, the spot below it remains a popular site for marriage proposals and weddings.
DON’T FORGET: Look for the legendary “bullet holes” supposedly left from Kansas City’s famous Union Station Massacre. In 1933, Kansas City made the front page of virtually every newspaper in the nation. On June 17, 1933, convicted mobster Frank Nash (under escort by a team of FBI agents and police officers) was shot and killed outside the Station during a shootout. Four law enforcement officers were also killed. There are marks on the front of the building that for years were rumored to be bullet holes from the shooting, but recent tests by Kansas City police conclude the marks could not have come from bullets. However, the mystery surrounding the legendary holes lives on.
GROUP TOURS: Groups of 15 or more receive discounted package rates with advanced purchase. Call for more information. Any convention visitor in Kansas City can show their convention badge to receive the group rate.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Take the MAX to the Union Station/Science City stop or take the Kansas City Streetcar to the Union Station stop (Pershing & Main).
From the north: Take I-29 to Hwy 169. It will turn into the Broadway Extension. Stay on Broadway across the river and through Downtown to Pershing Road. Turn left on Pershing (east). At the first stoplight, turn left. After you turn, you will see a sign overhead that reads "Union Station West Yards Parking." Enter the large parking lot on the right. Union Station is the large building to the east.
From the south: Take I-35 N and exit at 1C, Southwest Boulevard/Pennway. Turn right (east) on Pennway. Turn right (south) on Broadway Boulevard. Turn left on Pershing (east). At the first stoplight, turn left (north). After you turn, you will see a sign overhead that reads "Union Station West Yards Parking." Enter the large parking lot on the right. Union Station is the large building to the east.
From the east: Take I-70 W to I-670 W, then to the Downtown loop. Exit to I-35 S. Exit at 20th Street. At 20th, turn left (east). Turn right (south) onto Broadway Boulevard. Turn left onto Pershing (east). At the first stoplight, turn left (north). After you turn, you will see a sign overhead that reads "Union Station West Yards Parking." Enter the large parking lot on the right. Union Station is the large building to the east.
From the west: Take I-70 East to I-670. Merge onto I-35 South, and then exit at 20th Street. At 20th, turn left (east). Turn right (south) on Broadway Boulevard. Turn left on Pershing Road (east). At the first stoplight, turn left (north). After you turn, you will see a sign overhead that reads "Union Station West Yards Parking." Enter the large parking lot on the right. Union Station is the large building to the east.
PARKING: Short-term parking is available in front of Union Station; the 30 minutes is free. Day and long-term parking is available behind the Station in the West Yards garage. Amtrak patrons can park in the West Yards for $10 per day.
PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTACT: Michael Tritt, chief marketing officer, 816-460-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org