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“Where else can you feed buffalo and elk?”
Review of Fleming Park

Fleming Park
Ranked #16 of 46 things to do in Independence
Attraction details
Reviewed 9 February 2018

One of the most unique aspects of this park is the Hoofed Animal Enclosure, which features herds of buffalo and elk in separate paddocks. You can walk up to the tall chain-linked fence and feed whatever animals will come to see what you’ve got for them. Carrots and apples are the preferred food, and park officials ask that you not feed the animals bread or any kind of grain. It’s free and it’s fun to be so close to these huge animals. Don’t worry, they’re not mean and just want some supplemental goodies, as they get fed by the parks department and aren’t really dependent on visitors to feed them. Leave your dog at home or in the car, and don’t underestimate how quickly a couple of buffalo can go through a bag of apples!

I’ve been coming here for more than 45 years, when my folks used to bring me here on Sunday afternoons to walk the trails. This park used to be called Lake Jacomo, but was later expanded to 7,800 acres, and now includes Blue Springs Lake, which I haven’t spent much time at. I used to think “Jacomo” was an old Indian word, but I learned later that it’s really just short for Jackson County Missouri.

At 970 acres, Lake Jacomo is a large lake with lots of coves and inlets, much bigger than that in Shawnee Mission Park with its 120 acre lake, or anywhere else on the Kansas side of the metro area. The adjacent Blue Springs Lake covers another 720 acres.

I find it interesting that the idea for a lake here began in 1932 when the Presiding Judge of Jackson County requested that a study be done for a potential park, which didn’t open until 1959. By the way, that judge was Harry S. Truman, who went on to become the 33rd President of the United States.

Jacomo’s boat rental marina toward the north end of the lake is the largest in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and has a convenience store and more than 80 boats of various types to rent. There’s also an extensive boat dock and covered picnic area at the south end of the lake.

Another unique aspect of this large park is Missouri Town 1855, which is a 30-acre outdoor living history museum which brings together more than 25 structures, dating from1820 to 1860 which were moved here from other locations in Missouri. There’s an admission charge for this attraction, and it’s probably best to visit during one of their events because there will be more activity and many more interpreters in costume.

Missouri Town and other sites in the park were locations for filming of a 1975 made-for-TV movie called Friendly Persuasion based on the novel Except for Me and Thee by Jessamyn West about a Quaker family in Civil War era America who help runaway slaves. This was when Little House on the Prairie was reaching its heights of popularity and was supposed to be a pilot for a new TV series, but it didn’t garner the anticipated audience, and has never been released on any video format. Other productions have been filmed here as well, including portions of the 1999 Ang Lee film starring Tobey McGuire, Ride with the Devil.

The Burroughs Audubon Nature Center and Bird Sanctuary is located on the Southwest Park Road not far from the marina parking lot, and is another fun place to visit. Open to the public, this building serves as the local Audubon Society’s headquarters and public outreach space, and houses an extensive natural history library. It’s a peaceful place to watch birds and wildlife.

I’ve rambled on and haven’t even mentioned the campgrounds, the winding and scenic road around the lake, the RC aircraft field, the Kemper Outdoor Education Center, or large patches of prickly pear cactus growing wild, and probably much more. Suffice it to say this is a great park to visit and explore!

1  Thank Dmarkwind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 November 2017

We go to this park continually through the warm season as we like sailing. It is a great sailing lake albeit small. The only issues are usually rental boaters who don't have a clue about boat safety or right of way, and families who bring their kids to swim from the docks and boat rams where it isn't allowed. Many of the docks are posted 'No Fishing' but many people ignore it until a Ranger gets called. Skateboarders routinely come in and jump off concrete barriers and picnic tables and the county doesn't really do much to stop it. Bottom line: just like any public park, you have to look out for yourself and yours!

Thank Bruce G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2017

There are several things to do at this Park that are free or cost very little. There is Missouri Town which is a village set back in the early 1800's, they have sheep shearing events, blacksmithing, basket weaving, etc. people are dress in the appropriate time and the buildings are the same. There are several hiking trails, RV, Tent camping, Fishing docks, handicap too, boat rentals. Just a great place to spend time with family or take photos of nature. Oh and there is an enclosed animal area where they have different types of animals.

Thank marthapoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2017

Fleming Park is part of the Jackson County, Missouri Parks system. We spent a few days there with full hook-ups so we could visit family and friends in Kansas City. There aren't a huge number of FHU sites, so reservations are recommended. Primitive camping is also available. A couple of the sites were less than level and presented some challenges in getting set up, but overall, it's a nice place to stay. The campground is gated and has full-time hosts on premises. Reasonably quiet, and close to the lake.

Fleming Park has always been a favorite place for native Kansas Citians to recreate - shelter houses, picnic areas, plenty of hiking trails, and a large, boat-friendly lake. There is also a living history exhibit, "Missouri Town 1855" that represents a typical antebellum small town in Missouri. It is particularly fun during the several festivals that take place there every year - spring and fall crafts festivals, and an old fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.

Fleming Park and Lake Jacomo Campground are an easy 15 mile drive to the Truman Sports Complex, and another six or seven miles gets you to Downtown Kansas City. Check out the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning at the River Market area, then catch a free streetcar to Crown Center and Union Station.

From there, you can hop on a Kansas City Max bus and take in the Country Club Plaza, the nation's first shopping center - KC's original Rodeo Drive.

You will find Kansas City BBQ everywhere you look - ask a local for their favorites, and they'll probably give you six or seven choices. They're all good. Kansas City is the center of the BBQ Universe.

There are many things to do and see in Kansas City, but you'll have a good base of operations to see them all at The Jacomo Campground in Fleming Park.

1  Thank budzilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 March 2017

There is so much to do at Fleming Park and Lake Jacomo. We enjoy hiking on the many trails but wished they were better marked. We also keep our pontoon boat onthe lake and it is a very relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Thank KurtLS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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