When the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead opened more than 30 years ago, it had two miniature horses, two Shetland ponies, nine goats, six sheep, three calves, a dozen chickens, a vegetable garden, child-size replicas of a barn with a loft, a silo with a slide and a shaded seating area.
Today, the Farmstead has almost 200 farm animals and birds of prey, vegetable and flower gardens, a one-room country schoolhouse, a dairy barn, an old-time fishing pond, horse drawn wagon rides, pony rides and more. Other interesting tidbits:
- It was renamed in 1985 to honor the first Overland Park Police Officer killed in the line of duty.
- The upstairs of the main office building originally was designed as a one bedroom apartment, and there was an on-site supervisor for the first seven years.
- During its opening season, there was one supervisor and four seasonal employees. Today, there are seven supervisors, 46 seasonal staff members and 25 regular weekly volunteers.
- 11,000 visitors came to the Farmstead its first year; that's now the attendance of a typical weekend. About 400,000 visitors are expected each year.
The Farmstead is thriving and continually growing, adding new features every year.
1971- The land known as Community Park was purchased by the City of Overland Park.
1974– Dedication of the future Farmstead site in Community Park by the local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi
1976– Major fundraising and planning for the Farmstead began.
1978– The Farmstead opened Memorial Day weekend. The first year there were more than 10,000 visitors.
1985– On May 27, 1985 the Farmstead changed its name to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. This was done as a memorial to Deanna Rose, the first Overland Park police officer killed in the line of duty.
1988– The east entrance waterfall was completed.
1993– Horse drawn wagon rides were offered at the Farmstead for the first time.
1996– Friends of the Farmstead was established as the not-for-profit group which would help raise funds for future projects and programs at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead.
1999– The City of Overland Park finalized plans for the Farmstead Expansion project.
2000– The Fishing Shack and Grandpa Bob's Fishing Pond opened to the public.
2001– Pony rides started.
2002– Helen's Country School and party corrals were added to the Farmstead.
2003– The Kanza Indian Encampment opened.
2004– The Prairie Playground and Dominic's Water feature were added to create new places for children to play.
2005– The Pavilion, Beverly's Butterfly Garden and the Kiwanis's Repose Garden Area opened.
2006– Pygmy Goat Feeding and the Tractor Track were added as the newest activities for guests to enjoy.
2007– The Dairy Barn and Cinemoo Theater opened.
2009– On August 29 Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead celebrated the opening of the new Entrance Building.
2010– Ben's Bank, the first addition to the Farmstead's Main Street Expansion, was added and the Discovery Passbook Program began.
2011– Alex and Emily's Ice Cream Parlor, Vic's General Store and the Education Pavilion are added to the Farmstead's Main Street Expansion.