Not only is Topeka the capital of Kansas and the location of the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case, but it’s also a city that’s full of beautiful parks and gardens. If you’re considering moving to Topeka, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of fun, scenic, and entertaining parks that can seriously upgrade your quality of life. Here are the 6 most beautiful parks and gardens in Topeka, KS:
In 2017 Expedia named Lake Shawnee the “Best Place to Visit in Kansas.” Built over 80 years ago, the facilities include a marina, tennis and volleyball courts, campgrounds, golf courses, playgrounds, water activities, and an all-around gorgeous setting. Lake Shawnee regularly hosts recreational events and it’s open year-round for RV and tent camping.
Gage Park has been a favorite site for people from all over Kansas and the United States for over 100 years. Spread out across 160 acres, there’s plenty for the whole family to do at Gage Park. Attractions include the famous mini-train that goes across a mile-long scenic route, a carousel, zoo, conservation center, pools for the whole family, shelter rentals, children’s play areas, and more. Just make sure to check the hours before you go – they change depending on the season.
Ted Ensley Gardens
Located on the west side of Lake Shawnee, the Ted Ensley Gardens are some 37 acres of stunning flowers and plant life. The Gardens include 1200 varieties of perennials, 300 varieties of annuals, and beautifully groomed trees and shrubs. There are paved walking trails so you can walk around, and there’s also a gazebo, pergola, and pagoda with a meditation garden. If you’re looking to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty, the Ted Ensley Gardens are a great choice.
Topeka Zoological Park
This mid-sized zoo is clean, well-kept, and constantly expanding. Attractions include elephants, lions, porcupines, bears, and more; plus a large variety of birds, reptiles, and even bugs and spiders for the brave of heart. Entrance fees are very reasonable, and there is also a yearly membership available. It’s a great activity for families who live outside of Topeka and also for locals.
Kaw River State Park
The Kaw River State Park is one of the newer parks in Topeka; opened in 2010, it’s the only urban-type park in the area. There are plenty of hiking, walking, and mountain-biking trails, and there’s access to canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats on the Kansas River. You can also try to catch a glimpse of the deer, turkey, eagles, and other wildlife that inhabits the surrounding forest. And if you work up an appetite after all that time in nature, you can check out some of the good eats nearby.
Harry W. Colmery Memorial Park
A good place to go if you want to experience a little history, Harry W. Colmery Memorial Park is a tribute to Harry W. Colmery, a Kansas attorney who is credited with being the main architect of the GI Bill of 1944, a law aimed at providing benefits to World War II veterans. The memorial park was dedicated in 2016, and it features a life-sized statue of Colmery and a bronze relief of 6 veterans.
Ready to Move?
In addition to the wide range of beautiful parks and gardens that Topeka has to offer, another perk is that the cost of living in Topeka is significantly lower than the national average (link to Cost of Living article). With a low cost of living and plenty of affordable recreational activities, moving to Topeka, KS may be the best move you ever make!