Topeka, Kansas, United States, is the capital of Kansas. In 2010, the city was named one of the Top 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. Topeka is a Kansas Native-American tribe name that means “place where we dug potatoes” or “a good place to dig potatoes.” Topeka is best known for the popular United States Supreme Court case known as Brown versus the Board of Education. This case was a history changer since it proclaimed racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Here are some fun things to do while in Topeka:
1. Lake Shawnee
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
This is a pretty lake with scenic views that you can enjoy with family. Here you will find something for everyone like the Garden House, Reynolds Lodge, a marina, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, open spaces, a campground, a golf course, shelter houses, water activities, a playground and best of all, a swimming beach complete with a water slide. Just be aware that if you want to trout fish or just fish here, you will need a Kansas state license to do so. Lastly, most festivals and special events are held here, so this place is a favorite of the local community.
Address: 3137 SE 29th Street, Topeka, KS
Website: Lake Shawnee
2. Gage Park
This is a serene park that is one of the largest parks in Topeka. The Topeka Zoo, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, a miniature train of gauge, an outdoor theatre as well as the 70-year old Reinisch Rose Garden can all be found here. Last, but not least, there is a cute train here for kids to ride.
Address: Between 6th and 10th Streets caca, Topeka, KS
Website: Gage Park
3. Evel Knievel Museum
This is a museum that is dedicated to Evel Knievel. There is a lot of memorabilia here of the famous American stunt performer, painter, entertainer, and international icon that wowed the world. He attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps during his courageous and daring career. This is a place that fans and non-fans alike will enjoy. When you are here, don’t forget to check out the 4-D Virtual Reality Jump.
Evel Knievel Museum
Address: 2047 SW Topeka Boulevard, Topeka, KS
Website: Evel Knievel Museum
4. Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site
As mentioned before, the Brown vs Board of Education case is one of the things Topeka is famous for. The United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Brown vs Board of Education is one of the most important opinions ever made. What people remember about this case is a little girl, whose parents sued the Board of Education so that she could attend an all-white school in her neighborhood. This historic site pays tribute to the case that changed history forever.
Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site
Address: 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, KS
5. Combat Air Museum
At this historic museum you will see a collection of 39 aircrafts in two hangars. You will also get to see various military aviation engines, exhibits, artifacts and aviation art, from WWI to present day. The museum is one of the major aviation museums in the United States that is located on an active air field.
Combat Air Museum
Address: 7016 SE Forbes Avenue Forbes Field, Topeka, KS
Website: Combat Air Museum
6. Kansas State Capitol
One thing I love to do when I visit United States capital cities is to visit the specific state’s capitol building. I grew up in a capital city and that is what fueled my passion for state capitol buildings. The Kansas State Capitol building is regarded as the state’s greatest architectural treasure. It has 5 floors, which house murals, statues, and artwork. Best of all, you can enter the dome by climbing 296 steps that go from the fifth floor to the top. Be sure to take a tour and see the exciting building for yourself.
Kansas State Capitol
Address: 300 SW 10th Ave Ste 525, Topeka, KS
Website: Kansas State Capitol
7. Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site and Botanical Garden
This historic site has a botanical garden. It is neat to see the 1854 replica of the log cabin which includes a blacksmith shop. Also, here you will find an 1870s Victorian Prairie Mansion that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site and Botanical Garden
Address: 124 NW Fillmore Street, Topeka, KS
8. Ted Ensley Gardens
As soon as you enter the park you will get an opportunity to walk through a beautiful covered bridge, which goes over a serene rocky stream. Equally as relaxing is the meditation garden, the rock gardens, the many annual and perennial beds, the rose gardens as well as water gardens. There is also a gazebo, pergola, waterfalls, streams, and several ponds to enjoy.
Ted Ensley Gardens
Address: 3650 SE West Edge Road, Topeka, KS
Website: Ted Ensley Gardens
9. Cedar Crest
This landmark and historical place is the Kansas Governor’s mansion. It was built in the year 1928 and given to the state in 1955, but it did not become the governor’s residence until 1962. Today it is the main attraction of a French architectural estate that oversees the Kansas River. The estate has several ponds, gardens as well as hiking trails.
Address: One SW Cedar Crest Road, Topeka, KS
Website: Cedar Crest
Topeka, a gem in Kansas
Topeka is a capital city that is rich in history and culture. Be sure to pay this exciting city a visit on your next vacation to Kansas.
Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Topeka, Kansas
1. What are the top attractions to visit in Topeka?
There are a lot of attractions to choose from, depending on your interest, when you visit Topeka. But if you’re only after the top attractions in the city, then you shouldn’t forget visiting the Evel Knievel Museum, Lake Shawnee, and Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.
2. What are the best outdoor activities in Topeka?
Topeka boasts many natural attractions and green spaces that’s why one of the best outdoor activities you can do here is to explore Gage Park. It is an expansive park that houses many interesting attractions like Topeka Zoo and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.
3. What are the most popular things to do in Topeka with kids?
In case you’re coming to Topeka with your mini-me, then you should bring her/him to Gage Park and let him/her explore the park, where you’ll find a museum, a zoo, and a miniature train. Another top attraction for kids here is Lake Shawnee, where the family can have a picnic, play sports, or just bask at the beautiful surrounding.
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