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Best Things to Do in Topeka, KS

Gage Park, theater, lake, eateries head the list

By Kevin Litwin on August 5, 2015

A young brown-haired woman kisses a statue of a frog at the Topeka Zoo.
Topeka / Courtesy of Marion Doss under a CC 4.0 license.

Topeka is situated along the Kansas River and offers multiple quality of life attractions for residents as well as visitors. Topeka residents enjoy a range of things to do, from golfing and hiking to a night in downtown. Here are eight of the best things to do in Topeka:

Bring the Family

With 160 acres of green space, Gage Park features a variety of activities such as a mini-train, carousel, aquatic center, Helen Hocker Theater, concerts in the park and a Hill’s Bark Park. Also available to the public are an award-winning Topeka Zoo along with a Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.

Try the Corned Beef

The lively atmosphere is as pleasing as the food at The Celtic Fox Irish Pub & Restaurant, which recently opened a new Higgins Fine Dining Room. The Celtic Fox is open for lunch and dinner and hosts live music events like karaoke night and weekend bands.

Relive History

Tours of the famous Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site are available in the building where the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case took place. Hundreds of artifacts are on display celebrating the decision that declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.

Catch Their Act

It is well worth the trip to the Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy to attend one of their plays that are staged throughout the entire year. Three different theaters are on site, and the 2016 playbill lineup includes performances of Memphis, Bonnie & Clyde, Much Ado About Nothing and Bye Bye Birdie.

Discover Much Fun

Open since 2011, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center provides a fun and safe environment for toddlers and young children, with many hands-on exhibits that allow kids to explore, create, discover and learn through play. The Center is located in Gage Park and also schedules programs such as day camps and field trips.

Head to the Lake

More than 1 million people a year visit Lake Shawnee, which features a beautiful park that has graced Topeka since 1939. Amenities include a lodge, marina, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, golf course and swimming beach, and a Lake Shawnee campground is open year round for RVs and tent camping.

Go Wild

Located in Gage Park just off Interstate 70, Topeka Zoo welcomes 150,000 visitors a year. It was the first zoo in America to have an indoor tropical rainforest, and other exhibits have names like Kansas Carnivores, Black Bear Woods, Waterbird Lagoon, Jungle Cats and the Schendel Bug Zoo.

Sample Some Microbrews

Billed as the best place for brunch in Topeka, Blue Moose Bar & Grill features more than 20 microbrews on tap and an extensive wine list. Lunches and dinners at the popular SW Wanamaker Road eatery are served indoors or al fresco, and brunch buffets include a mix of breakfast, lunch, appetizer and dinner food.

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