There are as many definitions of recreation as there are people who love to relax, and Topeka has them all covered.
For sports lovers who show their enthusiasm from the sidelines, Topeka offers everything from hockey to rowing to bull riding. Auto racing is another popular spectator event, bringing crowds to Heartland Park, where Thunder Hill Speedway boasts a Grand Prix road course, club course, stock car road course and record-breaking quarter-mile drag strip.
For Topekans who have to get in the game, though, the city offers a number of athletic programs, including the Kansas Senior Olympics, along with an array of sports facilities that keep even the most active athletes at the top of their game. Nearly 70 tennis courts, 5 swimming pools, more than 25 ball fields and several golf courses are scattered throughout the city. Shawnee County Parks and Recreation oversees four aquatic centers, a sprary park and two swimming pools. The county also maintains three skate parks and three golf courses.
Nearby Lake Shawnee is the site of the Topeka Tinman Triathlon each June. Shawnee is one of seven lakes within a 50-mile radius of Topeka, giving water enthusiasts a chance (or seven chances) to hone their waterskiing, swimming and fishing. Camping opportunities also abound near the lakes, and even inside the city hikers can find beautiful nature trails.
In all, the parks division maintains more than 100 parks totaling roughly 1,600 acres.
For a park with an added bonus, residents and visitors visit Gage Park. Swimming, volleyball and tennis facilities are available at the park, but perhaps what draws most people is the Topeka Zoo. Animal lovers can observe a gorilla habitat up close, spy on big cats and take in the scenery.
Finding ways to unwind or ramp up (depending on your definition of recreation) is not a challenge in Topeka. The tough part is deciding where to start.