Unwind

unwind | PARK OF THE WEEK

With more than 100 Topeka parks to choose from, it would be hard to visit every one. We here at Unwind have seen them all, and we'll profile a new park each week. From large parks with diverse activities, to tiny parks that you may not have even known existed.
Hillcrest Park features just about every amenity one would want in a city park. (THAD ALLTON/UNWIND)

Hillcrest Park

January 21, 2012

Hillcrest Pool provides cool stopping grounds for Hillcrest Park, 1800 SE 21st, but there's lots more to check out beyond the pool's zero-depth entry, frog slide, drop slide, diving board and rain-drop waterfall. In the park, beautiful, mature trees provide welcome shade on a sunny day. The trees can be enjoyed from the benches that dot the landscape or the way they help keep the smooth basketball and tennis courts just a little cooler. The park also features an open-air shelter, grills, and a mix of modern and older playground equipment, including swings, teeter-totters, slides and a merry-go-round.

Or get out of the elements and head inside the Hillcrest Community Center, which is packed full of entertaining options. Check out the basketball court, three racketball courts, weight room, game room, teen lounge with computers, recording studio, ping-pong tables, pool tables, foosball table and sitting room. The facility is put to use for classes, a preschool and other activities. And it's available for free. Just make sure you sign in. During the school year, hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the summer, hours are 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Topeka's Hughes Park is located at 725 SW Orleans. (UNWIND)

Hughes Park

November 12, 2011

Hughes Park, 725 SW Orleans, is a unique neighborhood park, which occupies one city block between SW Orleans, Parkview, 7th and 8th streets, is a destination for tennis players and youngsters of all ages and physical abilities. Tennis remains a staple, with five courts beckoning players of all skill levels. One court has a concrete wall for solo stars and a basketball backboard. Along the park's west side is the play-for-all accessible playground, which is perfect for parties with its open-air shelter, picnic tables and grill. Rock-edged terraces topped by still-young trees grace the approach to the playground, which is brightened by a row of rose bushes in the summer.

More Info: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/hughes

McKinley Park sits just north of the old McKinley Elementary School at 917 NW Gordon. (UNWIND)

McKinley Park

November 24, 2010

Located at the intersection of NW Gordon and NW Western, McKinley Park is small, well-shaded and sits just north of the old McKinley Elementary School, one of four segregated schools for African-American students in Topeka at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954. Youngsters will like the modern playground equipment, swings and merry-go-round, while parents can relax at the covered picnic table. There are public restrooms and a nice flower bed.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/mckinley

Wells and Warren Parks border Felker Park on SW Gage Blvd. (UNWIND)

Warren/Wells Parks

October 12, 2010

Although they are separate parks and vary greatly in size, Warren and Wells, 2750 SW Gage Blvd., are next-door neighbors and have similar uses. Warren is a 96-acre nature area and borders Felker Park on the east (north of Shunganunga Creek). It includes a section of the Shunga Trail, a pond and a tree nursery used by Parks and Recreation of Topeka. It can be accessed from Felker, Big Shunga Park (on the east) or the Kansas Neurological Institute (on the north), and is a great place for birdwatching. Wells is south of Felker, Warren and the creek (but north of the car wash). It's about five acres in size and consists of a nature trail.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/warren-wells

McKinley Park, at NW Gordon and NW Western, features a modern playground. (UNWIND)

McKinley Park

August 31, 2010

Located at the intersection of NW Gordon and NW Western, McKinley Park is small, well-shaded and sits just north of the old McKinley Elementary School, one of four segregated schools for African-American students in Topeka at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.

Youngsters will like the modern playground equipment, swings and merry-go-round, while parents can relax at the covered picnic table. There are public restrooms and a nice flower bed.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/mckinley

Students at Avondale East Elementary School helped design Betty Phillips Park. (THAD ALLTON/UNWIND)

Betty Phillips Park

June 28, 2010

If you love this Betty Phillips Park, 3300 SE Irvingham, you won't have to look far to find someone to thank. Students at nearby Avondale East Elementary School helped design the neighborhood park, which used to go by the name Highland Crest Park. It was renamed to honor longtime Hi-Crest resident Betty Phillips, who had begun asking the city to do something with the park in the 1960s. The park got a big student-influenced overhaul in 2004. Betty Phillips Park now features, a garden landscaped with limestone, a basketball court, slides, bright new playground equipment, multiple play areas, red benches, lots of green play space for running, grills, an open-air shelter, a drinking fountain and path. The park is located at Girard and Irvingham streets.

More Info: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/betty-phillips-park

Santa Fe Park is a favorite for people living in the Oakland area. (THAD ALLTON/UNWIND)

Santa Fe Park

April 12, 2010

Santa Fe Park, 1500 NE Division, in the Oakland area, features plenty of colorful playground equipment to keep youngsters busy while softball games are played at nearby fields. Located northeast of Division and Lime, Santa Fe Park sits near the Kansas River. The colorful play area features swings for children and toddlers, slides, climbing toys and a tire swing. There's space for picnicking and lots of shade over and near the main play areas. A smaller play area between the fields allows parents to keep watch of little ones during games.

More Info: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/santa-fe

A concrete bison sculpture is located at the east end of Cushinberry Park. (THAD ALLTON/UNWIND)

Cushinberry Park

March 30, 2010

Named after the late Grant Cushinberry, a local philanthropist, Cushinberry Park, 335 SE 15th, is wedge-shaped park separates 15th and 17th streets as they converge eastward from Quincy. The park is heavily shaded by mature trees and welcomes visitors with numerous picnic tables, benches, a BBQ grill and a water fountain. Youngsters can try out the playground equipment, including swings and a merry-go-round, or check out the concrete Bison sculpture at the east end. Both the Landon and Shunga trails can be picked up near Cushinberry Park.

Cushinberry, who died July 7, 2008, at age 86, provided food, clothing and other necessities to countless people. His name was synonymous with the Community Thanksgiving Dinner and God's Little Half Acre, the garden and donations clearinghouse he operated at 1835 SW Fillmore not far from his home.

On the north end of the park is the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/cushinberry

A gazebo is one of the many features at Chesney Park. (UNWIND)

Chesney Park

March 3, 2010

Located three blocks west of the Kansas Expocentre between 18th and 19th streets, Chesney Park, 1823 SW Clay, is ready for activity with a small skateboard park and a basketball court. Youngsters will enjoy a variety of playground equipment, including swings and teeter-totters. There are plenty of picnic tables — some beneath an open-air shelter — plus a BBQ grill, a water fountain and a gazebo. Large, mature trees offer lots of shade.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/chesney

Felker Park is named for a former Topeka mayor. (UNWIND)

Felker Park

February 1, 2010

Felker Park, named for a former mayor, features athletic fields and the showcase Kossover Tennis Center, which was named the 2008 Facility of the Year by the United States Tennis Association. Competition on the courts ranges from middle school competition to Missouri Valley USTA tournaments. In 2006, Kossover completed almost $1 million in renovations -- finishing a vision for the tennis center that went back to its start in the 1970s. The renovations included a remodeled clubhouse, handicapped-accessible rest rooms, landscaping, new patio areas, improved fencing and a stadium court with seating for 200. Private lessons and clinics are available. Also at Felker Park, you'll find four lighted softball fields, three soccer fields, a bocce court, a link to the Shunga Trail and colorful gardens. Felker Park is adjacent to Warren Park on the east and Wells Park on the south.

MORE INFO: http://unwind.topeka.net/park/felker