Unwind Features

A journey back in time

On a muggy summer’s day at historic Ward-Meade Park, visitors from Germany, Australia and Ireland signed the guest book. It was nothing out of the ordinary. “Every day we get people from all over the world who say they’... »

A recreational oasis

The waters of Lake Shawnee that now attract fishermen, boaters and campers from across the country emerged from the Great Depression. Sure, when workers began laying the first rocks on the 2,200-foot-long, 55-foot-high dam ab... »

Miles and miles of adventure

Before the first bits of the Shunga Trail were poured the late 1980s, Bill Riphahn remembers wondering, Who will use this? Turns out, just about everyone, from kids to Washburn University President Jerry Farley, an avid runne... »

Playing in skateboard heaven

Skateboarders had a bad rap. Bill Riphahn remembers them rolling through downtown, jumping off the steps of Topeka City Hall before being run off. “They had a bad reputation,” said Riphahn, director of planning and develo... »

Topeka’s grand old park

In his office, Bill Riphahn, director of planning and development for Parks and Recreation of Topeka, keeps a 25-year master plan for Gage Park. Unrolled, the colorful document reveals Riphahn’s vision for the city’s prem... »

Topeka Zoo roars with interest

Once known as the World Famous Topeka Zoo, the city’s zoo inside Gage Park continues to entertain. Exhibits are continually being added and new births, including lion cubs in 2007 and a zebra in 2009, bring renewed life to... »