Soothing sun spot

MacLennan Park Trails & Ponds at Cedar Crest

S.W. Fairlawn and Cedar Crest Drive, Topeka

This 244-acre park is situated along the hills overlooking the Kansas River near Cedar Crest, the governor's mansion. The park features an interpretive nature trail, three fishing ponds, an ice-skating pond and jogging/bike trails through woodlands and meadows (with native plants and wildflowers). A 2.7-mile crushed limestone trail can be accessed from the north parking lot on the west side of the mansion or from the south parking lot on SW 6th just west of Fairlawn.

Horseshoe Bend Park

SE Horse Shoe Dr., Topeka

This park features a small lake with a trail and lots of sun. Parks and Recreation of Topeka took ownership of the park in July 2009. You'll find the lake at the bend of SE Horseshoe Drive, in a new neighborhood just north of SE 45th Street.

Welton Grove

SW 39th & Atwood, Topeka

Located at the intersection of SW 39th and Atwood, and extending southward, this sprawling park consists of a nature area with a walking trail through trees and native plants.

Elmhurst Green

SW Washburn and Munson, Topeka

Elmhurst Green is a small green space along Washburn Avenue that was created after the removal of several houses. The area has been planted with trees, and a curving sidewalk passes landscaped garden beds.

Aaron Douglas

1201 SW Lane, Topeka

Located at 12th and Lane, the Aaron Douglas Mural celebrates the life of the Topeka-born muralist, illustrator and scholar. Painted on a large wall by local high school and college students and residents of Topeka's Tennessee Town neighborhood, the mural is a reproduction of one of four panels of "Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery Through Reconstruction" that Douglas completed in 1934 for the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture).

Kansas Museum of History

6425 SW 6th, Topeka

The Kansas State Historical Society's headquarters -- north of Interstate 70 and west off Wanamaker Road -- feature the Kansas Museum of History and the State Archives and Library. Visitors can spend hours indoors exploring the state's history -- from its first inhabitants through the Civil War to recent times -- but the sprawling grounds surrounding the museum are educational as well.


SW Skyline Parkway & SW Scenic Drive, Topeka

If you can avoid the bone-jarring craters on SW Scenic Drive (hint: stick to the edges), and you're willing to walk a ways uphill on gravel and climb over some weed-covered boulders, this park offers a spectacular view of Topeka from the top of Burnett's Mound. But beware if a storm approaches: The mound failed to protect Topeka -- as legend claimed it would -- from the June 8, 1966, tornado that roared over its crest before cutting a swath through the city to the northeast.


2501 SW Gage, Topeka

Just west of Felker Park on the west side of Gage Boulevard, Seabrook Park is a mostly sunny spot for play. The play area includes swings, teeter-totters and a merry-go-round -- nothing too fancy. A backstop at one edge of the park will keep stray balls from flying into the neighborhood. Flowers adorn the sign marking Seabrook Park.


3001 SW 21st, Topeka

This spacious park is easy to overlook on the south side of SW 21st between SW Randolph and SW Oakley. There are some swings, a climbing gym and some benches, but it's mostly open with scattered trees. The KNI Soccer Complex is across the road to the south.


1850 NW Lyman, Topeka

Located on NW Lyman Road adjacent to the Meadowood mobile home community, this small and sunny park offers picnic tables and some playground equipment, including swings. Shade and parking are limited.

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