BBQ grills

McKinley

917 NW Gordon, Topeka

Located at the intersection of NW Gordon and NW Western, this small, well-shaded park 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.



Meadowood

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.



Hughes

725 SW Orleans, Topeka

This 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.



Horne

3510 SW Atwood, Topeka

Located at SW 35th and Atwood and extending uphill to the east, this spacious park features a soccer field and lots of climbing apparatus for the youngsters. It also has a backstop for ball games, swings, slides, picnic tables and a BBQ grill. There's plenty of room to exercise the dog and lots of shade, too.



Hillsdale

5201 SW Huntoon, Topeka

Modern, brightly colored playground equipment highlights this large park at the intersection of SW Fairlawn and SW Huntoon. Youngsters also will like the swings, sand boxes and climbing equipment. Scattered trees shade benches, and there's a BBQ grill. There's also a small storm runoff creek.



Betty Phillips Park

3300 SE Irvingham, Topeka

If you love this park 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.



Gwendolyn Brooks

3691 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka

If it wasn't for the brisk traffic on nearby Topeka Boulevard, the park could be considered downright serene. As is, it has plenty of charm. A small bridge constructed by the Topeka West Rotary spans a ditch and there are plenty of developed trees. A Kansas Historical Marker discusses Kansas and Topeka history and nearby play equipment gives children a place to swing and teeter totter. Located at the corner of Topeka Boulevard and 37th Street, Gwendolyn Brooks has 37th Terrace running through its middle.



Freedom Valley

SE 14th and Locust, Topeka

From Freedom Valley you can hear the traffic zoom by on bordering Interstate 70. Yet, there's something serene and calming about this neighborhood oasis. Parking for the park sits off 14th Street between Locust and Illinois. To the south, trees and foliage block the view of the interstate -- at least during the summer when the branches are thick with leaves. The park also features some shady trees, but it has plenty of open, sunny stretches, where kite fliers can soar free of entanglement worries. At the bottom of the sloping park, a small fishing pond with a dock beckons.



Edgewood

SW 2nd and Edgewood, Topeka

Whether you're looking for a place to picnic, play tennis or simply relax, this heavily shaded park east of the Potwin neighborhood on SW 2nd is a good choice. An open-air shelter covers picnic tables, with a BBQ grill nearby, while modern playground equipment and swings occupy the youngsters. The tennis courts have seen better days, but at least one of them usually has a net.



Eastgate

SE 7th and Hackberry Drive, Topeka

This is a classic little neighborhood park where children can escape to swings, a merry-go-round and bouncy toys. A modest one-hoop basketball court has seen better days. The sunny park sits on the north side of 7th Street to the east of Rice Road and just west of Hackberry Drive.



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