Shelter house

Clyde O. Bracken (Sertoma)

200 SW 12th, Topeka

Members of the Sertoma clubs of Topeka helped build this modest park on 12th Street between Jackson and Harrison. Trees and two open-air shelters, with BBQ grills, provide relief from the weather, while a merry-go-round, swings and climbing bars can entertain youngsters. At the east end is a memorial to members of Kansas Lions clubs. An entrance to the Kansas Judicial Center parking lot is framed by garden beds.



Ripley

300 SE Lawrence, Topeka

Train enthusiasts will love kicking back at this park. No, trains don't run through the park, but the expansive park off SE 3rd and Lawrence neighbors busy train tracks. The park itself offers plenty of room to run across its fields and features a mix of newer and older play equipment including climbing areas, swings, slides and teeter-totters. The play area is well shaded, and a large gazebo provides a welcoming spot for picnics. Grills are located near the gazebo as are restrooms. Lots of picnic benches. The park also features playing fields and several outdoor basketball courts.



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.



Little Oakland

900 NE Chester, Topeka

This shady little neighborhood park fills one square block at the intersection of Chester and Fairchild. Lots of full, developed trees provide ample shade for kids playing on the mix of playground equipment. Families will love the slides, climbing toys, swings and rings. Park goers can even ease their thirst at a fountain in the park before relaxing on one of the many shaded benches. A concrete pad looks like it once was home to a tennis court, but with no net up during a trip by the park in June 2009, it didn't look like it was in use.



Lakewood

2301 SE Lakewood, Topeka

At Lakewood Park, find a shady spot with lots of beautiful trees -- a quiet place for ambling about and taking in the scene. The park, which is located off SE Lakewood in an area with businesses, includes an enclosed shelter house. It offers a minimal amount of playground equipment: a slide and two swings.



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.



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.



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.



Chesney

1823 SW Clay, Topeka

Located three blocks west of the Kansas Expocentre between 18th and 19th streets, this park 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.



Brookfield

2430 SW Kingsrow Road, Topeka

This newer neighborhood park located a few blocks east of Cypress Ridge Golf Course is deceptively versatile. There's modern playground equipment (on a rubberized surface) for the youngsters and a tennis/basketball court for more mature athletes. An open-air shelter covers three picnic tables and a walking path winds around the park for those wanting exercise for themselves or the dog or both. Plus there's a water fountain.



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