Family Vacations Bloom in Topeka

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Family vacations and weekend getaways are in bloom in Topeka; your family will love exploring Topeka’s top-rated attractions and your wallet will appreciate our Midwest value. Check out our top nine Topeka things to do this spring.

Indoor and Outdoor Play at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center Topeka Kansas

Learn, create, discover at Topeka's newest attraction, the Kansas Children's Discovery Center.

Family vacations and weekend getaways are in bloom in Topeka. Climb to the top of the newly renovated Kansas Statehouse, relax with a stroll in beautiful gardens across the city and enjoy a delicious meal at one of our favorite restaurants. Your family will love exploring Topeka’s top-rate attractions and your wallet will appreciate our Midwest value.

1.    Conquer the Capitol Dome Tour
This spectacular tour is breathtaking—literally—with 296 steps and no elevator. The Kansas Statehouse is the only U.S. capitol building where the public can go to the top of the cupola and step outside. The dome tour starts on the fifth floor and explores the area between the inner dome, which is what is visible inside the capitol, and the outer dome, which can be seen from outside the building. Connecting the two domes are a series of stairs and landings that offer an unparalleled look at the elaborate architecture with close up views of the inner and outer domes. After climbing to the top of the dome, step outside onto the cupola balcony and take in an amazing view from the highest point in Topeka. Bring a camera to capture this exhilarating experience.

2.    Smell the Tulips
Tulip Time, one of Topeka’s favorite festivals is upon us. Gaze in wonder at one of the most beautiful recreational outdoor areas in northeast Kansas. On top of the natural beauty of the landscape, view more than 50,000 tulips and daffodils at the Ted Ensley Botanical Gardens at Lake Shawnee. Take a stroll in the largest park in Topeka and literally smell the flowers. Gage Park is home to the Renisch Rose Gardens as well as thousands of tulips during the Tulip Time Festival. Step back in time at Old Prairie Town, a six acre pioneer village, surrounded by colorful tulips and a lush botanical garden during the spring. Don’t forget to have a delicious old-fashioned cream soda while you’re there.

3.    Learn and Love
Get your mind working and your heart enjoying all the fun at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Learn from interactive exhibits such as the art gallery where you can experiment with paint, rainbows, light, and mobiles. Construct towers, bridges and architectural masterpieces while creating pathways for algebra and geometry in the build gallery. Work as a team in the careers gallery where exploring options for the future is fun! Take the adventure outdoors to the hiking trails, vegetable garden, flower and butterfly garden, tree house and don’t forget excavating in the paleontology dig.

4.    Take a Ride
Relive old memories and create new memories on the historic carousel and mini-train at Gage Park. The mini-train has been an integral part of the sights and sounds of Gage Park for over 45 years. Follow a mile-long scenic course through the heart of the park, as the engineer enlightens you on the history of Gage Park. Pick out your favorite animal on the grand old carousel. Built in 1908, the carousel houses a Wurlitzer style band organ that plays during your ride.

5.    Get Wild
The Topeka Zoo has a wild summer lined up! You can bounce your heart out in the Patchy Play Yard on inflatables, learn about zoo life on the Wildlife Stage, take a weekend pony ride, skate on the synthetic ice rink and get up close and personal at the Predator Encounter. In addition to the wild extras at the zoo this summer you can also enjoy your favorite parts of the zoo such as a trip through the Tropical Rain Forest, watching your favorite animals and petting friendly animals at the children’s petting zoo.

6.    Fly over
The Combat Air Museum offers a whole new experience on how you see aircraft and aviation. You can look inside, touch and view more than 30 aircraft from WWI to present day. After you tour the museum, fly the Topeka sky on the simulation airplane. The entire family will love the tour experience.

7.    Grab a Bite
Get crafty with your food at College Hill Pizza Pub. Your personal pizza can be created from more than 50 toppings and sauces. The friendly staff at Pizza Pub is never short on suggestions, so ask them for their favorite combinations.

8.    Make a Splash
Swimming at the Shawnee North Family Aquatic Center is fun for everyone. The lazy river is the perfect place to relax. Laugh as you rush down huge water slides or play pretend on the pirate ship. Use the diving boards to cannonball, belly flop, or dive into the deep end. The aquatic center is fully equipped with concession stands, bathhouses and plenty of lawn chairs for soaking up some rays!

9.    Taste a Sweet Treat
Taste a delicious treat at G’s Frozen Custard where you can always expect fresh custard and friendly service. Reviews rave that G’s is the best place to get frozen custard in Topeka. This locally-owned spot is known for its creative flavors and popular brown bread custard.

SAVINGS TIP: Families can purchase a Gage Park Family Passport to save even more during their trip to Topeka! The Gage Park Family Passport includes a one time admission for four people at the Topeka Zoo, Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, Gage Park Mini Train and Carousel. Passports can be purchased online or at Gage Park or Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.

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Melissa Kershner
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