Area Attractions

The Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Museum of History are located at 6425 SW 6th Avenue in Topeka, with four buildings, a nature trail on 80 acres of woodlands and prairie. The complex features dramatic exhibits presents programs to thousands of visitors each year. The society also administers 16 state historic sites around Kansas as well as tours at the State Capitol in Topeka.  Phone 785.272.8681. 

The Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site was established in Topeka on October 26, 1992, to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, ending segregation in public schools. The grand opening was May 17, 2004.

Cedar Crest  is the Governor’s Residence, and public tours are offered every Monday afternoon, every half hour between 1:00 and 3:30, with the exception of State holidays. Unless there are more than five in your group, reservations are not necessary. Private tours are available Monday and Tuesday mornings, and Tuesday afternoons, for groups of ten or more. The trails and fishing ponds on the grounds are available to the public. Cedar Crest is located at One SW Cedar Crest Road in Topeka, phone (785) 296-3636.

The Charles Curtis House Museum is the home of the only Native American to have served as Vice President of the U.S. under Herbert Hoover, from 1929-1933. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1893-1907. He was elected Senator in 1906 and served from 1907-1913 and again from 1915-1929. His home is now privately owned, and tours are available from 11:00-3:00 on Saturdays and by appointment. It is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and the Topeka Landmarks Register

 The Combat Air Musem is dedicated to restoring, preserving and displaying military aviation that represents all eras of powered flight – including exhibits of surveillance aircraft, fighters, missiles and other military pieces from 1917 up through Desert Storm.

Gage Park is a beautiful 160-acre park, great for family outings, reunions, walks, fishing, sporting events, quiet time and more. Featured attractions are the Topeka Zoo, Carousel in the Park, Train, Reinish Rose Garden, Helen Hocker Theatre, and Blaisdell Family Aquatic Center. The park has many other recreational facilities, including tennis swimming, volleyball and more. Shelters throughout the park can be reserved by calling (785) 368-3838. The Zoo is easily one of the more popular spots, with the Gorilla Encounter, Lion’s Pride, Black Bear Woods, Discovering Apes and the Tropical Rain Forest. The Carousel was built in 1908 and is one of less than 200 original American carousels still in operation, housing a 1909 Wurlitzer band organ.

Great Overland Station was formerly the Union Pacific Railroad Station, located on the north bank of the Kansas River.

Heartland Park Topeka sits in the rolling hills on the southern edge of Topeka, and draws over 250,000 people annually to the community. It is a race-track complex featuring a 2.5 mile road race course, a 3/8 mile dirt track, and world-class NHRA drag trip. Heartland Park hosts one NHRA national championship race, one NHRA division race, six bracket races, the World of Outlaws, spring cars, mini-sprints, off-road races and late models.

The Kansas Expocentre  books a variety of top-notch entertainment, including NBA exhibition games, PRCA Pro-Rodeo, Nickolodeon “Live,”, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, motorsports, thrill shows and numerous concerts. The Expocentre hosts a variety of state, regional and national functions, and has full-service catering and complete convention services. The Capitol Plaza Hotel is on the Expocentre grounds.

The Kansas History Center at 6425 SW 6th Street is a complex operated by the Kansas State Historical Society, and is located on a branch of the historic Oregon Trail. It includes the nationally recognized Kansas Museum of History, the Center for Historical Research, the Stach one-room school-house and the Koch Industries Education Center. Kansas history is told through a variety of exhibits ranging from the Indian era to the Civil War and up to the present.

The Kansas Judicial Center, located directly south of the Capitol, features a 30-foot sculpture by Bernard Frazier. The Fountains of Justice, which face the Capitol, symbolize the three branches of government and the seven Supreme Court Justices. Tours are available by calling (785) 296-2256.

The Kansas National Guard Museum was incorporated in 1986, and offers programs and services, a reference library and archives, a gift shop, and guided tours (by appointment only) to the public. Films about the history of the Kansas National Guard are shown daily. Using artifacts from the Kansas Militia and National Guard, the museum tells the history of the volunteer forces in the state from 1854 to the present. An outdoor park displays larger vehicles and aircraft used by Kansas National Guard Units.

The architecture of the Kansas State Capitol  exemplifies the strength of the pioneer spirit. Dating back to 1866, the Capitol houses Kansas’ most famous works of art by native-born John Steuart Curry. The House and Senate Chamber proudly display native oak, cherry wood and marble from Kansas, Italy, Belgium and Tennessee. Tours are available, though the Capitol is currently being restored to its original elegance, including a technology and mechanical system update. Please be patient with the construction process.

Lake Shawnee offers the most surprising recreational opportunities around. Lake facilities include The Garden House, Reynolds Lodge, marina, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, open spaces, campground, golf course, shelter houses, swimming beach with water slide, play-grounds and water activities of every kind. Special events and recreation programs make it a favorite stop in Northeast Kansas. Sailing and rowers find Lake Shawnee to their liking and there’s even a Yacht Club for sailing enthusiasts.   The campground is open year round for RV and tent camping, and shelter houses are available for rental throughout the summer with four shelters available year-round. Located at 3137 SE 29th Street, the telephone number of the administrative offices is (785) 267-1156.

The Mulvane Art Museum, located on Washburn University campus, opened in 1924 and is the oldest accredited art museum west of the Mississippi River. The museum’s permanent collection is national and international in scope and is also well represented with Kansas and regional artists. The newly-renovated museum features 5,000 square feet of exhibition space on two floors and the “ArtLab: Look, Create, Understand” education facility, a hands-on activity center for all ages.

Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Historic Site sits on 5-1/2 acres of living history, which includes a restored 1870 Victorian Mansion, wood cabin, train depot, one-room schoolhouse, stone barn, gift shop, general store, church and the 2-1/2 acre botanical gardens. The Potwin Drug Store is a 2-story replica turn-of-the-century drug store complete with a working soda fountain. Old Prairie Town is located on land that Anthony and Mary Jane Ward purchased from a Potawatomi Indian in 1854 for $100.  Located at 124 NW Fillmore, the telephone number is (785) 368-3888.

Potwin Place takes visitors back in time to the late 1800’s, lined with brick streets and carefully preserved Victorian homes. This National Historic District is located a few blocks west of downtown, between 4th and 1st Streets on Woodlawn and Greenwood Avenues.

Thunder Hill Speedway features regular race programs on Saturday nights, including 410 Sprint cars, IMCA modified, sportsman, street stock and pony stock. Special events include Monster Trucks, Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pull, MLRA Late Models and Dwarf Cars. Located 14 miles north of Topeka at Mayetta, Kansas, the telephone number is (785) 966-2844 (track) or (785) 966-2575 (office).

First Presbyterian Church at 817 SW Harrison, is one of the few churches in the nation to have its sanctuary decorated extensively with Tiffany stained glass windows. The work represents America’s foremost designer of stained glass, Louis Comfort Tiffany. The windows of the sanctuary are constructed with Favrile glass, cutting the sun’s rays into thousands of subtle shapes and colors.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, at 1515 SW 10th Avenue, has a collection of over 450,000 books and has over 85,000 registered borrowers. This beautiful building was designed by world-renowned design architect Michael Graves and the Topeka architectural firm of Horst, Terrill and Karst. Features include a full-service café, a gently-used book store, and media, computer training, business & investment, and genealogy centers. The library has the distinction of being home to the oldest permanent collection of public art in the city. The library’s Special Collections contain rare, collectible and unusual print materials with an emphasis on illustrations and special bindings. It is also home to the Kansas Center for the Book, one of 47 state centers that encourage the appreciation of books as art forms, promotes Kansas authors, illustrators and publishers, and supports literary programs, reading and libraries in Kansas.

Visitors to the Topeka Harley-Davidson Museum will find approximately 30 different rare Harley-Davidson’s, along with many pictures, tools, and collectibles displaying the store’s history as well as Harley-Davidson’s.

Topeka High School was designed by Topeka Architect Thomas W. Williamson, and was completed in 1931 at a cost of over one million dollars. It is one of the city’s most distinguished landmarks. Located just west of downtown at 800 SW 10th Avenue, the telephone number is (785) 295-3150.

The Topeka Performing Arts Center  (TPAC) is home to the 2500-seat Georgia Neese Gray Performance Hall. A brilliant array of events are planned each year, including concerts, comedians and Broadway Shows, as well as community events such as the Grape Escape (an annual wine and food tasting), and Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays.

Echo Cliff Park near beautiful Dover, Kansas.

Washburn University is the only municipally-owned university in the country and is one of Topeka’s greatest assets. Established in 1865. the 160-acre campus features modern facilities and state-of-the-art technology. The Mulvane Art Museum, White Concert Hall, Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre, the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center, Lee Arena and Moore Bowl are frequent sites for activities, performances, and events open to the entire community. The university provides broad based liberal arts and professional education through more than 200 educational programs leading to certification, associate, bachelor, master’s, and juris doctor degrees through the College of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing. Additionally, the campus is host to the Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Fair, Sunflower Music Festival and numerous other cultural activities and sporting events throughout the year. With 6,545 students and 1,000 employees, Washburn contributes more than $100 million per year to the local economy.   Topekans are proud that Washburn is rated seventh in the Midwest among public master’s level universities in the 2009 America’s Best Colleges rankings issued by U.S. News and World Report. This is the ninth consecutive year that Washburn has earned a top-10 rating.

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