Gage Park

So I was going to do a write-up but really: who wants to read my blabbering for several paragraphs. Instead, I’ll keep it short and sweet. Because I’m tired and am about halfway through Catching Fire, which means I can hardly stand to not be reading it right now.


Last weekend we decided to hit up Gage Park. I have heard good things about it and we never ever go to Topeka, as close as it is, so we thought it would be the perfect day trip.

Gage Park is pretty much the jewel of the city – it is huge, like HUGE. It has been around since 1899 and houses the zoo, the aquatic center, a carousal, outdoor theater, several gorgeous gardens, and: a mini-train that runs the length of the park.

We skipped the aquatic center this trip, and went straight to the zoo. It’s a small zoo, that’s true, but that means you can finish the entire thing in about 90 minutes – which is perfect for the toddler set. I think we’ll be hitting this sucker up more than the KC Zoo in the future, it’s cheaper and closer to us and so much shadier (I am beginning to realize that KC really screwed up when they planned their zoo landscaping).

Next we were going to ride the train. Pete could not contain himself any longer. Except:

Yeah. So: no train. We distracted him by running him over to Animal Land. Julie: I think this place is calling your name. A park full of huge animals? Huge CEMENT animals? That could possibly cause major head injuries and/or bone-breakage? And look like they’re from circa 1957? Oh, heck yeah, it’s ON. We climbed all over them. And by that: I mean Scott climbed all over them and Pete squawked to be pulled up but then always chickened out once he was pulled up so whatever, it didn’t really count.

We did find a toy train in another part of the play area, which made Pete’s day.

Also: rockets. Awesome.

We closed out this trip by riding the vintage 1908 carousal. Theirs is enclosed in a structure rather than completely open air, and still has this fab old organ that plays the music (Wurlitzer-style?). Anyway. Coolest thing ever. And a steal at a buck a ride.

We posed as Wizard of Oz characters before heading out to find some lunch. We maybe hit up half of the park, maybe. And didn’t get our train ride (which is on our summer bucket list), so a return visit is inevitable. We shall meet again soon, Gage Park.



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  1. I love the pic he is leaning out of the train. So adorable. I want to squeeeeeezeeee him. In the least creepychildstalker way possible.

    • I think that is my favorite too, he was happy as a clam in that thing (took awhile to pry him away from it). You are free to squeeze my kid in a non-creepy-stalker way anytime you want, girlie.

  2. You take excellent pictures… nice write-up. πŸ™‚

  3. I cracked my head on the Octopus in Kindergarten…ahh the memories. πŸ™‚ Looks like fun! The best thing they used to have was this HUGE roller slide but it was taken down a while ago cuz it was waaay unsafe. But aren’t the best things always unsafe?

    • Okay you get to join our In Defense Of Old Scary Playground Equipment club πŸ˜› Bummer that the roller slide is gone, I bet it rocked! And I will now think of you every time I see that octopus…

  4. I was so hoping to see a picture of Pete in the giant cement kangaroo pouch. And I so loved the roller slide Kari speaks of, however I’m sure I smashed my hand in it not short of half a dozen times growing up. I always went back for more, though.

    Haven’t been to Gage Park in about 15 years…going to have to hit it up next time we’re in town. Great pics!

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