Guide to Gage Park, Topeka Kansas for Families

Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas is an incredible green space in the Shawnee County Parks. You’ll find 160 acres of play space that includes activities for the whole family. It’s the perfect place to stop through town, spend a while, or just hang out on your stay in Topeka.

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We spent an evening in Gage Park with the kids and I left feeling envious of the awesome community area Topeka offers. Gage Park is a great place for families to explore plants, ponds, pools, rides, and animals.

While it’s not quite as large as Forest Park in Missouri or Central Park in New York, it’s large enough to have some space but also feel community.

Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit to Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas.

pinnable image "Why you'll love Gage Park Topeka, KS" with 4 collage images: pink rose close up, distant view of grass, tree, and lake, view of a few playgrounds along a sidewalk, rectangular pond with lily pades

The History of Gage Park

Guilford Gage lived to his mid 60’s back in the 1800’s. He was local real estate investor in Topeka and known as a local philanthropist. When he died, his heirs decided to donate 80 acres of land just west of Topeka. It has since been known as Gage Park, which started as half the size in 1899 and has now grown to 160 acres.

Gage Park has been a great place for families to gather ever since.

Here are a few things around the park that local and visiting families enjoy:

overlooking a rose garden at Gage Park in Topeka, light pink rose bushes in the foreground, a row of dirt and un-bloomed bushes next, red rose bushes in the distance and trees lining the background with blue skies

The Reinisch Rose Garden

We have been to a tulip festival local to us, and I was a bit disappointed. So when I saw there was a rose garden at Gage Park in Kansas, I thought we may as well check it out. It was free to visit afterall.

And Oh My was it beautiful! We could smell the roses as we walked because there were so many!

a long, rectangular pond with tons of lily pads in the nearest half on the water, a reflection of a tree just beyond the far border with its symmetrical tree above the water

The rose garden is nicely laid out, with a small water feature in the middle full of lily pads. The roses are in sections by color and you and the kids can walk along the paths or sit in the benches to enjoy the colorful view.

I loved that this was free, easy, fun for the kids, and so beautiful. So make sure to stop and smell the roses when you’re in Topeka.

The Topeka Zoo

The Topeka Zoo is located right in Gage Park. You’ll have to go through the entrance and pay admission (currently under $10 each in 2024) to get to the good stuff.

You’ll find over 300 animals within 35 acres of land. Enjoy an African Safari experience, giraffes and other animals from the Serengeti Plain, and one of the best Japanese Gardens in North America, which opened back in 2020.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center

Closed Mondays

Giant light boards, car maintenance, building blocks, sensory garden, STEM play, or a lemonade stand. There is something for every kid at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka.

The discovery center is located in Gage Park and is a great activity for families, especially those with younger children.

Kids will love the freedom to paint right on the windows, build and design racetracks, or using pretend money to purchase groceries at the market to have some kid-level financial education.

This park earns points for being legit when we discovered there was a carousel. Unfortunately, it had already closed for the day when we made it over to that section.

The carousel is in a covered area right next to some (real) bathrooms and a playground. You can purchase individual ride tickets or a pack of tickets that are accepted at either the carousel or mini train that runs through the park.

Gage Park Carousel hours: 10-5 daily

Cost: $2 per ride

Gage Park Mini Train

This is the cutest thing about the park and I was sad that we also missed closing time on this.

Gage Park has a colorful train that runs on tracks around the scenic park. The train has been part of the park for over 40 years and includes the driver’s knowledge of the area and its history.

You can purchase individual tickets for a train ride or a pack of tickets good for the train or carousel.

Gage Park Train Hours: 10-5 daily

Cost: $2 per ride

Blaisdell Family Aquatic Center

We arrived in Topeka shortly before Memorial Day, so while the pool looked ready to go, it’s wasn’t quite open.

But we could see passed the iron fence and into my kid’s dream activity: waterslides.

Families with little ones will appreciate the zero entry, while older kids will love the waterslides. You can also run across the logs, jump off the diving board, or just bask in the sun.

This cool aquatic center is so much more than just a pool.

a sidewalk going straight through a grassy area with lots of large mature trees giving shade.  Playgrounds scatter intermittently along the sidewalk

Lots of playgrounds, play space, and climbing areas

little girl climbing in a climbing playground at a park.  Frame is red with yellow connectors at the joints, thick rope strung along to climb on

Playgrounds at Gage Park

We found plenty of different areas to play, run, and climb at Gage Park in Topeka with our kids. The issue was deciding which are to try first.

The kids loved climbing on the rock animals and then running over to the playground to use the slides.

There are a few areas around the center of the park that have playgrounds and they vary based on age, making it easy to find something perfect for your child.

a small lake at Gage Park in Kansas.  Green grass in the foreground, tall mature trees to the right and a lake in the center with some moss/algae in the middle, giving off a great calm reflection of the sky and a large tree across the lake

Take a Scenic Walk

Gage Park is gorgeous. Not only does it have all the fun features listed above, but there are lakes and ponds and bridges and sidewalks that go all around the park.

If you just need a relaxing way to end or begin your day, try a peaceful walk around the park.

While the entire park isn’t covered in trees, there are plenty of large trees to find a shady spot if the sun gets too hot.

Other Things to do at Gage Park, Topeka

Bringing the dog along? Gage Park has a great, large area at their dog park where you can take your furry friend off their leash and let them run and play.

If you are looking for entertainment, visit the Helen Hocker Theater at Gage Park where you’ll find plenty of family-friendly shows to attend.

Is Gage Park Dangerous?

Use common sense, of course, when it comes to kid-safety. Choose age-appropriate playgrounds they can climb on, always have eyes on your little ones in the pool, etc.

Our personal experience: We saw so many families just enjoying their day like we were at Gage Park. My husband would go off with my son to do something while I’d stay with the girls on the playground, and I never felt “off” or concerned in Gage Park.

As far as crime, Topeka sees crime like any other city. Keep your wallets and valuables out of your parked car, use common sense while out and about.

Common sense ideas include always having an eye on your kids and visiting Gage Park during daylight when there are plenty of people around playing, too.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas.

Is Gage Park Free?

Yes, Gage Park is free to visit in Topeka, Kansas! Enjoy the playgrounds, walking paths, rose garden, and other activities in the park for free. There IS an admission fee to amenities within the park like the pool, concessions, carousel, train, and discovery center.

How Big is Gage Park, Topeka?

Gage Park 160 acres, making it the largest park in Topeka.

Where do you park at Gage Park, Topeka?

There are a few parking lots in Gage Park. One is near the Blaisdell pool, one at the zoo, and one at the discovery center. But you can also find street parking with painted parking spots.

How Many Acres is the Topeka Zoo?

The Topeka Zoo is 35 acres. While it doesn’t compare in size to larger zoos like San Diego (it’s nearly 1/3 of the size) or closer ones like St. Louis, it’s still considered a small-to-medium size zoo.

Visiting Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas

Whether you are celebrating a birthday, out for a picnic, enjoying a fun family day out, or just passing through, make sure to stop and discover all that Gage Park has to offer.

We visited Gage Park when we stayed in Topeka on our road trip from Denver to St. Louis. We were so happy to have stopped and couldn’t believe how beautiful this park was.

Don’t miss the beautiful rose garden or the small but mighty zoo in Gage Park. Then, make sure to give the kids time to run and play on one of the many great playgrounds with plenty of other kids around.

Gage Park is a true gem in Topeka and worth a stop for every family. If you were looking for what to do in Gage Park, you now know how many great activities are available!

Have more time in Topeka? Make sure to check out Ward Meade Historic Site!

pinnable image "Why you'll love Gage Park Topeka, KS" with 4 collage images: pink rose close up, distant view of grass, tree, and lake, view of a few playgrounds along a sidewalk, rectangular pond with lily pades

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