11 Best Places and Things To Do in Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, the capital city of Kansas, may not be as widely known as some of its neighboring cities, but it has a lot to offer visitors seeking a unique and authentic Midwestern experience. From its rich history and cultural attractions to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Topeka has something for everyone.

1. Topeka Zoo

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The Topeka Zoo is a wonderful place to spend a day with family and friends. It is home to a wide range of animal species, including elephants, tigers, giraffes, and more. The zoo offers educational programs, interactive exhibits, and opportunities to get up close with some of the animals. Don’t miss the Tropical Rainforest exhibit and the popular Kay McFarland Japanese Garden located within the zoo premises.

2. Combat Air Museum

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Aviation enthusiasts will love the Combat Air Museum, which showcases a remarkable collection of aircraft and artifacts. From vintage planes to military helicopters, this museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of aviation and military conflicts. You can also explore exhibits that highlight the achievements and sacrifices of men and women in the armed forces.

3. Evel Knievel Museum

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For fans of daredevil stunts and motorcycle enthusiasts, the Evel Knievel Museum is a must-visit. Located at Historic Harley-Davidson in Topeka, this museum celebrates the life and career of the legendary stunt performer, Evel Knievel. See his iconic motorcycles, personal memorabilia, and learn about his death-defying jumps and incredible achievements.

4. Kansas Museum of History

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Immerse yourself in Kansas’s rich history at the Kansas Museum of History. This museum offers engaging exhibits that cover various periods, from Native American settlements to the Civil War and beyond. Learn about the state’s role in westward expansion, agriculture, and the Civil Rights Movement. The museum also features interactive displays and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

5. Gage Park

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Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by visiting Gage Park, a picturesque urban green space. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, have a picnic, or rent a paddleboat to explore the pond. The park is also home to the Topeka Zoo, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, and the Reinisch Rose Garden, which is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the blooming flowers.

6. Kansas Children’s Discovery Center

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Families with young children should not miss the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits and educational activities designed to inspire creativity and curiosity in kids. From a dinosaur-themed play area to a pretend farm and a water playground, there is plenty to keep children entertained and engaged.

7. Lake Shawnee

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Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the natural beauty of Lake Shawnee, located just south of Topeka. The lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking. There are also campgrounds, picnic areas, and a golf course, making it a great destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

8. Mulvane Art Museum

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Art lovers should make their way to Washburn University’s Mulvane Art Museum. The museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. It hosts rotating exhibits featuring local and national artists, providing a platform for both established and emerging talents.

9. Heartland Park Topeka

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Heartland Park Topeka. This world-class racetrack hosts thrilling events, including drag racing, road course racing, and dirt track events. Check the schedule to see if there are any races or events happening during your visit and experience the adrenaline rush of high-speed competition.

10. Lake Shawnee Golf Course

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Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the scenic Lake Shawnee Golf Course. This well-maintained public course offers a challenging layout amidst the picturesque landscape of Lake Shawnee. Enjoy a round of golf while surrounded by nature’s beauty and take in the views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

11. Ward-Meade Park

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Take a step back in time at Ward-Meade Park, a historical park that offers a glimpse into Topeka’s past. Explore the beautifully preserved Victorian-era Ward-Meade Mansion, which features period furnishings and offers guided tours. The park also includes a pioneer village with historic buildings, a botanical garden, and walking trails.

Topeka has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Topeka.