My family moved to Arkansas right before my 5th birthday. I consider myself to be from Arkansas. But, there is a part of me that loves Kansas and Topeka in particular. Whenever we visit, we have a list of places to visit - our old house (which was a terrible run down mess this trip, so sad), my mom's childhood home, the State Capital, Bobo's Drive-In (as featured on Diners, Drive-In's and Dives) - I still haven't ever eaten there, though, Gage Park and the High School. On this visit, we spent the bulk of our outdoor time at Gage Park.
In the park, there is a little train that goes all around the park so you can see everything. Gage Park has a Rose Garden, the Zoo, the Aquatic park, Playland and lots of hidden gems. I used to ride the train when I was little and whenever we go back, given the chance, I like to ride it again. We had a bit of time before the Memorial this weekend, so we all went to the Park before we went to the cemetery.
I didn't know how much the train would cost to ride, so I grabbed a ten and wished for the best. I haven't been there in awhile and everything costs a fortune now, so what did I expect, right? But, it was only $1.25 a ticket. A great, fun bargain! They give you a golden token with the train on it to give to the Conductor. I bought an extra one for The Bean to keep as a souvenir. He likes tokens, pressed pennies and coins as his souvenirs. (I don't know those four girls in front, but the rest of the passengers are my family. We did actually have a few kids with us, so we were legit for riding the train.)
The conductor talked the entire time. But, it sounded like the grown-ups on Charlie Brown. "Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah." I bet he is exhausted every night with all the talking, and no one ever understands a word he says. Bless his heart.
As we rounded one corner, I spotted this huge blast of color. Then I realized it was tulips - hundreds and hundreds of tulips. I tell you, it took every fiber of my being not to hop off that train and run straight to them. But, I didn't and the train kept on going. When we got off, I wanted to go back to the tulips, but there just wasn't enough time.
The next day, the family was still all together with no obligations and nothing to do but just be together. It was a gorgeous Spring day, so I suggested (begged) that we all go back to the tulips. I had to see them up close! The colors were amazing! I was lucky to get this one photo without people in it - it was crazy busy with photo ops and professional photographers.
This is what most of my photos looked like - full of gorgeous tulips and strangers behinds!
The colors were amazing!
Beautiful red tulips.
Brilliant orange tulips!
Sunny yellow tulips.
My personal favorite - yummy pink tulips.
A rainbow of pinks and purples.
The Bean's favorites - bright orange tulips.
Photo Op - Little girl in tutu hunting Easter Eggs by the tulips. They actually had a little pink grand piano that they stuck in the pink tulips. They put her in a pink tutu and sat her at the piano. I really wanted to sneak a photo, but it would have been too obvious. It was cute, but a bit overkill to me.
My family taking over the park.
Not far from the tulip garden, there is an old carousel. When I was a kid, and long before that, it was at an old amusement park across town. When the amusement park closed, the city purchased it and placed it in the center of the park.
It was such a hit of nostalgia to see the old carousel.
Around the top, there are handpainted scenes from around Topeka including the State Capital building and such, circa early 1900's.
My animal of choice - the giant bunny.
Although, the chicken rates pretty high too.
Unlike the train, we didn't have any kids with us, but there are no rules on this carousel! So, you see my cousins and The Bean loaded up and ready to go! I rode too, but I sat in a bench. I couldn't find anything low enough to get on by myself! (I am only thismuch too tall to legally enter the playland at ChickfilA.)
Last stop outside the carousel - what trip to Kansas would be complete without......
The Wizard of Oz!
Jonah makes a stunning Dorothy, doesn't he?
Me as The Scarecrow. I don't look happy.
The Bean as The Tin Man.
Noah as The Cowardly Lion.
The cutouts were made for children, so we didn't really fit that well. But, that didn't stop us!
Although the primary mission of our trip was to have a short Memorial for my Grandmother, we managed to have a ton of family time, enjoy the beautiful outdoors, have some childish fun with my cousins and relax. It was a very good time! I was lucky to have two Springs this year. And, that was good because since we got home it has not stopped raining and hailing for days. Rain, rain, go away! Bring back the tulips!