A sure sign of spring is the opening of Topeka’s Gage Park mini-train and carousel. The two classic attractions opened March 13 and will be open daily through Spring Break week. They will then remain open on weekends through the remainder of the school year before resuming daily operation for the summer.
“The start of the train and carousel season is a signal that warm-weather fun has arrived,” said Riley Shafer, community events and amenities supervisor for Shawnee County Parks + Recreation. “People are always excited to get back outdoors and enjoy the rides.”
Spring Break is here, but spring weather is a few days behind schedule. The Gage Park mini-train and carousel will open for Spring Break starting Sunday, March 12, weather permitting. The "feels like" temperature must be 40 degrees or warmer for the train to run. pic.twitter.com/q3uvcFCl1B
— Shawnee County Parks + Recreation (@SnCoParksRec) March 11, 2022
Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the last ride at 4:45 p.m. Admission is $2, and is free for kids under 12 months.
The train and carousel have been making memories for families for generations. Originally designed to last 20 years, the mini-train is entering its 55th year of following a one-mile course around Gage Park. The train carries around 100,000 passengers every year, while the engineer takes them through the park’s history.
As the historic train ages, repairs are getting more costly and difficult. In February, the Shawnee County Commission approved a request that would allow the Shawnee County Parks and Recreations Department to start looking for a new train. The train is expected to cost over$600,000; however, the money will come from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The old-fashioned carousel is more than 100 years old. It was built in 1908 and houses a Wurlitzer style band organ.
Gage Park is part of Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, which includes nearly 60 miles of trails, 2,625 acres of parks and 320 annual days of sporting activities. In addition, the department offers recreation programs, educational programs and golf. A combination of tax dollars, user fees and private donations enables Shawnee County Parks and Recreation to offer parks, sporting and aquatic facilities with state-of-the art features, and beautiful, nationally recognized gardens.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice
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