Topeka, KS Weekend Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 |

Day 1

Hello Camp Courageous!!

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The Travel Group is back on the road again! This weekend we are visiting Topeka, KS. This is Camp’s first trip to Topeka so we are excited to explore this city! We started the day off with picking up the travelers at Camp, Marion and Coralville. Then we headed to Newton, IA where we stopped at Culver’s for lunch and to pick up our last traveler.
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After a delicious meal we continued our drive to Kansas. To help pass the time we watch a couple of classic movies, Willy Wonka and Mrs. Doubtfire. We arrived at out hotel a little after 5pm. We got settled in our rooms then headed out for dinner. All of the restaurants were pretty busy! Traveler, Eric Paulsen said that he would love to go to Golden Corral…guess what we found nearby?! Golden Corrall! They could get us seated right away so we enjoyed a great variety of food on their buffet.IMG_3197IMG_3199
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some rest for our big day in Topeka tomorrow!

Day 2

Hello Camp Courageous!

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IMG_3208The Travel Group had a great time exploring Topeka today! After eating breakfast at our hotel we made our way to our first stop, Great Overland Station.IMG_3204IMG_0563IMG_0569 IMG_0555This Union Pacific passenger station opened in 1927 and was considered to be “one of the finest passenger stations on the line”. When we arrived we were greeted by our tour guide, George. George was a great guide! IMG_2558He told us the history behind the station and threw in some jokes along the way as well. This station survived a fire and a major flood! This station had gone through a $6 million renovation!IMG_3202IMG_0568IMG_0560 IMG_0551Along our tour we got to see train simulators that engineers would use to learn how to drive trains, baggage carts, old menus and china from the dining cars and more.IMG_2555 We even got to visit the old train depot. The travelers enjoyed getting to stand behind the ticket counter and pass out tickets!IMG_0567IMG_0553
IMG_0556After our tour of the station we headed to visit the Great Mural Wall of Topeka. The Great Mural Wall is a community based art project that started in 2007. IMG_3228IMG_3231The community wanted to put some color back in the community so a few local artists got together and painted a mural on the wall that surrounds an old water reservoir.IMG_3222IMG_3226There were several murals that had been painted on the 900ft wall! Each mural told a story about Topeka’s culture and history. It was great learning about Topeka’s history and seeing the beautiful murals!IMG_3224IMG_3227
Our next stop was lunch! We went to a restaurant that was started in Kansas by two brothers back in the 70s.IMG_0572IMG_0581This restaurant is called Spangles. Spangles had some great meals deals that included dessert so we had to indulge! The travelers enjoyed their sandwiches and ice cream!!IMG_3232IMG_0577
After lunch we drove by the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Monroe Elementary School. Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case where the Court declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.
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We then made our way to the North Star Supper Club. Here we met Cathy Ramirez, a local ghost hunter/ghost tour guide. She joined our group on the bus and directed us around North Topeka telling us all about the history and hauntings of this area of the city. This was a great tour! IMG_3239IMG_3238She told us stories from this restaurant where a 30lb meat sliced flew off of the top of the refrigerator, a stack of extra larger cookies sheets fell over and landed end to end and more! We stopped at an old animal shelter where a worker’s coat which was only partially zipped at the bottom, zipped the rest of the way up on it’s own!IMG_3244 IMG_3250There had also been sightings of a light colored/almost translucent dog that had been spotted running down the hallway before disappearing. We also stopped at a few cemeteries, where we got to get of of the bus and explore and take pictures for a few minutes.DSCN0670 DSCN0680Keep an eye out when looking at these pictures for anything our of the ordinary! Cathy gave us the tip for picture taking when ghost hunting.DSCN0674 DSCN0662She said you should take three rapid pictures of the same shot so you can see if there are any changes. Cathy had told us about a night in the animal graveyard where a pinwheel started spinning after she put her hand near the marker of a grave with the name Hailey on it. DSCN0685There wasn’t a breeze that night and none of the other pinwheels at other marker were spinning. Other stops along the tour include an old Moose Lodge where there have been sightings of a little old lady sitting in a chair on multiple occasions and sounds of dancing and laughing when there wasn’t anyone else in the building.IMG_3249IMG_3248 Cathy kept us on the edge of our seats with all of her stories and the travelers enjoyed the 2 hour tour!IMG_3221
After the tour, we made our way to Weller’s Grill and Bar where we enjoyed a delicious dinner!IMG_3254IMG_3255 IMG_3251After dinner we went back to the hotel to take advantage of the pool and hot tub! The travelers loved spending time at the pool! We are all now resting up for our last day in Topeka before heading back to camp!IMG_3262IMG_3258

Day 3

Hello Camp Courageous!

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We started off our morning with another delicious breakfast at our hotel. We then packed up the bus and made our way to our final activity of the weekend, the Topeka Zoo!IMG_3265 With the colder temperature and the little bit of snow that fell yesterday, some animals were inside staying warm but we still had a great time!IMG_0584IMG_3286 We saw a wolf, tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes and a hippo just to name a few!IMG_0590 IMG_3266They also had a tropical rainforest building that we got to explore! Inside there were different kinds of birds, turtles and really big bats (Indian Red Fox Bats) that were just hanging out at the top of the building. No netting or anything!IMG_0591IMG_3267 A zoo staff member told us that usually around 4:30pm they will start flying around the lower area of the building! The travelers thought it was very cool to be able to see such large bats that close!IMG_0593IMG_3269 Traveler, JoAnn Malik told us her favorite animal was the tiger so we had to go see them!IMG_0594IMG_3272 There were three adult tigers that were moving about their habitat and JoAnn was very excited to see them up close!IMG_0599IMG_3277 There was still some snow on the ground so traveler Chris Weir decided to start a snow ball fight with a couple of the staff!IMG_0595IMG_3292 Traveler, Tony Cavin also joined in while everyone else cheered them on! What a fun day at the zoo!IMG_0600
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Because of the snow forecast for Iowa we decided to leave the zoo a little early so we could make it back before all the snow!IMG_0601 IMG_3291So we grabbed lunch (and a surprise cookie treat!) from Subway to eat on the bus. We watched a couple movies along the way as well!IMG_0604IMG_3278 We stopped in Newton to drop of a traveler before continuing our drive to Coralville. We stopped for dinner at McDonald’s where 4 travelers were picked up.IMG_0606IMG_3293 Our next stop was Marion  to drop off 4 more travelers and we dropped off our final traveler at camp. Everyone has been picked up and made it home safely.
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2 Responses

  1. Debra Yates says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of all the experiences the travelers were able to take part in. This was my son’s very first “independent” trip, and it looks like there was so much to do! I know it takes a lot of work to set these events up, and appreciate everything Camp Courageous did to provide this growth opportunity. I can’t wait until hw takes his next trip!

  2. Lance Billhorn says:

    Great pictures, thanks!!