Riverside Park – Central

#113 Riverside Park – Central720 Nims

This is the crown of Wichita’s historic parks and there is a ton to see and do.

Background: The various parts that make up Riverside Park, were acquired in 1886, 1887, 1897, 1899 and 1917. The park is dedicated by Finlay Ross (1847-1933) a Wichita businessman who served as 13th and 15th Mayor of Wichita and was responsible for the creation of Riverside Park in the late 1890s.

What we did: What a terrific day in Kansas. Jeremy and I walked the path and read all the historic markers along the way.

There were a lot people in the park which made us smile. It’s nice to see so many people enjoying what the city has to offer. We were bothered by the amount of trash we saw.

The Solar Calendar is a 2003 sculpture by Steve Murillo and Terry Corbett. The rocks track the sun’s location by aligning the stones at sunset, sunrise, and at local noon on the first day of each of the four seasons. Corbett is a ceramic artist and put the art on the tiles. He said Steve had the idea for the solar calendar and then checked with an astronomy professor at WSU to figure it out.

I was especially happy to see the rocket slide still standing. Although the city blocked it off so you can’t climb to the top anymore. It was deemed unsafe years ago. I have so many childhood memories of playing on that rocket.

Jeremy and I also checked out the wildlife exhibit. Most of the visit was spent trying to spot the animals. We did not see them all, but it was midday and warm, they were probably enjoying the shade

This was a very sweet childhood memory. So glad it is still standing

The slides and ladders were removed years ago because they were considered too dangerous.

The pagoda was built in 1911 as a concession stand and converted to a bathroom in 1913. Since 1936, the building has been used for storage

The Kansas Wildlife Exhibit has been a part of Riverside Park since the early 1900s. It was the city’s zoo until the Sedgwick County Zoo opened in 1974. In the mid-1980s, the small zoo’s focus switched to native Kansas animals.

A musical group was setting up for a concert. We talked to a few of them. It’s considered a worship service but it’s just music, no preaching. They said the band is made up of people from a number of different religions

Spanish-American Memorial: The cannon weighs 800 pounds and was cast in Seville, Spain in 1794.
It was captured in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898 and presented to Wichita in 1900.

The Hiker is a bronze sculpture created by Allen George Newman in 1926. This soldier was called a “Hiker” during the Spanish-American War. Jeremy found a painted rock on the statue. He moved it to a different spot. You’ll find out more if you read the rest of the park’s posts.

A half mile Walking Path follows the original horse racetrack known as Davidson’s Park

Celebration Plaza
The fountain was built in 2004, but it was not in use.

The gazebo was built in 2004, the gazebo overlooks a large lake. There was (what we assumed was) a homeless man picking up the trash and throwing it away. People just toss their trash out, and here this man is trying to make the park look nice.

Two parks down, one to go, check out Riverside South

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