Parks and Facilities

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The Gardner Parks and Recreation Department strives to establish, preserve and manage public parks and facilities that offer a variety of leisure opportunities to benefit and enrich the quality of life for the people of the community.Select a park from the listing below to learn about the park/facilities and amenities each park offers for the enjoyment of you and your family.

If you would like to reserve a park or facility, click here to submit a facility request. Reservations can also be made in person at the Parks and Recreation Customer Service Center located in City Hall, 120 E. Main Street, Gardner, KS. Reservations for shelters, pool and pool shelter rentals must be made and paid for 72 hours in advance.  Reservations for the Senior Center must be made seven days in advance.  NO reservation will be made or accepted until it is entered into the computer by the Parks and Recreation staff, you have signed the Waiver of Liability, and all applicable fees are paid in full. (Please note:  No reservations will be made for park shelters after 12:00 p.m. on Fridays for the weekend following. Staff needs adequate time to prepare shelters and be given assignments.)  Shelter, Ballfield & Senior Center Reservation Policies (pdf)

Any individual or group wanting to charge admission for attendance to an event or sell an item or product at a park shelter or other City of Gardner facility must receive written consent from the Director of Parks and Recreation or their designee, and additional charges and fees may apply to the rental. The City of Gardner and the Gardner Parks and Recreation Department reserve the right to refuse rental activities that are not of good character, illegal, or may be detrimental to the facility.

Gardner Parks & Recreation does not allow pets at any of our sports fields, including the baseball/softball and soccer fields at Celebration Park and the baseball/softball fields at Westside Park.

**Bathrooms in Gardner Parks: Annually, park bathrooms are open approx. from April 1- October 1- However, if there is a threat of freeze, they may open later than April. 1 and be closed earlier than Oct. 1. 
For Westside Park: The bathrooms at Westside Park are not open unless there are softball and baseball games being played.
 **A portable toilet can be rented for use at an additional charge and by request. 
Please make your request and pay for a portable toilet at least one week in advance to give staff time to order and schedule delivery of the toilet. 

The Historic Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails are of national significance. The Gardner Junction Park site, located just west of present day Gardner, along U.S. 56 Highway and West 183rd Street, is a premier site on the historic trails in Kansas. It is the first, the prototype, for the rest of the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas, and Gardner is proud to be the site of this “first” historic venture. This project has brought together major players in the preservation of trail history from across the United States. The committee of preservations and historians is comprised of the National Park Service, Santa Fe Trails Association, Oregon-California Trail Association, Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association, Gardner Historical Museum, Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas Department of Transportation, Johnson County Museum-Lanesfield School and Historical Site, and the City of Gardner.

The approximately one-acre roadside park, is owned by the City of Gardner and was dedicated in the summer of 2008.  The park is located near the spot where westward travelers split off onto the wagon roads to Santa Fe, California, or Oregon, depending on their destination. 

Providing a glimpse into the kind of prairie flora westbound travelers would have encountered in the 1800s is the goal of recent plantings at the park.  The plantings were begun in February 2008 and completed in the spring of 2010 from seed sources in Missouri and Minnesota, which include six species of native grass and about 30 types of wildflowers.  The grasses include: sideoats grama, little bluestem, Indian grass, Canada wild rye, Virginia wild rye, and June grass.  Among the wildflowers are: purple prairie clover, black-eyed Susans, several varieties of Kansas gayfeather, bee balm, purple and white coneflowers and butterfly weed.  

"The purpose is to show what the travelers saw on their way west," said volunteer Fred Markham of Kansas City, MO, who has helped with the planning and planting at the park.  The site includes both wet and dry prairie plants.  Some of the wetland varieties include: swamp milkweed, marigolds, and asters, as well as river oats, mountain mint, cardinal flowers and prairie blazing stars. 

The park includes a red-roofed shade structure with 'trailhead' style orientation panels highlighting points of interest and things to see both to the east and to the west along the National Historic Trails to Santa Fe, Oregon and California.  A 400-foot paved walking path leads the visitor to wayside exhibits telling about the history, people and significance of the region.  There is a paved parking area for several vehicles.  

Gardner Junction Park is the first of several sites designed to help the traveling public learn about and enjoy the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.  A second site is nearing completion at Old Franklin, MO, and a third is in the final planning stages for the well-known trail ruts west of Dodge City, KS.   


Features available at the Gardner Junction Park:

  • Short walking path with wayside exhibits about the history, people and significance of the site. 

  • Shade structure with 'trailhead' style orientation panels highlighting points of interest and things to see and do along each trail.

For several interesting articles about the history of the trails near Gardner, click the link below:
 https://www.nps.gov/safe/learn/historyculture/gardner-junction.htm

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