TOPEKA, KAN. – Jerold Binkley Tulip Time 2023 is set for April 7-23. The event features tens of thousands of multi-colored tulips and flowering bulbs in Shawnee County Parks + Recreation’s three featured gardens – Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee, Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Botanical Garden and Doran Rock Garden and surrounding areas in Gage Park. The event is named for its founder, Jerold Binkley who passed away in 2019.
Tulip Time began nearly 30 years ago in the home gardens of Jerold and Joan Binkley. Mr. Binkley desired to create an ongoing and beautiful county-wide event with Tulip Time. Today the event draws visitors from around the nation.
There are two special events in addition to regular self-guided tours through the gardens. Tulips at Twilight features 90 larger than life lighted displays with thousands of tulips illuminated by candle light and lighted displays. The displays include 15-foot tall illuminated tulips and larger-than-life illuminated flowers, illuminated mushrooms tall enough for patrons to walk beneath them, rivers of blue lights and floating lanterns in the Asian garden. Patrons may enjoy Old Prairie Town building tours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Tulips at Twilight is set for 7-10 p.m. April 7-23. Admission is a $5 per person with children five and under free.
Tulip Time Festival the Lake is set for April 15 at Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee. The event features 40,000 multi-colored tulips of 30 to 40 varieties, daffodils and hyacinths in bloom along with food and craft vendors and a performance by the Topeka High Drumline. The festival runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. A $5 donation for the day gains guests entry to the gardens plus all of the entertainment and fun. SCP+R horticulturists each year plant special design in several tulips beds. Patrons are encouraged to try and spot them. Past designs have included a breast cancer ribbon, a heart, a patchwork quilt tulip bed, an emoji and a Pokemon icon.
Tulip Time has been attended in the past by people from 68 cities in Kansas, multiple states and visitors from the United Kingdom, India, Russia, Australia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Tulip Time is an annual destination popular with everyone from area residents to out-of-state visitors on bus tours. A $5 donation is suggested at Ted Ensley Gardens and Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Botanical Garden to help cover the cost of the event and enable Tulip Time to continue in future years. Guided tours for groups of 15 or more with advance reservations are available at Ted Ensley Gardens and Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Botanical Garden (785) 251-6800.
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation includes 60 miles of trails, 2,696 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.