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Central Park

From Chingawassa Days, to Art in the Park and Old Settler’s Day, to everyday activities, the park receives much use. This six acre park, is also the location for an annual car show, sponsored by the Marion Lion’s Club. Family picnics, weddings, basketball games and an annual sand volleyball tournament, are other popular activities in the park.

Hard work has gone into maintaining the natural beauty of the Central Park, located just east of our Central Business District, which has been a fixture of Marion since its founding. All improvements, including playground equipment, and a gazebo which contains public restroom and a small stage, have been strategically placed to blend with their surroundings.

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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America, but within a generation the vast majority was developed and plowed under. Today less than 4% remains, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills, where the plows simply could not go.

Just a short drive (30 miles) from Marion, through scenic Flint Hills vistas, is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The preserve, a public/private partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service, protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources. The nearly 11,000-acre park includes 41 miles of hiking trails, a bison herd, limestone buildings from the original working ranch, and a visitor’s center.

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County Park & Lake

If you enjoy the outdoor life-fishing, boating, camping and all the rest-and you like a tranquil setting in which to enjoy it, then the Marion County Park & Lake is the place to visit. Completed in 1937 as a WPA/Conservation Corps project, the lake is on the National Historic Register. A monument to the men who built the lake is at the lake entrance.

The lake is approximately 153 acres of water. Encircled by a four-mile blacktop road, the park is an additional 150 acres and includes a swimming beach, boating and water skiing, a free 18-hole disc golf course, biking, camping and picnic facilities, playground, recreational hall, shelter houses, shady groves, fishing, a bait & tackle shop, heated fishing dock, restrooms and more.

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Marion Reservoir

The Marion Reservoir is located just north of U.S. Highway 56 west of Marion. Camping and picnicking opportunities are numerous with 171 campsites located in four parks: Cottonwood Point, Hillsboro Cove, Marion Cove, and French Creek Cove.

A special treat for wildlife observers is the 1-mile Willow Walk Nature Trail located at Cottonwood Point. Anglers have bright opportunities at Marion Reservoir. The lake is noted for its walleye, crappie, white bass, wipers and channel catfish. Boaters will find boat ramps located around the lake. Hunters at Marion Reservoir will find pheasants, quail, rabbits, turkeys, and white-tail deer, Canada, snow, and white-front geese and many species of ducks.

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East Park

East Park is located on the east end of Marion across from the Elementary School on the corner of Lawrence and Thorp. The park was created in 1957, and playground equipment and a shelter house were added two years later. The tennis courts were installed in the 1970s and a rubberized surface was added in the 1980s. The basketball courts were installed in the 1980s, converted to a skate park in 2002, and then re-purposed back to basketball courts recently.

In 2015 the City of Marion was one of 49 Kansas communities to receive a community improvement grant through the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program, which was used to begin renovations to the park.

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Marion Historical Museum

The Marion Historical Museum is located in the old 1887 Baptist church, located on the north east corner of Central Park at 623 East Main Street. Inside the museum are displays of 19th century dresses, quilts and other needlework, dolls, toys and wooden washing machines. The (first) Marion telephone switchboard, the old wooden Canada post office cabinet with letter cubicles, farm tools, early church record books, and a large display of photographs of families and Marion buildings.

The museum is open from the 1st of May until the middle of October on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M., Sundays 12:00 P.M. until 2:00 P.M., or by appointment with a 24-hour notice.

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Santa Fe Depot

Trains have been coming to Marion as early as 1879 – when the first passenger train arrived in town. A fire destroyed the original structure, and on June 17, 1912, the new depot was dedicated and officially opened. The track that this depot served became the M&M (Marion and McPherson) Line and ran from Florence to Lyons.

The building sat unoccupied for many years and then was owned by numerous individuals for different purposes, including a youth center and finally a flour mill. The City Commission purchased it in 1998, and in 1999, the decision was made to apply for a grant to restore and renovate the Santa Fe Depot into the new facility for the Marion City Library, which is how it is used today.

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