Located on the northwest side of Ottawa on Locust street and originally designed in 1864, Forest Park is the cool spot to be during the summer, offering swimming in the newly renovated City Pool (concessions served at the City Pool), baseball fields, tennis courts, picnic shelters, play equipment and lots of shade throughout.
Located on 5th and Main streets, this park encompasses two city blocks and offers lots of green space, picnicking and playing. Explore the Dietrich Cabin, built in 1857, as it depicts life as it was in the past. Carnegie Cultural Center (515 South Main) was built in 1903, originally as the Carnegie Library. Finally, enjoy concerts by the City Band in the summertime at the gazebo on the south end of the park.
Prairie Spirit Trail State Park
This 33-mile long converted railroad is the longest rail trail in Kansas. From Ottawa to Welda, runners, walkers and bikers will take in the wildlife, prairie, rolling hills and farms. Catch the trailhead in Ottawa at the Old Depot Museum. The trail follows Walnut street south for 5 blocks, then begins as the actual trail behind the old Ottawa Middle School. As portions of the trail become completed, the trail will eventually span more than 50 miles, from Ottawa to Iola.
Kansas Rocks Recreation Park
Steep rocky hills, dense woods, creek crossings and muddy ruts are waiting to challenge you at the Kansas Rocks Recreation Park (KRRP). The 240-acre park is open to the public for a modest usage fee, and yearly passes are available. KRRP is open most Saturdays and Sundays, all year, weather permitting. (Before traveling to the park, please check the website to confirm days and hours of operation.) Motorized 4×4 vehicles, non-motorized bicycles, and hikers are welcome on the trails. Currently there are no provisions for ATVs, motorcycles, or horses. Picnic, BBQ and primitive camping areas are available, as are restrooms.
The Prairie Spirit Trail runs right next to this park, providing relaxing park scenery for participants. The park may be accessed off West 13th Street, one block west from Main Street. This is a great walking park with a paved asphalt trail used by walkers, runners, bikes and strollers. There are plenty of shade trees and benches along the way. Adjacent to the parking lot are a dozen wood and steel isometric exercise stations. In October 2011, Kanza Park become Ottawa’s first ADA compliant, completely accessible playground with sensory type toys for children with and without disabilities. Finally, if disc golf is your game, you will enjoy the 18-hole disc golf course put in by the Rotary Club and the City of Ottawa.
This small neighborhood park on Poplar Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets is near the Don Woodward Community Center. Playground equipment and two shelters highlight this park.
This park is located at the corner of Main and 2nd Streets. It is home to a gazebo and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. It serves as the focal point for many downtown events, such as a summer concerts and the holiday tree lighting ceremony.
Located on the northeast side of town, Heritage Park lies along Powhattan street near Birch street. This land was acquired by the city in the 1990′s, and developed as a neighborhood park. This park boasts a 1/2 mile asphalt trail and a playground.
Ottawa’s only skate park is located next to the Don Woodward Community Center (517 East 3rd street). Constructed on a pair of unused tennis courts, this park provides many people the chance to show off bicycle, rollerblade and skateboard skills on a series of ramps and jumps.
The abundance of lakes near Ottawa offer many fishing opportunities. Clinton Lake is north near Lawrence. Pomona lake is west. Hillsdale Lake is to the east toward Louisburg. All are within a 30 mile drive from Ottawa. These lakes were built by the Army Corps of Engineers. They also offer camping, swimming and boating.