HITCH YOUR WAGON
Maybe Dodge City, Kan. got a bad rap. The Old West town was known more for its gunfighters than its thriving cattle trade. Then there’s that saying made famous by “Gunsmoke.” But residents bet nobody would want to “get outta Dodge” with this 28,000-square-foot park just south of Wyatt Earp Blvd. filled with play features, historical references and artifacts.
A western/prairie theme was a given. The park’s name plays off the Long Branch Saloon, famous for shootouts and standoffs. Spraying windmills, rock waterfalls, wooden buckets and “tin” dumping buckets, along with features that look like snakes, cacti, and cattails reinforce the theme. Historic Dodge City architecture, to coordinate with a downtown retail renewal, included red brick bathhouse and filter buildings and exposed wood beams. Wood post and rail fencing surround deck features, and muted colors are used throughout. Several historic items were donated, including an outhouse, well pump, hitching post, barrels, stock tank and wooden wagon.
Play features include several spray features, slides and waterfalls —and a 721-foot lazy river that passes through a wave pool.