Outdoor Activities Abound at Tallgrass Creek

By Mary Bush
August 25, 2021
Outdoor Activities Abound at Tallgrass Creek


Several days a week, Tallgrass Creek neighbors Diane James and Barbara Summers meet in the hall between their two residences at the Erickson Senior Living community in Overland Park, Kans., and head out for an invigorating walk. When the two met about 50 years ago, they discovered they shared a favorite pastime and have enjoyed it together ever since. “We both love to walk, so we just put our shoes on and go,” says Diane, a former senior vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield. “Barbara says I need a ‘food’ destination—which is true—so we walk a couple miles, have breakfast somewhere, and walk a couple miles back home.”

Promoting wellness

Health studies document that whether exercising briskly like Diane and Barbara or just relaxing while listening to the sounds of nature, outdoor activity promotes overall wellness for people of all ages. “Spending time outdoors leads to lower blood pressure, stress reduction, and a more positive outlook,” notes Sales Director Blake Marshall. “There are many ways to take advantage of those health benefits on Tallgrass Creek’s campus.”

Diane and Barbara also participate in fitness classes that professional instructors Camin Bell, Ashley Huesers, and Gabby Torline coordinate each week. “There are so many ways to stay fit here,” says Barbara, a former high school French teacher. “It’s a huge plus.”

Out and about

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy strolling along trails that wind throughout Tallgrass Creek’s scenic 65-acre campus. The park-like campus has been designated a Certified Wildlife Habitat site by the National Wildlife Federation and is home to many different species of birds, animals, and native grasses and plants. With its wooded and grassy areas, the campus makes a great place to rest for migratory birds. It is the perfect place to enjoy early morning walks, including the guided bird walks that Tallgrass Creek’s nature club hosts in the spring and fall.

“Representatives from the local Audubon Society lead the walks,” says Suzi Dobbelaere, cochairman of the nature club. “They point out so many beautiful birds, some that are native and some that are heading somewhere else.”

Many residents like Gwynn Hall and her four-legged pal Myndie Sue share the great outdoors with their furry friends at Canine Corner, Tallgrass Creek’s well-maintained dog park. Dogs frolic on a large area of green grass, which includes a walking path shaped like a bone. “We love the dog park and spend a lot of time there,” says Gwynn. “It’s a happy place for both owners and dogs.”

Nature’s bounty

There’s still more outdoor activity in a charming gated area that houses 48 garden spaces for residents with a green thumb. The spaces are overflowing throughout the summer with beautiful flowers and fresh produce that many gardeners share with their lucky neighbors.

Larry Tolin, who heads up Tallgrass Creek’s garden club, says gardening has always been a source of joy for him and his wife Diane. “We head out to plant as soon as weather allows—and we’re not alone,” says Larry. The Tolins tend four garden spaces which yield tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, peas, and okra, which grows up to nine feet tall. Special community events are often hosted outdoors in Tallgrass Creek’s spacious, centrally located courtyard. Earlier this year, residents celebrated National Senior Health Day by playing croquet, horseshoes, bocce ball, and other yard games.

Inside interests

But it’s not all happening outdoors. Tallgrass Creek’s multi-page activity calendar details weekly activities and gatherings hosted by the community’s more than 90 resident clubs. Additionally, there are seasonal dinner dances and themed dinners; fashion, craft, and talent shows; periodic concert series; outside speakers and entertainment; and frequent music-inspired happy hours.

Tallgrass Creek residents also create their own fun with birthday clubs, neighborly happy hours, floor parties, and more. Diane and Barbara and 14 of their neighbors reserved the community’s private dining room earlier this year and shared a delightful evening together.

“I don’t know how you could ever be bored here,” says Diane. “There’s always something going on.”

To learn more about the active, engaged lifestyle that Tallgrass Creek community members enjoy, request more information today.