Visiting the history and science attraction at the Flint Hills Discovery Center can be one of the most educational and interactive experiences for the whole family. Opened in April 2012, Flint Hills Discovery Center was the result of a lot of hard work from very passionate people in the area. Situated in downtown Manhattan, Kansas, this discovery center was dreamed up to introduce people to the 22 counties that make up the Flint Hills region.
Offering many programs, exhibits and events meant to entertain as much as to educate, the staff and administration of the center are made up of very passionate people that believe very strongly in those goals.
There are nine different permanent exhibition areas in Flint Hills Discovery Center. Together, they are a comprehensive introduction to the Flint Hills area from many different perspectives.
1.The Underground Forest - Discover the story of the soil that supports life on the grasslands - how it is formed and how they self-maintain. Soil is the basis of all life in the region.
2.Shaping Winds and Water - This area is an introduction to how the region’s ecology, the grasslands, were formed from a geographic perspective.
3.Prairie Playscape - The second floor playland area, catering to both youth and parents, features a tunnel that leads underground, a workshop, and multiple interactive experiences. Play is important, no matter what age! The Prairie Playscape is a great place to forget troubles and be a kid again.
4.Blowing Winds in a Tallgrass Prairie - Here, families may experience the diverse biology of the grasslands and how that contributes to the success of the ecosystem.
5.Voices of the Flint Hills - Discover how local residents feel about multiple issues facing the region - water usage, wind power, controlled burns, etc. Hear them talk about their community in their own words.
6.Winds of the Past - Learn about the original inhabitants of the area, the Native Americans, and how they changed Flint Hills.
7.Where the Air is So Pure - This area focuses on the Europeans who immigrated to the area, how that impacted the Native American inhabitants and what those Europeans did with the land after displacing and relocated the Native Americans.
8.Horizon Ranch Flint Hills Theater - Watch Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time, a short 15-minute film that introduces visitors to the culture in the region of Flint Hills. Special effects fully immerse the viewer in the experience. This is included free with cost of admission.
9.Tallgrass Gallery - Although the exhibitions here change frequently, this gallery hosts around 2,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. This space has hosted many traveling exhibits - including learning about the one-hundred-year history of the 1st Infantry Division.
There are several annual events hosted at the Flint Hills Discovery Center every year.
Flint Hills Festival - Held in May, on the third Thursday, the Flint Hills Festival focuses on Flint Hills as a whole. This includes the history, culture and many other factors that make the area such an amazing and immersive experience for the whole family.
Kansas Day - Held at the end of January, Kansas Day celebrates the state of Kansas as a whole. This is a national holiday, originally established in the 1800s.
National Day of the Cowboy - The last Saturday in July is the day to celebrate this wonderful holiday at the Flint Hills Discovery Museum. Many exhibits are catered to celebrating the history and culture of the cowboy.
Community Day - This is a day in August which people may experience everything the Flint Hills Discovery Center has to offer for free.
Breakfast with Santa - In December, visit the Flint Hills Discovery Museum, have breakfast with the big man himself on two separate days, which are the first two Saturdays of the month.
Family New Year’s Eve - Want to celebrate with family but worried that they won’t be able to stay up that late? Visit for Family New Year’s Eve for this family and child friendly celebration. This party ends at 9pm!
Visit the gift shop before leaving and pick up some Kansas originals! With educational toys (as well as more traditional ones like stuffed animals), jewelry, Kansas specific food products, books and apparel (like t-shirts and baseball hats), there is something for everyone at the gift shop and it is the perfect way to remember the visit!
315 South 3rd Street, Manhattan, KS, 66502, Phone: 785-587-2726