15 Best Things to Do in Manhattan, KS

15 Best Things to Do in Manhattan, KS

Also known as “The Little Apple”, Manhattan is located in Riley County of Kansas. Being home to Kansas State University, the city has a college town vibe. Other than the obvious, the city has so much to offer to its visitors. With a charming downtown, you are definitely going to have a fun time at the city. If you are planning your next visit to Manhattan, here are some of the best things to do in Manhattan, Kansas.

Flint Hills Discovery Centre

Flint Hills Discovery Centre
Xerxes2004, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featuring exhibitions of local history, preservation of Flint Hills, a special playground for both the young and parents, a temporary exhibition gallery and a theatre, the Flint Hills Discovery Centre is a major tourist attraction of Manhattan. Being a science centre as well as a municipal heritage, it is promoted as a venue for special events and also hosts several educational programs for both young and adults.

The centre promotes quite vast and unique exhibitions. The Shaping Winds and Water, Blowing Winds in a Tallgrass Prairie, The Underground Forest, The Winds of the Past, Where the Air is so Pure, Voices of the Flint Hills, Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time, Prairie Playscape, Tallgrass Gallery and Prairie Garden Terrace and Trail are some of the exhibitions that  It won’t be wrong to say Flint Hills Discovery Centre is a one-stop guide for all the information you need of Flint Hills.
The centre is closed on Monday but is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm and on Sundays from 12 pm - 5 pm.

The price varies for various groups. For adults between the age of 18-64 years, the tickets are of $10 while for youth which are between 2-17 years, the price is reduced to $5. Members and children younger than 2 years can access the museum for free. A category of senior citizens ageing more than 65 years along with military, college students and educators are required to pay $8 for tickets.

Sunset Zoo

Also called the Sunset Zoological Park, the Sunset Zoo is an abode to more than 300 animals from over 100 species. Opened all the way back in 1933, the zoo records over 100,000 visitors every year. The primary aim of the zoo to inspire the conservation of nature. The ticket price is $5.50 for adults of more than 13 years of age and free for infants younger than 2 years. Children aged between 3-12 years have to pay $3.50 per person. Also, the zoo is open all year round at a time of 9:30 am - 3 pm daily.

Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

Located on the Kansas State University campus near Aggieville, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is an art museum which is completely free for general public admission. The museum has special exhibitions and also houses KSU’s art collection of regional arts too. The works of great artists like Birger Sandzen, Patricia Duncan, William Dickerson, John Steuart Curry and Gordon Parks are accessible here.
The museum offers a vast range of programs for adults as well as youngsters- family programs, early childhood programs, programs for students of Kansas, public tours as well school trips are organized by the museum, making it a perfect informational destination for people of every age group. The museum opens from 10 am - 5 pm during Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. On Thursday, the same opens at 10 am and closes at 8 pm and on Saturdays from 11 am - 4 pm. Museum remains closed on Sunday, Monday and holidays.

Riley County Historical Museum

Riley County Historical Museum was established in 1914. Presenting it’s well organized and well-preserved collection of archives, documents and objects to illustrate the history of Riley County, the collection comprises of more than 70,000 objects, 5000 cubic ft. of archives and manuscripts material, 4500 monographic tiles, 300 periodical tiles and 7000 images. The museum has an array of history inside it, ranging from as small as a tax token to as big as the Hartford House. Research can be conducted in the museum after reservations or appointments and donations are always welcomed. The museum also offers various tours for visitors.

K-State Insect Zoo

The K - State Insect Zoo is situated in Kansas State University, which aims to advance and foster habitat for small flying neighbours. Visitors not only get a chance to witness live insects in the zoo but also preserved insects and fossils. Housed on what was formerly a dairy barn on KSU’s campus, this iconic and informative zoo was built in 1999.
The entry costs $3.67 to visitors of 3 or more than 3 years of age. Also, a tour guide is provided by the museum who will update you with all the information you will need. Additionally, tours are available only by appointments, so make sure you have one in order to visit.

K-State Garden Fountains

K-State Garden Fountains
Photo by Mary Hammel on Unsplash

With a huge variety of flowers, the K - State Garden Fountains is an ideal and dreamy location for many major events like weddings and receptions. Furthermore, it is a haven for photographers as they will leave for home with the gift of exemplary images, no matter if they are in the backdrop or mainframe. The breathtaking views of the garden promote perfect trails for romantic walks and people who are looking for some peace of mind. Another reason to visit the garden is the free entry and free parking it offers to its visitors. The garden runs open from the month of March to that of November on Saturday and Sunday. It opens at dawn and is closed by 10 pm.

Wolf House Museum

This museum is an enthralling home built in 1868 and is preserved along with its furnishings and interior decorations as an example of housing and lifestyle in the 1800s. The house was used as a boarding house by the owner’s family till 1938 and hence, it was also known as the German Boarding House. This two-story building made out of limestone, belongs to Max and Lucule Wolf, who then in 1982, sold the building to the Riley County Historical Society.
Wolf House Museum is open on Saturday and Sunday for the public, but only by appointments. Entry is free of cost and the timings are 2 pm - 5 pm.

Wonder Workshop Children's Museum

The Wonder Workshop Children’s Museum aims to honour the beliefs of its late founder Mr Richard Pitts. It provides educational activities for children of all educational backgrounds. Activities such as science exploration, hiking, storytelling, collecting fossils, pottery, art workshops, drumming, business retreats, and leadership camps are hosted by the museum. Underground Railroad tours, Starship portable planetarium and birthday parties are also managed by the Wonder Workshop. Hence, there’s no doubt that your kids would have a fun time this place, along with learning some new every time they visit. One-year-old infants can access the museum for free while kids who are 2 years or older have to pay $3 for a ticket. Adults are required to pay $4 for the same.

Goodnow House

Goodnow House
Spacini at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Goodnow House is actually a stone farmhouse built by the founders of the city of Manhattan. The founders, Isaac Goodnow and his wife Ellen build this abode near a barn. Besides giving you a rough idea about the life lived there, the place could be quite informative to architecture and history enthusiasts. The house is open all year round, except for the holidays. It also welcomes any donations and the cost of admission is free. In case you find yourself visiting with a group, remember to make prior reservations.

Blue Earth Plaza

Located near Flint Hills Discovery Centre, Blue Earth Plaza is a centre of entertainment in the town. Host your next picnic at this location or just take a walk along the trails, either way, you are guaranteed to have a good time. The plaza features a large water structure synchronized musically with laminar jets.  A monumental fireplace, a seasonal shade aperture with a trio of huge sails triangular in shape is some of the other iconic marvels of the plaza. It is perfect to work as a background for your images and will definitely blow up your Instagram.

Manhattan Hill

Manhattan Hill
No machine-readable author provided. Kzollman assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This hill is a must-visit on your trip to the town. What awaits you here is the scenic view of the town. It is also an ideal track for those who love hiking.  The area is filled with small tracks and hidden spots adding to its mysteries. A concrete pad can be spotted in the park, which earlier served as a water storage tank for the people of the city.

Wildwood Adventure Park

Wildwood Adventure Park is rated the No.1 Adventure park in Flint Hills. Encompassing an area of 80 acres, the park provides a wide range of all-things -adventure to its visitors. In addition to that, it hosts national events, tours and private reservations.
While you walk through its trails, one can easily come to understand something or the other about the history of the land. The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable to provide you with a real informative and fun time at your visit to Wildwood Park. The park has tandem runs, ziplines, hiking, and much more to offer.

Liquid Art Winery And State

Established in 2014 by two natives of the land, the Liquid Art Winery And State performs viticulture on the land of an old mountain in the Flint Hills. The estate has a 20-acre vineyard, event centre, full production winery and a tasting room. The company also has a line of cedar production, called Dave & Dani Craft Cider, named after its founders. A cedar tasting facility is also available with a store to purchase the same. The tasting room also provides you with a full menu which includes artisan pizzas and smoked cheese charcuterie boards to serve your cravings too. Tasting hours are 4 pm-8 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 1 pm-9 pm on Friday, 1 pm-10 pm on Saturday and 1 pm-8 pm on Sunday. Happy hours start from 4 pm to 6 pm from Wednesday to Friday.

Rocky Ford State Fishing Area

If you are into fishing, here’s your chance to do it. The best time to fish at Rocky Ford State Fishing Area is right after the water drops. With a wide range of fishes, anyone can catch some fishes here- from big flatheads to rainbow strouts. Apart from fishing, many other fun and adventurous activities like hiking are also entertained at the site. So just grab your fishing rod along with other equipment, catch, cook and enjoy!

Konza Prairie Biological Station

Konza Prairie Biological Station
User:WaltBren, Konza Prairie Trail Fall 1, CC BY 3.0

Located in Flint Hills, the Biological Station serves as a preservation area for the local tallgrass prairie. The Kansas State University which is the co-owner of the land uses it as a research field for its Division of Biology. The land is also owned by The Nature Conservancy. The Konza Prairie Biological Station has also been enlisted as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is also named in the Long Term Ecological Research Network. It comprises claypan, shrubs, forest and riparian communities and has a continental climate. Visitors are allowed only to a portion of land through three loopy and inbuilt hiking tracks.