In northeast Kansas, sky and grass merge at the horizon in a vivid painting. Explore this region at places such as the Flint Hills Discovery Center and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Advertisement

1 Flint Hills Discovery Center  The $24.5 million center in Manhattan immerses visitors in the tallgrass prairie that once dominated mid-America. Winds gust, snow falls and smoke billows during the film Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time. You'll leave understanding the importance of preserving the grasses-root system to seedheads. flinthillsdiscovery.org

2 Konza Prairie Biological Station In a region of endless horizons, self-guided hiking and nature trails crisscross the 8,600 acres of untouched prairie south of Manhattan. konza.ksu.edu

3 Kaw Mission State Historic Site and Museum Members of the Kaw Nation host powwows near the museum, which was a boarding school for  Native American boys (mostly orphans) from 1851 to 1854. Artifacts of the Kansa tribe, Santa Fe Trail and town fill the two-story limestone building in Council Grove (site is currently being redeveloped). kshs.org

4 Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Outside Strong City, you'll find the nearly 11,000-acre prairie. Head to the visitors center for ranger programs and tours; more than 40 miles of hiking trails are open year-round. nps.gov/tapr

Flint Hills
Flint Hills

5 Grand Central Hotel and Grill In Cottonwood Falls, the 1884 boutique hotel has beautifully appointed guest rooms, and its restaurant serves premium beef cut to order. grandcentralhotel.com

Wow Moment

Symphony in the Flint Hills
Symphony in the Flint Hills

Sunset casts its glow over the tallgrass prairie, signaling the conductor to lift his baton. And the 85-piece Kansas City Symphony begins to serenade the thousands spread across the wide-open range for summer's annual Symphony in the Flint Hills. symphonyintheflinthills.org