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Kansas: Manhattan is the apple of the prairie’s eye

By John Noltner, courtesy Meredith Corp.

Being small isn’t always something a town touts, but in the case of Manhattan, being the “Little Apple” is such a point of pride that the town has trademarked the slogan and put a shiny red apple on the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau’s logo.

In northeastern Kansas and home to Kansas State University, Manhattan is a meeting destination for state education associations, university conferences and regional events that pull attendees from Arkansas, Oklahoma and other neighbor states.

Demand has been so great that a 30,000-square-foot conference center and adjoining 135-room Hilton Garden Inn are under construction off Route 18 in downtown Manhattan. Next door, work is also under way on the Flint Hills Discovery Center, which should open next spring.

“It’s a very exciting time for us,” said Christy Chase, convention sales manager for the Manhattan CVB.

The conference center will handle groups of up to 1,000, and it will work in tandem with the discovery center, an interactive museum that celebrates the history, culture and heritage of the Flint Hills and Tallgrass Prairie. The discovery center will have event space.

Currently, Manhattan’s main meeting venues are the 197-room Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, which has 12,000 square feet of meeting space, and the 113-room Holiday Inn at the Campus, which can handle groups of up to 400.

Other area attractions include the Colbert Hills Golf Course, a public course designed in the Scottish-links style by Jeff Brauer and PGA professional James Colbert, and Aggieville, Kansas’ oldest shopping district, a popular spot for K-State students. “It has a lot of character,” Chase said.
Visitors also enjoy an outing to the Oz Museum in Wamego, a themed museum 10 miles from Manhattan with more than 2,000 artifacts related to L. Frank Baum’s book and the subsequent “Oz” productions.

With attractions like these, you won’t need to wonder if you’re in Kansas anymore. Manhattan residents know there’s no place like home.