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Kansas Meeting Guide: Manhattan is Kansas’ “Little Apple

Courtesy Manhattan CVB

When the 175 members of the multinational Agricultural History Society meet in Manhattan, Kansas, this month, they will stay at a new hotel attached to a new conference center and hold an event at a brand-new attraction. For meeting planners, the Little Apple is getting bigger and better all the time.

“Our downtown development plan led to the new Manhattan Conference Center, which has 15,500 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate groups of up to 1,000, as well as an attached 135-room Manhattan Hilton Garden Inn,” said Karen Hibbard, director of the Manhattan CVB. “We also have the brand-new Flint Hills Discovery Center, which opened in April.

“We now can offer a full package to planners, as the hotel and conference center are connected, which makes them so convenient,” she added.

The scholars and historians who make up the Agricultural History Society (AHS) also will be able to walk across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn to their reception at the adjacent Flint Hills Discovery Center, located near the new Blue Earth Plaza Park.

For the AHS, which this year is focusing on the agriculture of Kansas, the discovery center is “a natural venue,” said Hibbard.

“But we have also had an amazing amount of interest from all types of groups who want to hold events at the Discovery Center. The new museum complements our meeting venues and attractions and lets visitors see the beauty of Kansas’ Flint Hills.”

At the 35,000-square-foot museum, which explores the history, ecology and biology of the last stand of tall-grass prairie in North America, receptions of up to 500 can book the entire facility, incuding a terrace. Smaller meetings can use the museum’s multipurpose room.

The Manhattan Conference Center has also proved popular. The first group to meet there was Westar Energy of Topeka, the largest electric utility in Kansas. Since then, the center has hosted everything from military balls to wedding shows to meetings and conventions of corporate, association, agricultural and medical groups. In addition to meeting rooms, the conference center has 10,000 square feet of prefunction space.