Wichita Family Weekend Trip: Things to Do in Manhattan KS with Kids

If you’re needing a close getaway now that school is back in session, look no further than the Little Apple. While known for being a college town, Manhattan has fun options for all ages. Whether enjoying the rolling Flint Hills, getting some aquatic time in at Tuttle Creek, wining and dining in Aggieville, strolling through campus, exploring the local zoo or discovery center, or watching a K-State game, there’s truly something for everyone.

Things to Do in Manhattan with Kids

West of Highway 177 you will find the largest remaining tract of tallgrass ecosystem in the world. The Konza Prairie is studied and managed by Kansas State University Division of Biology. Open daily, year-round, there are three trails at 2.5, 4,4, and 6 miles long for hiking only- no bikes!

If you need a dip to cool off after hiking the Konza, head over to Pillsbury Crossing. Located 6 miles southeast of Manhattan you will find the home of Deep Creek Waterfall, made of limestone and measuring 60 feet across. Take in the scenery from the water in a kayak or canoe, or hike the trail alongside the creek: its considered one of the eight wonders of Kansas Geography!

If  outdoor activities are what you’re after, then head north on highway 177 and then east until you reach Tuttle Creek State Park. Hiking, biking, equestrian trails, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, disc golf, archery and camping are all available.

The Sunset Zoo is open 7 days a week, you’ll have ample opportunity to check out the new Expedition Asia, featuring tigers, Amur leopards, and sloth bears.

Explore some more at the K-State Gardens, 19 acres managed by the K-State Horticulture and Natural Resources Department. Located inside the Dairy Barn of the Gardens you will find the Insect Zoo.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center is always a big hit with kids, especially when you need to burn off some energy! It offers interactive exhibits highlighting the science, history and culture of the ecoregion from pre-history to present day. 

Where to Eat in Manhattan with Kids

After you’ve worked un appetite, swing by the MHK Farmers Market, located in the Dillards West parking lot; open 8am-1pm every Saturday April-October, 4pm-7pm every Wednesday May-September, and 9am-1pm every Saturday November-March. There are food trucks and vendors selling sweets and treats, soaps and candles, art and jewelry, plus much more.

If fine dining is what you prefer, continue down Poyntz Ave until you find Harry’s Restaurant. Listed as Best in the Midwest by Midwest Living, it is housed on the ground level of the Historic Wareham Hotel. The Wareham Opera House next door now serves as an event space, and chances are you’ll catch a wedding reception or Greek Life function most weekends.

Game Day in Manhattan

If you’re hearing the Wabash cannonball singing out to you, head north and you will finally reach Bill Snyder Family Stadium, along with 50,000 other cheering fans. Making your way through the parking lots you will be greeted with an unparalleled tailgate experience for all ages. An immersive gameday unlike any other will leave you bleeding purple long after the fight song ends.

No stop to Manhattan is complete without a trip back towards campus to get some Call Hall ice cream. A true “farm to spoon” experience, all products come from within a 2 mile radius. If you haven’t had enough dairy, top it off with some Pizza Shuttle to relive your college days (and nights!).


Last, but certainly not least, cruise past campus and meander through Aggieville. Local favorite eateries including Kites, Radina’s Coffee shop, So Long Saloon, Taco Lucha, and Bluestem Bistro. Endless options means you can find something for everyone’s appetite. The oldest shopping center in Kansas is also home to The Dusty Bookshelf, Acme Gift, and Acme Local, where you can find any local souvenir you’d like to remember your weekend in Manhappiness by.

Close enough to make a day trip, but enough to do to stay as long as you’d like, there is truly something for everyone in Manhattan – part of why it’s called The Happiest Place on Earth!

Marcella Stanley
Marcella is a Kansas City native who has called Wichita home for the past decade, after moving here to attend the Physician Assistant Program at WSU. Despite being a Shocker, Marcella is really a Wildcat at heart, along with her husband of almost 9 years, Mike. They met while both attending Kansas State University and still like to get back for KSU football games, when they aren’t wrangling their two nuggets Brody (4.5) and Holly (7 months). Marcella remains very busy working as a Cardiology PA, mothering two senior beagles plus two human children, while living off coffee and a heaping dose of sarcasm.