Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
On November 12, 1996, legislation was passed creating Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The preserve protects some remaining 10,894 acres of an ecosystem once covering over 400,000 square miles. The current preserve includes, in addition to the prairie lands, an 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve offers many opportunities to experience the rich natural and cultural heritage that exists in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Begin your visit to the preserve at the visitor center, located behind the main house. Exhibits, brochures, and a 10-minute audio visual program are available. A guided bus tour, during which visitors can learn about the geology of the prairie, is offered daily.
The preserve buildings are open year-round from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed on Thanksgiving, December 25, January 1, and other holidays as posted.
Seasonality / Weather
Prairie weather has a desert-like personality of opposing extremes. The midwest is well known for its thunderstorms and tornadoes, and wind is a constant factor. In the winter months temperatures can range from 60+ degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and drop to well below freezing at night. Snowstorms come and go yet only occasionally leave accumulations.
The preserve is located in northern Chase County, Kansas two miles north of intersection U.S. 50 and Flint Hills National Scenic Byway 177 (K-177) west of Strong City. Watch for brown attraction signs.
From Kansas City travel southwest on I-335 to Emporia, KS. At Emporia travel 16 miles west on U.S. 50 and north for two miles on K-177.
From Wichita travel northeast on I-35 to the Cassody exit. Travel north on K-177 for 25 miles to Strong City. Travel through the town and turn west on U.S. 50, traveling west approximately 1 mile. Travel north on K-177 for 2 miles. The preserve is on the west side of the highway.