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The $24.4 million Flint Hills Discovery Center, located in Manhattan, Kansas celebrates the history, culture, and heritage of the Flint Hills and tallgrass prairie. Through interactive exhibits Flint Hills Discovery Center visitors can explore the science and cultural history of the last stand of tallgrass prairie in North America – one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems.
The Flint Hills Discovery Center was designed by the museum architectural firm Vern Johnson Inc. with interpretive design and planning by Hilferty and Associates. The 34,900 square foot science and history learning center features permanent interactive exhibits, temporary exhibits, and areas for community programs and outreach activities.
Attractions of the Flint Hills Discovery Center include: a 15-minute ‘immersive experience’ film which has special effects such as fog, mist and wind which appear in the theater as the high definition film is shown on a large panoramic screen; an ‘underground forest’ depicting the long roots of prairie plants including the 7-foot roots of bluestem prairie grass; explanations of importance of fire to the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie; and exhibits about the people and cultural history of the Flint Hills.
The Flint Hills Discovery Center received a LEED green building certification for their environmental design and energy efficiency, including their lighting and geothermal heating/cooling system.
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- © 2012 John L. Dengler
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