Enjoy the Flint Hills this Spring
Posted on Apr 3, 2018
Spring brings warmer weather, rain and sunshine, waking the Flint Hills from winter rest to vibrant, verdant growth. Here’s our insider guide to experiencing the magic of spring in the Flint Hills with specialized tours and events ranging from botany lessons to moonlight horseback rides to Victorian dancing.
Explore by bus
Prairie Earth Tours
Praire Earth Tours offers a variety of options for exploring the Flint Hills, from excursions to tiny towns for lunch to bucket list adventures to wildflower tours.
Every Tuesday folks gather for the popular weekly lunch trips. Guide Casey Cagle leads the way to unique, independent and locally owned restaurants for an authentic Kansas experience. During the drive, he shares the history of the featured town and restaurant, and he’ll make meal suggestions if you ask nicely. Space is limited – and often sold out – so book your seat early! A lunch schedule and ticket information can be found here.
Dr. Thomas Eddy, a retired Emporia State University professor and noted botanist and entomologist, is your guide on the Flint Hills Wildflowers tour. You’ll take a trip to the Lyon State Fishing Lake, about 15 minutes northeast of Emporia, to learn about native flora. Every trip you take to the prairie is more enjoyable when you can name the plants you walk by! Multiple tour dates are available. Visit Prairie Earth Tours for dates and cost.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
At the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, free daily bus tours take visitors out to experience the wide-open spaces and the solitude of nature while learning about bison, tallgrass prairie, native people, and ranching culture. The daily tours begin April 29 and travel through the bison pasture where you may catch sight of the Tallgrass bison herd! Reservations are not required but helpful. Visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve website for more information.
Dance Like No One Is Watching
The Flint Hills Victorian Dance Society promotes mid-19th century dance, whether formal or informal, as well as modern Contra and square dances. Balls and dances are held in restored barns, community centers, even the Cottonwood Falls courthouse lawn! The spring ball is a delight of Victorian dress, manners, and dancing while the spring Contra dances provide a more casual experience. Everyone is welcome to join the dancing, from novice to expert, as a “caller” is always present to teach dance steps. Period dress is encouraged, but not required. Learn more about the Society and upcoming dances on Facebook.
Experience the Flint Hills by Moonlight
The Flint Hills are stunning by day, but you’re missing out if you don’t experience the area at night. Among the many activities offered at Flying W Ranch, among the most popular are the moonlight horseback and wagon rides through the Flint Hills. The evening begins with a campfire supper at the Chuckwagon prepared by Chef Josh Hoy followed by entertainment with Dr. Jim Hoy, retired professor and renowned folklorist and cowboy historian. Join Jim around the campfire to hear traditional cowboy songs and stories about the Flint Hills and cowboy culture. As the moon rises, it’s time to saddle up horses, hitch the wagon and head out into the Hills. The guided ride is an hour and a half to two hours long. Moonlight rides are offered on multiple dates in April and May. Visit the Flying W Ranch website for details.
This is just a sampling of what’s happening in the Flint Hills during the spring season. Check out Pioneer Bluffs, Symphony in the Flint Hills, and our own directory for more events and activities celebrating the Flint Hills in spring.