Months leading up to the move to Manhattan, countless students hear the buzz surrounding Aggieville, the oldest shopping and dining district in Kansas according to the Manhattan Visitors and Convention Bureau. Once students arrive, they are soon to feel a sting of disappointment, as they are not of age to enjoy the strip of bars at night.
Although Aggieville is the favorite place to hang out for most college students in Manhattan, it’s mostly fun for those of legal drinking age. Luckily, Manhattan offers some age-old ways of having fun without alcohol. Here are six things you can do in Manhattan that shows you don’t need to have alcohol to have fun in the Little Apple:
Did you know Tuttle Creek Lake is the second largest lake in Kansas? Visitors from all over come to enjoy the 11,000 acres of water. Luckily, K-State students don’t have to travel far to observe this picturesque scenery. Students can take part in fishing, hunting, boating, camping, picnicking and other outdoor sports.
Lake visitors have access to a full service marina, nature trails, equestrian trails, a shooting range, a disc golf course, an archery range and areas for off-road vehicles. So why not gather some friends for a night of camping on Tuttle Creek Lake?
Not far from Tuttle Creek is the Konza Prairie, where many people walk the trails to overlook some of Flint Hill’s beauty. Located 6.3 miles south of K-177 on McDowell Creek Road, you will find 2.5, 4.4, or 6 mile hiking trails.
“My favorite place in Manhattan is the Konza Prairie,” Jayne Westhead, senior in kinesiology, said. “I love going out there with my friends and lately, I’ve been bringing my puppy. It’s nice to get away from the typical Manhattan scenery, it doesn’t feel like you’re in Manhattan anymore.”
The newly updated Sunset Zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. It is located at 2333 Oak St., only about a mile from K-State’s campus. This Manhattan zoo has everything from cheetahs to red pandas to bald eagles. Grab a group of friends and check out Sunset Zoo for only four dollars per person.
Riley Obetz, freshman in life sciences, said the Sunset Zoo is on her bucket list and although she hasn’t had the time to visit as yet, she hopes to do so soon.
The Wabash Cannon Bowl is the on-campus bowling alley located in the K-State Student Union basement. The bowling alley includes arcade games and billiards as well. Many students enjoy bowling in between classes or late at night. Thursdays from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Mondays from 6-11 p.m. bowling, billiards, shoes and sodas are all $1.25 each.
“My friends and I love bowling on Mondays, they have the best deals,” Scott Lutz, senior in milling science, said. “Sometimes it’s nice to switch it up and not always go to Aggieville.”
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Emily Wehling, the marketing coordinator for the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said students and visitors like spending time at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. The current exhibition at the Discovery Center, titled “Flint Hills FORCES II” explores the history behind Manhattan and Fort Riley.
“The Discovery Center is a great place to just walk around and take in the beauty of it all, as well as learn some interesting facts along the way,” said Kendra Dekat, service coordinator for the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s perfect for people of all ages.”
The Flint Hills Discovery Center is located at 315 S. Third Street and with a student ID, the price is only $7.
Varsity Donuts Food Truck
Though the Varsity Truck is one of the go-to places to eat after the bars in Aggieville, many underage students have been checking it out too. Alie Luzenske, freshman in architecture, said the grilled cheese mac n’ cheese is something that everyone should try at least once.
“There is usually a line all the way from the Varsity Truck to Starbucks at 10 p.m. on Friday nights,” Westhead said. “We yelled down from our apartment balcony one night and the freshmen in line started doing their dorm chants.”
Some other popular favorites are the corn dog, the bacon bomb and, of course, the donuts. After you make it through the long (but totally worth it) line, enjoy your food at a bench in Triangle Park right around the corner.
Erika Baker is a senior in marketing.