The Prairie Center

Stone farmhouse at the Prairie Center
The old homestead at the Prairie Center
- All photos by Jim Mason

The Prairie Center, just west of Olathe, showcases the tallgrass prairie of Kansas

Mid-April burning helps maintain the grasses, including big and little bluestem, prairie cordgrass, switchgrass, and Indiangrass.  Burning also enhances wildflowers. Look for blossoming spiderwort, Carolina anemone, and wild strawberry in the spring. In late May or early June, the endangered Mead's milkweed blooms here. Prickly poppy, Illinois bundle-flower, and sensitive brier (whose leaves fold when they are touched) flower in summer. Smooth aster, downy gentian, and Missouri goldenrod are fall bloomers which may be found. A variety of butterflies can be seen around the wildflowers.

Showy milkweed, and a view across the prairie.
Showy milkweed is only one of dozens of wildflowers present at the Prairie Center.

Prairie birds that inhabit the area include eastern meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, American kestrels, mourning doves, and common nighthawks. Look for slender glass lizards, ringneck snakes, ornate box turtles, and other reptiles in the early summer. Mammals include white-tailed deer and coyotes.

Prominent geological features are the limestone bluffs along the west branch of Cedar Creek and quartzite boulders left by ice-age glaciers.

bulletRestroom, Picnic tables.

Camping icon Primitive camping by special permission only.

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Trail icon 6 miles of mowed trails loop through the property.

Click here to get county birding lists for Kansas. Click the icon to find a birding list for Johnson County.

Find nearby Geocaches! Click the icon to locate nearby Geocaches

Frontier Military Scenic Byway logo

The Prairie Center is near the Frontier Military Scenic Byway.

Prairie Center map

Location in Kansas

From the intersection of 1-35 and Santa Fe in Olathe, travel 6 miles west to Cedar Niles Rd.   Stop in at the headquarters (red dot) for more information.

Open dawn to dusk.

For a Google Map of this site, click here.

Ownership: The entity responsible for management of the Prairie Center is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.  Contact them at (913) 856-7669 if you have specific questions about the use or management of this site.
Click here to visit their web site.

293 acres

The Grassland Heritage Foundation was instrumental in the acquisition and development of the Prairie Center.  Click here to visit their web site.

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Funded by the Chickadee Checkoff Program
Chickadee Checkoff logo
Click here for a brochure!

The Natural Kansas web site © 2011 by
the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.

Re-publication of site content in any form other than for personal use requires written permission.  If you are a Kansas resident, please assist with this and other wildlife viewing and conservation programs by contributing to the Chickadee Checkoff on your state tax form.

Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism


Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason