History and science take center stage at the Museum at Prairiefire: American Museum of Natural History. Through a mix of permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as interactive spaces like the Discovery Room, museum visitors explore both regional and worldwide paleontology, geology, astronomy and more.
At the Museum at Prairiefire, the learning begins before you walk through the door. The eye-catching exterior has become one of the most photographed places in Overland Park. Architect Jonathan Kharfen of Verner Johnson, Inc., embraced the challenge to evoke all aspects of fire in the museum’s design, including the prairie-fire burns that are an integral part of Kansas farm life. That aesthetic begins with the museum’s exterior, a vibrant mix of colors and jagged shapes that capture the energy and intensity of flames.
Inside the museum, the learning continues in thoughtfully designed spaces that teach visitors through immersion and interaction. In the Great Hall, find out who discovered the first Tyrannosaurus Rex and more about Kansas’s maritime history—yes, Kansas was once home to sea life and flying reptiles!
Kids will love the Discovery Room, a hands-on space designed for children ages 3-12. Reconstruct an archosaur skeleton, wear masks from cultures around the world and, if you’re feeling especially brave, hold a hissing cockroach. And don’t miss a trip to the museum’s Virtual Theater, which offers state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences so you can travel around the world (and through time) without leaving your seat.
The Museum at Prairiefire opened in 2014 thanks to a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History—the first time the renowned New York destination created this sort of collaboration with another museum. The American Museum of Natural History develops new exhibitions each year, and the Museum at Prairiefire is the first venue outside of New York to continually host these exhibitions. For more information about current and upcoming events, check the Museum at Prairiefire’s calendar.
The Museum at Prairiefire is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the Great Hall is free, and several ticket options (including all-access day passes) are available for entrance to exhibits and the Discovery Room.