Tips for Attending K-State Open House with Kids


The K-State All-University Open House will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6. This longstanding community event is a highlight of the spring semester, with activities targeted toward all ages and interests. Whether you’re bringing a toddler, a high school senior, or just yourself, there will be something to catch your eye.

You can sort activities by age range online, including admitted studentsfuture K-State learnersK-8 and Manhattan and K-State Community (events may overlap between categories). Each of the eight academic colleges has its own listing of interactive displays, challenges and giveaways. Events also take place in the K-State Student Union and other buildings around campus, such as Hale Library, Beach Museum of Art, Staley School of Leadership and residence halls.

Open House Must Dos with Kids

toddler boy plays whack-a-mole at the kid's engineering booths

There are dozens of listings to comb through, but a few highlights for young families include:

Location and Parking

All-University Open House events take place all over campus, stretching up to the North Grain Science Complex and College of Veterinary Medicine. Prioritize which buildings you want to visit and plan your parking to minimize walking and additional driving. The K-State Parking Garage is free on Saturdays and Sundays, and offers easy access to the main hub of campus through the K-State Student Union. Parking permits are not required on Saturday and Sunday for O, W, T and Z parking lots; look for signage at each lot’s entrance or view a map of all campus lots here. Find more information on campus parking here.

Admission Cost

There is no admission cost to attend K-State Open House, and the vast majority of activities are free. Select stations will have items for sale, such as the bake sale in Shellenberger Hall and merchandise at the 94th annual Little American Royal Showmanship Contest in Weber Hall.

You may want to have cash or card on hand for eating lunch on campus, grabbing a vending machine snack or shopping at the K-State Campus Store.

Bathrooms and Lactation Stations

Bathrooms are available throughout all campus buildings. There are also lactation stations on campus that offer privacy dividers, electrical outlet access, table and chair. Find a complete list of lactation stations here under “policies on lactation support for nursing mothers.”

Stroller and Wheelchair Accessibility

K-State is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. Open House draws quite a crowd, so while larger wagons are not prohibited, you may have difficulty navigating booths. If needed, consider a smaller stroller with storage space underneath or a backpack for items your child may receive from booths.

Seating Areas

The K-State Student Union has plentiful booth and table seating on the first floor where many of the building’s restaurants are located. There is outdoor seating on Bosco Student Plaza outside the Union’s first floor, as well as between the Union and the K-State Parking Garage.

Food Policies and Purchase Options

Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and beverages onto campus. For quick snacks, vending machines are available throughout campus or visit the Cats’ Den Convenience Store in the Union. For meals and other special treats, see below.

Special for Open House

Around Campus

  • Call Hall Dairy Bar
  • Cornerstone Café at Jardine Apartments
  • Cornerstone Café at Wefald Hall
  • Derby Dining Center
  • Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café at Hale
  • JP’s Sports Grill at Jardine Apartments
  • Quik Cats at Kramer Dining Center

K-State Student Union

  • Cats’ Den Convenience Store
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Fast Track
  • Hunt Brothers Pizza
  • Panda Express
  • Qdoba Mexican Eats
  • Radina’s Coffeehouse & Roastery
  • Subway
  • Union Station by JP’s

Don’t Miss This Hidden Gem

A mom, dad and toddler son sit in front of a blooming tulip garden

Tulip Photo Op at the K-State Gardens: From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Open House day, photographers will be at the K-State Gardens to take photos of your kids, family or friends for a $20 donation. No RSVP or appointment necessary, relax in casual clothes or dress to impress. Edited photos will be delivered via email. A plant sale by the K-State Horticulture Club will also be happening at the gardens.

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Hannah Ens
I'm the mom of a cute and chaotic 3-year-old boy who loves nothing more than to be involved in whatever gardening or home improvement project my husband is undertaking. I grew up in the Little Apple, went away to college at Friends University to study Visual Communications, and moved back after graduating and getting married in 2014. Following a variety of K-12, collegiate and nonprofit communications roles, I dialed things back when my son turned one and took a part-time remote position with the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine. When I'm not in "mom mode" I enjoy crocheting, usually while watching Netflix or listening to a sci-fi or fantasy audiobook.


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