Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

Visit the Land Institute

Weekly Scientist-Led Tours

Tours are offered on Fridays at 10:30 a.m.* and last approximately 60-90 minutes (depending on the number of questions you bring!). Tours are led by a member of our research team and cover our seven research programs, our history, and our local and global impact.

The typical guided walking tour meets at the main office before heading to the Wauhob Prairie Overlook of our research plots, then continuing on through our campus to the research buildings and greenhouses.

Tours are free: to reserve a spot, please use the form above to let us know you’re coming so we can best accommodate your group. We are also happy to host large groups and field trips – our tour coordinator, Amanda Wagner, will contact you to ensure we can appropriately accommodate your group’s size and visit type.

*Please note: Tours are not available during major holidays, as well as the week before, the week of, and the week after Prairie Festival.

request a tour

Marty Bender Nature Area

Beginning at Prairie Festival 2019, The Land Institute is pleased to officially welcome the public to visit our Marty Bender Nature Area. The 206-acre nature area is located one mile north of The Land Institute’s main campus.

The nature area features a trail of nearly three miles through prairie and woods along the Smoky Hill River in traditional Kaw Nation homelands. Several scientific research plots are located on site. Additional features include art installations, plant and wildlife viewing, a tree swing and picnic area, scenic overlooks of the river and Salina region, and a community book share box.

With the generous support of private philanthropists, The Land Institute acquired the nature area property in 2002 from the trust of Oliver Haag. The “Haag Place” was used in the past for farming and ranching. In 2004, the land was named in commemoration of Marty Bender, former energy scientist at The Land Institute, who was also a naturalist. In 2018, local volunteers and friends of The Land Institute, designed and made the trail in collaboration with institute staff. They milled local Osage orange wood for benches and signage along the trail. As a site for research, education, and community engagement, the nature area has since hosted events such as tours, community work days, and Ecosphere Studies workshops.

Nature area guidelines are posted at the entrance. To share ideas, or to ask questions, contact

Trail Map

See a virtual tour of Marty Bender Nature Area

Prairie Festival

Our annual Prairie Festival, held the last full weekend of September on The Land Institute’s home campus outside Salina, Kansas, offers a unique opportunity to listen to presentations in the Big Barn and interact with some of the world’s most compelling authors, thinkers, artists, and advocates focused on agriculture, food, the environment, science, sustainability, and social and environmental justice.

In addition, our science staff provides tours and an in-depth update on our plant breeding and ecology work and partnerships. There’s great food (some featuring perennial ingredients), music, art, the Hedge Fire Circle, sunrise yoga and always a few surprises. Keep an eye on our Festival page for upcoming speakers and for registration (usually opens in July).

Learn more

Salina Lodging and Transportation Information

Salina: General Information

The city population is about 45,000. It serves north central Kansas as a center for shopping, health care, and services. The Land Institute is about 8 miles from the original downtown, 5 miles from the regional shopping mall, 4 miles from the city limits, and about 5 miles from the Salina Airport. For more information visit:

The Land Institute: Getting There

The Land Institute is in a rural area on a gravel road, with some suburban homes nearby mixed with farmlands, yet close to town. The Institute is in the Smoky Hill Uplands, gently rolling land a little elevated over the flat Smoky Hill Valley and Salina.

The Land Institute comprises about 650 acres of land including 92 acres of farmland on both banks of the Smoky Hill River, about 90 acres of upland farmland, land devoted to plant nursery plots, and more than 200 acres of hilly native and restored prairie, all within 2 miles of the office.


Map of Salina

From Kansas City International Airport to Salina (via Interstate 70)

180 miles, about 3.25 hours driving time.

  • From KCI, north on Highway 29 to Exit 17 (2 miles).
  • South on Highway 435, to Exit 12 (19 miles).
  • West on Interstate 70 Kansas Turnpike for 47 miles to Exit 182 from turnpike at Topeka.
  • Continue west on Interstate 70 (111 miles) to Exit 250 to Interstate 135 South in Salina.
  • Exit 88 off of Interstate 135, Water Well Road (south of Salina).
  • East/left to 2440 E Water Well Rd, The Land Institute (2.5 miles).

From Wichita Airport to Salina (via Interstate 135)

90 miles, about 1.75 hours driving time.

  • From airport, right on Kellogg St (about 1 mile), exit to Interstate 235.
  • North on Interstate 235 to intersection with Interstate 135 (9 miles).
  • North on Interstate 135 toward Salina (75 miles) to Exit 88 to Water Well Rd (south of Salina).
  • East/right to 2440 E Water Well Rd, The Land Institute (2 1/2 miles).

From Salina Municipal Airport, on Arnold Avenue, Salina, Kansas

  • 5 miles from the terminal parking lot go east on Bailey (1 mile).
  • South/right on Centennial (1-1/2 mile).
  • East/left to 2440 E Water Well Rd, The Land Institute (3-1/2 miles)

Other Transportation

  • Flights

  • Bus Service

    • Greyhound Bus Service
      McDonald’s, 125 E Diamond Dr, Salina, KS 67401, (800) 231-2222. Online ticket information: Hours of operation subject to change; please call to verify hours before making travel arrangements.
  • Airport Shuttle Service

    • In a Rush Shuttle Service LLC
      104 W Avenue C, McPherson, KS, (620) 245-7116.
  • Public Transportation

    • Salina offers a fixed route public transportation system called CityGo. For a detailed map of service areas, stops and a schedule please visit
  • Rental Cars

    • Hertz Rent-A-Car
      (785) 827-7237 or (800) 654-3131. Hours: 7:30am – 6:00pm weekdays, 8:00am – 2:00pm weekends.
    • Enterprise Car Rental
      (785) 825-1100 or (800) 261-7331. Hours: 7:30am – 6:00pm weekdays, 8:30am – 12:00pm noon on Saturday. Closed Sunday.
  • Taxis

    • Yellow Cab and All-Radio Cab Co. (same company)
      (785) 827-4646 or (785) 825-4646, 7am – 10 pm
    • Sunflower
      (785) 826-1881, 24 hours
    • A-One Taxi Service
      (785) 827-7433, 24 hours


Prairie Festival Basic Camping

Prairie Festival camping facilities at The Land Institute are simple. You are welcome to camp on our grounds on Friday and Saturday night during Prairie Festival. For the safety of campers and a good night’s sleep for all, please try to arrive before dark.

Camping at The Land Institute is on a first-come, first-served basis. Most campers will sleep in tents in the bison pasture north of Water Well Road (the bison will be moved for the weekend!) or in sleeping bags under the open Kansas sky.

For our friends who will be traveling cross-country in motor homes, travel trailers, or fifth wheels, we have listed below the two campground-RV parks in Salina. There are no electrical or water hookups at The Land Institute and no places for these sized vehicles to park overnight.

We also offer one solar shower near the camping and parking area. It is also quite basic! Musical instruments are welcome, but please leave your pets at home.

Hotels and Motels

A more complete listing of Salina’s available accommodations can be found here. Check with the listed hotels below for special Prairie Festival pricing.

Other Lodging

  • Bed & Breakfasts: There are several B&B’s in the area. For a listing, please visit the Kansas Bed and Breakfast Association or Air BNB.
  • Lindsborg Vacation Homes: Vacation and extended stay rentals in nearby Lindsborg, Kansas, just 18 miles south of The Land Institute.
  •  Campgrounds & RV Parks
    • KOA of Salina
      1109 W Diamond Dr, Salina, KS 67401. (785) 827-3182 or (800) 562-3126. Open year-round. Office hours: 8am – 8pm.
    • Kanopolis State Park
      Located northwest of Marquette, Kansas, at 200 Horse Thief Rd, 33 miles southwest of Salina. Daily vehicle permits and camping permits required, with senior and handicapped discounts available (details on website linked above). From Salina, take Highway K140 west and K141 south or US81 (9th St) to Lindsborg, K104 west to K141, then north 5 miles. Office hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm. (785) 546-2565.
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