COMMUNITY CORNER - Great Escapes Expo offers resources, ideas for exploring Kansas

By Col. Andrew Cole | GARRISON COMMANDER | March 07, 2014

After all of the cold weather and snow days we have had recently in Kansas, I bet most of you are ready for some warmer weather and more outdoor adventures. Maybe a vacation to the beach or a trip to a theme park is in your future plans. Or perhaps, something more local, like a trip to the lake for some camping and fishing, or a daytrip to one of Kansas’ many local attractions.

Whatever your plans are for the warmer weather, or if you don’t have plans as of yet, the Great Escapes Expo just might give you some ideas for spring and summertime fun.

This year’s expo will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 at Hangar 863 at Marshall Army Airfield. It will feature about 50 exhibitors, family-friendly activities and more.

This is the first time the expo will be at Marshall Army Airfield. In previous years, the event took place at Riley’s Conference Center.

The change in location will allow for more opportunities to showcase recreational fun and splashier displays, including RVs, boats and all-terrain vehicles.

Vendors from Fort Riley – like Outdoor Recreation, Custer Hill Golf Course and the Leisure Travel Center – will be available to answer questions, share resources and help attendees plan entertaining trips.

Local exhibitors, like Acorns Resort, Rolling Hills Zoo and Tuttle Creek State Park, as well as exhibitors from farther away, like Abilene, Hutchinson and Topeka, can provide attendees with ideas of things to do in the surrounding areas.

Additionally, representatives from Kansas Byways, which includes 11 different scenic byways, can help plan routes off the beaten path.

Soldiers and families new to the area can benefit from attending the expo because it will allow them to see what Kansas has to offer.

In addition to the informational aspect, the event will include a scavenger hunt and children’s activities – including inflatables, a fishing tank and information about spring and summer youth sports opportunities with Child, Youth and School Services.

It also will feature prizes and giveaways, including six round-trip, coach-class travel vouchers valid for use in the 48 states, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas or the Caribbean. Travel vouchers can be used up until Feb. 27, 2015.

The event is open to the public, however, some resources, like the Leisure Travel Center, are only available to Department of Defense ID cardholders.

For more information, call 785-239-8990 or visit

Vacations and daytrips are great getaways for families, couples or even single individuals. They allow us time to unwind and give us the opportunity to lead more resilient lifestyles by reducing stress with fun activities.

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