By Kalene Lozick, Fort Riley Public AffairsAugust 31, 2017
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Grand opening weekend for the Fort Riley's Outdoor Adventure Park brought more than 1,000 Soldiers and their families out to the free amenities Aug. 26. Due to inclement weather Aug. 27, the Outdoor Adventure Park was closed.
A zipline competition between 1st Infantry Division Chief of Staff Col. Charles Masaracchia and Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley, signified the park's official opening.
In a last minute competition, Junction City, Kansas, Mayor Phyllis Fitzgerald challenged Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander, in a separate zipline race.
"The fact that we are offering this to the community, to our Soldiers, to our family members is incredible," Masaracchia said. "Garrison has done a fantastic job with this. I just hope we can everyone out here to support this and experience this."
At the completion of the zip lining competitions, the various amenities were open to the Fort Riley community for free. In addition to the park features, volunteers of Fort Riley's Directorate of Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation, food and drinks available for purchase throughout the hours of operation 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug 26. After hours, the park reopened to show the movie "Moana."
During his opening remarks, David Roudybush, director of DFMWR, welcomed Soldiers, their families and distinguished guests. He said the park is filled with fun opportunities not just for Soldiers, but for the whole family.
"Our main goal is we wanted each of you to be able to come back several weeks in a row and be able to do something different every time," Roudybush said.
The ground of the Outdoor Adventure Park was once used as a golf course. Due to the closing of the original facility, Lawrence and his team at DFMWR turned "all that great outdoor space into an outdoor recreation area that can be used by everyone in our military community, from our Soldiers to young children," Lawrence said.
"When we were told last year we had to close the golf course, we knew we needed to take the opportunity to turn this lot into an opportunity," Roudybush said. "This is truly a prime location to provide recreational opportunities for the entire community."
The park has the following amenities; ziplines, paintball, family ropes course, low ropes, rock wall, family archery, drone area, driving range and yard games.
Once the park is in full operation, there will be additional amenities such as high ropes-team building, foot golf and golf cart rentals.
Kilee Debita, facility director at the Whitside Fitness Center and Adventure Park coordinator, said this fall, there will be a patio with a fireplace and four different shelter areas for people.
Plans for, Debita said there are batting cages, a remote controlled dirt track course, and a BMX track. They plan to build a staircase to the top of the zipline at the high ropes course, to avoid the cargo net and add a zipline at the end of the driving range out to the family ropes course.
"Whether it's hauling down a zip line, shooting arrows, climbing a rock wall, building confidence through the challenge of a ropes course, trying your hand at foot golf or flying a drone, you can find fun and adventure right here," Lawrence said.
Sgt. Gabriel Leal, 526th Quartermaster Composite Supply Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Inf. Div., attended the grand opening with his wife and four kids. He said they tried flying drones, bouncy houses and the archery range.
His son, Gabriel Leal Jr., liked the drones, "it was pretty awesome," his son said.
When asked if he would visit the park again Leal said we would definitely come back.
For a full list of amenities, including costs, visit riley.armymwr.com.