Christina Hayes knows that Great Bend has a lot to offer but she also understands that a little promotion could go a long way to attracting visitors.
So, in her roles as Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) director and community coordinator, Hayes recently mailed invitations to elementary and middle schools within a 100-mile radius.
The schools were invited to explore Great Bend by making it a destination for fun and educational field trips.
“Numerous low-cost options are available to your group and Great Bend is ready to offer experiences that teachers and students will not forget,” the invitation reads. “ … We want to help you create an exciting educational experience and be able to showcase all of the great things that Great Bend can offer to your students’ learning …”
There is still a little time to schedule end-of-the-school-year field trips. But if that isn’t possible, Hayes hopes school administrators will consider outings during summer sessions and/or start making plans for the fall.
“We wanted to reach out to schools and promote what Great Bend has to offer children,” Hayes said. “We have so many great quality-of-life attractions that kids will enjoy. And maybe they will tell their parents about the great time they had here, which could lead to a return trip.
“This new program supports our local attractions, while also creating valuable partnerships with local and area residents,” she added. “Our goal is to always promote Great Bend and build a solid foundation to showcase our town.”
Chase Elementary was one of the first schools to respond to the invitation; several others have expressed interest. Sixteen Chase preschoolers, along with staff, explored Great Bend May 1, with visits to the My BackYard Playground and the Imagination Playground – two Great Bend Recreation Commission projects.
Diann Henderson, executive recreation director, said these two playgrounds “are excellent destinations for children of all ages.”
My BackYard is an inclusive playground with a preschool area, sensory garden enhanced with musical instruments, and the latest in equipment with features such as a ZipKrooz, Netplex and Natural Rock Climbers.
It is located at the Recreation Commission’s Activity Center, 2715 18th.
The Imagination Playground is located inside the center. “This incredible play experience, which involves building blocks similar to giant tinker toys, unlocks children’s imagination and creative spirit,” Henderson said.
Other field-trip destinations suggested in the CVB’s invitation packet include: the Barton County Historical Society Museum & Village; Great Bend B-29 Memorial; Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo; Kansas Oil & Gas Hall of Fame & Museum; Kansas Wetlands Education Center; Shafer Art Gallery; Up N Rollin Skate & Laser Tag Center; Veterans Memorial Park; and Walnut Bowl & Mini-golf.
“By providing young visitors an experience of a lifetime, they will leave Great Bend with smiles on their faces,” Henderson commented.
For more information or to share ideas about other local attractions, contact Christina Hayes by calling 620-793-4111, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.