30 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO AROUND FORT RILEY, KANSAS
By Tracy Fuga
IntroductionWelcome to Fort Riley, located in North Central Kansas, between Junction City and Manhattan (the Little Apple). The installation is just a short drive from Kansas City, MO, which boasts a population of approximately 492,000. This beautiful and historic area has so much to offer visitors and those lucky enough to call it home. You’ll experience all four seasons while living in the Midwest so you can always count on having something fun to do, whether it’s inside or out. And most of the time you won’t even have to leave post to find it! Here is a list of 30 of the best things to do while living on or near Fort Riley.
Suggested Read:Fort Riley: In-Depth Welcome Center
COVID-19 NoticeDue to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to health restrictions, though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Check websites and call ahead to learn each listing’s current status.
30 Things to Do in Fort RileyKnow what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to what you go: (1-6) Outdoor Recreation (7) Marinas (8) Golfing (9) Shooting Ranges (10-15) Gyms (16) Bowling (17-23) Attractions (24-27) Museums (28) Theatres (29) Movie Theaters (30) Breweries
Fort Riley Outdoor Recreation
1. Outdoor Recreation5202 Normandy Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442 1 (785) 239-5412 Hunting and trapping are permitted on post at Fort Riley. The installation has 29 managed fishing ponds, including rainbow trout and channel catfish stockings in select ponds. You’ll find information, maps, and policies for both off-post hunting and fishing at the Outdoor Recreation building.
2. Fort Riley Trail CollectionThe Fort Riley Trail Collection was created as a centralized location for those living and working on Fort Riley to locate information about the trails on post. There are nine trails on the installation, starting at half a mile long up to almost 5 miles long. The trails bring you closer to nature; you can spot native wildlife and native species of wildflowers, grasses, and trees along the way.
3. Heritage Park101-199 W. 6th St. Junction City, KS 66441
Phone: 1 (785) 528-2489 Heritage Park is a beautiful public space centrally located in the historic downtown district. The park is the site of many community events held in Junction City. It’s home to the largest multi-day 4th of July celebration in Kansas, among other events held throughout the year. There are a series of memorials throughout the park paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the Civil War and Vietnam War and memorializes POWs.
4. Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park1832 N. Adams St. Junction City, KS 66441
Phone: 1 (785) 238-3103 Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park has bronze statues scattered throughout that celebrate the relationship between the 9th and 10th Buffalo Soldier units that were stationed at Fort Riley. It’s located close to the old Buffalo Soldier quarters and is a site where many of their children played in the early 20th century. Today, children can play on the playground and history lovers can learn about the contributions of these soldiers.
5. Playground ParkWest 5th Street and Eisenhower Drive Junction City, KS 66441
Phone: 1 (785) 238-3103 Playground Park is every little kid’s dream (and some big kids too). Kids can take advantage of the large, grassy areas to run around and you could spend all day on the playground equipment. Adults can enjoy five tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, and a handball court. This park also houses the Junction City Municipal Pool and Sprayground with an Olympic-sized pool with three diving boards and a 28-foot triple tube slide. There’s something fun for everyone.
6. Helland Park1499 Rucker Road Junction City, KS 66441
Phone: 1 (785) 238-3103 Helland Park offers an escape from the city without having to leave its limits. Just north of the bridge on Rucker Road, the 57-acre park offers 2.5 miles of trails and up-close encounters with nature. It is the ideal spot for hiking and mountain biking.
Fort Riley Marina
7. Fort Riley MarinaHighway 82, Bldg. 7118 Clay Center, KS 67487
Phone: 1 (785) 239-2363 The Fort Riley Marina is right on Milford Lake, the largest man-made lake in Kansas. Rent a pontoon boat, fishing boat, kayak or paddleboard from the Outdoor Recreation Equipment Checkout Center and spend the day out on the water.
Fort Riley Golf Course
8. Rolling Meadows Golf Course6514 Old Milford Road Milford, KS 66514
Phone: 1 (785) 238-4303 Rolling Meadows Golf Course, highly rated by Golf Digest as one of the top places to play golf in Kansas, stretches over 160 acres. Designed by nationally recognized architect Richard Watson, the tree-lined course is flanked by zoysia-grass fairways and tees, 29 sand bunkers, and six lakes to challenge golfers of all levels. True to its name, the rolling hills and open prairie vistas make this a course to visit again and again.
9. Personally Owned Weapons Range at Fort RileyRoad W, Bldg. 11600 Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5412 Looking to do some target practice? Look no further than Fort Riley’s Personally Owned Weapons Range. Open Saturdays and Sundays, from 0900 to 1700. Open to all DOD cardholders and their guests to practice shooting. All weapons must be registered at Henry Gate and reservations for the range are required. See their website for details.
Fort Riley Gyms
10. King Field House202 Custer Ave. Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-3868 The family-friendly fitness room at King Field House lets you bring your children with you while you work out. There’s also racquetball courts, a sauna, basketball court, cardio room and a weight room. It’s the perfect place to go to build strength or get toned when your kids are in tow. Open every day, including federal and training holidays.
11. Whitside Gym684 Huebner Road Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-2573 The Whitside Fitness Center has a lot to offer Fort Riley Family and MWR patrons, from an indoor climbing wall and running track to selectorized weights and a basketball court. All of your fitness needs can be met at this Fort Riley gym.
12. Long Fitness Center8069 Normandy Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-4683 The Long Fitness Center features an outdoor track and sports fields, racquetball court and indoor training pool for unit PT and down-proofing. The center also has a cardio room, free weights, selectorized weights and a basketball court. See the website for hours.
13. Robinson Fitness Center7832 Hale St. Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-4480 The Robinson Fitness Center is perfect for unit-led PT sessions and can accommodate up to 30 soldiers at once. The facility also features cardio, free and selectorized weights, a basketball court and Battle Rig, an obstacle course. Call 1 (785) 239-4480 to make reservations.
14. Leonard Fitness Center7632 McGlachlin St. Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5771 The Leonard Fitness Center also offers unit-led PT sessions for up to 30 soldiers (with reservations). Soldiers can also take advantage of the cardio room, free weights and selectorized weights at the center.
15. Craig Fitness Center7024 Apennines Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5562 The Craig Fitness Center offers both cardio and strength training equipment, as well as functional fitness equipment. Shoot some hoops at the basketball court, lift some weights or do both!
Fort Riley Bowling Alley
16. SpareTime Interactive Entertainment at Fort RileyNormandy Drive, Bldg. 7485 Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-2366 This 35,000-square-foot amusement complex has more to offer than just 11 lanes of classic bowling. There’s internet access available throughout, along with glow golf, hyper bowling, a children’s play area, climbing wall, sports simulators, batting cages, darts, karaoke and billiards. This spot is great for birthday parties, unit functions, fundraisers and just celebrating the day of the week. And if you work up an appetite after all of that, you can grab some nachos, pizza, wings, ice cream or a soft pretzel at The X Factor Grill.
Fort Riley Attractions
17. Leisure Travel OfficeNormandy Drive, Bldg. 5205 Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5614 The Leisure Travel Office offers discounted and special offer tickets to local, regional, and national theme parks, tours, attractions, and events. Special military discounted tickets and passes to iFly Kansas City, theme parks like Disney World, cruises and all-inclusive resorts, attractions throughout Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri, and movie tickets are just a few of the offers the LTS provides. This office is a great resource for seeking out new adventures and area information.
18. Warrior ZoneNormandy Drive, Bldg. 7867 Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 240-6618 The Warrior Zone is the place for adults 18 and up to kick back and relax after work or on the weekends. It’s a state-of-the-art facility designed for a good time with CAC-enabled computers, gaming systems, pool and poker tables, a movie theater with recliner seating, an outdoor patio with a firepit, and a full-service snack bar. The facility hosts events and tournaments, like all-day anime or poker tournaments, and Cars and Coffee.
19. Outdoor Adventure Park5202 Normandy Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5412 There’s fun for the whole family on deck at the Outdoor Adventure Park. Get a one-day pass or a monthly pass for yourself or the family and enjoy everything the park has to offer. There’s foot golf, disc golf, putting greens, a driving range, an outdoor climbing wall, batting cages, archery, paintball, and challenge courses. Open Monday through Friday from 1000 to 1700.
20. Custer Hill Aquatic Park7465 Normandy Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-5860 Cool off at the Custer Hill Aquatic Park, open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend. The aquatic park features zero-depth entry, a high dive, a lazy river-style water channel, splash pad and more. Open for active-duty personnel and their families.
21. Spin City915 S. Washington St. Junction City, KS 66441
Phone: 1 (785) 762-7746 Ready to take a spin and do something fun? Spin City is the place to go to enjoy old school roller skating. Feel free to take a spin on inline skates if that’s more your speed. There’s more than just skating; hit up the snack bar, basketball courts, game room or arcades. Relax with friends in one of the seating areas scattered throughout or hit the dance floor. The recreation center is available for events with individual party rooms. Call for reservations or to see what events are happening.
22. Rathert Stadium900 W. 13th St.
Phone: Junction City, KS 66441 You'll think you stepped back in time as you enter historic Rathert Stadium. Built in the 1930s, this architectural landmark is constructed of native limestone with wooden seating. Circular in shape, the stadium faces northeast and the open grillwork at the back provides for air circulation making the stadium cooler. The stadium is the home of the Junction City Brigade and Junction City Blue Jays. Come out and enjoy the sights and sounds of America's favorite pastime!
23. Sunset Zoo2333 Oak St. Manhattan, KS 66502
Phone: 1 (785) 587-2737 Sunset Zoo, or Sunset Zoological Park, is home to over 300 animals representing more than 100 species. Officially founded in 1933, the zoo has evolved over the years to become a more modern place but the emphasis has always been on conversation and education about the animals.
Fort Riley Museum
24. U.S. Cavalry and 1st Infantry Division Museums205 Henry Ave. Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-2737 The main U.S. Cavalry and 1st Infantry Division museum buildings have been undergoing renovations since 2018 with no reopening date available. In the interim, a temporary museum and gift shop are open at 247 Cameron Ave. Current exhibits include “Duty First: 100 years of the Big Red One” and “Patton the Sportsman,” among other displays. There are outside exhibits available for viewing on Henry Avenue. The museum is open daily but closed for federal holidays. See the website for details.
25. Custer House24 Sheridan Place Fort Riley, KS 66442
Phone: 1 (785) 239-2737 Built in 1855 of native limestone, the Custer House is one of two surviving sets of quarters from Fort Riley’s establishment. Although Gen. Custer’s House burned down, this home closely resembles the architecture and style of home that he would have stayed in at Fort Riley. Custer House Side B is available for event or function rentals. Call 1 (785) 239-2737 for more information.
26. Riley County Historical Museum2309 Claflin Road Manhattan, KS 66502
Phone: 1 (785) 565-6490 The Riley County Historical Museum is supported by and works closely with the Riley County Historical Society to present and preserve the area’s history. The museum has various, rotating exhibits for the public to view free of charge. Current exhibits include the women’s suffrage movement in Riley County, wildlife photography, and celebrating a century of history in Riley County. Past exhibits have taken a look at the county’s military past or focused on historical buildings.
27. OZ Museum511 Lincoln Ave. Wamego, KS 66547
Phone: 1 (785) 458-8686 You can’t come to Kansas without referencing The Wizard of OZ. The OZ Museum is dedicated to all things OZ, offering an experience that attracts visitors from around the globe. The OZ Museum is home to exclusive exhibits featuring the earliest Baum books and OZ Parker Brothers board games to today's collectibles, which can be purchased from the Official OZ Museum Store.
28. C.L. Hoover Opera House135 W. 7th St. Junction City, KS 66441 1 (785) 238-3906 The C.L. Hoover Opera House has been a vital part of the community for nearly 140 years. Since 1882, the opera house has served as a courthouse, fire department, jail, and a movie theater. Following renovations in 2008, the opera house returned to its performing arts roots and is now home to the Junction City Little Theater, Arts Council, and Community Band. Together, they provide culture, entertainment, and education in the arts to people of all ages.
Fort Riley Movie Theater
29. Barlow Theater7866 Normandy Drive Fort Riley, KS 66442 1 (785) 239-9574 Barlow Theater is an Army & Air Force Exchange Service theater that first-run films (including 3-D) and special programs. It is open Friday through Sunday, with some exceptions. Visit the website for showtimes.
30. BreweriesLike most of the country, breweries (and even some distilleries) have been popping up around Kansas in the past couple of years. Enjoy the unique flavors and make sure to pair your brews with some of that famous Kansas City BBQ. Find a craft brewery closest to Fort Riley or venture further out to enjoy that hoppy goodness.
ConclusionThe area around Fort Riley is bustling with things to do. It’s perfect for avid fishermen and hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, or film junkies. Whatever your mood or hobby, there’s something for you to enjoy near your new home. Get out there and see why there’s no place like home at Fort Riley!
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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