For most kids in the area, school is out this week and it’s time for summer break. For the troops on Fort Hood, it marks the beginning of permanent change of station season.
Units all across the post will be holding changes of command and responsibility as officer and senior enlisted leadership head out to new postings. Soldiers will be leaving the Great Place for different pastures and holding garage sales left and right to lighten the load a bit before hitting the road.
For those just coming to Fort Hood, there are plenty of things to do in the area to keep those bored kids occupied and out of mischief this summer while you’re settling in to your new unit. If you’re moving into post housing, Fort Hood Family Housing offers a lot of amenities, such as a clubhouse in each community, community playgrounds, swimming pools, splash parks, bike and walking trails, playgrounds and even internet cafes.
Fort Hood is the home of Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA), a park situated on 2,000 acres of land that provides a variety of activities for everyone. While there is a $3 per vehicle gate fee, there are a lot of free activities, such as fishing, swimming, boating and a 26-mile long walking and mountain biking trail.
BLORA even has paintball and archery ranges.
A short distance from Fort Hood is an African safari experience most kids will really enjoy. The Topsey Exotic Ranch and Drive-Thru Safari offers the opportunity to view more than 50 different species from the African continent for a small fee.
Another event kids of all ages will enjoy is the show put on by the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment. Every Thursday at 9 a.m., weather permitting, the detachment troopers fire off cannons and charge on their horses while shooting their weapons in the air.
There are also plenty of museums in the area, to include two on Fort Hood, the Bell County Museum in Belton and the Rail Museum in Temple.
Austin is about an hour’s drive from post and within a two-hour drive are multiple state parks which offer camping, hiking and historical sites.
So fear not, there are plenty of activities available to keep the whole family — and single soldiers — entertained during the summer school break. Single soldiers can check with their unit’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (B.O.S.S.) representative to find out what’s going on, as the organization often puts together activities specifically designed to get soldiers out of the barracks and meeting new friends.
So go out and enjoy what the Central Texas region has to offer.
David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7554.