By David Markham
On the west side of Olathe, JCPRD has a hidden gem of a site for business meetings and retreats.
“One of the great things about our site is just the nature that you are surrounded by,” said Outdoor Adventure Specialist Lysa Holladay Dvorak. “We’ve got a beautiful deck that oversees a pond. It’s got a real serene, soothing atmosphere to it, and it’s got a small meeting space. Groups can come out and use our space as a small retreat center where they have the building all to themselves. It’s got a really wide variety of uses for team retreats, so you can use it for a planning sessions, or for team building.”
The place is called the TimberRidge Adventure Center, and has actually been in operation since 2002. Through March, the facility is offering a 25% discount on building rentals.
Some area residents will know TRAC from its annual public open house, held the last Saturday in April, but for the most part, this facility is accessible only by reservation or as part of programming, which includes youth summer camps that often utilize portions of the nearby adventure course.
This 200-plus acre facility is adjacent to Kill Creek Park, which JCPRD also owns and operates.
TimberRidge includes a Welcome Center, which features a meeting room that accommodates up to 80 people, a kitchen, and restroom facilities. Groups using the center can have food catered with no restrictions. Also at TRAC is the Whispering Pine Shelter, which has a limestone fireplace, attached restrooms, and can accommodate up to 200 people. This outdoor shelter overlooks two ponds for pictures and a wonderful view.
“If you want to have a retreat during the day and have a happy hour afterwards, you can add an alcohol permit for wine, beer, or champagne, and enjoy the natural surroundings on the deck before people head home,” Dvorak said.
Temporary alcohol permits for 5.0 beer, wine, or champagne are available for an additional fee with rental of these facilities.
“We’ve just readjusted and dropped our pricing by about 15 percent, so we’re very affordable and well worth the drive,” Dvorak said. “People do perceive it as a bit of a drive, but for a day’s retreat to get your staff out of the office, and just start thinking about things differently, it gets them into a comfortable, friendly setting that can be refreshing and rejuvenating as far as generating ideas and stimulating creativity for your company.”
For even more “inspiration” or team-building fun, a number of on-site outdoor activities are offered to enhance rentals. Hiking trails and fishing in the facility’s three ponds are free with a facility rental. TRAC also offers separate archery and BB gun ranges, boating (think canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats), the 40-foot Hawk’s Nest Climbing Tower, or the entire challenge course, including a certified facilitator, for an additional fee. Amenities can be mixed and matched to meet the season or specific group needs.
For more information or to schedule an event at TRAC, submit the TimberRidge Inquiry Form or TimberRidge Rental Request form, or contact Lysa Holladay Dvorak at (913) 856-8849, or Bill McGowan at (913) 826-2802.
A holiday-related public special event requiring registration is scheduled at TRAC in early December, but it has filled to capacity and a waiting list is currently being taken. This first-time event is called the Family Yule Log Hunt and is for all ages. Participating families of up to five people will decorate their own yule logs, roast and eat hot dogs and hot cocoa for lunch, and then take part in a search for their log.
The custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to, and before, Medieval times. A Yule Log is a specially-selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition. Originally a Nordic custom, Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other regions of northern Europe.
The cost for this two-hour event on Dec. 5 is $25 per family for Johnson County residents or $27 per family for nonresidents.
The TimberRidge Adventure Center is located at 12300 S. Homestead Lane, Olathe.