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Recreational travel show stops by Fort Stewart
Fort Stewart Travel Show 001-1
Carol Suttle and Tulip, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, talk about their educational nature center in Savannah during Fort Stewart's Spring Travel Show. More than a dozen recreational organizations and communities were on hand to talk about entertainment and relaxation opportunities for military families. - photo by Randy C.Murray

Active duty and retired soldiers, Department of Defense civilians and family members came to Fort Stewart’s Corkan Family Fun Center to learn about regional recreational opportunities.

The 2015 Spring Travel Show, a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored event, provided information on hotels, resorts and amusement parks. Representatives from Stewart’s Leisure Travel Office to as far away as Memphis, Tennessee, were there to promote their community on Wednesday, March 11. Pigeon Forge and Sevierville also represented the Volunteer State.

Georgia’s Department of Economic Development and Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites were there too with a wealth of information about the Peach State. The cover of the most recent Georgia Travel Guide includes a picture of Georgia chefs enjoying a Wild Georgia Shrimp at a local seafood restaurant.

Regional amusement parks participating in the travel show included Medieval Times in Atlanta, Wild Adventures in Valdosta and both Legoland and Universal Orlando in Florida. Locally, Savannah and Tybee Island were paired together with each talking about what they had to offer visitors and those looking to relocate to the area. Old Savannah Tours was also there to promote historic, downtown Savannah.

Civic organizations like the Association for the U.S. Army were there to talk about membership but also to solicit donations for the Veterans Memorial Walk, which is soon to begin construction at Bryant Commons Park.

A table popular with children was the one promoting recycling. A remote-controlled, talking robot followed after some youngsters, calling out to them.

Another table popular with children and adults was manned by the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. Its display included living examples of the wildlife found at the center. 

“We have a beautiful (walking) trail where you’ll come up on animals in their natural habitat,” said Carol Suttle, guest services coordinator at Oatland Island Wildlife Center. “We have cougars, bobcats and foxes. We have deer, beautiful wolves, and bison and birds of prey in the barnyard. It’s just a fun place to bring your family.”

A restless but friendly opossum sat on Suttle’s shoulders as she talked. It would wrap its rat-like tail around her neck as it moved from one shoulder to the other. Nearby, almost unnoticed, was a tiny screech owl sitting on a small stand. When curious bystanders got too close, however, it tried to fly away. It couldn’t fly, though, because it was tethered to the post.

Not far away in a terrarium, a young alligator seemed to be trying to dig its way out. Children were allowed to pet the opossum, called Tulip, but not the alligator or owl. She said the center is licensed to have the wild animals on display at the travel show and the much larger ones at the wildlife center.

“These are wild animals,” she said as the owl attempted to make another break for it. “What we really want to do is keep them in the wild. If you ever see them in the wild, don’t touch them. Just appreciate them and let them go on about their business.”

The wildlife center is owned by the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. As did all the other community and special event representatives, Suttle invited military families and the public at large to come out and see what Oatland has to offer.


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