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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo All children younger than 18 who are in foster care and those who have been adopted are invited to Fritz's Adventure this summer -- with free admission.

Three foster families -- with six or seven children total -- were enjoying a fun day out at Fritz's Adventure in Branson earlier this year.

Imagine their surprise to find those children were siblings. And imagine the kids' joy when they were reunited and able to spend time with the youngest family member, a baby.

FAQ

Fritz’s Adventure

WHEN — Open year-round

WHERE — 1425 W. U.S. 76 in Branson

COST — $14.95-$29.95

INFO — 417-320-6138 or fritzsadventure.com

"I don't know if I would have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself," says Marla Lucas, assistant director of Cherish Kids, an Ozark, Mo.-based nonprofit that works to help families foster and adopt.

Jake Schenk, general manager of Fritz's Adventure, saw it too, and it touched his heart. For two special events, he had arranged for free admission for children younger than 18 who were in foster care and those who had been adopted. Why, he wondered, could the indoor adventure attraction not do the same thing all the time -- and "be a blessing for these families"?

"We're on a mission to provide a space for families and friends to re-engage, bond and thrive through adventure-based activities," Schenk says. "We saw that mission come to life."

For the rest of 2019, Fritz's Adventure will offer that same free admission to any and all foster and adopted children younger than 18. That includes access to more than 80,000 square feet of explorable space, complete with a climbable cityscape with real utility poles, a life-size water tower, a four-story ropes course, multiple slides, below ground tunnels and tubes and a real Beech 18 aircraft.

Lucas could not be more grateful.

"We saw a need for families to interact in a healthy way and had heard about Fritz's Adventure and thought it would be a wonderful place for families to connect and bond. We appreciate their heart for these children."

Lucas says most people have no idea that there are half a million children in foster care in the United States, many because of the opioid crisis. "We feel a great urgency for people to know that," she says, "and we hope they'll visit our website, cherishkids.org, and see how they can help."

-- Becca Martin-Brown

bmartin@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 05/12/2019

Print Headline: Kids Play Free At Fritz's

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