Maria Andrew has helped devised a new way to discover our fair city—and support local businesses—with her website GoExploreKC.com. Formerly from Arizona, the Overland Park mother of three and former teacher initially started a travel publication but kept hearing from family, friends and others that they were looking for one spot where they could go to find places to venture out in the metro. She says it’s like a paperless passport with a slew of free and paid tours available. The site is divided into different tour options with locally owned small businesses on this all-digital platform.
Given that Google searches for “staycation” and “hiking” have jumped more than 500 percent since the pandemic hit, Andrew may be on to something. With families choosing to stay closer to home this year for their annual vacations, GoExploreKC.com can help them find those hidden treasures in their own hometown and win prizes along the way. We caught up with the getaway gal to find out five things you don’t know about her.
5. Girls, girls, girls.
“Growing up with a family of boys—and as a self-proclaimed girly-girl—I am loving every minute of being a ‘girl mom.’ All three siblings are 19 months apart, to the day, so there is no shortage of excitement—and glitter!—in our house. Two of my daughters have special needs, with our oldest being on the autism spectrum and our middle daughter with Type 1 Diabetes. Although not the path of motherhood that I had expected, it has been the greatest gift and a true testament to understanding the strength you are capable of.”
4. Viva Las Vegas!
“After graduating from an all-girls Catholic high school in Phoenix, I headed to Sin City, where I majored in Public Relations at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I met my husband. We recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, and he is the glue behind-the-scenes that makes following my dreams possible.”
“When I’m not being a wife, special-needs mom, and business owner, you can find me on the tennis court. I just recently took up tennis and am obsessed. I play at least once a day and would play more if I could. Having danced for 18 years, this was completely out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy that I have found tennis. I only wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to start!”
2. Burning entrepreneurial spirit
“I am a former middle-school teacher turned entrepreneur. Growing up I always had a passion and drive for entrepreneurship. From as young as I can remember, I would spend my time creating new businesses. From covering Adidas sneakers with rhinestones for my neighborhood, to starting a babysitting service, making and selling bracelets, phone cases, you name it. Luckily, we have big, big plans for the future of Go Explore KC!”
1. Of all the places I have lived, Kansas City is my absolute favorite.
“Aside from my family and friends, there are few things that I love more than this fantastic city. I love everything about it. The food, the culture, the community feel and pride, the people I have met and worked with and the weather! Living in the desert for 25+ years has given me a true appreciation for changes in seasons. Our family has grown here, our business and passion is here and we feel so lucky that we get to call the best city in the world home—forever!”