Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure in Nebraska City has become such a family favorite, we bought a family membership after our first visit. It’s one of my “Nebraska Happy Places” with fun activities and hiking trails that I can return to repeatedly and never get bored.
We’ve gone every season, though for this post, I’ll tell you about the summer and fall highlights.
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Related post: While you’re in Nebraska City, check out these other fun places kids will like there.
Discover the highlights of the Tree Adventure
The most popular area of the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure is the Treetop Village. The Treetop Village is included with admission to the Tree Adventure, and consists of treehouses, rope bridges, and a fun rope trampoline all situated above the forest floor.
Tip: Once you exit the Treetop Village, you’ll have to return to the entrance (and possibly, to the end of the line) if you want to keep exploring the attraction. There is a slide, and it will end with you on the forest floor and outside of the Village. Don’t take the slide if you’re not done playing!
There’s an outdoor education area where families should expect to spend quite a bit of time there, especially if you have a young builder who will enjoy all the building opportunities. There are musical instruments and a water feature.
I’m not done with the highlights, if you can believe that! There’s a 50-foot-tall tree house/lookout tower. Kids will be tempted to race to the top, but try to get them to peek inside the cabin-like room next to the tower first. There are some cool things to see and do in there.
There are seasonal activities that I’d count as a highlight, too., including the Discovery Ride that takes passengers into typically off-limits orchards for apple picking. Arbor Day Farm’s Preservation Orchard has trees heirloom growing varieties you’ll never find in a grocery store. It was an exciting chance to taste a Kandil Sinip, Winter Banana and Stern apples. You can purchase tickets for the Discovery Ride from April to October.
You can pick apples the orchard without taking the Discovery Ride (just not the heirloom varieties). Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure also has a pumpkin patch. You can take a hayrack ride to do both of those two activities.
Explore along the Tree Adventure trails
You will find a mix of paved and dirt trails that are less than a mile lone. The trails are not too long or difficult for little legs and tired adults.
Along the paved trail, you’ll find interactive pit stops. Some will ask you to identify the tracks in the pavement, the smells in a box, or to stop and listen to bird calls.
If you stay on the paved trail, you’ll find a couple more active pit stops for kids. There are things to climb through, climb under, over, etc. It’s great for working on their gross motor skills, but let’s be real. We’re happy to have yet another thing to help tire kids out.
When my kids were little, they loved climbing on the spider web. But, I think my kids’ favorite activity was the zip line, though at 12 and 14, they’re starting to be too tall for it!
Throughout the year, there are themed activities to spice up your next visit. In the spring, there’s usually a gnome hunt, that’s pretty fun. You search for little statues hidden throughout the woods, using clues and a map to help you.
There are also weekend events with activities connected to learning about different animals and insects. One year, we got to try tree climbing during one of the Arbor Day Farm special event weekends!
Into the woods
There is a loop called the South Table Creek Trail that goes deeper into the woods, and it’s less than a mile long. It’s not paved, but don’t skip it! You’ll cross bridges, encounter “kissing trees,” chairs built for three bears, and find a little fairy door in a tree.
Tip: The trail through the woods does have some inclines and stairs, so it’s not super stroller-friendly.
There’s also an added game of sorts, where you’ll look for wooden cutouts of birds and a squirrel. Granted, some will want to look for the real things, this game has become a competitive sport for my family.
Learn about trees
Being part of Arbor Day Farm, trees are a focus at Tree Adventure. Obviously. You can visit the greenhouse and get your own free tree seedlings to plant at home.
In the visitor’s center, you can also learn more about the role of trees by playing some of the interactive exhibits and watching a short movie. We often skip that area when we visit, but if it’s your first time, you should check it out.
Try the food and wine at Arbor Day Farm
There is no restaurant on property of the Tree Adventure. You can purchase food next door at The Apple House Market, which has the barbecue restaurant, Porters, inside it. You can also purchase snacks at The Apple House Market.
If you’re of age, you can also sample and purchase wines made at Arbor Day Farms while you’re at The Apple House Market. The wines are on the sweet side. I recommend trying a wine flight to help you discover which one you like best.
If I had to order one thing following a visit to the Tree Adventure, I’d pick apple pie a la mode at Porter’s. It’s a delicious treat to end the visit!