Insider’s Family Guide: Cedar Rapids

Here are three things you should know about Cedar Rapids…

1. Cedar Rapids just happens to be Iowa’s second largest city.

2. Cedar Rapids is just about a four-hour drive from Omaha.

3. Cedar Rapids also happens to hold big fun for families visiting the area!

Editor’s note: This is an occasional series presenting an insider’s guide to their hometowns – what to see, where to eat and where to stay.

UPDATE: This post was updated in June 2020 to reflect closures..

If you are looking for a great family weekend trip this summer, head east on Interstate 80 for Cedar Rapids. You won’t have to fight the traffic and crowds of bigger Midwestern cities, but you can still soak up all the fun and culture of a more metropolitan area. Plus, as you’ll see, there are lots of tasty places to eat!

I can’t wait for you to visit my hometown! Here’s what my family recommends while you are in Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids Amphitheatre. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Cedar Rapids Amphitheatre. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Things to do in Cedar Rapids

A trip to Cedar Rapids wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Brucemore —a National Historic Trust Site in the middle of the city. It has been described as Downton Abbey meets Woodstock! They offer tours of the historic mansion (that your kids will truly find interesting) and the grounds play host to a wide variety of programs—everything from hot air balloon glows to children’s theatre productions — especially in warm weather months.

Be sure to take some time to explore the 26 acres and check for turtles in the pond. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 12 to 3 p.m., mansion tours are $7 for adults and $3 for kids.

The Cedar Rapids Science Center is a great place for your budding scientist or engineer to explore. The gallery is filled with lots of hands-on activity centers (and a huge bin of LEGOs), plus they often offer fascinating educational programs. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, $4.

You wouldn’t necessarily think of a library as a stop on a family vacation (or if you do I’d love to travel with you!) but here in Cedar Rapids we’ve got a brand new library that is truly one-of-a-kind.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library downtown opened about a year ago. The children’s section is not only stocked with books and movies, but there’s also a puppet theater, interactive computer games and lots of hands-on fun. Plus there’s a “living learning” green roof to explore.

For a big dose of outdoor fun, stop at Wickiup Hill Learning Center located just north of town. You can explore the marsh or hike through the prairie and woodlands. Be sure to stop inside the lodge building to check out Oliver & Ava’s River Raft Adventure Exhibit. Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Free

Additional family adventure spots include the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (home to the world’s largest collection of works by American Gothic artist Grant Wood), the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (where you can not only get a dose of culture, but also wander around the shops in the Czech Village), and Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball (where there’s always a “party at the park”).

The Brucemore Mansion is a National Historic Trust Site in the middle of the city. They offer tours of the historic mansion - be sure to take some time to explore the 26 acres and check for turtles in the pond. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Brucemore Mansion is a National Historic Trust Site in the middle of the city. They offer tours of the historic mansion – be sure to take some time to explore the 26 acres and check for turtles in the pond. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where to eat in Cedar Rapids

If you are looking to fuel up the family before the day’s adventures, pop in to American Skillet located on the city’s northwest side. They do a great traditional breakfast (the omelets and skillet creations are great) and their “fruit and fiber pancakes” are pretty hard to pass up. If you are looking to grab something light and a cup of coffee stop by The Blue Strawberry in downtown.

The Flying Wienie makes for a great lunch stop. Just look for the big yellow airplane perched on top of a building. They serve great hot dogs, of course!

The NewBo City Market is a can’t miss destination, especially when you are hungry! There’s everything from wood fired pizza and authentic Mexican to saucy focaccia sandwiches and delectable cupcakes. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on the sea salt caramel ice cream in a pretzel cone at Nelson’s Ice Cream.

When looking for a spot for dinner with the kids there are tons of tasty options. The Irish Democrat is a locally notable neighborhood bar and grill with a great menu — including some of the best chicken fingers and wontons this side of Iowa.

The Flying Wienie makes for a great lunch stop in Cedar Rapids. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Flying Wienie makes for a great lunch stop in Cedar Rapids. Photo courtesy Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where to stay in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is more spread out then you would guess. If you are looking to stay downtown close to a lot of attractions, check into the DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids.

It’s a renovated hotel with great accommodations—and cool artwork throughout the building. The kids will also love the panoramic views from 350 First — the hotel restaurant — on the top floor. Plus they give out delicious chocolate chip cookies when you check-in!

If you don’t mind driving around town to your destinations, a stay at the Cedar Rapids Marriott would be ideal. It has a lovely atrium and an indoor pool to keep your little fish happy. Plus it’s right across the street from Noelridge Park and one of the prettiest flower gardens in the city.

– Katie Mills Giorgio is a freelance writer and aspiring children’s book author living, writing and raising kids in her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You can find her online at http://katiemillsgiorgio.wordpress.com/.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum + Nearby Fun in Council Bluffs

Just south of the lovely Bayliss Park in downtown Council Bluffs, you’ll find the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. If you’ve got a kid who loves all things Thomas, this place is for you. If you don’t have a kid who loves trains, you just love history, this is especially for you.

Surprisingly, I’ve never been to this FREE museum (donation is encouraged), even though I have two train obsessed kids. I even worked two blocks from this museum for many years. Shame on me.

Anyway. Enough shaming. I made up for it recently by bringing Mr. Wonderful, the kiddos and two aunts along for the ride.

Farley and Mooch hanging out with their aunts at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.
Farley and Mooch hanging out with their aunts at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

What to expect

The museum is housed in the old public library, a gorgeous and historic building in itself. The second and third floor have exhibits; the first floor – where you enter the building – is the little gift shop and helpful reception desk. Pick up a free audio tour if you’re there without hyper-active kids.

One fo the exhibits that did encourage kids to touch and climb on.
One fo the exhibits that did encourage kids to touch and climb on.

The museum received an update in the last few years and it is very engaging and eye-catching with colorful displays. A lot of the museum is artifacts, which my kids (ages 2 and 4) breeze right by…or try to climb on (shhhh). Omaha and Council Bluffs are steeped in train history and you’ll learn a lot here.

What kids like

Mooch enjoyed the similuated explosion a little too much.
Mooch enjoyed the similuated explosion a little too much.

There is a lot of effort to be interactive, some succeeding more than others. My kids love pushing buttons, and there is a bounty to push in this museum. There are displays that encourage touching, sitting on and making loud noises and those were a hit. There’s a part to pretend like you’re lighting off dynamite – fun for the kiddos.

The video and photo interactive booths were neat but didn’t work very well.

You can get a picture taken with these two fellas, but the photo emailed to you is grainy and blurry. So never mind.
You can get a picture taken with these two fellas, but the photo emailed to you is grainy and blurry. So never mind.

What’s nearby

If it’s a bit of a drive for you to get C.B., plan on doing a bit more while you’re there. Pack a picnic and enjoy Bayliss Park. If it’s really hot, there’s a small splash pad there for kids to run through.

My kids playing at Bayliss Park last year. They've grown so much!
My kids playing at Bayliss Park last year. They’ve grown so much!

Across the street from the park (east side), there is a nice ice cream shop… so, about a block from the museum.

If you’re going for a train or transportation-themed day, there’s the RailsWest Museum not too far from there. Or, you could do like us and dine at the regional chain Quaker Steak & Lube near the Mid-America Center.

Quaker Steak & Lube, near the MId-America Center, has themed dining rooms - cars, trucks, motorcycles - that sort of thing.
Quaker Steak & Lube, near the MId-America Center, has themed dining rooms – cars, trucks, motorcycles – that sort of thing.

There’s a lot to look at there for kids – real race cars, motorcycles, trucks and memorabilia.

Just across the river, back in Omaha, you can see a neat train documentary at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium right now at the IMAX there. If you’re a member, it’s free to see.

See a lot more train ideas here.

Your turn: Have you been to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum? What did you think of it?

3 Places To See Changing Leaves Near Omaha

If you’re a hiker, you likely have a favorite nearby spot to see the changing leaves. If you’re not, I’ve got you covered.

Maybe you don’t want to take a hike; maybe you’ve been on Pinterest too much lately and you’ve found a bunch of leaf projects to do with your kid. Maybe you just want to take pictures of your cute kid.

Cute kid with fall foilage.
Cute kid with fall foilage.

Whatever your reason, here are a few suggestions for all thing leafy in the Omaha area:

Fontenelle Forest

For a less rugged hike, you can’t beat the boardwalk at Fontenelle (though you can hit trails there, too). I’m pretty sure, though, that leaf collecting is discouraged there, so look but no touchy. There’s a lot to see and do at Fontenelle in addition to immersing yourself in nature. There’s a fun play area that kids adore, and there’s the temporary exhibit Green Evolution you’ll want to see before it leaves.

Wrong season, but you get the idea that Fontenelle Forest has a lot of leaves, right? Side note, if you get a guided hike there, Kate is an entertaining guide (that's her head poking out up front giving us a "Quit dawdling" glare).
Wrong season, but you get the idea that Fontenelle Forest has a lot of leaves, right? Side note, if you get a guided hike there, Kate is an entertaining guide (that’s her head poking out up front giving us a “Enough lollygagging” glare).

Cost: $8 per person; children 2 and younger are admitted free.

Hitchcock Nature Center

It’s no secret my family loves afternoons at Hitchcock. This time of year is great to go since you’re not sweating profusely as soon as you get out of the car. Stop by the visitors center to check out a kids backpack full of fun “tools” to the hike and then grab a map and hit the trails (some are more strenuous than others so pick the right path for your family’s ability… unless you like hauling a 28-pound toddler up a steep incline).

Cost: Park admission per car is $2; annual permit is $10; backpacks are free to check out.

Hummel Park

Was summer camp ’87 the last time you ventured to Hummel Park in northeast Omaha? It’s time to come back. Time your visit right and you might catch a fun activity on a Saturday afternoon.

Cost: Free

Best Apple Orchard Near Omaha

Autumn is the time to head to apple orchards, and most people in Omaha think of heading to Nebraska City to get their haul. That’s a fun day trip, but there’s a spot closer to home to consider: Ditmar’s Apple Orchard & Vineyard. It’s one of the best apple orchards near Omaha!

This post was first written in 2013 and has been updated with 2019 fall information.

Where to pick apples near Omaha - Go to DItmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Farley loved getting to pull apples off trees.

This orchard on the east side of Council Bluffs, Iowa, doesn’t have all the activities you’ll find at the biggest orchards in Nebraska City, but it also doesn’t have the jammed packed parking lots and herds of people. It has enough attractions to entertain your family for about two hours, maybe more on a nice day.

If all you want from an apple orchard is a bunch of apples, don’t drive any further from home than you have to, right? For us, it’s about a 20-minute drive to this orchard!

Things to do at Ditmars Orchard

Where to pick apples near Omaha - Ditmars Orchard is the place to go, plus they have a corn maze
Farley took the lead in the corn maze, mainly because Mooch was batting 0 for 8 on all guesses on the right path to take. Aunt Amy was a good sport trekking up and down the maze with us.

The corn maze – I was surprised that my kids got so into it, but my preschooler really enjoyed guessing which path to take. It’s a decent workout (especially hauling a toddler around), to boot.

The food – The small shop has a kitchen where you can buy small treats and sandwich entrees (no meatless). The fried apple pie I’ve raved about was not on the chalkboard menu that day. But, I’ve found a new love because of that – fresh apple cider donuts.

Where to pick apples near Omaha - DItmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. While there, get some fresh apple cider donuts!
My family of four inhaled six apple donuts at Ditmar’s. I’m afraid to see what we would’ve done to a baker’s dozen.

I’m not a huge fan of donuts, but these are warm, cakey treats that get devoured quickly. These donuts are so good, they made the list of the best donuts in Omaha (though, technically not in Omaha…they’re just that good).

They also sell hot apple cider, and they offer wine tastings if you catch an employee near the bar (I believe the first three tastings are free).

DItmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa - Hayrack rides takes you out to the orchard.
Chilling on the hayrack ride.

Hayrack ride – My kids’ favorite part of the visit was probably the tractor pulling us up a big hill to get to the orchard. It’s included if you buy an activity band (more on that later). The tractor rides are only available on the weekends.

Where to pick apples near Omaha - Go to DItmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa
2013 was a good year for apples in Iowa, apparently. The trees at Ditmar’s were heavy with fruit.

Apple picking – There are several varieties at the orchard to pick and take home (here’s a list http://www.ditmarsorchard.com/fruits.html). My family kept finding the honey crisps, which wouldn’t you know, cost extra (and apparently, we aren’t supposed to pick – there was a big to-do about it, there’s some sort of tape marking the trees off but most people didn’t notice it until after picking the trees and I didn’t pay attention to it at all).

Where to pick apples near Omaha - Go to DItmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa
You’ve got to make sure you like the apples you take home, right? I feel the need to defend my little gluttons.

My kids enjoyed sampling the apples before placing some in the bag. That’s not allowed these days, but try explaining that to a preschooler.

Things adults will like at Ditmars

In addition to picking apples, there are a few extras to mention, especially for the 21 and older crowd. Ditmars makes wine blends, including a few that uses apples from their orchard. It’s one of quite a few wineries in the area.

If you go

Ditmars Orchard

Where: 19475 225th St., Council Bluffs, Iowa – It’s not far off Interstate 80, take the Iowa Western Community College exit – head east, then take the next left (Hunt Avenue), follow that gravel road a ways and then, bam, you’re there.

2019 Fall hours

Wednesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prices

It’s FREE to visit the orchards, though you pay for the u-pick apples. If you are going to play on the playground or do any of the other additional activities, you will meed to purchase activity bands. They are $9.95 per person; and FREE for 2 and younger. Passes allow you to do the following: Tractor ride, corn maze, playground, bounce house (weather permitting), bumper ball soccer, barrel carts.

It’s worth getting the band for the hayrack ride if you have younger children, they love that stuff. The orchard begins not far from shop so you can just walk to the trees and begin picking.

I noticed this year they added bumper balls and a bounce house on their activities page.

They hold special events through out the year, including a very popular balloon glow called Fields of Flight, Midwest Winds Kiteflyers and the Pumpkin Festival.

Mooch love playing on the tractor tire pile during the balloon glow at Ditmar's this summer. Never has there been a filthier girl than my child upon leaving the orchard that night. Congrats, Mooch.
Mooch love playing on the tractor tire pile during the balloon glow at Ditmar’s this summer. Never has there been a filthier girl than my child upon leaving the orchard that night. Congrats, Mooch.

We caught the tail end of Fields of Flight on year. It’s a weekend-long festival, so if you can’t make it one evening, you have a few other chances.

It’s pretty impressive.

Fields of Flight balloon glow at Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard in Council Bluffs.
I don’t care how hip you are, when you see hot air balloons, you become as giddy as a school girl. Or a pyro.

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One of the best things to do each fall in the Midwest is visit an apple orchard. There aren't many orchards near Omaha but there is a great one just across the Missouri River! The closest is Ditmars Orchard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Here's a look at the activities at the orchard, as well as some of the special events held there annually. #Iowa #USA #apples

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A Tale of Two Parks Near Omaha

I might have overdone it this summer bringing my family to so many events that were packed with people. It’s easy to find something that’s free and family-friendly every weekend in Omaha, but you have to keep in mind that 5,000 of your neighbors are headed there too. 

We had to get out of town and get some fresh air recently. Here's Mr. Wonderful carrying Her Royal Highness, Mooch, at Schramm.
We had to get out of town and get some fresh air recently. Here’s Mr. Wonderful carrying Her Royal Highness, Mooch, at Schramm.

So, recently, my family decided to get out of Dodge, so to speak. Just for a few hours. One Saturday we ventured to a family-favorite, Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. It’s about a 20-minute drive northeast of Omaha. Another weekend, we visited Schramm Park State Recreation Area, which is about 6 miles south of west Omaha. It had been a very long time since our last visit.

Our visits couldn’t be more different. I could go on a rant about how funding makes all the difference (Hitchcock wins), but I’ll just try to focus on what we liked at each.

The Hidden Gem: Hitchcock Nature Center

The view from one of Hitchcock's trails.
The view from one of Hitchcock’s trails.

We visit here most seasons, it’s so easy to get to. What’s to love about this place? A lot.

The visitor’s center is a great place to start off your visit. There are interactive displays that my children love, from making animal footprints to touching pelts and trying to run off with stuffed animals. You can learn what animals and tracks to look for on your hikes. If you have youngsters, be sure to check out one of the free Adventure Packs. It’s a backpack with fun things to help your hikes, my son’s favorite was the magnifying glass.

A pint-sized Farley loved the view from the tower at Hitchcock back in the day. (He still does, but he won't let us recreate this awesome picture, so I'm going with this one)
A pint-sized Farley loved the view from the tower at Hitchcock back in the day. (He still does, but he won’t let us recreate this awesome picture, so I’m going with this one)

Next to the visitor’s center is a lookout tower, popular among raptor watchers (in fact, they have Hawk Watch you can take part in). Take in the view, then get on your way exploring.

The trails are clearly marked with difficulty levels. Some spots along the trail will have a Trailcast sign, these are Hitchcock specific podcasts designed to enhance your visit, they change with the season).

A quiet walk in the park.
A quiet walk in the park.

Even with its proximity to Omaha, Hitchcock feels like an undiscovered gem. The trails are not packed. Offerings that will interest your children, besides that cool visitor’s center, include a playground, archery, geocaching and earthcaching, and an abundance of educational offerings. Camping is available, and there are a few cabins.

The Forgotten Park: Schramm Park State Recreation Area

Yes, look at this magnificence.
Yes, look at this magnificence.

Our trip to Schramm Park State Recreation Area was impromptu. I’d read some friends’ Facebook posts on hiking there and when the time came one weekend to decide what we should do, I remembered Schramm.

I’m not too familiar with the park since it’s been a few years and given the spontaneous trip, I hadn’t looked into what we could do there. I figured we’d have a picnic and let the adventure unfold on its own. That always works out well with kids, the not-planning thing.

Part of the beauty found at Schramm were the colorful flowers and lily pads in the otherwise stagnant water.
Beauty.

We parked near the fish hatcheries and decided that we’d picnic before our hike. The manmade ponds weren’t necessarily the most scenic of views, but we did find beauty there.

Checking out the fish hatcheries.
Checking out the fish hatcheries.

Once filled with fuel, we set off on a hike. We passed a trailhead on our quick tour of the park in our car, but decided that from the hatcheries, we’d surely hit a trail. Not so much.

A fish hatchery.
A fish hatchery.

We walked a board walk along the hatcheries for a ways, quickly stumbled onto a playground (that was too hot to play on that day), and then continued trying to locate a trailhead.

Farley finds the park, with playground equipment surfaces slightly cooler than the surface of the sun. Gotta love Nebraska summers.
Farley finds the park, with playground equipment surfaces slightly cooler than the surface of the sun. Gotta love Nebraska summers.

We should’ve just packed the kids back in the car and drove to the trailhead we knew existed, but Mooch has been putting up epic fights whenever I have to strap her into her carseat and I just wasn’t up for that.

Exploring rocks at the geological display at Schramm.
Exploring rocks at the Geological Display at Schramm.

So we gave up the search and walked down the road to take in the view of the Platte River. On the way, we stopped at the Geological Display.

Amazing how excited a kid can get about a big rock. I guess if you put a big rock on a ring a woman sometimes gets that way.
Amazing how excited a kid can get about a big rock. I guess if you put a big rock on a ring and women sometimes gets that way.

Farley liked this area of the park the most, I think, even if there wasn’t much to it. We spotted some fossils in the rocks and picked up some trash, then continued on to the river.

The Platte is a very sandy, shallow river and people were wading out into it that day, but one we weren’t about to venture into just yet. The view is nice, though, so I’m glad we took a minute to check it out.

Checking out the Platte River.
Checking out the Platte River.

Schramm is known for its Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium, which we didn’t visit (Right after our visit, it was announced that admission was now free). I think there must be another entrance to Schramm, another section of the park, that we missed. Where we were, all we saw was the closed museum that was once the state’s first fish hatchery in 1882. I have this suspicion that there is a “New Schramm Park” out there that my friends all love.

This museum has seen better days.
The closed Gretna Fish Hatchery Museum.

There were many visitors at Schramm on the day we visited, proving it is a destination. My kids ultimately ended up getting the most joy picking up sticks and driving me insane by running around with the biggest, pointiest ones they could find.

A favorite pasttime of my kids': Running with big sticks.
A favorite pasttime of my kids’: Running with big sticks.

I guess you don’t need modern facilities to capture a child’s imagination. Still, I’d love to see this park get some TLC.

A Treat After Your Park Visit

Christy Creme, a Council Bluffs tradition.
Christy Creme, a Council Bluffs tradition.

We stopped for ice cream after visiting each of these parks. After a visit to Hitchcock, we like to drive south on Old Lincoln Highway, where you’ll come across a Council Bluffs’ favorite, Christy Cream, on the north end of Council Bluffs. They’re known for the special sherbet flavor of the day, but I’m a chocolate kind of girl.

After Schramm, we went into nearby Louisville, Neb. Head down the main street and you’ll find two ice cream options. Every stinking time we go to Louisville, I’m determined to check out the old fashion soda fountain at Blake’s Pharmacy, and every time it’s closed (Sundays, man). This trip, we all enjoyed cheap twist cones at Dari Crème.

Insider’s Family Guide: Council Bluffs

Some of you know that I used to work in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for years. I grew to feel protective of the city and the quirky people who call it home. It’s a neat place once you drive past the casinos and steer clear of the west end of West Broadway (the 100 block, I dig). I invited a friend to provide an insider’s look at the family-friendly scene Council Bluffs offers. Go out and explore it sometime.

* * * * *

Tiffany
Tiffany

Living and loving the CB life

Council Bluffs has been known to get a bad rap. You may have heard the old familiar “Counciltucky.”  But no matter what you hear you will never know the true gem Council Bluffs is until you get out and explore all it has to offer.

I am a mother of a 10-month-old son. Taking him places isn’t always an easy feat (will it ever be?) and finding places that spark his interest and keep him occupied is always on my to do list. One place we love to go visit is Bass Pro Shops. Yes, you read that right; I know, I know … it’s a hunting and fishing store. However, they have a lot more to offer than just kayaks and duck calls for sale.  Bass Pro has an 18,000-gallon fish tank that is sure to mesmerize your little ones. There are all kinds of wildlife animals on display throughout the store and even a carnival like shooting range upstairs for the bigger kids. One of the best things about Bass Pro is all the free family events they hold throughout the year.  They have a Santa’s workshop, visits with the Easter Bunny, Family Summer Camp and many more.  Not only are these events free, but they often include free take home projects for the kiddos and free holiday pictures.  A quick trip to the BP can be a fun learning experience for the whole family!

Ditmars Orchard is another great, quick day visit for the family. Take the kids out for some fruit picking, corn-digging and tractor pull rides. Ditmars also hosts numerous events throughout the year. From their fall time pumpkin patch to live music performances and a hot air balloon festival – it’s always worth it to see what they have to offer!

Tiffany, a Council Bluffs, Iowa, native and mother of an adorable boy, shares tips on where to go in Council Bluffs with little ones in tow.
Tiffany, a Council Bluffs, Iowa, native and mother of an adorable boy, shares tips on where to go in Council Bluffs with little ones in tow.

Council Bluffs has many other amazing locations to check out. If you want to explore history, I suggest the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Historic General Dodge House, Squirrel Cage Jail or the Lewis and Clark Monument. These locations would make for great learning scavenger hunts if you have older children.

If you want to take in some fresh air and nature, visit one of our amazing parks.  Big Lake is an excellent park to visit – you can fish, have a picnic and play on the kid friendly playground!

Council Bluffs has a lot to offer if you give it a chance and it’s a wonderful place for a family adventure!

– Tiffany is a crafter, diaper changer and recipe maker out to change the world one Pinterest project at a time. Read more by this 30-something first-time mom at http://nestingnations.blogspot.com/.