18 Fun Indoor Water Parks Near Omaha

The beauty of indoor water parks is there’s a year-round pool destination you can always count on. If you’re looking for a family-pleasing getaway, hotels with a waterpark are an excellent combination. Here are a few indoor water parks near Omaha, including resorts and aquatic centers in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri to add to your family travel wish list.

COVID Update: When I wrote this, the indoor waterparks on this list were open. Due to the ever-changing landscape we’re in, call ahead before visiting.

Indoor Water Parks Near Omaha

Play in the water year-round at these indoor water resorts and water parks within five hours of Omaha.

My recommendations

I have not had a whole lot of luck with indoor water parks when we travel. I have visited all of the local indoor water parks, and honestly, I’d skip the hotel versions and go straight to the Kroc Center.

For our travels thus far, I haven’t been too impressed with the hotels we’ve stayed at with indoor waterparks. It seems elusive to find a hotel and waterpark that meet my expectations. I have yet to stay at Great Wolf Lodge, which I’ve heard great things about, though.

Your turn: Let me know your favorites and recommendations!

Indoor water parks make year-round vacations possible in the Midwest. Here are 15+ indoor water parks and resorts in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and South Dakota (all very drivable from Omaha!)

The Fascinating History Of Joslyn Castle

Known as Omaha’s castle, Joslyn Castle was originally named Lynhurst by George and Sarah Joslyn when they had the Scottish Baronial Revival mansion constructed on the western outskirts of 1903 Omaha. The Joslyns relocated to Omaha from Vermont, when George took a job with a Des Moines printing company to manage a branch office in Omaha in 1880.

The mansion’s architect, John McDonald, embraced the Sottish revival concept. Joslyn Castle was built in less than a year for about $275,000, using Kansas limestone.

Joslyn Castle’s grounds make for an outstanding location for selfies and other photography. The flower gardens are amazing, with several types of flowers raised. A botanical garden in front of the mansion add to its charm.

Here are a few things to know as you plan your visit to Joslyn Castle.

A bench and window inside Joslyn Castle in Omaha, Nebraska.

Joslyn Castle tour

Joslyn Castle hosts tours throughout the year. Public tours are offered each Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. Tours last about an hour and include three floors of the 35-room mansion.

Plan a visit in November or December to see the castle decorated for Christmas.

The castle occasionally hosts an “Unlocked” tour, a behind-the-scenes look at the mansion, including a tour of all four floors. You’ll only be able to see the basement during the “Unlocked” tour.

You can find the monthly schedule here.

Joslyn Castle is also available for weddings and other events.

A dining room in Joslyn Castle featuring a fireplace and chandelier.

Joslyn Castle’s design

The 35-room mansion included a reception hall, music room, ballroom, and a library. The Joslyns also had a bowling alley in the basement.

Each room was uniquely designed, prominently featuring the thistle, Scotland’s national flower, in woodwork and light fixtures. Scottish gods were also carved into light fixtures around the mansion.

The library’s built-in bookshelves showcase the outstanding craftsmanship of the era. The staircase is immaculate, with a dark finish and hand-crafted artwork.

Intricate woodwork and windows inside the castle.

Unique history

The Joslyns planted 100 mature trees, along with a greenhouse to showcase a variety of flowers. The 1913 Easter tornado destroyed the greenhouse and much of the grounds, while sparing the castle.

While George Joslyn died in 1916, Sarah continued to live in the mansion until 1940, when she died. Joslyn Castle was then donated to the Omaha Public Schools district, which operated its administrative offices there from the mid-1940s through 1989.

The state of Nebraska took it over in ’89 and worked to transform it back to its original state.

Joslyn Castle grounds

Surrounded by a stone and wrought iron fence, flower beds, perennial plants, and bushes are located around the ample Joslyn Castle grounds. Care for the castle’s grounds are an ongoing project, maintaining the exquisite trees, while also planting new ones.

The gardens and grounds are open to the public during the day.

The backside of Joslyn Castle in the fall.

Christmas at Joslyn Castle

Decorated for the holiday season, a tour of Joslyn Castle adds to your holiday cheer. Each year brings a new design to the mansion. From Christmas trees to wreathes and poinsettias, the house is immaculately designed for the holiday season.

You can tour Joslyn Castle, as well as other historic homes in the neighborhood during the annual Historic Home Tour and Boutique, hosted over a two-day weekend each November.

Visit Joslyn Art Museum

Following your tour of Joslyn Castle, you may want to make a trip to Joslyn Art Museum. Donated to the city in memory of her late husband, Sarah Joslyn wanted a concert hall, with art galleries bordering it.

The museum has grown to include classical and pop culture artwork, as well as sculptures, and special exhibits.

Exterior of Joslyn Art Museum in downtown Omaha.

Related post: 20+ Omaha Museums You Should Visit

View the Eugene Kingman Mural

Commissioned in 1946 to be displayed at the New York Times’ headquarters, Eugene Kingman created a mural showing a view of the world from space. Kingman was about to assume duties as the executive director of the Joslyn Museum.

He created the mural at Joslyn Art Museum, before it was transported to be displayed in New York. It was showcased in the Times’ lobby until the 1980s, when it was removed during renovation.

Today, you can view the Kingman mural at the Omaha Public Library’s downtown Dale Clark branch.

George and Sarah Joslyn came to Omaha in the mid-1890s to run a business. They ended up leaving a lasting legacy, first with Omaha’s “castle,” followed by Joslyn Art Museum. Along with the Joslyns’ influence, you’ll appreciate their love of architecture with Joslyn Castle.

If you go

Joslyn Castle

Where: 3902 Davenport St., Omaha, Neb.

The administrative office is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The castle is open only during tours.

5 Things To Know Before Visiting El Museo Latino In Omaha

Interior of El Museo Latino

Celebrating Hispanic history, art, and culture, El Museo Latino in South Omaha is one of the country’s largest Hispanic museums. Located in the former Polish Home, the museum opened in 1993. Founded by Magdalena “Maggie” Garcia, the museum quickly became a stalwart in the Hispanic community.

With educational and dance programs that incorporate Hispanics’ culture and history, El Museo Latino seeks to  help educate people and expand Hispanic art around Omaha. It also hosts programs throughout the year to help raise money for the Midwest’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration, which is usually held the first weekend of May.

Here are a few things to know when visiting El Museo Latino.

Covid-19 alert: Before visiting, please check El Museo Latino’s website or Facebook page for requirements or restrictions.

1. Museum history

When it opened in 1993, El Museo Latino was the first Hispanic art and history museum in the Midwest. Today, it’s one of only 17 in the United States.

Entrance to El Museo Latino in Omaha, Nebraska

It was originally located at the Livestock Exchange Building, near the former Omaha Stockyards. With only 3,000 square feet to work with, El Museo Latino had limited space for its exhibits and classes.

In 1997, the museum was moved to the former Polish Home at 4701 S. 25th St. It’s a U-shaped Romanesque Revival-style building with about 18,000 square feet. The museum found its permanent home.

2. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits

While its exhibit space is limited, El Museo Latino takes advantage of it to showcase outstanding permanent and temporary exhibits. Among its permanent collections are older and contemporary pieces, such as pottery and photographs. Some items date to the pre-Colombian era.

Pottery on display in the permanent collection at El Museo Latino

Special exhibits include traveling displays, such as ceramics created by Picasso and “Dia de Muertos” (“Day of the Dead”).

Here are a few upcoming traveling exhibits:

  • “Latin American Graphics” – Opened Sept. 12, 2020
  • “MOLAS The Art of Panama” – Opened Sept. 12, 2020
  • Dia de Muertos” (“Day of the Dead”) – Oct. 10 through Nov. 14, 2020

Is it a kid-friendly museum? Sure (though don’t expect any hands-on activities)! I dig into it more in this old post about visiting the museum when my children were in preschool.

3. Creative programs at the museum

You can get your dance on by enrolling in a class at El Museo Latino. Featuring classes for adults and children, including folklorico, ballroom, salsa, ballet, and hip-hop, the museum encourages people to get involved on the dance floor.

The museum also offers art and music classes.

Button to read about Omaha museums

4. South Omaha community

With El Museo Latino anchoring the 24th and L Street corridor, the museum is a key leader in South Omaha. Incorporate a walk along 24th Street toward Q Street as part of your visit to the museum.

A bilingual sign on display in a temporary exhibit at El Museo Latino in Omaha.

You’ll find stores selling Quinceanera gowns for the tradition of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday, as well as other culturally-significant clothes. Outlets featuring authentic pottery and ceramics are located alongside stores marketing Latin flags and piñatas.

Murals celebrating South Omaha’s heritage, from its eastern European immigrants to the Hispanic community, can be found near Plaza de la Raza. The colorful building-sized artwork are worth a trip on their own, but when combined with a visit to El Museo Latino, it creates a wonderful experience for people of all ages and backgrounds.

5. Nearby restaurants

Following your visit to El Museo Latino, check out any of the  ethnic restaurants along 24th Street, including Taqueria el Rey at 24th and Q streets, for a delicious and authentic meal.

Chips, salsa and rice from Jacobo's Grocery near El Museo Latino in South Omaha

Or, stop by Jacobo’s Grocery, at 24th and L streets, and pick up freshly-made enchiladas, burritos, chips, and salsa for a delicious meal at home.

With its cultural and art programs, as well as historical exhibits, a visit to El Museo Latino opens the door to a special experience in Omaha. As one of a handful of Latino museums in the country, Omaha is blessed to have an opportunity to learn about Hispanic history and culture up-close.

Art on display at El Museo Latino

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Get to know Omaha's history at El Museo Latino, a museum in South Omaha celebrating Hispanic art and history. Here are a few things to know about the exhibits and events at the museum, as well as the neighborhood near it. This is the only museum of its kind in Nebraska.

Must-Try Drinks At Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

Hand holding cup of hard apple cider

My kids love going to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, Neb., because of all the activities — they could spend a full day riding pedal carts, jumping on the pillow jumpers, and creeping through the haunted house. Me? I like the food at Vala’s. And this year, I discovered another reason to go to Vala’s each year: The drinks.

Read on to see which drinks I recommend trying on your next visit! Plus, as a 2020 necessary addition, I’ve added the COVID-19 safety precautions seen at the pumpkin patch.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Orchard. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Sunset at Vala's Pumpkin Patch in

COVID-19 safety measures at the pumpkin patch

This post was originally going to be all about the unique drinks at the pumpkin patch but being 2020, I feel that laying out some expectations before your visit is important. Yes, Vala’s has safety measures in place. They include:

  • Masks are required for all guests ages 5-years-old while inside buildings, in queue lines or when social distancing is not possible. You’ll see all Vala’s team members wearing masks, too.
  • There is a limit to the number of guests at Vala’s to comply with government guidelines. This will likely affect visitors on peak days, like October weekends. Arrive early to avoid any cutoffs at admissions.
  • There are limits to the number of people allowed inside a building or at an attraction at one time. 
  • Cash will only be accepted at admissions. Inside the pumpkin patch, have a credit card or gift card ready.
  • All guests will be asked a couple of screener questions prior to entering the pumpkin patch, such as if you’d been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • And all the other usual recommendations apply: Don’t visit if you’re unwell, practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizer and wash your hands.

What I noticed during our visit? Lots of signs to remind people to be socially distant. And lots and lots of hand sanitizer.

The entrance to Vala's corn maze with safety signage in place.

Some more subtle changes:

  • The corn maze is now just one path, so it’s more like a corn meander. It has an essential workers celebration in it this year.
  • Employees wiping down pedal carts, gaming surfaces, and more frequently.
  • Areas will be shut down briefly to undergo deeper cleaning. We saw this with the jumping pillows and the chicken barn.

Not to be cliche, but these are unprecedented days. If you don’t feel comfortable with the safety measures, Vala’s has made it easier to bring some of the experience home with you… Call it a “taste of Vala’s.” Check out the menu for their curbside pick-up options

Must-try drinks

OK then, on to the good stuff! Beverages.

The talk of 2020 is that Vala’s is now making hard apple cider. For the 21 and older crowd, this will be the first time you can enjoy an alcoholic drink while at the pumpkin patch. Head to the Cider Silo for these items.

A cup of hard cider at Vala's Pumpkin Patch.

There were two types to try when we were there. The Nebraska Classic Cider was my favorite, it’s a tart cider with 6.5% ABV. My husband, not a fan of tartness, preferred the special they had on that evening – the Gold Rush Dry.

They also have a hard cider slushee available. These are a little stronger (7% ABV) and definitely sweeter. The flavors are Classic and Cherry.

FYI: They will ID you and give you a wristband to wear.

The next drink caused the most stir on my social media channels. It was the monster shake (the SMORES flavor, to be precise). This Goliath is definitely one you’ll want to share.

It’s made with soft serve vanilla ice cream, fudge, roasted marshmallows, Hershey bars and a nice little graham cracker crust around the rim.

If spoiling your dinner by having one of these first is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Additional drink options:

  • They sell apple cider slushees. I tried to get my hands on one but the slushee machine didn’t have things quite slushed yet. F
  • Of course, there’s always root beer, pop, lemonade, and hot drinks like coffee and hot cocoa available.
  • You can also ask for a free cup of water if you don’t want to buy a disposable plastic water bottle. They will not fill up your empty water bottles, because COVID.

Planning your Vala’s visit in 2020

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is located at 12102 S. 180th St., Gretna, Neb., where it’s been for more than two decades.

New this year: Vala’s has started a very limited number of non-refundable, date-specific tickets every day. These will go on sale at 5 p.m. the night before, and remain on sale through 9 a.m. the day of admission. 

If these tickets sell out, it only means that reservations are sold out. The majority of tickets and all season passes will NOT be sold for a specific date and are redeemable any date until the farm reaches maximum capacity.

Tip: If you are not able to buy one of these reserved admission tickets, look at the anticipated attendance calendar and crowd tracker.

Kim selfie at the flower field in Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Nebraska.

One reason to go early in the season this year is the new flower field in the rear of Freya’s Chicken Yard. It is full of gorgeous photo opportunities.

I’m guessing more than a few of my friends will snapping pictures of their kids there for holiday cards.

How much are tickets?

Tickets are cheaper in September and on the weekdays. Everyone ages 3 and older must pay admission. Admission is FREE for kids ages 2 and under. You can purchase the tickets online ahead of time and I think you’d be smart to do so since they will limit capacity on full days.

September: Monday through Thursday, $13.95/person; Friday through Sunday, $17.95/person

October: Monday through Thursday, $13.95/person; Friday through Sunday, $25.95/person

Tip: Save $2 off October weekend admission when you purchase online!

What are Vala’s hours?

Vala’s is open in 2020 through Sunday, Nov. 1. The pumpkin patch is open daily. The hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tip: If you visit on Friday nights, stay late to catch the 10-minute fireworks show that starts at 9 p.m. The best spot for viewing is near the Pie Barn.

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Fall at Vala's Pumpkin Patch near Omaha, Nebraska! Visiting this spectacular pumpkin patch is an annual tradition for many Nebraska families. See what's new in 2020, plus get tips on sweet drinks to try on your next visit.

Urban Legends, Ghost Tours & Haunted Houses Near Omaha

Every city has its urban legends and supposedly-haunted buildings, and Omaha is no different. Because I’m no ghost hunter — I’m actually a big baby — I went during the day to investigate some of the most-haunted places in the metro area.

Haunted places & urban legends near Omaha

Below you’ll find a few of the places that are home to many of the metro area’s urban legends. From secluded parks and cemeteries to haunted buildings in the middle of the city, here are a few of Omaha’s supposedly haunted places and the legends behind them.

The Monster Club

Where: 1217 Howard St., Omaha

The exterior of The Monster Club in the Old Market of Omaha.

OK, what better place to have a haunted backstory than a restaurant called The Monster Club, complete with horror-themed decorations? 

My first introduction to this building was in the early 2010s, back when it was O’Connor’s Irish Pub & Grille. I was there for a Halloween party one year, but alas, I have no ghost stories. It was an haunt-free night.

What’s the legend: Rumors of lights turning on and off and shadowy figures have been shared over the years. PRISM visited the bar in 2015 (on a nice, full moon kind of night) and documented quite a bit of unusual activity.

Forest Lawn Cemetery

Where: 7909 Mormon Bridge Road, Omaha

Sign for Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery with the chapel in the background.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park (AKA Forest Lawn Cemetery) is an expansive cemetery in north Omaha, with a reportedly haunted chapel.

What’s the legend: Reports from a paranormal investigation group have noted that a “large, black mass” has been seen in the chapel and it has lunged at the group. Other pretty creepy incidents have occurred.

The chapel wasn’t open when I visited the cemetery. I did not get any creepy vibes.

Hummel Park

Where: 3033 Hummel Road, Omaha

Hummel Park's crumbling stone stairs that never seem to add up to the same amount.

Let me put this out there: I love Hummel Park and I don’t really buy into the ghost stories there. My kids have gone to summer camp there. We’ve had a birthday party there. It’s a beautiful place in the daytime. 

I’m sure it’s creepy as all get out at night, though.

What’s the legend: This park has been connected to numerous crimes throughout the years, so the typical ghost story revolves around either someone who had been murdered there or someone’s body had been left there.

And it doesn’t help that there are landmarks like “Devil’s Slide” there. And those odd stone stairs that never seem to add up to the same amount when you walk on them (they’re falling apart, so no one will ever agree on that number of steps).

Adam Fletcher does a great job debunking some of the more macabre stories of Hummel… like no, there were no satanic, albino cannibals roaming there.

All in all, I have never felt like Hummel was haunted. But I would also never go there at night.

The Hatchet House

Where: Third and North Jefferson streets in Papillion, Neb.

The exterior of Portal School, AKA The Hatchet House, in the daytime.

The Hatchet House, or more accurately the Portal School, was a one-room schoolhouse for years in Portal, Neb (or maybe it’s Millard, or more specifically, 120th and Giles road by “Heartbeat Bridge”). I recall as a child, my older brother and his friends going there and to this, he swears some scary stuff went down there.

The building was relocated to downtown Papillion in 1995 due to frequent flooding of the area. The Heartbeat Bridge has been relocated, too.

What’s the legend: The story goes that in the early 1900s, a teacher killed all of her students. Most say she beheaded them in a fit of anger, and then some of the stories add that she took out their hearts and dumped them in a nearby creek. 

The story continued on that if you found the Heartbeat Bridge near the school, you could hear hearts beating as you walk across it at night. All sorts of creepy things were said to occur once you made it to the school.

Mystery Manor

Where: 716 N. 18th St., Omaha

Exterior of Mystery Manor in the daytime

Mystery Manor was a legend when I was a kid and I never went to that haunted house until I was in my late teens because it was rumored to be ridiculously scary. And for real haunted.

What’s the legend: What’s better than a haunted house? A haunted house that’s really haunted. 

The story goes that in the late 1920s, the home was a site of a brutal murder – a man killed his wife (with a hatched, no less). 

Omaha Magazine did some investigating and debunked the story. Turns out, a single lady who bred terriers lived in the house at that time.

Still, it’s a satisfyingly scary haunted house to visit in the fall. Update: Unfortunately, Mystery Manor will not open in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Haunted houses in Omaha graphic

Haunted Hollow Scream Park

Where: 12501 Old Giles Road, La Vista, Neb.

Well, with a name like Haunted Hollow, it has to be haunted right? Well, let’s see if it’s a clever marketing ploy, like Mystery Manor, or is it a truly haunted place.

What’s the legend: A teenage girl had died in a farmhouse, and over many years, owners of the property reported strange sounds and objects being moved. A psychic and PRISM confirmed paranormal activity.

The farmhouse was saved from destruction and converted into a Halloween attraction.

Visit it, if you dare.

Black Angel

Where: 623 N. Second St., Council Bluffs, Iowa on the edge of Fairview Cemetery

The Ruth Anne Dodge Memorial, AKA The Black Angel, in the daytime

Poor Ruth Anne Dodge. Her family had Daniel Chester French build a lovely memorial for her after her death in 1916. It’s a lovely fountain. By a cemetery. 

No one calls it the Ruth Anne Dodge Memorial these days. It’s now The Black Angel, and it has inspired hundreds of ghost tales.

What’s the legend: The story I’m most familiar with is that if the Black Angel visits you in your dreams, you’re going to die soon. Of course, this may be more inspired by the story of Ruth Anne having a series of dreams about an angel before her death.

Anyway, ghost stories that are mostly shared these days include that if you look in her eyes at night (or in some instances, exactly at midnight), you’ll meet an untimely death.

Other fun ones include coming to life at night, fire shooting from her eyes at midnight, and beware, kids going missing if they run behind the base of the statue. 

Squirrel Cage Jail

Where: 226 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

A view of the jail cells inside the Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This architectural wonder is a former rotary jail-turned museum. Its significance is that it’s one of only three rotary jails still in existence in the U.S., and the largest one (it’s three stories tall).

What’s the legend: This is the one place where a historical society seems to not discourage the stories. There has been reports of cabinet doors opening, strange sounds, a little girl’s voice and, my favorite, ghost cats. Word is, the fourth floor seems to have the most occurrences.

All in all, the ghosts of the jail are said to be non-threatening. 

The stories the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County share are merely speculation, though they did have a paranormal team visit and find some interesting evidence.

Tip: The daytime tours are pretty inexpensive and suitable for children. There was no mention of ghosts on the tour. The historical society offers evening tours, ranging from 4 hours to overnight!

Villisca Ax Murder House

Where: 508 E. Second St., Villisca, Iowa

This is a long drive from Omaha, but if you want a landmark with a legit crime occurring in it, head to Villisca, Iowa.

Exterior of the Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa.

In 1912, two adults and six kids were brutally murdered on Second Street and it remains an unsolved murder case. The house is now a National Historic Landmark, where visitors can take daytime tours six days a week or book overnight stays.

What’s the legend: Ever since the Moore family and two friends of a daughter were brutally murdered, tales have been spun about hauntings in the house. Visitors and paranormal specialists have shared tales of creepy occurrences, many claiming the spirits of the eight victims still reside in the house.

Some of the stories include hearing children’s voices, feeling cold spots, and being able to communicate with the dead while there. When you visit, you can see pictures that past guests have taken there and read some of their stories of haunting experiences.

We took a daytime tour and felt underwhelmed by it all. Perhaps it was all the modern-day toys people have left there for the rumored ghost children? Perhaps it was the bored guide?

I’ve had a friend stay overnight there, though, and she told me “all sorts of creepy things happened.” So, there’s that.

Omaha ghost tours & more tours nearby

The Fairview Cemetery, located in Council Bluffs, is in the background of this Black Angel photo.

Midwest Paranormal Tours

Their Omaha offerings include cemetery tours that regularly sell out, as well as haunted hikes of Hummel. Reasonably priced private tours are available for four or more people. website

Nebraska Tour Co.

This company offers an Old Market Ghost Story Tours for groups. It’s a walking tour that takes about an hour. There’s another Haunted History Tour for groups that includes transportation. website

Ollie the Trolley Haunted Cemetery Tours

These individual group tours are narrated by historians and also happens to be a BYOB type of experience. Tours run from 2 to 5 p.m., so not a late-night experience. website

Ghost Hunts USA

This company offers haunted tours of places like Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs and Malvern Manor (also in Iowa) at a premium price, but at least it includes use of their equipment. website

More odd and creepy Omaha stuff

Can’t get enough of the supernatural things, or places inspired by supernatural things? Check, out these places in Omaha:

Museum of Shadows

Where: 110 Douglas St., Omaha

What: Find a large collection of cursed items in a self-tour through the spooky place.

Haunted House Chinese Restaurant

Where: 7639 Cass St., Omaha

What: It’s a seafood restaurant that challenges you to “Enter if you dare.” I honestly can’t tell you if it’s anything more than a regular restaurant with an eye-catching name. 

Want a scare? Check out these places in Nebraska and Iowa that are rumored to be haunted! Plus, learn about guided ghost tours, haunted overnight stays and more. Many of these haunted experiences are located in Omaha or within an easy drive.

10 frightening haunted houses near Omaha

Haunted outdoors

My kids are just starting to get to the age where they’re going to start asking to go to haunted houses. While our speed has been Cobweb Castle as far as scares go, there are a lot bigger, scarier haunted houses around Omaha. Here’s a list of the haunted houses in Omaha, and nearby. 

COVID Update: Some haunted houses will not open in 2020, especially the ones that are only indoors. Those with outdoor space will have social distancing measures in place and likely a changed experience for fans of past haunted houses. Check each individual website or call ahead as the situation changes frequently. 

Haunted houses in Omaha (and nearby)

1. Haunted Hollow Scream Park 

Where: 12501 Old Giles Road, La Vista, Neb.

Dates: Opens Sept. 18 through Oct. 31

What makes it unique: Haunted Hollow is reportedly certified haunted. You can read about it soon in a post I’m writing about urban legends of Omaha.

2. Scary Acres

Where: 17272 Giles Road, Omaha

Dates: Runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 31

What makes it unique: There are three attractions at Scary Acres: the Master’s Castle, the House on the Hill, and the Haunted Woods.

3. Ranch of Terror Haunted House and Haunted Hayrack Rides 

Where: Bellevue Berry Farm, 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion, Neb.

Dates: Runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 31

What makes it unique: The scary hayrack rides at Bellevue Berry Farm are legendary.

4. Mystery Manor Haunted Theater 

Where: 716 N. 18th St., Omaha

Dates: Mystery Manor will not be open in 2020, but plans a Ghouls Gone Wild season in April 2021.

What makes it unique: This is Omaha’s longest-running haunted house with a rumor of being “for real” haunted. (It’s not – but it makes for a great storyline)

Mystery Manor in downtown Omaha

5. The Shadow’s Edge 

Where: 3457 S. 84th St., Omaha

Dates: The haunted house will not open in 2020.

What makes it unique: This haunted house is in the heart of Omaha and near one of the best stores for Halloween shopping, Mangelsen’s.

6. Cobweb Castle 

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., Omaha

Dates: The not-so-scary Halloween attraction will not be open in 2020.

What makes it unique: This is the best haunted house for those not wanting to actually be scared: AKA young children. 

Cobweb Castle, a not-scary haunted house inside Omaha Children's Museum

7. Camp Fear 

Where: 233rd Street and West Maple Road, Elkhorn, Neb.

Dates: 2020 dates have not been announced. 

What makes it unique: Camp Fear includes three attractions – Bloodrush: Forest of Terror, Nyctophobia, and Dark Ritual Escape Room. You can save money if you purchase ahead online.

8. Hillside House of Hell 

Where: 114 Green St., Glenwood, Iowa

Dates: Runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 31 

What makes it unique: This Glenwood attraction is Iowa’s largest haunted house and it is only 25 miles from Omaha.  

9. Eagle Hollow Haunts 

Where: 617 238th St., Eagle, Neb.

Dates: Opening date hasn’t been announced.

What makes it unique: The Eagle Hollow haunted house is expanding its outdoor offerings in 2020 by expanding the outdoor walking path, Darklands, and the bus ride to get visitors there.  Due to COVID restrictions, Luminon and Night Terrors will be closed for 2020.

10. Roca Scary Farm 

Where: 16531 S. 38th St., Roca, Neb.

When: Open Sept. 25 through Oct. 30.

What makes it unique: A pumpkin patch by day, a scary farm by night.

Haunted road trips

If you want to get out of town for your scares, I recommend heading to Kansas City, Mo., for Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun.

Worlds of Fun during the Halloween season in the daytime.

Unfortunately, Halloween Haunt will not be held in 2020.

The night is pretty scary, so if you have young kids, I recommend going for Halloween fun during the daytime.

Want a ghost tour or a “real” haunted place?

I just finished researching a post about the urban legends, rumored hauntings, and other freaky places in Omaha and nearby. At the end of the post, you’ll find links to several ghost tours and cemetery tours, so you don’t have to DIY your own haunting expedition.

Want to get scared this Halloween season? Here are the haunted houses in Omaha, as well as haunted outdoor attractions near Omaha.

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