Everything You Want To Know About Neale Woods

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to Omaha and hiking trails. We don’t really have an abundance of options – though, we have quite a few great trails. That I keep going back to over and over again. It was time to find a new-to-me place to hike. And that’s why I ended up at Neale Woods in northern Omaha one summer morning.

What took me so long to visit this place?

Neale Woods is a hidden gem in Omaha, Nebraska! If you're looking for an easy hike or quick getaway from the city, plan a day trip to Neale Woods.

Where is Neale Woods

Neale Woods is a conservation area tucked in the Ponca Hills area of Omaha, near Hummel Park and the quirky restaurant, Surfside Club. The park’s address is 14323 Edith Marie Ave.

It’s a very short drive from Interstate 680, making it conveniently accessible while still remaining a hidden gem.

Sunlight shining through trees at Neale Woods in Omaha, Nebraska

What to bring for a hike

The basics to always bring for a hike include plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug spray. I packed a snack for the trail. I wasn’t planning on being there long enough to need a picnic lunch, but you may want to.

The park is well-marked with signage, so a compass isn’t totally necessary.

If you’re as clueless as me when it comes to flora and fauna, you may want to bring a guidebook to help you identify plants.

Visiting Neale Woods in the summer grantees seeing wildflowers.

The Neale Woods & Fontenelle Forest connection

Fontenelle Forest, that beautiful gem of a park in Bellevue, owns and operates Neale Woods. There are a few similarities between the two nature centers.

For one, there is an admission to access the trails. It’s minimal, but bring a few dollars with you. Fees help cover the cost of maintaining the trails. In 2020, the price was $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children ages 2-17.

Of course, if you have a Fontenelle membership, it’s free to access either site. I feel a little foolish having had a Fontenelle Forest membership for years and yet I still had never been to Neale Woods.

Forest floor at Neale Woods

Unlike trails you might encounter at state parks, Neale Woods (and Fontenelle) do not allow pets on the trails. So, the perk is there are no hidden piles of poop from dogs or horses. The downside? No dogs or horses.

Neale Woods rules

You’ll find some posted signage at the entrance to Neale Woods with clear instructions on how to be a responsible visitor. There are also the following rules printed on the map for Neale Woods:

  • Stay on the trails
  • Leave all plants and animals undisturbed for others to enjoy, no collecting
  • No hunting, fishing, camping, jogging, bicycling, smoking or fires allowed
  • Leave all pets at home, including horses
  • Motorized vehicles are not permitted beyond the parking lot except for disabled persons’ access
  • Carry your trash out with you
  • Use caution when crossing North River Road to the floodplain trails
Wildflowers seen by Hilltop Trail at Neale Woods

What you’ll find there

There are about 9 miles of trails that span the 600 acres of Neale Woods. Trails pass through forest, woodland and prairie landscape.

I found the trails to be very well-maintained and well-marked, and no trail was too challenging. (Which, I suppose, may be a bad thing if that’s what you were hoping for)

Hiking and wildlife viewing are the main reasons to visit. There is a nature center (temporarily closed due to COVID-19). There are some places to sit, though you won’t find benches once you’re further into the trails.

Trail sign at Neale Woods in northern Omaha

Recommended hike

This place was completely new to me so I had no planned route when I started. So, I just started in whatever trail tempted me from the parking lot. Luckily, the route I took passed through a variety of scenic areas, including woodlands and prairie.

Here’s my route (it took about an hour, since I stopped frequently to photograph flowers and butterflies):

Take Gifford Trail north for a brief hike before connecting to Neale Trail. Follow Neale Tail until you see a sign to head west on the wooded Wagon Trail.

For a short hike, just continue on Wagon Trail until you hit the parking lot.

Steps at Owl Trail at Neale Woods in Omaha, Nebraska

But, for a good hike, you’ll tun west onto Raccoon Hollow Trail, which is a moderate trail in the forest. Take Raccoon Hollow Trail north until you get to Owl Trail. It’s a short, somewhat moderately challenging trail that connects with Hilltop Trail.

If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter wildflowers and lush prairie as you traverse Hilltop Trail. Head south along Hilltop Trail until you connect with Gifford Trail. You can hike the Gifford Trail loop, if you desire, or just head back to the parking lot.

In all, there are 11 trails at Neale Woods.

Related post: Looking for more hikes? Here are my favorite easy hikes near Omaha!

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Omaha has an off-the-beaten hiking spot called Neale Woods. Get details on the trails -- both prairie and woodland trails -- as well as a recommended hike. #Nebraska #Midwest #Outdoors #Hikes

Omaha’s Fascination With Food Trucks Expands: Trucks and Taps

Takeout Box At Dire Lion Trucks and Taps Location

Omaha has a fascination with food trucks. No, seriously, there’s a reason why this post about Omaha food trucks is so popular.

For many people, it started in the Old Market with the old Localmotive and its amazing rounders. Fortunately, when Localmotive’s owners decided to shut down the truck, the recipes for the round mound of deliciousness was purchased by Nick Bartholomew of Over Easy. The filled bread rolls were added to the southwest Omaha restaurant’s menu.

Then, as the food truck scene exploded in Omaha, you’d find them scattered around town – Taste of New Orleans, Taqueria del Ray, and more.

To help satisfy our unending drooling for more food truck cuisine, several trucks started offering lunch downtown on Thursdays, near 14th and Dodge streets. That was great for everyone working downtown, but what about the suburbs? Where could they find food trucks in which to quench their desire for food from a truck?

The evening lineup of food trucks at Trucks and Taps in Omaha, Nebraska

What To Know About Trucks And Taps

Trucks and Taps teamed with three food trucks to anchor its 108th and Q streets location. Opened in the summer of 2020, Taps and Trucks offers beer, cider, and seltzer, as well as soft drinks, along with an opportunity to enjoy amazing food truck menus.

The former Sonic drive-in (and later a Godfather’s takeout location) is the perfect setting for the bar and food trucks. Joining as the “trucks” part are Big Green Q, Dire Lion, and Wonton Jon’s, each offering an impressive menu of tasty goodies.

Trucks and Taps features local craft beers, such as Kros Strain, Nebraska Brewing Company, and Farnam House. Additional Nebraska breweries and cideries include Glacial Till of Palmyra, Cosmic Eye from Lincoln, and Bootleg Brewery from Taylor. They’ll add a full bar later.

With plenty of outdoor seating available, Trucks and Taps can serve several people. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the location is strictly an outdoor bar.

As for the food trucks, each has a loyal following.

Big Green Q

Big Green Q takes its name for its farm-to-table philosophy. They use locally-sourced ingredients in creating amazing barbecue, including fresh produce, bread, and antibiotic and hormone-free meat.

The menu at Big Green Q at Trucks and Taps in Omaha.

Using Missouri lump charcoal, they smoke pork, chicken, wagyu beef, vegetables, and tofu. While the wood chips may vary, they, too, come from the Show Me State. Using two types of barbecue sauce, Big Green Q is sure to cover the bases – tangy red and yellow mustard.

While meat combinations, such as the Triple B with pork butt, pork belly, and pork ribs, are delicious, the true star may be the made-from-scratch tater tots. With a crunchy exterior, the inside melts in your mouth, leaving you starving for more.

A smoked chicken sandwich and tots from Big Green Q and a cider from Saro Cider.

You may be tempted to build your own meal from just the sides, with pulled pork baked beans, mac and cheese with white cheddar sauce and topped with bread crumbs, and their handmade Q slaw, highlighted with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette.

Tip: Big Green Q is the first food truck in the Midwest to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Its efforts have been supported by local energy outlets, including Metropolitan Utilities District, Nebraska Energy Department, and Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Related post: 8 Amazing BBQ Joints To Try In The Omaha Metro

The Dire Lion Grille and Chippy

Who needs a British pub when you have The Dire Lion Grille and Chippy? Serving the best fish and chips this side of the pond, Dire Lion has been a favorite of food truck connoisseurs since setting up shop.

The menu at the Dire Lion, a food truck that is often found at Trucks and Taps in Omaha.

The beer-battered cod is as good as anything you’ll find in the United Kingdom. Add thick-cut fries, and you’ve got a great meal. Dire Lion’s menu also features chicken, shrimp, and another British favorite, bangers and mash.

Wonton Jon’s

As the third member of the team, Wonton Jon’s bring a twist to food truck dining – craft wontons. The baked wontons are topped with items to create delicacies such as Lox of Love, featuring salmon, capers, and garlic-favored cream cheese.

A favorite is the Thai Peanut Butter Chicken, with a creamy peanut butter sauce that rivals any Thai restaurant dish. Interested in a cheeseburger wonton? You will be when you see it. Grab dessert with an apple cinnamon wonton.

The bar at Trucks and Taps in Omaha, with Big Green Q food truck in the background.

As Omaha’s culinary scene continues to grow, so does the popularity of food trucks. Now, thanks to Trucks and Taps, you don’t need to hurry downtown over your lunch hour. You can even take the family out for an evening meal or weekend lunch.

If you go

Trucks and Taps

Where: 5402 S. 108th St., Omaha

Hours: Open Wednesday-Sunday (check before you go – there isn’t always a food truck there!)

Omaha has a fascination with food trucks and one of the newest players on the scene is Trucks and Taps, featuring food trucks, a full bar, and a patio. Get the details on the food, drinks and what to expect if you go!

8 Amazing BBQ Joints To Try In The Omaha Metro

Long known as a steak town, Omaha’s barbecue scene has stepped up its game with some new joints opening, as well as veteran favorites. From Hartland BBQ in Benson to new West Omaha fave Porky Butt’s, pitmasters are really working to outdo one another. The question is no longer, does Omaha have good barbecue, but where should we eat? Here’s a fun look at some of the best local BBQ joints calling the Metro home.

Plate a ribs at Porky Butts in West Omaha
Photo courtesy Porky Butts

Porky Butts

Where: 15475 Ruggles St., Omaha

Blaine Hunter earned his barbecue stripes as a youngster, growing up in the world of Texas pit barbecue. Having competed in more than 130 competitions, Hunter has earned 85 Top 10 finishes, including 22 grand championships. Bringing a championship resume to the Omaha barbecue scene, Porky Butts was an instant hit with Omaha foodies when they opened their doors in 2019.

Your mouth will water as soon as you pull up into the West Omaha eatery’s parking lot. The smell of smoked meat and all the fixings is more than enough to make you want to throw on a bib and go to town on ribs, brisket and pulled pork, among other menu items.

A favorite with diners, the rib plate features mouthwatering smoked ribs along with two sides, such as smoked beans, mac and cheese, loaded grits, and more, plus cornbread. 

A plate of food at Smoking Jay's BBQ in downtown Omaha
Photo courtesy Smoking Jay’s BBQ

Smoking Jay’s BBQ

Where: 2524 S. 13th St., Omaha

Family-owned, Smoking Jay’s has called Omaha home since 2015. Not far from Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens, and downtown Omaha, Smoking Jay’s BBQ thrives on its smoked pork and beef ribs, as well as brisket and gizzards.

Enjoy unique sides, such as Jay’s fried potatoes, pan-fried with garlic peppers, onions, and topped with cheddar jack cheese, as well as baked beans, potato salad, and honey corn bread.

You can combine the best of barbecue with Omaha’s love for beef by ordering the Heart Attack Burger, a cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, a slathering of barbecue sauce, and homemade onion rings. Check out their smoked chicken wings as an appetizer. 

Close-up of a meal at Hartland Bar-b-Que in Omaha
Photo courtesy a.d.e.photography

Hartland Bar-b-Que

Where: 5402 NW Radial Highway, Omaha

One of Omaha’s older barbecue joints, Hartland Bar-b-Que is a Benson staple. Located in a small building, Hartland BBQ is known for its smoked ribs. Its barbecue sauce is tangy without a lot of sweetness.

It’s been a family favorite for a few years, and continues to be one of the go-to barbecue restaurants in the Metro.

Joining the ribs are pork, brisket, and sausage, which can be enjoyed as part of a two-meat dinner. Sides include baked beans, coleslaw, and creamy cucumber salad. 

Assortment of food at Omaha barbecue restaurant Tired Texan BBQ
Photo courtesy Tired Texan

Tired Texan BBQ

Where: 4702 S. 108th St., Omaha

Fire. Smoke. Time. Passion. That’s the credo at Tired Texan BBQ.

Taking over vacant restaurant space at the Best Western hotel in southwest Omaha in 2017, Tired Texan BBQ quickly established itself as a player among Omaha’s barbecue scene, often running out of meat before closing time.

How does an Alabama native choose the name Tired Texan BBQ, and especially in Omaha? The original Texan joint called Birmingham home. The owners honored the original Tired Texan after he passed by choosing the name for the Omaha eatery.

With smoked meats, such as St. Louis spare ribs, pork, and brisket, you’ll want to order a two-meat combination (though single meats and build your own plate options are available). Add sides such as baked mac and cheese, smoked potato salad, creamed corn, and coleslaw that is dressed to your preference (creamy, tangy vinegar, peppercorn, or poppyseed). 

Burnt ends plate at Swine Dining
Photo courtesy Swine Dining

Swine Dining BBQ

Where: 204 E. Mission Ave., Bellevue, Neb., and 12120 W. Dodge St., Omaha

Taking over an award-winning barbecue restaurant, a group of friends decided it would be fun to own their own restaurant. With the original Swine Dining BBQ location on Mission Avenue, they serve up excellent barbecue, including smoked ribs and chicken, as well as sandwiches such as pulled pork, brisket, and smoked sausage.

Try their All in the Pool sandwich, consisting of pulled pork, smoked sausage, and brisket. Add a side of smoked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and corn of the day – corn mixed with peppers, onion, and sausage or cream corn with jalapeno – and you’re set for a delicious BBQ outing.

With the success of the Bellevue location, Swine Dining opened a second location near 120th and Dodge. 

Ribs and sides at Elkhorn barbecue joint Boyd and Charlies.
Photo courtesy Boyd and Charlie’s

Boyd and Charlie’s

Where: 2706 Main St., Elkhorn, Neb.

Open for more than 15 years, Boyd and Charlie’s has been a stalwart in downtown Elkhorn. Serving up barbecue that keeps people coming back, the family-owned restaurant features a tasty menu, including chopped pork, hickory-smoked sausage, mesquite-smoked ribs, brisket, and honey-smoked turkey.

You can also grab an order of burnt ends, as well as sandwiches with all the smoked favorites, including homemade chicken salad. With sides such as beans featuring smoked meat and sauce, corn casserole, and creamy coleslaw, you’re set for a great meal.

Jim’s Rib Haven

Where: 3801 Ames Ave., Omaha

A North Omaha staple since 1967, Jim’s Rib Haven has been a local favorite for great barbecue.

Fans can enjoy beef ribs, spare ribs, and rib tips among other favorites, such as link sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and the ultimate sandwich combo of beef, pork, and turkey. Jim’s serves the standard sides, including baked beans and coleslaw.

Try an appetizer, such as poppers, saucy fries, or chili fries.

BBQ nachos from Boxer Barbecue, a restaurant in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Photo courtesy Boxer Barbecue

Boxer Barbecue

Where: 513 S. Main St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

When you’ve been in business for nearly 15 years, you must be doing something right. At Boxer Barbecue in Council Bluffs, that involves making everything from scratch. From BBQ nachos as an appetizer to barbecue spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork shanks, you’re in for a real down-home treat when you visit Boxer Barbecue.

Combine any of their meats in a two- or three-meat combination plate and add two delicious sides. The sides seemingly could be a meal themselves, with the baked beans including an ample serving of pork, Carolina-style creamy coleslaw, and potato salad that starts with a creamy sour cream base and adds skin-on red potatoes and smoky bacon.

Omaha may not be Kansas City when it comes to barbecue, but our culinary landscape has improved with some new BBQ joints joining the veterans. So, tie on a bib or bring plenty of hand wipes, because you’ll want to get messy enjoying some Omaha barbecue.

Looking for good barbecue in the Omaha metro area? Here's a list of popular BBQ joint from Elkhorn to Council Bluffs, North Omaha to West Omaha, and everywhere in between.

Locals’ favorite barbecue in Omaha

I polled readers recently on which is their preferred barbecue joint in the Omaha area and the results were not too surprising given this list:

  • Porky Butts was the run-away winner.
  • Tied for second were Hartland Bar-B-Que, Jim’s Rib Haven, and Tired Texan.
  • In third was We’ll Smoke You Barbecue.
  • And a write-in entry was Papio Pit BBQ, which I think I ought to go check out!

If you know of a great barbecue restaurant in the Omaha area that wasn’t mentioned in this post (for example, barbecue food trucks), please leave a comment and let all of us know about it!

Omaha’s barbecue scene has stepped up its game with some new BBQ joints opening, as well as veteran favorite restaurants. Here's a list of popular Omaha restaurants to try for saucy, smokey barbecue.

What You Can Expect At The Omaha Zoo This Summer (Phased Reopening)

Like everything else in the world, summer 2020 at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is going to look a lot different than normal. Reopening June 1 with several measures in place, I asked the zoo to share what’s different so you know what to expect:

Zoo areas that are currently closed

The zoo is reopening in phases. Phase 1 is pretty cautious with the following closures and restrictions in place:

  • All buildings are closed, including exhibits like the aquarium, Desert Dome, and the indoor rainforest. Other buildings that house restaurants and the gift shop are closed, too.
  • The Lozier Giant Screen Theater will be closed.
  • Outdoor areas that are closed include the Bay Family Children’s Adventure Trails or Scott Alaskan Adventure Splash Park.
  • Animal feeding opportunities will not be available.
  • There are no behind-the-scenes tours.
Children's Adventure Trails at Omaha's zoo will not be open during Phase 1 of the zoo's reopening.

Things to know about admission to the zoo

Don’t expect to waltz in with a wave of your membership this summer.

  • Reservation for a time to enter the Zoo must be made online before visiting. Make a reservation here. IDs and online reservation receipts will be checked. Members will not be able to transfer their membership to non-members.
  • Reservations can be made up to two days in advance of visit. There don’t seem to be any exceptions.
  • Admission tickets are discounted at $20.95 for guests ages 12 and over, $13.95 for children ages 3 to 11, and $19.95 for seniors ages 65 and over.
  • AZA reciprocal zoo admission program is suspended at this time.
  • Timeslots are available every half hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Good news for members: From June 1-7, there is a Members Only hour from 8 to 9 a.m.
  • There is a separate entrance for entering the zoo and exiting the zoo. Park accordingly. The Main Gate is for entrance to the zoo. The North Gate for exiting the zoo.
Lagoon at the zoo

What it’s going to be like at the zoo in Phase 1

  • With buildings closed and a single entrance point and a single exit point, the zoo has created a walking path that’s about 1.8 miles.
  • The walking path is one-way traffic only. No backtracking is permitted.
  • You have to be prepared to walk it, as there is no tram service available. You can rent strollers, wagons, ECVs, and wheelchairs, though (limited supply).
  • Drinking fountains and water refill stations will not be available. Bring your own water.
Map of Omaha Zoo during Phase 1 of reopening in 2020
Map courtesy Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Things you can do at the zoo during Phase 1

  • You can purchase tickets to ride Sue’s Carousel (with appropriate spacing and sanitizing).
  • You can buy concessions, but menu offerings will be limited to expedite lines. The Souvenir Cup refill service will not be available.
  • There will also be vending machines available, which will be cleaned hourly.
  • There will be retail items available for purchase at outside venues.
  • You have access to outside restrooms.
  • There is an outdoor nursing area.
  • Know that there will be signs throughout as reminders and help keep 6 feet between groups in lines.
Tusker Grill at Omaha Zoo.

Precautions you can take while at the zoo this summer

  • This goes without saying: Wash your hands frequently. This wasn’t on the zoo’s list.
  • Face mask usage by guests is strongly encouraged.
  • Guests are strongly encouraged to remain in their vehicles until their reservation time. Officials request guests not stand at the entrance plaza to meet others.

My thoughts on Phase 1

I was disheartened to read so many negative comments to their social media announcement on reopening. It is what it is, friends.

Have patience. These are strange and uncertain times.

I’m glad they’re able to open in a responsible manner. It’s not going to be business-as-usual for many months.

The view in front of the Desert Dome in the winter

Will I be going any time soon? Maybe not right away. Many of my favorite places, and certainly my kids’ favorite places, will not be open. Nor should they be – they’re popular for a reason (and therefore draw a crowd).

But I miss the zoo. I want the zoo to continue to grow and succeed. So I will be back.

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Complete Guide To TreeRush Adventures Ropes Course Near Omaha

There’s nothing like a ropes course to change your mood and confidence level while giving you a good workout. I recently spent a few hours at TreeRush Adventures, a ropes course near Omaha, where you climb, swing, and zipline. Read on to learn about it!

Side note: I hesitated to write this post right now. There are turmoil and heartache in our country and city. I believe this break from screens and news updates was what my family needed. I’m guessing some of you need a little break, too.

TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forest
Photo courtesy TreeRush Adventures

Disclosure: I received complimentary passes to TreeRush Adventures in order to write about my experience. This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.

COVID-19 Update: TreeRush Adventures has adopted some additional operational guidelines in response to the pandemic.

What you need to know:

  • Bring a mask, even for kids. They’ll provide a mask if you don’t have one. Wear it when you’re on the ground. Some people continue to wear it on the course, but that is optional since social distancing is pretty easy up high. If you don’t have a reusable homemade one, buy a bulk supply of disposable face masks ahead of time.
  • Bring your own protective gloves. They will not provide the “community gloves” like before. The kids and I used Mud Gloves, which were purchased originally for gardening, but they worked well on the course.
  • Bring your own water. There is a cooler of bottled water for free, but I’d just recommend bringing your own.
  • A lot of the TreeRush’s safety measures already create social distancing. They require one person on an element or obstacle and only three people on a platform (and all three must be in the same group, not strangers).

You can read more details about TreeRush’s cleaning and safety procedures here.

Where is this ropes course in Omaha?

TreeRush Adventures is located at Fontenelle Forest, which isn’t actually in Omaha (we like to refer to it as “Omaha area”). It’s located at 1111 Bellevue Blvd. N, in Bellevue, Neb.

For those unfamiliar with the Omaha metro area, Bellevue is just south of Omaha. For those of you familiar with Omaha, it’s close enough, right?

The entrance to TreeRush Adventures is separate from Fontenelle Forest’s entrance.

Who can go to TreeRush Adventure?

Here’s the cool part: I was there with my two kids, ages 10 and 8. At the same time, I spotted a couple on a date, a group of women together, and a solo man.

Smiling boy on ropes course in Nebraska

So, pretty much everyone goes to TreeRush Adventures: Families, friends, couples, solo explorers.

For kids ages 4-6, there’s KidRush Adventure Park, a low-to-the-ground ropes course that’s just challenging enough for kiddos to feel a part of the action.

TreeRush Adventure Park is for ages 7 and older. We started on the easiest course with my kids, the Meadowlark yellow course, which was still challenging for my youngest.

By the time we finished that course, she was eager to try the next skill level up. It was the most incredible experience watching her confidence level increase as we went along that green course.

How long does it take?

Your reservation allows for two hours on the course, whether it is TreeRush Adventure or KidRush.

The whole experience is longer, though, since you’ll be fitted for a harness and go through safety training, and practice. In all, it’s about three hours.

Tip: Regulars at TreeRush can test out of the safety training.

You go at your own pace, so you can take as many breaks as you need to just keep plowing through the courses. Most courses take less than 30 minutes.

Girl on a TreeRush Adventures obstacle
Photo courtesy TreeRush Adventures

I liked TreeRush Adventures because of the variety. We’ve been on other courses that were one long series of challenges, not divided by skill level, and those were exhausting.

TreeRush’s design eases you into things and motivates you to return to try harder courses. My 8-year-old has already requested we return when she’s 10 so she can do the blue courses. (Right now, she’s only allowed on yellow and green courses, the least challenging ones).

Two hours was long enough for me and my 10-year-old. My youngest probably could’ve gone another hour, she was loving it so much.

Hours are seasonal, naturally. Who wants to zipline in sub-zero temperatures?

What should you bring or wear for a ropes course?

You want to be comfortable out there, so dress for the weather. However, if it’s hot, short shorts are not advisable because…harnesses, man.

Kim going through a triangle obstacle at TreeRush Adventures
Photo courtesy TreeRush Adventures

Make sure your shirt is long because moving and climbing with those harnesses on make shirts ride up easily.

Wear close-toed shoes. You’ll climb a lot and sandals just aren’t practical or safe.

Other key things to bring:

  • Bug spray. Lots and lots of bug spray.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Your own gloves.
  • Water. You can wear a Camelback backpack. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave your water bottles on the ground.

What’s the staff like?

They’re incredibly helpful and great with kids, for the most part (isn’t that the case everywhere?). Everyone was alert and attentive, so I felt pretty safe the entire time.

The staff doing the harness fitting and safety training were incredible with my kids. They were patient and funny.

Safety training and practice at TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forest

Kenny, who taught our practice course, was one of the summer camp teachers my daughter had last year. I rank summer camp teachers up with my kids’ regular teachers. They’re heroes. How they have the patience, energy, and kindness to be with so many kids all day is beyond me.

Another super friendly staff was Christy, who invited my family to TreeRush Adventures. She went around the course with us, offering tips and encouragement. While my experience wasn’t the norm, you can just yell “Staff!” when you’re stuck, and they’ll come over and talk you through things (or climb up and rescue you).

How much does it cost?

General admission is $46 for ages 12 and older, $39 for ages 7 to 11, and $12 for ages 4 to 6.

You do not have to pay if you’re just going to watch your friends or family.

There are some discounts.

  • 10% off for military (active or retired), seniors, and Fontenelle Forest members.

Do you get into Fontenelle Forest if you have a ticket for TreeRush Adventures?

The short answer is no. TreeRush Adventure is separate from Fontenelle Forest (same parking lot, though).

Kim and her son on the TreeRush Adventures course

You are fully immersed in the forest, though, as you’re climbing, crawling, and zipping around. We had one of the last reservations of the day, and the peaceful calm of dusk at the forest was awe-inspiring.

I had to pause to take it all in. I highly recommend that evening experience.

Right now, only members have access to Fontenelle Forest trails, so if you are a member, you can tack on time on the trails before or after your zipline, operating hours permitting.

Tip: If you are a Fontenelle Forest member, you get a 10% off discount on TreeRush Adventure general admission tickets!

We arrived at Fontenelle Forest about an hour before our TreeRush reservation to get a little trail time in. I really wanted to check out Fontenelle’s new nature backpack (I’ll be writing about that soon!).

One hour at Fontenelle wasn’t enough time, though.

Boy on the swing obstacle at TreeRush Adventures
Photo courtesy TreeRush Adventures

Next time, I won’t try to do both in one outing. The forest and ropes course are both worthy of an individual trip.

Tip: If you only have a limited number of days in Omaha, and want to do both, I’d allow one to two hours for a hike. You’ll be sore the next day because that’s a lot of activity.

Looking for adventures near Omaha Nebraska? Check out TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forest! This ropes course (with ziplines) has multiple courses for different ages and skill levels. It's a fun family activity!
The ultimate family outing near Omaha Nebraska - try a ropes course! Here's what to expect if you go to TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forest. #FamilyTravel #Nebraska #Outdoors #Midwest

While you’re in Bellevue

Hungry? You can grab a meal at one of these great restaurants in Bellevue, Neb.

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Most Popular Posts In 2020

We’re almost halfway through 2020 and what a year it has been! Here’s a roundup of the year’s most popular posts. The takeaway from this post: Readers love Omaha restaurants and they love daydreaming of bucket list type trips!

Top Posts Of 2020

Here are the most-visited posts on Oh My! Omaha in 2020.

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