May 2, 2018

8 Great Things To Do With Kids In Lincoln

Lincoln, Neb., is a favorite quick getaway for my family. We plan a day trip or overnight trip to the city at least once a year. After a few years of doing this, we have a good idea of some of the most fun things to do with kids in Lincoln.

I’ve compiled a list of the places my kids loved the most in Lincoln. Here they are, eight great things to do with kids in Lincoln, Neb.:

Lincoln Children’s Museum

Where: 1420 P St., Lincoln, Neb.

Why: Hands down, this is the one place in Lincoln my kids request to visit every. single. time. If your kids are younger than 8, this place will be a hit with them. It’s three stories and full of play opportunities. My kids love the role play areas, like pretending to be Johnny Carson.

Cost: Children (18 months to 15 years old), $10.95; adults (ages 16+), $9.95; and children younger than 18, FREE. Reciprocal membership alert! If you have a Patron membership to Omaha Children’s Museum, you receive 50% off admission for up to 6 people.

Learn more about the Lincoln Children’s Museum.

 

Morrill Hall

Where: 635 N. 14th St., Lincoln Neb. (located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus)

Why: In a word: Dinosaurs. This is a natural history museum has an appeal for all ages, but if you have younger kids, don’t skip the bottom level, where there’s a great kid’s space with tons of hands-on play like a fossil dig.

Cost: Adults 19 and older, $6 ($10 to include planetarium); children 5-18, $3 ($6 to include planetarium); families of 2 adults and children/grandchildren 18 and younger, $13; children 4 and younger, FREE ($3 to include planetarium, though children younger than 3 are not permitted in the planetarium); UNL students and faculty, FREE ($3 to include planetarium)

See lots of pictures of the kid-friendly side of Morrill Hall here.

 

Sunken Gardens

Where: South 27th Street and Capitol Parkway, Lincoln, Neb.

Why: The Sunken Gardens are meticulously cared for, so it’s a sight to behold. The best part is, it’s a public garden, so there is no cost to stroll the grounds. My kids were fans of the ponds. It’s very near the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, so it’s easy to visit both.

Cost: FREE

I shared details on our visit to Sunken Gardens in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKySqGlA8vo/?taken-by=ohmyomaha

 

Gallery Alley

Where: 701 P St., Lincoln, Neb.

Why: By day, this alley in the historic Haymarket isn’t going to draw you in. At night, however, the strung lights are aglow and the murals and sculptures found along the alley walls take on a whole new and exciting life. The Haymarket is nice to stroll around with kids, too. I’ve seen it referred to as Art Alley, which I think is fitting. Read this post for a Haymarket hotel suggestion and restaurant tip.

Cost: FREE

 

UNL Dairy Store

Where: 114 Food Industry Complex, Lincoln, Neb.

Why: Ice cream! The dairy on the East University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus has been in business of handmade food since 1917. If you plan ahead, you can sign up for a complimentary tour the dairy facilities.

Cost: FREE (unless you want to buy ice cream, which obviously, we all do)

I shared details on our visit to UNL Dairy Store in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.

 

 

Lost In Fun!

Where: 8431 Cody Drive, Lincoln, Neb.

Why: Lost in Fun! is an excellent rainy day outing in Lincoln. Think bounce house, jump pillow, foam pit, jungle gyms and arcade games. The only downside is that it’s not near ANYTHING else on this list, and it’s not near the interstate. So, it’s not a convenient place, but it’s a ton of fun for kids.

Cost: Mega Fun Pass (ages 6-14), $10.75; Mini Fun Pass (ages 2-5), $6.25; Micro Fun Pass (12 months old), $3.75; and FREE for children younger than 12 months old and adults

 

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Where: 1222 S. 27th, Lincoln, Neb.

Why: This zoo may be on the small side, but it packs in a lot of animal engagement opportunities. Some are additional fees, like riding a horse or feeding the goats, while others are free, such as touching a lizard or bunny.

Cost: Adults, 13-61, $9.95; children 2-12 and seniors, 62+, $8.95; children 1 and younger, FREE. Check if your zoo membership qualifies for a reciprocal discount.

Get the scoop on things to do at the Lincoln zoo here.

 

 

Antelope Park

Where: 23rd and N Streets to 33rd Street and Sheridan Boulebard

Why: Few parks can compare to the massive Antelope Park. I counted 12 slides when we were there. This is a great, budget-friendly option to let the kids run wild.

Cost: FREE

I shared details about Antelope Park in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.

 

 

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April 12, 2018

New Family-Friendly Hotel In Lincoln’s Haymarket

When I look for hotels in Lincoln, Neb., I tend to stick to the Haymarket area. I love the cool shops and great restaurants within walking distance from a hotel, and the Haymarket is super close to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and places like the Lincoln Children’s Museum. There’s a new family-friendly hotel in Lincoln’s Haymarket – Graduate Hotel.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay in order to write this review. I was not compensated to write this post. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

If you’ve been to Lincoln, you may recognize the Graduate Hotel has replaced the Holiday Inn that was in the Haymarket. The restaurant inside Graduate Hotel, John J’s Chow Hall, replaces the Red Onion.

What families like about Graduate Hotel

There are few things that stand out for the Graduate Hotel, as far as family-friendly amenities, and a few that work if your kids are older. Let’s start with a pool, which is about No. 1 on any traveling family’s list. There is a pool… but there is a caveat. It’s deep.

The pool at Graduate Lincoln is deeper than typical hotel pools. The pool deck had a foosball table and ping pong, plus access to some rooftop decks for lounging.

The shallowest it gets is still deeper than 4 feet. It’s great for confident swimmers, but not so much for little ones.

There are a few FREE game options that my family took advantage of, particularly the free arcade games in the lobby. Those were a blast from my past and my oldest, in particular, enjoyed playing them. They’re a little challenging for younger kids, though.

The pool area also has foosball and ping pong tables.

I think the older your kids are, the more they’re going to like staying at the Graduate in Lincoln.

What makes this hotel uniquely Nebraskan

Graduate Hotels is a chain that finds locations in college towns across the U.S., and then curates a look and atmosphere that reflects the community each hotel is in. For Lincoln, there’s a blend of Instagram-worthy designs, especially in the lobby, that’s paired with touches inspired by Nebraska’s landscape. There’s vintage-inspired corn print fabric and wallpaper, art inspired by the state’s national history, and more than a few Husker touches.

Simple touches in the room and lobby made it clear that thought went into the decor and tying things to Nebraska history and pop culture.

There is even an homage to Johnny Carson, native of Nebraska. The rooms all have nightstands that look like old-fashioned TVs.

The hotel’s restaurant, John J’s Chow Hall, is in tribute to John J. Pershing, a World War I general with Nebraska ties.

What’s near Graduate Hotel Lincoln

Graduate Lincoln is located in the historic Haymarket of Lincoln, Neb. Photo courtesy Graduate Hotels

You can’t beat the location of Graduate Lincoln! While the Haymarket is appealing for couples or friends on a group getaway, it also has some kid-friendly places.

Locally-owned Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe is a short walk from Graduate Lincoln. The children’s area has a great selection of books.

Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe about a block away from the hotel and has a darling children’s section. The building it’s located in, The Creamery, is also home to a great little ice cream shop called Ivanna Cone.

Art Alley is also nearby, and is possibly my favorite spot in all of Lincoln.

Art Alley is exactly what it sounds like. By day, it’s a simple alley with some sculptures and murals on walls and doors. At night, it transforms with light adding new dimensions.

For kid-friendly restaurants, I recommend Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill, which has an excellent kids’ menu (all entrees include ice cream for dessert). There are some chains that are kid-pleasers, as well, like Old Chicago, Mellow Mushroom, and Hurts Donut.

Hurts Donuts is known for having unique toppings and flavor combinations – from cereal and candy to bacon and maple. For simpler tastes, there’s always cake donuts with sprinkles and long johns.

There isn’t a playground nearby, though there is a small courtyard with a engine. You’re not far from Haymarket Park, for baseball games, or Pinnacle Bank Arena for a mix of sporting events and concerts. In the winter, there is an ice skating rink at the Railyard and in the spring through fall, you’ll find the Lincoln Farmer’s Market is steps away from the hotel.

Lost in Play in Lincoln had a bounce house, jumping pillow, foam pit, and climbing structures. It’s a sure way to tire your kids.

During this 24-hour visit, we went to Morrill Hall at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Lincoln Children’s Museum and Lost at Play. The first two are very near the hotel. Lost at Play is out of the way, for sure, but it is a unique space for a ton of active play. My kids loved it, and I thought the cost was reasonable (if you can stay away from the arcade).

A Novel Idea in Lincoln, Neb., had the best stairwell ever.

One last place to recommend: A Novel Idea, a used bookstore near UNL campus and Lincoln Children’s Museum. I passed time there while the kids and Mr. Wonderful were at the children’s museum.

If you go

Graduate Hotel

Where: 141 N. Ninth St., Lincoln, Neb.

Website

 

Plan a Lincoln getaway

It’s hard to capture all three levels of the Lincoln Children’s Museum in one shot.

You have a hotel recommendation, now you need an itinerary. Start with this 24-hour Lincoln itinerary! There’s a lot packed in there, but it’s all kid-friendly.

By far, my kids’ favorite place to visit in Lincoln is the Lincoln Children’s Museum. If you go, here are some things to do near the museum to round out your day. Another great place for families is the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.

 

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February 28, 2018

Nebraska Travel Book Recommendations

People have asked how I plan trips, what sites and resources I use to find off-the-beaten-path stops. I do quite a bit of research online, solicit other travel bloggers’ recommendations, and I request travel brochures from cities and states on my route. And books. I use travel books.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Oh My! Omaha is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Books to help plan your next trip through Nebraska #travelbooks

And those are great resources. To find the truly memorable things, though, the stuff that slips under the radar, I look to books.

When planning a trip through a state I know well (my home, Nebraska), here are the travel books I read to learn more about my destination and the hidden gems along the way:

Off The Beaten Path Series

Look to the “Off The Beaten Path” series for eclectic recommendations, especially when traveling the Midwest. These won’t necessarily be the biggest attractions, and some will be downright odd, but I’ve found the series to give me one or two additions to my itineraries each time I read one. Make sure you have the most recent version of your book, as is the case with any travel book, some information may have changed. Double check before going anywhere to be sure things are still open and you know the hours of operation.

Planning a Nebraska road trip? The newest edition of “Off The Beaten Path: Nebraska” will be published this Thursday.

I’ve used an earlier version of this book to plan our adventure in western Nebraska a couple years ago.

Looking through Diana Lambdin Meyer’s updates, I’ve found inspiration for day trip ideas from Omaha, as well as more thing I want to see when I’m at Lake McConaughy. I like the little side stories in the book about some attractions, as well as lists of special events, restaurants, and places to stay.

It’s useful for planning trips since it’s divided by regions and then by counties. If you have a destination in mind, it’s easy to find additions to your itinerary. When I was planning a road trip to Wichita, I found a reason to take a pit stop in Hebron, Neb. thanks to “Off The Beaten Path: Nebraska.” I mean, when else were we going to get a chance to sit on the world’s largest porch swing?

Detour Nebraska

I think planning Nebraska road trips is going to be a cinch combining tips from “Off The Beaten Path: Nebraska” and “Detour Nebraska” by Gretchen Garrison. Both have insightful tips for small town destinations that you just aren’t going to find online.

“Detour Nebraska” has a mix of hidden gems, historical sites, and main attractions for cities and towns in Nebraska. It’s a fairly new book so I haven’t done any road trips through Nebraska since I received the book, but I have a list of things to add to my next trip thanks to this book. Read about the five must-see places I’m adding to my Nebraska Bucket List thanks to “Detour Nebraska.”

100 Things To Do Series

I’m a sucker for lists. I’m not a completist, at least, so I only cherry pick from lists, but still. I love lists for planning trips.

Reedy Press has this series, 100 Things To Do Before You Die, for various cities throughout the U.S. The first that I’ve found for Nebraska is coming out April 15, 2018 (you can pre-order now). “100 Things To Do In Omaha Before You Die” is written by two friends of mine, Tim and Lisa Trudell, so I’m pretty excited to read through it to see what I’m missing in my own city.

More Nebraska Travel Books

Nebraska’s Curiosities – There’s a 2010 book out for Nebraska in the series called “Nebraska Curiosities: Nebraska Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff.”  According to the book cover, this one covers everything from the Avoca Quack Off (which I’ve never heard of, so a point for the authors) to the world’s largest covered wagon.

Culinary History of the Sandhills – OK, less travel book than cookbook and history of a region, but it offers insight to Nebraska’s famous Sandhills. Food plays a big role in the community.

Nebraska Beer“Nebraska Beer: Great Plains History by the Pint” is definitely more of a history book, but since Nebraska breweries are pretty young compared to other regions, you’ll be able to visit most of the breweries in the book.


Omaha Food – Wondering where to eat when visiting Omaha? Rachel Grace’s 2015 book “Omaha Food: Bigger Than Beef” might tip you off to a few that will satisfy you. Chapters are divided by food types, so you got diverse foods (think Thai to Mexican), pizzas, Reubens, farm-to-table, and booze.

I’d love more book recommendations. Share your favorite Nebraska books that might help a fellow traveler explore the state. Thanks!

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February 11, 2018

What’s New At Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

My last visit to Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb., was over a year ago to see the new Children’s Learning Center, a permanent exhibit that explores aspects of flight and engineering in a super fun way for kids. That was 2016, so it was well overdue for me to see what’s new at the museum, especially since there’s a kid-friendly exhibit there this winter.

Guide to Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska

If you haven’t visited Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum with your children yet, read this post!

Temporary Exhibit At The Museum

We returned this winter to see a new temporary exhibit that compliments the hands-on activities at the Children’s Learning Center. “Energy Explorers” helps museum visitors of all ages explore principles of energy, like comparing potential and kinetic energy, how energy is transferred to another form, and the relationships of electrical or
magnetic interactions. The new exhibit is open until April 23, 2018.

Temporary exhibit at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska
A table to create circuits at the new exhibit “Energy Explorers” at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

It has the look and feel that it’s designed for school aged children, with slightly complicated instructions for my youngest to understand without my help. She’s not a strong reader yet.

I stayed by her side to explain and build alongside her. She spent the most time playing with the magnets and dominos. And this thing below.

Temporary exhibit activity at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska
Doesn’t matter your age, it’s always going to be fun to fire an air cannon.

She loved firing shots with the air vortex cannon, knocking down cups and moving tiles with the wind energy she created.

My 8-year-old son jumped right into the more difficult areas like the circuit boards, which involved step-by-step instructions on completing a circuit on your own to light a lightbulb or start a fan.

Temporary exhibit circuit board at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska
The kids worked together as a team to build circuits.

Here’s what’s all in the exhibit:

– Learning and exploring primary sources of energy – nuclear, fossil, solar, geothermal, hydro, wind

– Performing hands-on experiments that test energy in motion

– Testing the power of wind energy with an air vortex cannon

– Discovering where energy comes from through interactive learning on a kiosk

– Testing the transfer of energy using an electric circuits board or hand crank bulbs

– Experiencing conservation of energy through a newton’s cradle

– Learning about magnetic and electrical fields using magnets, snap circuitry, or sound tubes

This is one of the museum’s two annual interactive exhibits that focus on topics in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). I enjoy timing our visits to the museum specifically to see these interactive exhibits, because my children enjoy them so much.

Children's Learning Center quake table at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska
The Children’s Learning Center is a permanent exhibit at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska.

We ended our visit by playing in the Children’s Learning center, walking around the planes, and trying out the flight simulator.

New-To-Us At The Museum

The kids finally got their chance to try out the simulation ride, too. It’s an additional fee ($10 each) and there is a height requirement that my daughter finally reached this year. For observers, it looked like an intense rollercoaster experience, completely with several spins upside down, but the kids loved it.

If you think your kids will want to ride it, buy your tickets at the time of purchasing museum admission. You cannot purchase tickets at the ride.

I walked through “Searching for Humanity: Veterans, Victims, and Survivors of World War II” for the first time during this visit. It’s intense, and definitely intended for adults and children old enough to grapple with the subject matter. The exhibit includes photos, memorabilia and testimony of Nebraska Holocaust survivors, soldiers and others who helped liberate prisoners from concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The newest permanent exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II opened on February 2018. It opened after our visit, so we’ll have to check it out the next time we’re there.

Win Passes To Visit!

Planes in the hangar at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska
It’s truly amazing to get such a close-up look at so many airplanes at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

I’m working with Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum to giveaway one daily pass for four to visit the museum! Here’s your chance to see what’s new at the museum. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 or older to enter. I was not compensated to host this giveaway or visit the museum.

If you go

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

Where: 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb. (about 30 miles west of Omaha)

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; closed: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas. “Energy Explorers” is open through April 28, 2018.

Cost: Adults, $12; senior citizens, military, $11; children (ages 4-12), $6; FREE for children aged 3 and younger

Extras: Fight simulators, 2D rides are $9 for members $10 for non-members, and 3D rides are $12 for members $13 for non-members.

Website

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October 26, 2017

5 Nebraska Must-See Places To Add To Your Bucket List

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Oh My! Omaha is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

I’m pretty confident that I’ve seen a lot of remarkable places in Nebraska – from Toadstool Geological Park and Fort Robinson to Smith Falls and the Sandhills. Yet, browsing through the new book, “Detour Nebraska,” by Gretchen Garrison, I realize that there’s a lot more I have yet to see. It’s an inspired me to create a new Nebraska must-see list.

Detour Nebraska book cover

Gretchen is a friend of mine, and her blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska, has inspired more than a trip or two of mine. It’s no surprise, then, that her book would prompt more trips. Here are five places she writes about that I want to add to my Nebraska Bucket List.

Planning a road trip through Nebraska? Here are some fun, bucket list-worthy stops to include! #Nebraska #roadtrip #familytravel

1. Kreycik Elk & Buffalo Ranch – This is a totally new place to me. At this ranch, guests ride a covered wagon to see the animals, and get this, they can feed the tamer ones. It’s near Niobrara State Park, which has been one of Nebraska’s state parks I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. I see a combo trip in my future.

Covered wagon ride tour that gets you close to bison
Kreycik Elk & Buffalo Ranch in Nebraska. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

2.The Arthur Bowring Ranch – The allure of the Sandhills combined with a ranch it too great for me. I have to go here. Plus, there’s a sod house. It’s very Nebraska. There’s a Sodhouse Sunday event on the last Sunday of June that sounds like something I’d drag my family to like to attend so I can see the re-enactments of what early Nebraska life was like.

3. Seward – OK, I really only want to go to Seward for its Fourth of July festivities. It hear it’s called Nebraska’s Fourth of July City for good reason – more than 40,000 people travel there for the parade and parties.

Seward, Nebraska, during its Fourth of July celebration
Nebraska’s Fourth of July City, Seward. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

4. Happy Jack Peak and Chalk Mine – One of two underground diatomite mines in the U.S. is located near Scotia, Neb. I have a strange fascination with mines and caves, so naturally, this one is on my radar. I don’t expect to see much in the mine, I just want to go underground because underground stuff is cool.

Inside the Happy Jack Peak & Chalk Mines in Scotia, Nebraska
Happy Jack Peak & Chalk Mine near Scotia, Neb. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

5. Ashfalls Fossil Beds State Historical Site – I first heard of Ashfalls through Gretchen’s blog, so naturally her book reminded me that I have yet to go there. If you visit in the summer, you may catch student paleontologists digging fossils of rhinos, camels and horses.

Nebraska attractions

“Detour Nebraska” was released in 2017 (it actually was published on the same day as my book, “Lost Restaurants of Omaha”!).

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September 13, 2017

Halloween At Nebraska & Iowa Parks

There are a lot of city and state parks Halloween events in 2017. Most are appealing for all ages, though if you’re looking for some scares, you can find a park for you. I mostly gathered details for fun events near Halloween in Nebraska parks, but included some nearby Iowa park events as well as notable state parks with themed plans.

Please note: Most of these parks will require a park permit to enter.

Halloween at Nebraska Parks

Looking for more fall fun? Check out the 20+ Things You Must Do In Nebraska This Fall list!

 

Viking Lake State Park Spooktacular

When: Oct. 7

Where: Viking Lake State Park, 2780 Viking Lake Road, Stanton, Iowa

What: Details to come on this event, other than things start at 5 p.m.

Scare factor: TBD

 

Halloween Campsite Decorating Contest & Trick-or-Treating

When: Oct. 14

Where: Fremont State Recreation Area, 4349 W State Lakes Road, Fremont, Neb.

What: Decorate your campsite for a chance to win free nights of camping. Judging and trick or treating runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Don’t forget to bring candy for the kids.

Scare factor: Low

 

Trunk or Treat at Homestead Knolls Campground

When: Oct. 14

Where: Calamus State Recreation Area, 42285 York Point Road, Burwell, Neb.

What: Kids in costumes are invited to trick or treat around the campsites from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Decorate your campsite and hand out candy. Registration is required for those wanting to decorate their vehicle or campsite for the event by calling the park office at 308-346-566 or email the park at ngpc.calamus@nebraska.gov.

Scare factor: Low

 

Lewis & Clark State Park Halloween Celebration

When: Oct. 14

Where: Lewis & Clark State Park, 21914 Park Loop, Onawa, Iowa

What: No details available, yet, except activities start at 5 p.m.

Scare factor: TBD

 

Ledges State Park Trick or Treat

When: Oct. 14

Where: Ledges State Park, 1515 P Ave., Madrid, Iowa

What: Hike through the campground and trick-or-treating at campsites decorated for the occasion. Activities run from 5 to 7 p.m.

Scare factor: Low

 

Bellevue State Park Trick or Treat

When: Oct. 14

Where: Bellevue State Park, 21466 429th Ave., Bellevue, Iowa

What: Trick or treating through the campground from 5 to 7 p.m.

Scare factor: Low

 

Harvest Fun Days

When: Oct. 14, 21 and 28

Where: Hummel Nature Center, 11808 John J Pershing Drive, Omaha

What: Free activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including fall crafts, exploring trails and games, as well as rides to the pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are $2 each. Reservations requested.

Scare factor: None

22nd Annual Haunted Hollow Hayrack Rides

When: Oct. 14, 20-21, and 27-28

Where: Indian Cave State Park, 65296 720 Road, Shubert, Neb.

What: From 7 to 9 p.m., enjoy several activities throughout the park, including a Halloween scavenger hunt, campground decorating contest, pumpkin roll contest, horseback rides, costume contest, face painting, Halloween crafts to make and take, living history demonstrations. Rides depart from the museum parking lot. Must purchase tickets in advance starting Oct. 1 at 402-883-2575. Adults are $8, kids (4-12) are $6 and children 3 and younger are FREE.

Scare factor: Most events are low on scares. If they do a hayrack ride–I believe they once they did–I’ve heard the is scary for littles.

 

All Hallow’s Eve at Botna Bend Park

When: Oct. 20 and 21

Where: Botna Bend Park, 42926 Mahogany Road, Hancock, Iowa

What: Campfire stories for all ages will be presented by Council Bluffs Library on Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Activities planned all day Oct. 21 include Halloween crafts at 10 a.m.; a two-person team corn hole tournament starting at noon (register in advance at the park office the morning before); Raptor Recover demos at 3 p.m.; campground trick-or-treating at 6:25 p.m.; Movie in the Park screening of “Hotel Transylvania” at 7:15 p.m. Meet at Olson Lodge for all activities.

Scare factor: Low to none

 

Nature’s Harvest

When: Oct. 21

Where: Hitchcock Nature Center, 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, Iowa

What: Costumes are encouraged for this event that runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Activities planned for participants of all ages including guided hikes, games, scavenger hunts, refreshments, campground trick or treating & hayrack ride. Free-will donation accepted. Everything is FREE with park entry fee. RSVP here.

Scare factor: None

 

30th  Annual Pumpkin Carvers Event

When: Oct. 21

Where: Calamus State Recreation Area, 42285 York Point Road, Burwell, Neb.

What: Spend the day carving pumpkins. Carving utensils and patterns will be provided but visitors are encourage to bring their own. Pumpkins will be limited; recommended that visitors bring their own to carve. Pumpkins will be displayed around the campground starting at 5 p.m. Access to the campground will be closed to vehicle traffic from 6 to 10 p.m. to allow viewers to enjoy their time looking at the displays. All parking will be located at the Homestead Knolls boat ramp area and also day use area.

Scare factor: None

 

Pink Pumpkin Walk

When: Oct. 21

Where: Indian Cave State Park, 65296 720 Road, Shubert, Neb.

What: This is a 10 a.m. breast cancer walk for survivors and in memory of loved ones. Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt. You can call to order a personalized pink pumpkin in memory of a loved one, for those who have beat cancer and those currently with their fight.  $10 due by Oct. 14. Proceeds going to Richardson County Cancer Society and Nemaha County Giving Hope Cancer Fund.
Pre-register online by Oct. 14 here.

Scare factor: None

 

Vintage Halloween

When: Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29

Where: Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, 22 Street & 2 Avenue, Nebraska City, Neb.

What: Step back in time to see historic trades, talents, and other demonstrations come alive inside the mansion and out. The weekend is full of Vintage Halloween fun frivolity as we celebrate vintage Halloween customs, games, crafts, and décor from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mansion admission is $8 adults, $6 youth (age 3-12). Entrance to the park is free.

Scare factor: None

 

Camp ‘n Treat!

When: Oct. 27-31

Where: Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area, 72718 Trail 2, McCook, Neb.

What: A Halloween camping event with half-price camping rates of $10/night for a pad site, $4/night for a tent site. There is a camper/campsite decorating contest with a price of three nights free camping on dates of your choice. Kids pumpkin carving contest is at 4 p.m. on Oct. 28. Camper to Camper Trick or Treating on Halloween night. Bring treats for the kids in exchange for the half-price camping.

Scare factor: 1

 

Trunk & Treat

When: Oct. 28

Where: Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

What: Fort Atkinson State Historical Park will have a truck or treat event from  from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be Halloween activities, a parade of costumes and pumpkin painting.

Scare factor: None

 

Haunted Hike Night

When: Oct. 28

Where: Windmill State Recreation Area, Gibbon, Neb.

What: Get in some exercise as you walk, or RUN, the trail filled with swamp monsters, zombies, and more. Trail is recommended for individuals 13 years or older, or with parental consent. Hot cocoa is offered at the end of the trail. Event is $1 a person or a donation of a canned food item to be donated to the Gibbon Food Pantry.

Scare factor: Scary

 

Do you know of some other events at parks in Nebraska or Iowa that can be added to this list? Leave a comment or email ohmyomaha (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

 

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