The shifting seasons bring beauty and bounty to Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard, from the baby buds and bursting petals of spring to the branches heavy with peaches, apricots, cherries, and apples during summer and autumn. In 1994, the Ditmars family laid 300 trees into the ground as a family project, but slowly expanded their hobby into a full-time orchard, now cultivating almost 4,000 trees.
In the summer, fat juicy strawberries nestle in rows ready to be picked, and in fall, fields overflow with acres of bulbous orange pumpkins ready to become jack-o’-lanterns or a horseman’s fancy new hat. Amid fiery foliage and crisp autumn air, families adventure through the onsite corn maze and attend fun fall festivals that feature face painting and hayrides. Kids can clamber over tractor tires and whoosh down slides in the orchard’s large playground. Guests reenergize at the country kitchen, where lunch selections include apple cider, frozen fruit pies, and fresh-made chicken-salad sandwiches, as well as native Iowa wines available by the bottle or glass.
Throughout the week, Thunderbowl puts its signature twist on the classic game of bowling with a lineup of themed leagues and events. Orchestrated by the alley's staff, the league roster includes the Golden Agers senior league, the Ladies Night Out league, and the Have-A-Ball league, which comprises teams of one adult and one child. Events include a carnival day held in August, which includes revelry and a chance to win prizes. At Thunderbowl's snack bar, the kitchen crew fuels bowlers to prevent them from hiding marshmallows in the finger-holes of their bowling balls by crafting specialty burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches such as a patty melt with grilled onions and a chicken philly.
As the only professional dance company of its kind in the region, Ballet Nebraska takes its mission to entertain and educate seriously. The company performs seasons of classic works and new favorites, pirouetting through The Nutcracker and mixed-repertory programs at area theaters and on tour. But the ballet's greatest contribution to the community might be its education and outreach programs. The artists frequently perform at charity benefits, stage productions for students, and hold workshops on storytelling through movement at local libraries, where silent storytelling is a must.
Featuring a curvy, 700-foot indoor track that’s primed for high-speed competition, Joe’s Karting lets participants put the pedal to the floor at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Harness the power of nine miniature horses trotting inside each go-kart’s gas-powered engine during races that last approximately seven minutes and include up to eight drivers. A briefing session on rules and safety precedes the proceedings. Each basic annual membership includes a head sock that lets racers feel the breezy air on their beautifully waving helmets, as well as a free "hot laps" birthday session, offering big fun in pint-sized vehicles.
Perhaps one of Council Bluffs' most famous residents, Gen. Grenville M. Dodge has been called "the greatest railroad builder of all time." A Civil War veteran, Dodge's involvement in political, financial and military affairs made him an associate of many of the most influential Americans of his time.