At County Fair Fun Company, kids excitedly tackle action-filled games and rides, then safely ricochet off the inflated surfaces of Technicolor bounce houses. A Dora the Explorer–themed inflatable packs slides, tropical trees, and huts into a cushy, educational wonderland, and inside a bounce castle, little ones can pretend they're inside one of King Arthur’s legendary bounce castles. Setting foot on solid ground, tykes make their way to the bumper-car arena, where circular vehicles offer easy steering, each crash eliciting shouts and laughter from drivers. Between bumper demolition derbies, children wander the labyrinthine tunnels and slides of County Fair's padded play dome, navigating tricky rolling platforms and shaky rope bridges to find a safe spot to exchange stock tips. Video games exercise hand-eye coordination for both kids and grownups, who can also lounge in County Fair's beer garden and sip on potent potables for an additional cost.
Otte Golf and Family Fun Center is a perennial fixture in Golf Range Magazine’s list of the country’s Top 100 Golf Ranges. Its 300-yard driving range houses more than 50 stalls—guests can choose between grass and mat hitting surfaces—set under high-powered lights that keep the target greens illuminated at night. The range provides a venue for independent practice or preparation for rounds on the center's 18-hole executive course, a circuit of par-threes and fours that takes a convenient 2.5 hours to complete, which gives golfers more time to trick out the vintage golf carts in their garages.
A lighthouse stands sentry over the 18-hole miniature golf course, where guests advance through flowerbeds, willow trees, and tidy rows of shrubs and hedges. Those interested in striking balls that aren't placed on tees or the noses of their best friends can visit one of nine batting cages, where pitching machines dispense a steady stream of baseballs and softballs at various speeds.
Though its name implies a focus on inflatable attractions, the all-ages indoor playground at Pump It Up of Omaha also gets kids active on an 18-foot rock-climbing wall and building with huge imagination blocks. These attractions stand among a sea of air-filled slides and climbing structures, some designed by members of the management team. The bounce castles propel jumpers into the air; and the Chaos obstacle course lets racers run side-by-side or practice shaking hands while walking. The playground also holds special programs such as day camps for young and medium-young children, private birthday parties, and field trips. Many of Pump It Up's staffers are university students working toward education degrees; they often organize contests and games, and supervise visitors while playing on the same level as their smaller guests.
Controlling your hands when putting a golf ball can be a challenge in and of itself. Try to sink a testy putt after scaling a 24-foot wall, and that challenge takes it to another level. Boulder Creek Amusement Park offers the opportunity to try each. The outdoor fun center boasts an 18-hole mini golf course lined by waterfalls, streams, and greenery. On the same grounds, guests grasp holds as they ascend the climbing wall. For additional tests of hand-eye coordination, an 8-stall batting cage challenges batters with both baseball and slow- and fast-pitch softball deliveries.
When it opened in the late 1970s, Fun Plex enticed patrons with a single go-kart track. Since then, the park has accumulated a wealth of attractions, including a tilt-a-whirl, bumper boats, and Nebraska's only roller coaster. Kiddie Land accommodates youngsters with a mini coaster and express train; Wet & Wild Water Park soaks visitors with a lazy river, kiddie pool, and two five-story water slides every summer.
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.