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.
Mulligan Family Fun Center's three locations surround parents and kids with sprawling smorgasbords of kinetic entertainment. Outside, each park's sunny grounds encourage healthy activity with putt-testing miniature-golf courses and the hairpin turns of go-kart tracks. In the batting cages, aspiring sluggers test their swing while recognized major-league sluggers test their disguise against the park's do-not-admit posters. Back inside, climbers scale the rock wall’s vertical challenges and friends battle friends in laser tag’s intense light-based combat.
Each location also has its own signature activities. The Torrance location's rookie go-karts, for example, enable younger drivers to take a turn down the track, whereas the Palmdale location boasts a longer, 1,500-foot track for children and adults alike.
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.
Open since 1967, Putting Plus is a beloved Omaha leisure facility that brings out the inner child of adults, the inner teen of adults, and the inner golf-baller of any-aged folks. In all, there are three family-friendly miniature-golf courses ($5–$6 per course), featuring 18 holes of challenging curves, drops, water hazards, and mysterious holes that, when you reach in to retrieve your ball, cause your hand to pop out of another hole 20 yards away.
In addition to its 32 action-packed lanes, Mockingbird Lanes offers amenities for the entire family, including a newly renovated full-service lounge and snack bar, billiards, a large game room, and bumper lanes to accommodate little ones or the clumsy at heart. Pull yourself up by your bowling shoestraps ($2 rental value) and refine your strike skills during three fun rounds ($2.75–$3.60 per round). Each of the alley's long, lean, and athletic lanes comes with automatic scoring, so disbelieving opponents won't mis-mark your 7-12 split.
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.