May 12, 2021 Communities

15 Things You Should Do This Summer in Omaha

The official start of summer is only a few weeks away! While we’re sad to see spring go, we are definitely looking forward to warmer weather, the smell of sunscreen in the air and, of course, many more opportunities to eat cold treats!

From exploring Omaha’s many spraygrounds and exploring our world-class zoo to going on a self-guided brewery tour, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite summer activities in the area. Challenge yourself to try at least one, if not all, of them this season!


Go floating in RiverWest Park


While we usually feature RiverWest Park on our Halloween guides due to all their haunted attractions, RiverWest Park also has plenty to offer in the summer! Movie nights, RV parks, a beach to relax on and plenty of opportunities to go floating on the Elkhorn River. For a classic water activity, you can rent an inner tube—complete with cupholders! For larger groups looking for a challenge, you can also “tank” down the river in a river tank that you’ll need to row. Click here for all the information!


Hit one of Omaha’s many spraygrounds

There’s nothing better on a hot day than splashing around in some clean, cool water! If you’re looking for a quick, socially distanced, summertime activity that your kids will love—visit a local spray ground! Local parks with fun water features include Benson Park, Kountze ParkSeymour Smith Park, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Plaza and more, but you can also find splash pads and spraygrounds at the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum and the Shadow Lake Towne Center.


Go on a self-guided brewery tour

There’s nothing more satisfying on a hot day than a cold, craft beer poured straight from the tap. Fortunately, Omaha is home to an abundance of incredible breweries that you can explore this season! Make it your goal this summer to visit a few (or all!) local breweries that you haven’t tried yet. You can use our handy guide to plan!


Learn something new at Do Space


Photo courtesy of Do Space

Why not spend the summer learning something new? At Do Space, you and your family can learn the basics of computer software, coding, social media marketingand even 3D printing. These classes (which are also offered virtuallyare completely free and are open to all different ages and skill levels! They even offer classes all about games, including virtual reality experiences, board games and iPad apps. Check out their calendar of events to see what’s going on this month. P.S. Don’t miss their 2021 summer program which features a handy passport that’ll have you and your family exploring Omaha, learning new things and engaging in tech-related educational activities. Click here for all of the information. 


Go on a self-guided brewery tour

There’s nothing more satisfying on a hot day than a cold, craft beer poured straight from the tap. Fortunately, Omaha is home to an abundance of incredible breweries that you can explore this season! Make it your goal this summer to visit a few (or all!) local breweries that you haven’t tried yet. You can use our handy guide to plan!


Explore a waterfall at Platte River State Park

While Omaha is known for a lot of things, being a destination for waterfall hunters isn’t one of them. But that doesn’t mean Omaha doesn’t have any waterfalls! Platte River State Park, located in between Omaha and Lincoln, is actually home to a small, picturesque waterfall that you can explore via an easy hiking trip. Click here to learn more about the Waterfall Trail and get directions from Omaha.


Get some ice cream


After all this adventuring, you’re going to need to treat yourself to some ice cream. Good thing the Omaha and Council Bluffs area is bursting with delicious ice scream spots for you to scream about! Visit Ted & Wally’s for high-quality, scratch-made ice cream that will knock your socks off. Or, for a more modern ice cream experience, head over to Helado’s Santa Fe in South Omaha, where you can get exotic flavors like papaya and cactus at their affordable shop!


Paddle across Zorinsky Lake

Zorinsky Lake is one of Omaha’s most popular recreational areas, boasting a 225-acre lake surrounded by 770 acres of public access land. Here, you’ll find everything from soccer fields to playgrounds to fishing docks, all just west of Omaha. One of our favorite Zorinsky Lake activities is paddling across it! You can take a stand-up paddleboard tour around the water, seeing deer, birds and muskrats along the way. We also recommend paying a visit to the slides at the aquatic center, cooling off at the water sprays and making a splash at the zero-depth entry outdoor pool while you’re there!


Challenge yourself at Fontenelle Forest

Just a hop, skip and jump away in Bellevue, you’ll find Fontenelle Forest—a destination for natural exploration in the area. The park includes 24 miles of trails for you to explore, surrounded by beautiful and interesting flora and fauna. The forest is a perfect place to observe wildlife, such as wild geese and ducks on their annual migration. Want to see as much as possible in one go? Explore their Treerush Adventures Park, an aerial adventure park that offers opportunities for you to climb and zipline through the bright green trees. 


Visit a drive-in movie theater


Photo courtesy of The Quasar Drive-In Theater

The Quasar Drive-In Theater, which finished construction early this year, is one of the newest film-oriented attractions in the Omaha area! This new theater has been a dream of the owners, Jeff and Jenny Karls, since they went to one on their honeymoon years ago and is soon coming to fruition about 40 minutes outside of Omaha. The attraction sits on 40 acres at Highway 36 and 300th Street, near U.S. Highway 275 between Valley and Fremont and will have its grand opening in May. They are starting with one 85-foot screen, which is large enough for 400-500 cars to watch, and plan to add another screen soon. As far as film offerings go, they’ll show first-run movies in double features Friday and Saturday nights and reserve Thursday for throwback showings.


Go axe throwing

Over the past few years, axe throwing has become an exciting way to pass the time with friends, family and coworkers! It works just like it sounds, you visit an axe throwing facility, book a space and begin throwing large, timber axes at targets across the room. There are several places to try out this unique sport in Omaha including Flying Timber Axe ThrowingCraft Axe Throwing and Axe Games!


Or try an archery game

If axe throwing isn’t your thing, but you still want to try your hand at a unique sport—try archery games! Think dodge ball with bows and arrows. Archery Games (owned by the same people behind Axe Gamesgives two teams the chance to battle it out with bows and foam-tipped arrows in a large arena. The objective? To tag all of the opposing players with arrows and eliminate them from the game. Click here to learn more and to sign up for your first game!


Catch an outdoor concert at the Holland Center Outdoors


Photo courtesy of C4 Photography via Holland Center Outdoors featuring Bassel and The Supernaturals

One of the biggest things we missed last summer was all of the amazing musical events that usually take place in Omaha throughout the warmer months. So when we heard that live music returning to Omaha Performing Arts at Holland Center Outdoors—we couldn’t have been more excited! Join HCO on the Holland Center’s east lawn where they’ll feature live performances May through October, showcasing a variety of national touring and local performing artists. You can purchase tickets online to enjoy live music outside while enjoying summer evenings with food and drinks from local businesses.


Go antiquing

Omaha is known for a lot of things, from our fantastic steaks and our agricultural roots, to being the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich. However, what most people don’t know, is that we’re also an “Antiquing Destination.” People from all over the nation come to our region just for our amazing selection of antique and vintage shops—so why not try to hit them all this season? We can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon than exploring a plethora of antique stores, searching for hidden treasures. Before you head out on your antiquing adventure, plan your itinerary using our list of the best antique stores in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln!


Play some mini golf

Putt-putt golf is a fun sport for all ages! And Omaha just happens to be home to a handful of incredible mini-golf courses where you and your family can go head to head. One of our favorites is Prehistoric Putt, which features two 18-hole courses that you can choose from. Each hole has its own unique challenge for you to conquer, such as warped walls, Plinko, ramps and even 40 realistic dinosaurs to help get your ball into the hole. This mini-golf course is currently open with extra sanitary precautions and social distancing in place.


Monkey around at the zoo

Nebraska World Records

Photo courtesy of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Our local zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, is consistently ranked as one of the best in America. You’ll see why when you step inside and explore the innovative exhibits that go a step above the traditional zoo. This season, make it a goal to explore it all! Wander through the world’s largest indoor desert, the Desert Dome, which spans 84,00 square feet on two levels. Also, be sure to meander through the world’s largest indoor rainforest, the Lied Jungle, and explore the interactive gorilla valley! Due to COVID-19, they recommend purchasing tickets in advance online to allow for social distancing throughout the campus. 


Have a great summer!

How do you plan to spend the season in Omaha? Let us know in the comments below!

May 12, 2021 Communities
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