Omaha is home to a number of exceptional restaurants, bars, coffee shops, museums, boutiques and more worth visiting. But this time of year, we are aching to get outside and experience the warmer temperatures and longer days to the fullest.
That’s why we’re sharing a list of outdoor activities to try in the Omaha area this spring! We’ve included a mix of everything, from traditional outdoor recreation to some less conventional options, like embarking on a wildlife safari, playing a round of disc golf, and ziplining through a forest. See how many of these outdoor activities in the Omaha area you can check off your to-do list this spring!
All year long, there’s something beautiful to witness at Lauritzen Gardens. But during the spring, the gardens come to life with blooming flowers, green trees and shrubbery, and local pollinators and birds appreciating it all. This living museum provides memorable educational and aesthetic experiences for visitors, from gorgeous plant displays to workshops and events all season long. Lauritzen Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance to reserve your spot!
The extensive menu at Soaring Wings Vineyard will please even the most discerning of palettes, including a large selection of dry wines, sweet wines and even beers brewed in-house. The winery has scooped up more than 400 awards since it opened to the public in 2004, and it’s easy to see why. Owner Jim Shaw and his family have poured so much passion and hard work into their business, and it can be tasted in every sip. On a warm spring or summer day, the hillside at Soaring Wings is teeming with people, reclined in their camping chairs, taking in the surrounding vineyard scenery, and of course, sipping wine all the while.
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. During the spring and summer, 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.
Nestled among the rolling hills of the Platte River Valley, Schramm Park State Recreation Area is a spectacular spot to spend a spring day. Along with offering the state’s first fish hatchery, the park boasts several well-maintained wooded trails that are open all year long. One of the longer routes, which is very popular with local hikers, features a suspension bridge that offers beautiful views of the park. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to tour the Schramm Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility that allows visitors to learn all about Nebraska’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Fontenelle Forest is one of our favorite places in Nebraska, no matter the season. But springtime is for outdoor exploration, and there’s no better spot than this forest full of treehouses, suspended walkways and boardwalks. When you visit, we recommend heading directly to the Raptor Woodland Refuge, where the forest works on the conservation of birds like eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures. The area is located 30 feet above the forest floor and is a canopy-level exhibit designed according to the natural habitat of the rescued birds. It’s open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and you can find a list of bird species currently housed in the center here.
We’re pretty proud of our zoo here in Omaha — and for good reason! It has consistently ranked among the best zoos in the world for its exceptional exhibits and programs. The zoo is home to thousands of animals from around the globe, as well as 160 acres of exhibits and gardens (including 7 acres of indoor exhibits). On a colder day, warm up in the Desert Dome, the world’s largest indoor desert spanning more than 84,000 square feet! There is so much to see at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium — and it’s always changing. Becoming a member is the best way to ensure you can experience it all throughout your return visits. Reduce your wait at the gate and purchase your tickets ahead of time online.
Try a New Playground
Come springtime, we are ready to head to the playground to let our little ones burn off their pent-up energy, after months of frigid days. If you’re looking for a new playground to try, there are plenty of cool playgrounds in the Omaha area, offering everything from slides to climbing walls and spinning cups to monkey bars. Who knows? You might find a new playground near your house you haven’t been to before!
Situated just 30 minutes outside of Omaha, the Lee G. Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is home to more than 350 animals and 53 species from all over the world. Open from April through October, the park is a partner with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and allows animals to thrive in a more natural habitat while researchers study their lives and behaviors. Unlike other zoos, you can take a drive-through tour of the park and witness animals in their natural state in a little Nebraskan safari! To learn more about the park, check out our guide and interview with the park’s superintendent.
Reach New Heights on a Zipline
Beware, this one isn’t for the faint of heart — or those who are afraid of heights! Ziplining is a fun and exciting activity that allows you to zip across a large distance while hanging from a line high in the sky. While it sounds scary, ziplining is fun for all ages! There are two spots to do this near Omaha: Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park in Ashland and TreeRush Adventures in Bellevue. Go Ape is nestled inside Eugene T. Mahoney State Park and features super long ziplines more than 40 feet high! TreeRush Adventures is an aerial adventure park that offers countless opportunities for you to climb and zipline through the trees in Fontenelle Forest.
Play a round of mini golf, climb the rock wall, and compete in the batting cages — the fun is endless at Boulder Creek Amusement Park. This family-friendly attraction has two 18-hole miniature golf courses, including the Sports Course that is handicapped-accessible and a little flatter and wider, and the more challenging Adventure Course, which has hills, boulders and water streams. Plus, Boulder Creek has Omaha’s largest outdoor batting cages, an outdoor climbing wall, plus a number of indoor activities to try. Between activities, grab a bite to eat at the diner and dessert at the ice cream shack!
Disc golf is a great way to spend the afternoon with friends and family — and Omaha has no shortage of options in the area. There are a number of disc golf courses suitable for differing levels of difficulty and styles, but Hanscom Park is one of the best for beginners. Open to the public from dawn to dusk, this short, recently renovated 9-hole course is situated in the northeast corner of the park. Expect wooded terrain and mild elevation changes. Click here for more details about the course at Hanscom Park and other disc golf courses in the area!
This time of year, wildflowers put on a stunning display throughout the state, growing along highways, between sidewalk cracks, and across wide open meadows. One of the best places to see a rainbow of wildflowers is at Indian Cave State Park, a public recreation and historic preservation area encompassing nearly 3,400 acres along the Missouri River. The park is about an hour and a half drive south from Omaha, but trust us — the commute is worth it. During the spring, this riverside park is dotted with mayapples, dutchman’s breeches, jack-in-the-pulpit, and many more colorful wildflowers! And if you’re not there during the peak, the park will still be teeming with wildlife and stunning natural beauty.
We hope these fun outdoor adventures help you experience and appreciate the natural beauty of eastern Nebraska. Let us know in the comments what you’re doing outside this spring!
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