The leaves are starting to change, the mornings are growing chilly, and we only have a couple more weeks before it's too cold to be outside! That's why I decided to throw together a list of my favorite outdoor spots to visit near Omaha/Lincoln and share them with you :) Let's hop into how to Enjoy the Outdoors This Fall by Visiting These Four Cool Places...
1. enjoy apple cider at roca berry farm
It's pumpkin patch season! Man, is there a better time of year than sleeping with the windows open and watching spooky movies with your favorite fuzzy blanket? I love hitting up the pumpkin patch, but sometimes doing so can turn into a big expense.
I really enjoy visiting Roca Berry Farm. It's affordable with weekend pricing at $19.95 per person. To make it even cooler, they recently added two rides called the Barn Swing and the Coronado ride. Both of these are included in your admission price, so you don't have to crack out extra cash to ride these!
Roca has multiple attractions like their haunted hayride, sunflower field, GhostTown mini golf, wooden obstacle course, train ride, game booths, corn maze, and delicious drinks, like hot apple cider. They serve hot drinks at the Funnel Cake Factory, Donut Hut, Corn Dog Hut, Smokehouse, and Barry's Burgers! Roca is also famous for their Scary Farm. I've yet to see their haunted attractions, but it's on the list because it looks so fun and super creepy!
TIP: Roca Berry Farm recently posted a Philly sandwhich that looked amazing on Facebook. You can snag this at their Back Porch Grill!
2. visit ashland's wildlife safari park
Our four year old recently had a birthday and we had the best time celebrating here. This place has a drive thru safari and it was so fun to hang out of the car to look for animals! The park had way more than I expected: buffalo, wolves, elk, bears, and goats. I worried about how much time we could spend here, but there was plenty to do! You can easily spend a full morning here.
We visited on a Saturday morning when it opened at 9:00 AM and it was perfect, with no crowd. Adults are $12 and kids are $10, which is a pretty good deal because you can spend hours here! My favorite spot was their observation tower, near their goat shed, it overlooks their swamp land. Their park is open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM daily through October :)
TIP: I would recommend popping on tennis shoes because even though this is a drive thru safari, they have many exhibits on the grounds with beautiful walking trails!
3. sit in quiet at the Holy family shrine
The Holy Family Shrine would be a great spot to visit before the cold blows in. It sits quietly up on a hilltop near the Gretna exit and has multiple places outside to sit and reflect, with an awesome view.
They're open Mon - Sat 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sun Noon - 5:00 PM. You can even attend their Catholic mass which occurs every Saturday at 10:00 AM. I visited the shrine on New Year Eve's a couple years ago and it was really nice to reflect on the past year on one of their benches. The air was still and hearing yourself think, was so easy.
TIP: The Holy Family Shrine is a wonderful option if you're looking to squeeze some outside time in and are trying to do a no-spend weekend. It's free to visit the shrine!
4. experience a haunted treerush adventure
If you're looking for something cool to add to your Halloween Bucket List, Haunted TreeRush might be it. TreeRush Adventures is a park in Fontenelle Forest where you can climb suspended bridges and zip line through the tree tops. In October, they transform the park into a haunted forest!
They're open Thursday through Sunday. Tickets for 12+ are $59 and kids 7-11 are $48. This activity is more on the expensive side, but the park is incredible and your ticket allows you three hours in the park! They have more than 113 aerial challenges and 18 different zip lines. To climb, you wear a harness and metal clips, but after a quick training session, you are off by yourself. By far, it is one of the coolest things I've experienced in Nebraska!
TIPS: Book your Haunted TreeRush tickets online and save $5 on each ticket.
We only have three weeks left in October and I feel like there's so much I want to do! Tell me below...what's on your fall bucket list?
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Trigger Warning: Infertility
No one prepares you for suffering. You walk tirelessly through a dark, narrow tunnel and at the end, you find no light. You're out of breath. You've been vomiting sarcasm, "Stay faithful, really?"
If you've read my articles from last summer, you know I spent most of 2022 dealing with a complication from my c-section in 2019. You can read Part One here, if you'd like. I had a rude awakening with pain and I learned the depths of suffering pretty fast. There were countless nights where I felt like I was crying out prayers to an empty sky. I was frustrated for a long time...but God has now moved me into a season of healing. I thought I would share with you what I've learned.
1. suffering is not like the books you read in high school
In high school, I remember flipping through books that recounted mid life crises and hard seasons. I never read these "situations" carrying on for more than a couple months. It's deceiving. Suffering can exist for years and the after effects can be just as horrific as the pain.
2. removing emotions that were not my own
After my hysterectomy, I had a choice to make. I could continue in my suffering and walk heavy footed about never having a baby again or I could cut ties with my pain. When I checked in with myself, I learned I was actually feeling okay. Beat down sure, but I was healthy and ready to get back to the things I love.
One thing that was hard to walk through was knowing how I feel vs. how people on the internet feel when they share their experience. Directly after my surgery, it was hard to see which emotions were my own and which I had held onto from watching an a Instagram Reel. After separating the emotions I thought I was suppose to feel with the ones I was truly experiencing myself, I opened the door to healing.
3. suffering sparks bravery
It was a painful two years and God did not rid me of my pain quickly. I do know however, that if my experience did happen suddenly and I found out day one my c-section was the problem, I would not have been brave enough to make the right decisions for my body.
Jesus is good, despite the suffering we to endure. I was not happy about the countless ER visits and surgeries, but it pushed my family and I back to Nebraska near our families and to find a new doctor. After all that has happened, how would we have survived this hard season without our families' support? God was writing a plan for us, just not the one I wanted. I like this verse about suffering...
1 Peter 5:10
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
This month marks a year from my hysterectomy last August. I can say now, I'm ready to circle back and heal from the many hard things we dealt with back to back. The things I couldn't let myself feel because there wasn't enough time. I have understood too, that I can begin to let myself heal, when I am ready to.
God has made it so clear for me. This is okay. You have been aching to travel again and continue working with hotels & tourism boards. This is who you are and wow, look, you made it back. Great job sweetheart.
Thanks for coming by guys. I hope if you are in a season of suffering right now, just do your best to hold on. Survive the day. Reach out to Jesus. Let Him carry you. Everything has an end.
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Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11