Feeling up for an adventure on a day off school in Central Nebraska? Check out these places to visit and have fun with your kids.
1. Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island is the perfect place to take kids for an interactive history lesson. The museum’s mission is to preserve and portray the pioneers who created the first communities in Nebraska.
Inside the Stuhr Building, the heart of the museum, you’ll find historical and art exhibits, including a series of permanent exhibits on the second floor. Younger kids will enjoy the toys and games in the Kids Corner. You can also visit the Railroad Exhibit to get an up-close view of Union Pacific railroad cars. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at the picnic tables near the Fonner Rotunda.
From Labor Day to April 30, the Stuhr Building opens at 9 AM, and the Fonner Rotunda opens at 10 Am. Until April 30, tickets for adults are $6, tickets for children ages 6–12 are $4, and children 5 and under get in for free. Even if you’ve already visited the Stuhr Museum, consider visiting it again, as exhibits and activities change frequently.
2. Edgerton Explorit Center
The Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora is the perfect combination of learning and play—especially on a rainy or cold day off school.
The Explorit Center’s two main spaces are Strobe Alley and Explorit Zone. Strobe Alley features an exhibit on Doc Edgerton’s life and works, complete with historical artifacts and information about Doc. The Explorit Zone is full of hands-on scientific exhibits where kids can learn and play.
The Edgerton Explorit Center is open 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and from 1–5 PM on Sundays. Tickets are $8.25 for everyone over two years old. Kids under two get in for free.
Note that if you plan to spend the day here, you’ll need to go elsewhere for lunch or bring your own food. The center doesn’t serve food but does allow you to eat on the outside patio.
3. Madhouse Experience Trampoline Park
Madhouse Experience (formerly Defying Gravity) is an indoor trampoline park in Lincoln where your kids can jump around and burn off some energy. The park offers trampolines, a laser maze, climbing wall, and an ultimate warrior course.
You can reserve a time to jump online or walk in. The required jump socks are $1.75 per pair and wristbands are $1.25, but both are reusable for future visits. Prices start at $14.99 per child seven years and older for 60 minutes of jump time. Madhouse is open Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday from 10 AM to 11 PM, and Sunday from 11 AM to 7 PM.
4. An escape room
Escape rooms are a fun challenge that will put your older kids’ skills to the test. An escape room is a game in which a team of players works together to solve puzzles, discover clues, and accomplish tasks to progress and “escape” the room before time is up. Grab a group of your kid’s friends and help them work together as a team to figure out the clues to solve the puzzle.
Escape Aurora in Aurora is open to kids 10 and up. Each room can hold up to six people. Online bookings are available for Fridays (4–9 PM) and Saturdays (noon to 9 PM).
Other escape rooms in the area to check out include:
- Trapped Downtown in Hastings allows kids eight and up
- Escape Lincoln in Lincoln’s Haymarket allows kids seven and up
- House of Conundrum in Omaha recommends that kids be seven or up to participate, but kids six and under are free
5. A pumpkin patch or apple orchard
There’s nothing like strolling around a pumpkin patch or apple orchard on a crisp fall day. Take the kids to a local farm and enjoy some time outdoors before winter hits. Plus, you’ll come home with pumpkins to decorate or delicious apples to eat!
Helgoth’s Pumpkin Patch in Saint Libory (north of Grand Island) offers a wide range of activities for kids, from picking pumpkins and melons to mini golf and pony rides. It’s open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, and admission is $5 on Fridays and $8 on the weekend. Helgoth’s is open from 10 AM to 7 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 AM to 7 PM on Sundays.
A great spot for apple picking is Martin’s Hillside Orchard north of Lincoln in Ceresco. Martin’s Hillside Orchard lets you know the optimal time of year to pick each variety of apple, so check out the list if you’ve got a favorite variety. You can also pick pumpkins and raspberries and peaches (when they’re in season). The barn also has tasty treats available for purchase. It costs $4 per person to go out and pick apples, and $2 from the entry fee can be applied to your purchase of fruit when you check out. Kids under two are free. The orchard is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Some other options to check out: Apple Acres in Kearney is open Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM, and The Scarecrow Patch pumpkin patch (north of Grand Island) is open Fridays and Saturdays 10 AM to 7 PM and Sundays noon to 7 PM.
6. Paint Yourself Silly
Crafty kids (and parents) are sure to love Paint Yourself Silly, a DIY pottery studio with two locations in Lincoln. Take your kid, grab a piece of pottery, and decorate and paint it however you like. You’ll be able to pick your piece up in about a week.
Here’s how it works: You pay per hour to paint, and you also pay for the pottery piece you select. Kids nine and under are $4 per hour to paint, and everyone ages 10 and up pays $6 per hour. Pottery pieces range from $3 to $79. Paint Yourself Silly also offers special pricing days, so check its website before you plan your painting date.
In addition to DIY pottery, Paint Yourself Silly also offers glass fusion.
Enjoying Your Day Off School
Before heading out to one of these destinations, do your own research to ensure it’s a good fit for your family and that the location will be open when you plan to visit. Enjoy those days off school—and have fun!