May 30, 2017

Cool Down at Fairmount Splash Pad and Park


Council Bluffs opened it's newest water playground two years ago and it's been a hit with residents. As the weather heats up this summer, cool down at Fairmount Splash Pad and Park! Seeing how many kids loved playing in the mini splash pad at Bayliss Park, it was a smart move for the city to add Fairmount Splash Pad to the Fairmount Park project.


Fairmount Splash Pad 

Fairmount Splash Pad offers plenty of water fun, with beautiful scenery as it's surround by 100-year old Oak trees all around.

 
Fairmount Splash Pad features 14 water sprayers that squirt on a cycle that encourages kids to move all around the water playground. Tall sprayers to run under.

Shorter sprayers to run around.


Plenty of room to accommodate quite a few kids running around, and benches for parents to sit on.


There is also a covered picnic shelter where you can dry off and enjoy a bite to eat. 



Fairmount Park


In addition to the water playground and plaza, kids burn off energy at the playground. Have I mentioned the views at Fairmount Park? So pretty and this was back in October but I'm dying to get out there soon and see how colorful things are!



You may even spot a lone picnic table or two if you want to grab a bite away from the crowd at the splash pad.


There are also restrooms handy, which is helpful with a splash pad nearby.



Fairmount has really come along way from the condition it was in years ago. Families are once again returning to the area and there is plenty of fun to be had, both wet and dry. Grab the swimsuits and snacks for a day filled with family fun at Fairmount Splash Pad and park!



Vacation Bible Schools in Council Bluffs for 2017

There are lots of Vacation Bible Schools in Council Bluffs this summer. I attended many weeks of VBS during my childhood and always had a lot of fun. Friends, crafts, and lessons about the Lord, best of all it was free for my parents lol! Check out this list of Vacation Bible Schools in Council Bluffs for 2017 and get your kids registered.

Please note that most of these Vacation Bible Schools require registration which you can find by clicking the church links below.

Vacation Bible Schools in Council Bluffs

Broadway United Methodist is hosting Vacation Bible School from June 18th - 22nd in the evening. This program is designed for preschoolers - 5th grade.

Saint John Lutheran Church will be hosting Vacation Bible School from July 10th - July 13th from 5:00-8:00 PM. This program is designed for children ages 3 through 6th grade and a light dinner will be served.

First Christian Church will be having Vacation Bible School from July 12th - June 16th from 8:45-11:15 AM. This program is designed for children ages 3 through 6th grade.

New Horizon Presbitryian Church will be holding their Vacation Bible School from July 23rd - July 27th ad 5:30-8:00 PM. This program is designed for children in preschool - 6th grade and dinner will be served.



Timothy Lutheran Church is having Vacation Bible School from August 4th - 8th from 6:00-7:30PM.

If you know of other Vacation Bible Schools happening in Council Bluffs this summer, drop a comment below!

Family Fun at Narrows River Park in Council Bluffs

Located just off of North 25th Street, Narrows River Park in Council Bluffs offers tons of family fun! If you haven't visited this park before, or recently, I encourage you to plan a trip and pack up a picnic basket.


A must when visiting Narrows River Park in Council Bluffs is a picture in the giant adirondak chairs! There are two that are perfect for family photo ops.



From there you can stroll over to the covered Missouri Overlook Shelter with a gorgeous view of the might Missouri river. Plenty of planes taking off from Eppley make this a great spot for airplane fanatics as well. With a boat ramp at the park, you'll be able to watch some boaters and fishers, too.


When you're ready to play, this 36 acre park includes horseshoe pits, an archery range, table with checkerboard, playground, and volleyball net. All of which have views of the river. After playing, there are plenty of picnic tables to enjoy lunch or dinner at.




There are restrooms at Narrows River Park that have been renovated in the last few years.
I did not notice a drinking fountain but there was a water spout, as well as a marker for the 2011 flood line at Narrows.




Information about Narrows River Park in Council Bluffs


  • The park is closed November through March.
  • Regular Park Hours are daylight hours from sunrise to sunset. 
  • Park Admission is $2.00 per vehicle per day or $10.00 annual permit.
  • Park Address is 2500 North 25th Street Council Bluffs 
  • To get to the park take I-29 to exit #55, go north on 25th Street to River Road and follow the signs. 



May 3, 2017

7 Reasons to Getaway at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City

I can't believe it took me this long to get out to Nebraska City. I know the Apple Jack Festival is a HUGE deal, and trust me I will be there next year. This visit however, was for a getaway with my husband to Lied Lodge and it was exactly what we needed. Close enough to home that I felt comfortable leaving the kids, yet far enough away that I felt like I was getting away. Located just under an hour from Council Bluffs, an amazing getaway at Lied Lodge is waiting for you.


7 Reasons to Getaway at Lied Lodge 

Updated Guest Rooms and Suites


We stayed in a queen room with two beds on the 4th floor. The view was gorgeous and the architectural touches to the room, like the vaulted ceiling, were beautiful. Granite vanities and custom tile are found in each room, and we also had a TV, coffee-maker, refrigerator, and plenty of storage and hanging space.



Top Notch Amenities


Bring your swimsuit along for a dip in the Olympic-sized indoor pool or a dip in the hot tub. Work out in the fitness center, sweat it out in the sauna, and let of tension in the spa. Other amenities include Wifi, complimentary parking, hiking trails, lots of comfy seating near the fireplace, and more.



Spa at Lied Lodge


I mentioned the spa as one of the top notch amenities but it truly deserves it's own mention. Services available include Swedish massages, deep-tissue massages, bamboo fusion, mud therapy body masks, sugar scrubs, and more. I highly recommend a booking a massage at Lied Lodge - shout out to Tina and Melissa for taking fabulous care of my husband and I during our duet massage!



Award Winning Timber Dining Room


Signature selections and buffet options make Timber Dining Room a must have stop for dining at Lied Lodge. Begin your meal with started like Crab Cakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, and meaple Leaf Farms Duck Confit Egg Rolls. Dinner choices include dishes like Wild Isles Scottish Salmon, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, and Seared 7oz Filet. You can even finish of the meal with a variety of desserts, including strawberry shortcake and an AHmazing apple pie.



Library Lounge


This on-site lounge was a favorite place for use to stop while at Lied Lodge. We went both nights we were there because the atmosphere was perfect and there were lots of conversation starters. The books shelf walls on one side are filled with books, games, and neat decor pieces. A fireplace sites in the center of the room and one side is all windows. Most importantly, drinks were strong and food was available to order - try the Timber Flat Bread and one of their signature drinks if you visit!

Weekend Wine Tasting


Friday and Saturday nights there is a wine tasting offered in the gift shop from 5-7pm. For $7.00 you can try four different Arbor Day Farm wines and you get to keep the Arbor Day Farm wine glass! They were not shy on the pours and there were a variety of red, white, and sweet wines to sample. Plus, if you find a bottle you like, you can pick it up at the Lied Lodge Gift Shop.

Outdoor Adventures


Not only is there plenty of hiking to enjoy at Lied Lodge, you can also walk over to Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure! It is an extra charge but well worth the $8 per person which includes a free tree seedling to plant at home. Check out the view from 50-foot tree house, give tree climbing a try, play at the nature playground, watch Trees in the Movies, and so much more! We had SO much fun at Tree Adventure, even though it was a gloomy weekend. We hiked the entire trail over the creek, kissed on top of the treehouse, and my husband let out his kid at heart. A stop by the Apple House Market for a bite to eat or some shopping is also a must. So many delicious eats to enjoy there as well as take back home.



I could go on and on about why you should book a stay at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City. It truly was an amazing two night getaway that was more than we hoped for. We can't wait to get back and were checking rates for a family stay before we even checked out.

Have you stayed at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City?

April 24, 2017

Playground Fun for Little Ones at Charles E. Lakin Park

I have to be honest, I'm not really sure the name of this park, but it sits behind the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus off 16th and Avenue G. I searched the Council Bluffs Park Directory and it doesn't seem to be listed, so for now I'm calling it the Charles E. Lakin Park until I find out otherwise. Either way, the name doesn't matter because there is lots of fun to be had at this park in Council Bluffs!

 This Council Bluffs Park has a clay base instead of rocks, along with two different sections to play in. You'll find a big jungle gym with slides, monkey bars, a bridge, and all the fun stuff jungle gyms have.



The money bars are the newer circular style we've been seeing. My husband thinks it's to keep kids from climbing on top of them, and I think it's for saving space. There is also a little rock climbing wall that was a favorite of my twins.


On the other side of the jungle gym is an area for little kids, with lots of fun things to play on. This section is recommended for ages 2-5, and my twins who are 4 spent most of their time playing in this area. There are tons of cool shapes and designs to crawl under, over, around, and through that make for endless possibilities while playing.

 



 


The Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus also has a little pathway you can stroll down. It makes for a great way to wrap up the playing and get the kids to head back to the car. If you haven't been to this park, I highly recommend stopping by one afternoon or evening. Especially if you have toddlers or preschoolers!








April 17, 2017

Alamo Drafthouse Summer Kids Camp 2017

The Alamo Drafthouse Summer Kids Camp is returning for 2017! Simply your local air-conditioned Alamo Drafthouse this summer, and escape on a cinematic adventure with your family. We're talking kid friendly movies at ridiculously cheap prices, to help us escape that Midwest summer heat we know is coming!

The best part about this summer kids camp is that 100% of the proceeds benefit local non-profits! Here in Omaha, Project Harmony is one of those non-profits. This year, Alamo Drafthouse expects to donate $100,000 to approximately 35 nonprofits nationwide during Summer 2017, and you can help by buying tickets to any or all of the movies, ranging in price from $1, $3, and $5.



Alamo Drafthouse Summer Kids Camp Schedule 

June 2017

  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Minions
  • Matilda
  • Zathura: A Space Adventure
July 2017

  • The Iron Giant
  • Trolls
  • Muppets from Space
  • The Spongebob Movie
August 2017

  • Song of the Sea
  • Speed Racer
  • Jumanji
  • The Secret Life of Pets



Picnic and Play at Kirn Park in Council Bluffs

There is no shortage on parks in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Each one offers its own unique features and reasons to visit, something our family does quite often. Situated at the top of a hill on High School Avenue, Kirn Park and Kirn Field were once the site of the city's first high school. To this day it still sees teams hitting the field and kids hitting the playground.


At Kirn Park you will find a nice playground with plenty of things for the kids to do. A jungle gym, monkey bars, slides, swings, and digging toys with a gorgeous view!  


After playing you can enjoy lunch or dinner on one of the picnic tables. Bonus points for coverage in case of rain, and a grill for cooking! 


A drinking fountain, trashcans, and a port-a-potty are also available for use. 



The track around Kirn Field is still there and usable. Several people were walking and running around it while we were there playing. As well as several different soccer teams starting practice on the field. 



I'm not sure how many and what types of games are played at Kirn Park, but the bleachers are still there and in decent condition. A plaque hanging at the entrance takes you back in time with a date of 1936! 



Plan a visit to Kirn Park in Council Bluff, and enjoy a location with history while you are having some fun!









March 31, 2017

Easter Egg Hunts in Council Bluffs

Easter is coming around the bunny trail and eggs are being found all over the city! Grab your baskets and mark your calendars for these Easter Egg Hunts in Council Bluffs for 2017! I will add to this list if anymore come up, and if you know of one please leave a comment below.

Easter Egg Hunts in Council Bluffs


Easter Egg Hunts in Council Bluffs 2017

April 8th at 10AM at Roberts Park
April 8th at 10AM at Green Meadows Pool on Parkview Drive
April 8th at 10AM at New Horizon Presbyterian Chruch on Valley View Drive
April 9th at 2PM at Manawa State Park - put on by Salem United Methodist Church
April 12th at 10:30AM at Council Bluffs Public Library
April 15th at 11AM at Walnut Grove Baptist Church
April 15th at Lake Manawa on the North Shore hosted by Boy Scout Troop 528
April 16th at 9AM at Emanuel Lutheran Church on 24th N. Broadway

What's New in Branson for 2017

I have tons of great memories of Branson, Missouri from childhood. My grandparents lived lived in Galena for a bit, and I we would visit. One summer I stayed for a week and still remember how fun and relaxing it was. Our time was filled with Silver Dollar City, taking in shows, and even riding the Skycoaster. It's been years since I've been back, and I need to change that soon so my kids can experience it. Especially with everything that's new in Branson for 2017!

What's New in Branson for 2017

What's New in Branson for 2017

Presley's 50th Anniversary

The Presley Family opened Branson’s first music theater on June 30th, 1967. In 2017 they will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in their original location. This is a truly amazing accomplishment in the entertainment industry, especially to be in the same location. Two original members of the show, Gary & Steve Presley still perform nightly in the show. There are now fourth generation Presleys performing in the show. The family originally performed in caves in the Ozarks before building their theater on Highway 76.

Photo Credit: Explore Branson

Andy Williams Performing Arts Center 25th Anniversary

Andy Williams Moon River Theatre opened its doors on May 1, 1992. Andy was the first non-country music performer to open a theatre in Branson. The theatre’s design reflects the beauty and environmental integrity of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The 48,000-square-foot structure is set among 16 acres landscaped with rock formations, waterfalls and a stream. It is the only theatre ever to be featured in Architectural Digest. For the interior, it was Andy’s idea to create a beautiful auditorium for live performances along with a lobby area that had a museum-like atmosphere so that he could display pieces of art from his personal collection. Since his passing, Jimmy Osmond has taken over the theatre as a promise to his friend and mentor to keep the legacy alive. Andy Williams memorabilia is displayed throughout the theatre and a wide variety of entertainers grace the stage throughout the year, just as he envisioned.

Titanic Museum Attraction

Titanic Museum Attraction, honoring James Cameron’s “TITANIC” in celebration of the iconic movie’s 20th anniversary, has a limited engagement new gallery to showcase many, never-before-seen elements from the movie – costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts and more. March 12-June 13. Titanic Branson looks forward to “TITANIC” re-release in 2017 and to honoring its 20-year anniversary.

Showboat Branson Belle 

Showboat Branson Belle gears up for an even bigger 2017 aboard the 700-passenger paddle-wheeler. An all-new show “Country On The Lake” adds a different genre of music as the noon complement to the popular evening variety show “Celebrate.” Designed as a concert cruise – featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing #1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band – it includes tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus many classic, memorable songs.

The Runaway Mountain Coaster

The Runaway Mountain Coaster is a thrill ride that uses the natural topography of the area to have an exciting user-controlled trip for an experience few will ever forget. Riders are seated in individual carts engineered to exacting safety standards. The carts are pulled to the top via a chain, similar to roller coasters. At the top of the mountain, carts are released to travel down the hill, winding in and out and around the hills for a fun and unique experience.

Raiding the Country Vault

Raiding the Country Vault opens mid-March at The Starlite Theatre. It brings chart-topping Nashville stars together with musicians who have played with Country music’s most iconic acts, performing a set list featuring the biggest hits of America’s most beloved music genre. The producers are planning to bring “Raiding the Rock Vault,” from Las Vegas, for select summer dates.

Fritz's Adventure

Fritz’s Adventure is a dynamic family attraction that brings the excitement and challenges of outdoor adventure into a multi-dimensional indoor environment. Experience three stories and 80,000 square feet where you can enjoy elements of the world around you that, anywhere else, would be prohibited or discouraged. All ages are encouraged to explore the family adventure together. BIGFOOT Bigfoot on the Strip is the fifth attraction investment in Branson for the owners of Branson Zipline Canopy Tours, Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline, Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon and Fast Shot Shooting Gallery. The centerpiece of this $10 million attraction is a 200-foot free-fall tower. Two of the rides are extreme rides for serious thrill seekers, while the third is a calmer ride offering more of an Ozarks viewing experience.

Johnny Morris' New Gold Course 

Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris has teamed up with golf icon Gary Player to create a world-class short course that will deliver an unparalleled experience for golfers. Winding through breathtaking rock formations and showcasing some of the most dramatic views in the Ozarks, Big Cedar Lodge will unveil its newest golf experience in the spring of 2017.

History of Fishing Museum

The History of Fishing Museum is the largest collection of antique fishing lures, rods, reels, boats and motors entirely collected by one man and his wife. It is valued at more than $4 million. The first lure was bought when Karl White was eight years old. The lure is still in the collection today – almost 70 years later!

The Sky Deck 

A ride on Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline at Branson Landing, takes you to The Sky Deck on Mt. Branson with spectacular views of Lake Taneycomo, the entire Branson Landing and Historic Downtown. You can “Zip and Sip” or plan your own private party with live music, catering and cocktails.

Christmas Tree Tour 

Who doesn’t love a beautiful Christmas tree, radiant day and night with the warmth and joy of the season? Now the already amazing holiday season in Branson is even better as the community strives to become “America’s Christmas Tree Town” like no other. Many cities have a single iconic Christmas tree each year. Branson has the largest variety of the most wonderful and unique Christmas trees found anywhere! Discover over 100 dazzling trees – in addition to the music shows, shopping and festive family fun – making Branson an even more tree-mendous holiday destination than ever before!

CAF Airpower History Tour 

The B-29/B-24 Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force will bring to Branson the aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units across the United States to create the AirPower Squadron – an ever-changing assortment of military aircraft touring together to bring the sights, sounds and smells of World War II aviation history to audiences across the nation. The AirPower Squadron always includes at least one of the two rarest World War II bombers in the world – FIFI, the most famous, flying Boeing and B-29 Superfortress and Diamond Lil, an equally rare B-24 Liberator. Aircraft accompanying the B-29 or B-24 will include other World War II aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-25 Mitchell, along with an assortment of fighters, trainers and liaison aircraft. September 14-17 at the Branson Airport (BKG).

Branson Forward 

Branson Forward is a dream of a bigger, brighter, more amazing Branson experience than ever before with spacious walkways, landscaping, park benches, interesting landmarks, and amazing spaces for visitors to explore and enjoy. Over the next seven years, Branson plans to invest more than $100 million and transform five miles of Highway 76 into a more vibrant, dynamic, fun, attractive and interactive entertainment corridor certain to delight and amaze the next generation of Branson visitors. All this is being implemented with absolute minimum disruption to the non-stop fun and entertainment opportunities jam-packed along our city’s famous corridor.

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Fued 

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud is coming soon to the entertainment district in Branson. It’s Feudin’ Feastin’ Family Fun at The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show! Become part of the longest-running feud in history and help the Hatfields and McCoys try to settle their differences in a hilarious dance and comedy revue mountain style while enjoying a full Southern Homestyle Feast. Opens 2018.

Learn more at ExploreBranson.com