Written By: Kelly Maeser @ Pieces of Me
I love fall, it is by far my favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures, the layered clothes and fall styles, the changing colors in nature, Husker football parties, Halloween, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards!
For a long time now I have wanted to take my kids to Nebraska City to visit Arbor Day Farm in the fall. I have seen so many pictures from friends and family over the years and it always looked like so much fun! Yet every year we had too few weekends to make it out, until this year. We decided to go the weekend of the Apple Jack Festival. It was quite the family affair with not just the hubby and kids, but my parents, sister and brother-in-law, brother and his girlfriend all going. There are so many activities you could easily spend all day or longer there.
We spent most of the time at the Tree Adventure, just as the name says it truly is an adventure. We first went to the corn maze located in the apple orchard. It was the thing my son was most excited about and planned to lead us all valiantly through to the end. Corn mazes are a big favorite since he first discovered them last year at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. Luckily we found our way out fairly quickly so we could head over to the apple orchard.
Apples have grown in this location since 1855 and there are 13 varieties you can choose from. For a fee you can pick a “five pound bag, ten pound bag, half bushel, or bushel.” It had been a very long time since I had eaten a fresh apple right off the tree and it was amazing. Warm from the sun; so magically sweet and juicy. I now need to talk my husband into planting an apple tree in our backyard!
After the magic of the orchard we went to explore the South Table Creek Trail. Along the trail there are interactive displays to help you experience the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. There is also a 50 foot tree house. When we reached the bottom of the stairs to the tree house my fearless children didn’t hesitate. At the top we took in the amazing view. A note to anyone even remotely scared of heights, when at the top you can feel the treehouse sway, so you may want to skip this one.
There are two Nature Explore Classrooms; within these classrooms children can play instruments, create nature art, build with blocks and wood cuttings, climb logs, build with rocks and tree limbs, or swing in the various hammocks. One of my favorite parts of the nature classrooms is there is one entrance/exit, which meant my super speedy 2 year old daughter was confined to an area that allowed her to play and explore.
Due to the farm being very busy because of the Apple Jack festival (and having young children that can only handle so much fun before they melt down) we didn’t get to check out all Arbor Day Farm has to offer. We missed out on the Lied Greenhouse (and our free sapling tree), the wine tasting, the All Aboard Discovery Ride, and watching the Tree In The Movies. According to the website, Tree in the Movie is free with admission to the Tree Adventure and allows you to, “Sit back and enjoy 90 scenes from 66 classic movies in which trees have the starring roles. The unforgettable untold stories of these strong and silent stars will give you a new appreciation for trees, both on and off the movie screen.”
Arbor Day Farm was definitely a hit with my family and we have now added it to our list of fall traditions. For all readers that would want or need to make this an overnight trip, accommodations at Lied Lodge (and throughout Nebraska City) are nearby. More information on Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm can be found online at www.liedlodge.org or www.arbordayfarm.org! Happy fall!