A Guide to Nebraska in the fall


By Kamrin Baker

The long knit socks have come out of their hiding place in the back of our drawers, sweaters have slipped off hangers, and our Starbucks orders have gone from iced to hot. It’s finally fall in Omaha, Neb.

For Omaha natives, this season is known for many local attractions and traditions, but for some reason, every year, I find myself not knowing how much Vala’s admission is, or where to find a good pumpkin to carve.

Lucky for everyone else—new to Omaha or otherwise—here’s a comprehensive list of activities, locations, attractions and more to keep your autumn season organized and on the right hayrack track.

1.Obviously, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch tops the list.
Vala’s is Omaha’s most famous pumpkin patch and has been operational for 30 years. With a variety of notable foods like potato ribbons, cookie cones, caramel apples and turkey legs, half the fun of taking a trip towards Gretna is to munch on snacks. This massive farm is extremely family-friendly but is also fun for everyone, with dog shows, campfires, petting zoos and haunted houses. But if you’re anything like me, make sure you take a Claritin before you go.

Photo courtesy of Kamrin Baker, instagram

Price: September admission is $14.25 per person, while October prices are $17.95 online and $18.95 at the door.

Location: 12102 S. 180th Street, Gretna, NE 68028

Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Season: Friday, Sept. 15- Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017

2.For more tot-sized fun, visit the Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch.

The Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch has also been up and running for 30 years and offers many activities; all very child-friendly. When it’s not the fall, the ranch is still operational in prime berry-picking seasons. When they aren’t riding the Haunted Hayride or exploring the Ranch of Terror, visitors can pick their own berries and pumpkins and pay by the pound.

Price: Depends on which attractions you want to visit; check out the website!

Location: 11001 S. 48th St. Papillion, NE 68133

Hours: Again, depends on what you want to do! Check out the link from above.

Fall season: Saturday Sept. 16- Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017

3. If you’re more into the spooky scene, Scary Acres is for you.

Scary Acres is your typical haunted house-type attraction. Employees are fully costumed and made-up to scare attendees to the best of their abilities. With attractions that change each season, you can expect a new scare every year. Landmarks include the Haunted Woods, The Master’s Castle, House on the Hill.

Price: Going to specific areas like the ones I listed above are usually $10 a piece, but admission for the whole park is $25 in a super combo ticket price.

Location: 17272 Giles Road, Omaha, NE 68136

Hours: 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Season: Friday Sept. 15- Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017

4. If you usually attend places for their food options, Ditmars Apple Orchard is right up your alley.

Ditmars is not necessarily in Omaha, but it’s just right over the bridge in Council Bluffs and definitely worth the extra couple miles. With no entrance fee, you can simply take a walk through the orchard or pick some apples for $2 a pound. There is also a winery section of the orchard for all those 21 and up adults. I am a fan of the apple donuts and cider slushies, as well. Definitely a good date spot or a place to hang out with friends and loved ones on a crisp fall day.

Price: No admission fee but $2 a pound for any apples you buy and varying prices for all other foods.

Location: 19475 225th Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and
Sunday 11 a.m.-5p.m.

Season: Typically May until the colder months in the winter

5.Support local farmers and explore nearby farms and markets.

The Omaha Farmer’s Market takes place in locations all across the city until the last weekend in October every year. Whether you stop in the Old Market on Saturday mornings or Aksarben Village on Sundays, you can grab fresh produce, pumpkins, flowers and more. Other local farms will occasionally open to the public in their surrounding areas to sell some of their products, too. Take advantage of living in the Midwest and embrace the farmer culture all around us!

Another local market is Junkstock, which varies in time each season, but always highlights local artists, food vendors, shops and musicians. Although this season’s Junkstock has already taken place, you can find more information regarding its spring session and pricing on the Junkstock website.

Price: Depends!

Location (for Junstock): Sycamore Farms in Waterloo, NE.

Hours: Also depends!

Season: Still depends, sorry.

Photo by Kamrin Baker, instagram

All in all, there will always be something to do in the area leading up to the coveted October 31. Once you’ve explored off campus, bring your pumpkins back home for a carving or painting party, your apples to the kitchen for a homemade pie and your memories in your back pocket until next year.