These adventures take you sky high
Thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies — we have some ideas for you.
Google “benefits of adventure travel” and nearly 16,000 results pop up, including improved physical fitness and health, a boost in self-confidence and the development of stronger coping skills when dealing with life’s ups and downs. A sky or air adventure offers its participants a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the world below.
That being said, if you can’t afford to charter a plane to Peru this spring or summer, there are plenty of places in Nebraska and Iowa that will give you a memorable sky or air travel adventure — and you’ll be home in time for dinner.
Fontanelle, Nebraska; www.campfontanelle.com; 402-478-4296
Riders jump off a 20-foot tower and travel 350 feet through the trees and a big ravine before landing on the other side. They zip back over to the other side before they are done. The zip line is available on weekends, for one hour prior to the start of movies on movie nights and by reservation.
Camp Crossed Arrows
Nickerson, Nebraska; www.girlscoutsnebraska.org; 800-695-6690
Soaring Hawk Zip Line Tour, which opened in March, is a five-line course. Located about an hour northwest of Omaha, Crossed Arrows has been buzzing since its first riders took turns on the 30 mph lines, high above the woods and creeks in the Elkhorn River Valley. A full tour spans 2,208 feet of line and a total distance, including walking, of 3,590 feet. Reservations can be made in three-hour blocks starting at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Since it’s a Girl Scout camp, scouts get discounts.
Go Ape Treetop Adventure
Mahoney State Park, 800-971-8271
Suspended obstacles, five zip lines, amazing views. The self-guided two- to three-hour treetop adventure course will acccommodate participants of all skill levels. Friends and family can watch from trails below. It’s part of Nebraska’s new Venture Parks Complex, that will include Mahoney, Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area. Cost is $49 for those 16 and up, or $39 for those 15 and under.
Honey Creek, Iowa; www.skicrescent.com; 712-545-3850
Located on the border of Iowa and Nebraska, the Mount Crescent Ski Area Screaming Eagle Zip Line is the longest in the Midwest, according to its website, with a 1,600-foot-long, high-flying ride. “I was really nervous,” says Jeff Fulfs of Council Bluffs, who zip lined at Screaming Eagle with his family a few years ago. “It was a little frightening at first, when you’re in the air like that.” But was it an adrenaline rush, too? “Oh, absolutely,” Fulfs says. “It was a lot of fun.”
Nebraska Skydiving School
Holdrege, Nebraska; www.skydiveatlas.com, facebook.comSkydiveAtlasNE; 402-831-1231
At Nebraska Skydiving School, also known as Skydive Atlas, participants can choose from a variety of prices and thrills, starting with a tandem skydive at Holdrege’s Brewster Field, with 12,500 feet of freefall for $255. Student and military discounts are available.
Lincoln Sport Parachute Club
Weeping Water and Plattsmouth, Nebraska; skydivelspc.com; 402-326-8470
The Lincoln Sport Parachute Club is Omaha’s closest United States Parachute Association skydiving center, according to the group’s website. It operates from Brown’s Airport in Weeping Water and hosts large skydiving events at the Plattsmouth Airport. During large events, the club features one or more Twin Otter airplanes capable of carrying 23 skydivers to 13,500 feet in less than 14 minutes.
Scenic Wind Balloon Tours
Omaha; www.scenicwindballoons.com; 402-981-2048
Hot-air ballooning “is a very unique way of looking at the world,” says Steve Lacroix, who owns Scenic Wind Balloon Tours with his wife, Elane. “You are gently floating above it. When you are 1,000 or 1,500 feet above ground, you can see things, you can hear dogs barking and kids playing outside. When you get out of town, along the Platte and Elkhorn River Valleys, it’s the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen.” Lacroix offers balloon rides for up to seven people, weather permitting. He takes off at various locations throughout the metro. “We are always at the mercy of Mother Nature,” he says. “That’s why I don’t take payment until the day of the flight.”
Extreme Water Sports
Arnold’s Park, Iowa; extremewatersports.us/parasailing; 712-332-5406
Parasailing around Iowa’s Great Lakes? Yes! Extreme Water Sports offers parasailing for up to two people at Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake. The area is a hot summer vacation spot for eastern Nebraskans and western Iowans, and a parasailing adventure just may complete the trip for some. Arnold’s Park is a little more than a three-hour drive from Omaha.