And suddenly, fall was upon us.
Friday night, we headed to Council Bluffs for a surprise 30th birthday party for one of Joe’s best friends. We decided to stay the weekend to hang out with family, and I really wanted to check out the Fontenelle Forest after reading a blurb about it in Midwest Living. I love going places with my little nieces and nephews because they have such creative spirits.
My hometown (Lisle, IL) is also home to the famed Morton Arboretum, and the Fontenelle Forest had a similar outdoor education feel to it. There’s a visitor welcome center and the main feature is a mile-long wooden boardwalk that loops through the forest.
When we arrived, they were bringing out birds of prey for a demonstration. This kind of falcon apparently swoops down on small birds from above, punches them and then follows the stunned creatures to the ground to finish them off. Intense!
We strolled along the boardwalk, but the forest encompasses 2,000 acres and features a number of different walking trails totaling 26 miles. I could imagine members who return regularly would have plenty of places to hike, and with each changing season the experience would feel different. When we went, they also had an eco exhibit running throughout the welcome center and along the boardwalk, with little huts and sculptures made from recycled materials.
I especially loved “Acorn Acres,” which had a wooden xylophone that made the most beautiful sounds.
Admission to Fontenelle Forest, which celebrates it’s centennial this year, is $8.
After our forest frolic, we met up with a friend and her boyfriend at McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe, a vegeterian/vegan restaurant. I got the veggie enchiladas, which were delicious.
Any suggestions for other Western Iowa/Omaha spots to explore? This Nebraska Passport is a neat idea.