June 2, 2023

The Reader
Fitness should be fun but, by nature, can be a strain. Don’t sweat it if you struggle to get up and get active. It’s okay that it takes some inspiration to get serious or have fun!
If you seek a boost or want to switch up your current routine, here are ten different ways to use Omaha as a personal guide for fitness fun.
Hikers and bird enthusiasts have some breathtaking and well-maintained trails, plus an abundance of wildlife to see here in town. It is no wonder natural Nebraskan landscapes color their state’s national image and the walls of our state social studies classes!
First up, Heron Haven is free of charge and fun for a solo or group hike/birding adventure. It is a slice of greenery meets aviary tucked away in the city and perfect for an afternoon stroll.
And second, Fontenelle Forest charges between $50-$75 for membership, but you can get a free family day pass through your library. Experience workshops like Adult Raptorology (raptors, as in owls) and a popular yet solitary 10.2-mile trail for hiking and bird watching called Hawthorne to Marsh to Missouri Loop.
Omaha swimmers can exercise and relax beyond the summer season in these dedicated indoor pools.
For some, the Joan Kroc Center sticks out for its solid adult swim times and fun fitness and relaxation amenities. It costs $7-$12 for a day pass and $15-$35 for a monthly membership.
Then, Mockingbird has lap swims seven days a week and open swims on Saturday and Sunday for a few hours in the late mornings and early afternoons. Admission is $4-$5.
Last but not least, indoor swimmers will soon have a third public pool open for shredding gnarly lanes on September 24 at Montclair. Lap swims await from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
After loading up on excellent food during patio season, cycling is a great way to let off some steam and explore branching paths of natural roads.
The Keystone Trail connects Omaha, Bellevue, and Papio and features minimal hills. It adds up to 20 miles of continuous cycling scenes, averaging six hours. 
Next, the Walnut Creek Trail (Papillion) is another all-encompassing and year-round trail stretching over three miles. It’s wheelchair accessible and great for biking, birding, fishing, and camping. Keep dogs on leashes.
For mountain biking, check out Jewell Park Outer Loop. It has golden Bellevue hills to climb and fast descents for a trail stretching just over a mile. It’s perfect for those who like a little challenge. 
A bridge connects two places or cultures.
When downtown, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge unites Omaha with Council Bluffs over the river. In total, it has one mile and a half trail with a low-key vibe, though sometimes it gets busy. Stroll and talk with a view of the river and birds. Then, at night, the bridge lights up like something out of “Blade Runner.”
When out West, the Ed Zorinsky Lake Park Full Loop trail is an eight-mile secluded path. The lake park’s West trail is wheelchair accessible, but a few steep sections are marked with waypoints that warn you may need assistance or to turn around. A few other pluses: dogs can join but must stay on leashes, and there are nine sporting fields and several spots for fishing.
Museums are underrated ways to stay active because you come close to living in the past while exploring epic architecture that keeps giving to Omaha and the entire state. While you may have visited before, don’t worry, there’s no way to take everything in at once.
First, the Strategic Air Command and Space Museum in Ashland is not too far from Omaha. Tickets cost $7-$14, and the museum is massive. Military planes rest idly everywhere. If you are a history buff, SAC and Space Museum captures advancements in air and space technology, in which Nebraska played a vital role.
But if downtown is your destination, Durham is more than an old railroad station turned into a beautiful museum. It is a highly reviewed showcase of 20th-century history, art, and culture with a unique vibe.
First off, The Max is a fabulous place often considered Omaha’s best dance club. Go between 4-8:30 p.m. for a low-key experience, but to party, stick around. Admission prices Friday and Saturday are $5 before midnight and $10 afterward. On Sunday, it costs between $3-$5.
Next, Bar 415, located downtown, is a solid club for underground and mainstream electronic dance music with a stark visual atmosphere. It’s been around for 20 years, and you can count on it to be loud. 
Additionally, the Nebraska Salsa Scene has two events scheduled for lovers of Latin music. The Bachata lesson and white-attire-themed dance party are free on September 17 at Sonny’s in Aksarben Village. And the Salsa class and tropical-themed social dance cost only $10 on October 14 at Omaha Design Center.
Face it – playing games keeps you young. But bring plenty of water: outdoor games can break a sweat.
Though it’s a little out West, Chalco Hills Recreation Area features a vast open layout perfect for picnics and outdoor games. Trails, fishing, tables, and sporting fields give this rec area a day’s worth of activities. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Next up, Neale Woods is 600 acres of natural unpaved paths surrounded by oak trees and trails ranging widely in difficulty. You will find it peaceful with a beautiful view overlooking the city.
Finally, Hitchcock Nature Center is a 30-minute drive from Omaha and has picnic tables and several awe-inspiring trails.
Join Life Time Fitness for one day for $30 or a monthly cost between $30-$99. It has a ton of weights and other amenities.
Test Omaha Barbell for $10. A monthly membership is $45-$50, and this facility is for lifters and weight lovers.
The YMCA remains one of the best fitness centers, featuring pools and saunas. Just make sure the facility you’re going to has what you want. It’s $17-$94 to join.
Blue Moon has weekly memberships, including the basic package with some amenities for $7.50 plus $.33 to join.
Planet Fitness has $10 ($39 initiation) or $24 ($1 startup) monthly options, a $39 annual cost, and no commitment to renew.
Hanging out with your dogs at the park is a surefire way to combine exercise with canine mingling.
First, Beardmore Freedom Dog Park in Bellevue has two designated dog areas, plus the park is spread out and stays open late. There are waste bag dispensers set up in different spots for easy access. 
Next, Hanscom Park is a popular getaway for many reasons, including its pool and playground, but it also features a fenced-off dedicated area for four-legged friends. Play disc golf while you’re at it!
Finally, Dewey Park presents an opportunity for the pooch to escape the leash and try their paws at a dedicated obstacle course and splash pad during the hot months.
These are some of the best bars with live music.
There’s fun to be had every night at the Down Under, including karaoke, weekly open mics, live concerts, and a monthly open jam. 
Second, Waiting Room has almost every day filled on its event calendar, usually live music. 
Omaha Lounge has concerts weekly, so follow the newly relocated venue on social media for updates.
A fourth option, Culxr House, features showcases from up-and-coming creatives. 
The Slowdown has shows almost nightly, from local album releases to touring acts.
And one more, The Berkley, is a bar and music venue that supports underground artists.
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