It’s that time of year again.
The weather is drastically cooling down, I’m convinced Nebraska has added a monsoon season with the amount of endless rainy days we’ve had, imminent threats of snow loom around the corner…
And if I have to be stuck inside the house cooped up with kids one more afternoon I’m going to lose it.
So, we packed our day bag and headed to the Mahoney State Park Indoor Playground, which is just one of the plethora of things to do at Mahoney State Park.
What You'll Find In This Artcile
- 1 What Is The Mahoney Indoor Playground
- 2 Know Before You Go
- 3 Logistics
- 4 Mahoney State Park Activity Center Hours
- 5 Cost
- 6 Mahoney State Park Address and Location
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 Birthday Parties At the Mahoney Activity Center
- 9 Other Things To Do at Mahoney State Park Activity Center
- 10 Other Indoor Playgrounds in Omaha NE
Oh, you’ve never heard of or been to this MASSIVE indoor playground?? Well, you are in for a treat…or a headache, depending on how you look at it. There are a ton of pros to a day at the Mahoney playground, but also a few cons as well. Let’s get right into all of them as well as the logistics (cost, price etc).
Looking for other Mahoney State Park Activities?
Here is our Ultimate Guide to Eugene Mahoney State Park, including cabin rental info, summer pool times and more.
What Is The Mahoney Indoor Playground
Assuming, you are not a total germaphobe (ok, those ball pits have me a bit concerned, too!), this ginormous indoor play zone is totally awesome.
There are levels upon levels of twisting and turning tunnels, slides, ramps, ropes, ball pits, and mazes.
If you are wanting your kids to burn off some mega energy, this is the mega jungle gym to do so in.
Know Before You Go
When to Go
This place gets pretty packed.
Luckily, because it’s so big, it can hold plenty of energetic kiddos. It goes without saying that if you can avoid the weekends, you are better off crowd-wise. However, with the odd opening hours (see below), that is sometimes hard to do.
You Need Hold Your Own
One of my biggest complaints about the playground is the kids. Wait, here me out! Yes, this is a KIDS play zone, but I plead with you parents to please just do a quick spiel about respect for others before letting the chicklets run wild.
Especially when it gets crowded and when groups of kids are running (not jogging…. I’m talking full on sprinting!), it’s easy to run others over. I can’t tell you how many collisions I saw in just the short time we were there.
Likewise, there are kids of all ages playing, so when the more energetic kids playing tag or chasing one another are inside the small quarters of a tunnel, it’s not fair to the little ones that get barreled over.
No Outside Food Or Drink
This is a bummer because I really dislike paying for concession food (frugal much??) and just prefer to have my own choices of food for my kids.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sneak a cheese stick to my toddler while there, but you won’t get away with bringing in a full lunch.
However, there is a pretty extensive concession stand full of all the typical concession-y type foods. Think soft pretzels, pizza, pop and more.
You can expect to pay about $3-4 dollars per food and a few more bucks for a drink. The prices actually aren’t insane, but I’ll be honest, if I can “trick” my kids into thinking that we can’t buy food from concessions, my life will be a lot easier out and about!
While this is a fantastic place to go to in the winter months, even in the dead of the winter, it can get HOT inside for the kiddos. Layer up on clothing, bring along a pair of shorts and a t shirt, or prepared to have one, hot sweaty kid on your hands.
Socks are required, so even if you head to the playground on a rainy summer day, don’t forget to bring some along!
That includes you parents, as well, at least the ones that will need to be inside the play structure (ie with the little ones).
Good For All Ages, But Best For…
The Mahoney indoor play area is absolutely amazing for kids around 4- pre-teens. However, there are still good spots for infants, like the ball areas.
Toddlers have a bit more of a difficult time because there are often spots that are just slightly too tall to climb, so they get “stuck” in areas. All that means is that I hope you aren’t too afraid of small, confined spaces! While the tunnels and areas are just fine for adults to clamor through, I still had visions in my head of my husband getting stuck while playing with our 2.5 year old!
(Note: If you are going to be inside the play structure, you’ll need to remove your shoes and therefore also will need socks)
This place gets LOUD, especially on the busier days. Like, REALLY loud. If you have a kiddo with sensory issues, you might want to consider calling and asking what hours/ days are the least busy. I’ve even seen some parents have headphones to help block out the loud noise!
Everyone knows that these kinds of play structures are peetry dishes of germs. I hear so many parents say they wouldn’t touch places like these with a ten foot pole, or that a day at the Mahoney play zone is another day at a Doctor’s office.
However, for a day to shake off some cabin fever, we just globbed up on the hand sanitizer often during our visit and washed hands thoroughly.
Mahoney State Park Activity Center Hours
Winter Hours (September- May)
Monday, Thursday and Friday:4 p.m- 8 p.m
Saturday:11 a.m.- 8 p.m and Sunday from 11 a.m- 6 p.m
Tuesdays and Wednesdays CLOSED
Summer Hours Are:
Monday and Friday from 4pm-8pm
$2 for everyone entering the activity center (including all adults). There is no time limit for your day entry
Plus Park Entrance Fee: In order to get into the state park, you will need either an annual park pass or a day permit. You can read Everything You Need To Know About Nebraska State Park Passes Here.
Mahoney State Park Address and Location
28500 West Park Hwy, Ashland, NE 68003. This is just about 30 minutes from Lincoln and only 45 (give or take) from Omaha, making it a great day trip frowm either city.
The easiest way to contact Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is just to call them. They have a really easy answering service and all their agents have been SUPER helpful anytime we’ve called for questions.
Phone Number: (402) 944-2523. Dial extension 7122 for a direct line to the activity center
Birthday Parties At the Mahoney Activity Center
The indoor playground is actually a great steal if you are planning a birthday party. You can find ALL the details and info over at our Mahoney Activity Center article, such as what all is included in a birthday party rental, but here are a few snapshots of the essentials.
Cost: $60 for first 10 participants ($3 for each after 10) but limited to 30 (“participants” includes anyone attending- so both children and adults)
Rent The Entire Play Feature
You can also rent the entire playground during after-hours times, which is a blast for large groups.
$250 gets you the place to yourself for two hours ($95/an hour for additional time).
You can read more of the details, like if you can get concessions during group rentals at the Mahoney Activity Center blog post.
Other Things To Do at Mahoney State Park Activity Center
We’ve got an entire post dedicated to all the details (costs, hours, etc) of everything there is to do at the Activity Center, but there is more than just the playground!
- Mega Indoor Playground
- Venture Climbing Rock WallVenture Climbing Rock Wall
- Outdoor Ice Skating Rink (seasonal)
Other Indoor Playgrounds in Omaha NE
If you are wanting an indoor play area in Omaha without heading to the State Park, here is an amazing round up of places from Family Fun In Omaha.
Or, if you are looking for some places in Lincoln, Macaroni Kid covers her favorite Lincoln fast food restaurants with great indoor playgrounds.
We really enjoy the Mahoney indoor playground. Our kids (and nieces and nephews) LOVE when we announce a day trip out to the activity center.
Do you know a family that would love a day playing in this awesome playzone? Share this with them so they can plan a time to make it happen!
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