Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A replay ~ visit Family Friendly Omaha this Summer!

Come to Nebraska for FUN times...

Are you thinking about a quick trip (or maybe a 'not so quick' trip) this summer with your family? Why not visit us in Omaha? There are many day trips that you can make in the area and we are within a days journey from Minneapolis, Texas, Colorado and Chicago.  Here are some of the High Points you'll find right in this great Metropolis....
drawing of bridge at night over river
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
Omaha, NE is right in the middle of the country situated on the border of Iowa and Nebraska. The great Muddy Missouri runs between Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa and there is a wonderful bridge that spans the 'Great Divide' to tie the two together.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge ever built. It reminds me of a Sail Boat with the giant 'wing' spans that you see reaching for the sky 200 feet above the water. Connecting Downtown Omaha with Council Bluffs it's a favorite of families, bikers, skaters and dog walkers. It links nearly 150 miles of trails on both sides of the river. Kids and old men alike like to stand on the bridge and watch the boats go sailing by under the bridge.

After an evening in downtown Omaha get a good's night sleep before you hit two of Omaha's favorite family destinations! There is Fontenelle Forest and the Henry Doorly Zoo both of which are award winning family fun places to go!

Fontenelle Forest is part of two nature centers right on the edge of Bellevue, Nebraska. There are activities for all ages from taking a stroller ride down the boardwalk, kayaking the Missouri, taking nightly guided walks through the reserve and seeing all kinds of night life. You can join in on making mud pies, learn how to identify trees, and seniors have a night all to themselves - come for an OWL extravaganza! Click here for more events.

Learn more: Leaflet, Summer Day Camps (brochure) and Astronomy Events are available for kids (& families too) if you'd like to have a little Mom/Dad time =D.

Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the TOP leading zoo's in the country.  Our Zoo is wonderful! My favorite of all the attractions at the zoo are the Desert Dome (not the top part where you'll learn about 3 major deserts in the world, the habitats and animals) I LOVE the Kingdom's of the Night underneath the desert. It's like walking in a huge underground cave complete with bridges, night animals and more. (more) Then there is the Lied Jungle which is hot and steamy and the largest indoor rainforest in the world! There are waterfalls, monkeys calling, beautiful birds and flowers and a great bridge suspended in the air to walk over (kids love it). (more) While you're at the zoo - make sure you don't miss out on the Nursery to see the babies, or check out the Newly Remodeled Scott Aquarium to watch the sharks swim over your head or Gorilla Valley.

 Do be prepared to bring your walking shoes but if you get tired you can take a train ride across the zoo or how about a Skyfari (a ski lift style ride over the giraffes, cheetahs and more).  2012 Events

There really is so much more that I can share about those two destinations - but I have a few other things to show you..... but first I'm going to give you some links to a few more places in Omaha before we make an hour drive to Lincoln for a couple more of my favorites!

Durham Museum
  • Durham Museum (take a trip through history), right now they have an exhibit of Pulitzer Prize photo's, and then walk through a turn of the century life and into a train (kids will LOVE the train). 
  • The Joselyn Art Museum is on the edge of Downtown Omaha (go Saturday mornings before 11 and stay all day for FREE), check out the awesome Brian Selznick exhibit - it's beautiful & would be a good one to share with your kids. My favorite are the glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. They are gorgeous and unfortunately I can't find a picture to share with you.
  • Boystown touches the lives of over 1.6 million people each year and you can find out how through a tour of Boystown. Many of you have seen the 1938 movie "Boys Town" which helped spread the mission of Boystown then and that mission continues today. More info
There are two other places in Nebraska you really should not miss since you are so very close. Lincoln, Nebraska is the state capital and features many wonderful family friendly sites - AND it's only about an hour away from Omaha!!!
  1. You definitely want to check out Morrill Hall - the home of the Dinosaurs! You will find the largest exhibited elephant skeleton - a giant mammoth. NEW permanent Exhibit:  First Peoples of the Plains: Traditions of Land & Sky and you can also see the striking portraits of Native American children in traditional regalia by Award Winning artist Don Doll, S.J. Be sure to also check out the museum's collection of hunting, fighting and ceremonial weapons, and the Explore Evolution exhibit which might be interesting for teachers and families if you are studying that. There are also some brilliant murals by Mark Marcuson throughout the museum.
  2. Don't miss The State Capital Building - it's beautiful and a fun way to instill pride in our country in your children. If possible arrange to join a tour of this beautiful building. The floors are tiled mosaic and the walls are marble and they ALL feature Native American and Pioneer history. You'll also see marble columns, hand carved walnut wood ceilings and so much more. If you aren't afraid of heights be sure to go up to the Observation Floor so you can see the beautiful view.  
Fun Fact: 
The Nebraska State Capital is the heaviest building in North America. 
Betcha didn't know that, did ya? 

I hope you all make the time to come and visit Nebraska when you get a chance. To help you some with planning your visit, Nebraska tends to be very hot humid in the Summer and so it's always good to plan indoor activities during the day and outdoors in the early morning and evening hours. You can also rent a cabin at Mahoney Park - there are horses, parks, an indoor water park, walking trails & it's about 1/2 way between Omaha & Lincoln. What more could you ask for?

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