There’s an abundance of free activities in Omaha. Here’s another you can do any time, and it’s outside, educational and keeps kids active.
Take the Omaha Art Walk with your kids, but make it fun, call it the Omaha Art Treasure Hunt. I find calling anything a treasure hunt instantly makes it appealing to my kids. “Hey, let’s go on a grocery treasure hunt!”
Head over to this site to download the free Public Art Walking Tour brochure. You’ll need to print it out, since it will tell you where to go, what to look for and what the art might mean.
So, you go on this treasure hunt and your kids’ job is to find each art piece on the “map.”
The tour has 22 pieces of public art on there, making it about a 2-mile trek. If younger kids are on the tour, bring a stroller. You’ll find benches to sit on if you need a break along the way – especially in the Gene Leahy Mall* at the start and end of the tour, as well as around the CenturyLink area. If you’re doing this walk in the summer, there are some fountains the kids can run through at the First National Bank tower (across the street from the geese sculptures at #7 on the tour).
And if you need someplace with A/C along the way, the tour passes by the public library on Douglas Street (between 14th and 15th streets). Bathrooms are in there, as well.
Now, the thing about public art is that not everything is going to appeal to your kids (or you). I have my favorites on this walk – like the awesome mural “Fertile Ground,” which is an out-of-the way stop on the tour (No. 9), but you don’t want to miss seeing this one up close.
My kids really enjoyed exploring First National Pioneer Courage Park, No. 8. Here’s where I’d stop for a picnic – there are plenty of trees and a lot of green space.
Whether you think it’s all good or bad, public art is a great thing to discuss, and you can use this little tour to help your kids find ways to describe how art makes them feel. Keep track of what your kids say about the things you see on the treasure hunt. Check off on your walking guide the pieces your kids think are cool. Mark a big ‘X’ over the ones everyone thought were weird (perhaps, there are better descriptions you could use to teach your kids about art).
What’s your favorite downtown public art piece?
* If you haven’t been downtown lately, Gene Leahy Mall is undergoing some major renovations in the summer of 2013. The path around the mud pit, I mean lake, is closed off so some of the artwork there might not be accessible or easily viewed.