8 Things To Do At The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

As one of Omaha’s most popular attractions, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge offers visitors more than just a place to enjoy a walk or bicycle ride. From a troll guarding its entrance to photo opportunities, “Bob,” as locals call it, offers family fun with a splash park and summer concerts.

As the country’s longest pedestrian bridge that connects two states (Nebraska and Iowa), the Bob Kerrey offers several fun opportunities. On the Iowa side, you can enjoy long walks or bicycle rides along western Iowa trails. With his own Twitter account (@BobTBridge), the bridge shares jokes and fun tips.

Don't miss a chance to visit The Bob when you're in downtown Omaha, Nebraska! Here's a guide to fun things to do at the landmark, from running the world's shortest marathon and meeting a troll to learning about the area's history. Don't miss the chance to go "Bobbing"! #Omaha #Nebraska #Midwest #bridges #MissouriRiver #familytravel

The Kerrey bridge’s design reflects the current of the Missouri River. As you walk, jog or bicycle across the bridge, take the time to stop and read the information placards that cover the river’s history, and its role in the area’s development.

Meet OMAR the Troll

OMAR, a blue troll, sits at the foot of the Kerrey bridge on the Omaha side, standing guard against all who seek to cross. Will he ask you three questions in order to cross? Or, is he looking for the Billy Goats Gruff?

Actually, he’s there to pose for photos with anyone wanting one with a 300-lbs. blue guy (who’s not a Smurf). Added to the Missouri River bridge in 2019, OMAR (Omaha Missouri Area River) quickly became a fan favorite. He even has his own book, “OMAR finds a home,” which can be found at local
book stores, such as The Bookworm.

Complete the .9k marathon

Run, bicycle, or walk the world’s shortest marathon at .9 kilometer, which is the distance from one end of the bridge to the other. The bridge is 3,000 feet long.

Complete the world's shortest marathon in Omaha on The Bob (it's .9 kilometer).
Photo courtesy Visti Omaha

Take a selfie on the bridge and stop by the Omaha visitors center at 10th and Farnam streets and show it to the staff for a bumper sticker
highlighting your achievement. It’s intended as a parody of the half- and full-marathon stickers runners receive.

Fun tip: To complete a true marathon, you’d need to cross the bridge 47 times, according to Visit Omaha.

Go ‘Bobbing’

Since the Kerrey bridge connects Nebraska and Iowa over the Missouri River, the act of standing midway across the bridge with one foot in Nebraska and the other in Iowa is known as “Bobbing.” It may be the
most popular spot in the United States for photos of feet.

"Bobbing" at the state line on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri River

Take a picture and post in on social media with the hashtag #ItHappensOnBob.

Cool off at the sprayground

During the summer months (Memorial Day-Labor Day), a section of the riverfront near the foot of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge gives families and children an opportunity to jump around in the water spraying from the ground in a circular play area.

Bridge Beats concert, a free summer concert series at The Bob in downtown Omaha
Photo courtesy Visit Omaha

Parents and others can watch from a stepped seating area.

Attend a Bridge Beats concert

Beginning mid-July and running for the next six Friday evenings, the sprayground area of the Kerrey bridge turns into a concert arena with the annual Bridge Beats series.

Kids at a Bridge Beats concert in downtown Omaha

Featuring popular local bands, such as Lemon Fresh Day, On The Fritz, and Taxi Driver, the public is invited to grab a seat on the stepped seats or the grassy area and enjoy the free concerts, which can range from Top 40 music to classic rock and country and western.

Rent a bike and ride across Bob

With a bike rack near the Bob Kerrey bridge, you can rent a single-rider bicycle from Heartland B-Cycle and enjoy a ride across the bridge and then travel along the riverfront trails on ether side of the Missouri River.

Bring your bike or rent a bike to ride along The Bob bridge in Omaha

It’s a great way to exercise and have fun exploring the area. You can even ride the bicycle to explore other Omaha sites, but you’ll need to return it to one of the Heartland B-Cycle stands located around the city.

Learn about the area’s history

You can learn about Native American history of the Missouri River and Omaha, which is the homeland of the U-mo’n-Ho’n (Omaha tribe) – also known as the “Upriver People” – at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center at the National Park Service Midwest office.

Inside the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska

Located a short walk from the Kerrey bridge, the visitors center also features exhibits and information about the Lewis and Clark expedition, as well as the flags of the Native American tribes along the Missouri River to
the Columbia River at the confluence with the Pacific Ocean, where the expedition ended.

Take a ride on the River City Star

Take a river cruise aboard the River City Star and see a different view of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. As the paddle boat travels downriver and then upriver, you can see the bridge from beneath, admiring the curves that represent the river’s current, as well as the city’s skyline.

Riding on the River City Star near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska
Photo courtesy Visit Omaha

The River City Star offers a variety of tours, including a public tour cruise and lunch or dinner cruises. The River Star is located a short distance north of the Kerrey bridge.

With a water splash area, free concerts and more, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge offers people more than just a place to enjoy a walk or run. Connecting two states, the bridge is a beautiful spot to connect
with family and friends.

Guide to family-friendly and active things to do near the famous bridge, The Bob, in Omaha, Nebraska. Get details on bike rentals, where to find OMAR the troll, a boat ride, and the world's shortest marathon. #Omaha #downtownomaha #Nebraska #visitnebraska #omahaweekend #midwestisbest #Midwest #MidwestWeekend

Exploring downtown Omaha

Make a day of your visit to downtown Omaha! There are a lot of free things to do in the nearby historic neighborhood, the Old Market, plus a ton of great restaurants (including kid-friendly restaurants).

Things to do in Omaha story archives

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Omaha History Tours By Trolley

Tablet used for the Gritty City tour

This summer, I took my first history tour thanks The Durham Museum. While I’m pretty familiar with Omaha’s history as explained through the museum’s exhibits, this tour was on a trolley and took us past many of the sites I’ve only read about (or wrote about). Keep reading – I’m going to share what you can expect if you take a River City History Tour.

Learn about Omaha history with trolley tours by The Durham Museum #Nebraska #historic #tour

Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets for a tour so I could tell you all about it. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, making a purchase after clicking an affiliate link earns me a small payment to help me keep doing what I love best – writing. Thanks!

River City History Tours

The Durham Museum’s River City History Tours include seven different choices of tours, each exploring an interesting side of Omaha history. Beer? There’s a tour for that. Crime? There’s a tour for that.

Each tour starts and ends at The Durham Museum. There’s a tour guide well-versed in history pointing out things along the way and sharing interesting stories related to the tour topic.

Tablet used for the Gritty City tour
Some tours include a tablet with photos from The Durham Museum Photo Archive. While some buildings are still standing, many on the Gritty City tour were not, so it was helpful to see photos of how things once were.

Guests on some tours, like ours, include are given a tablet with a photo slide show. During the tour, the guide connects the historic photos we see on the slides to places we past. It’s a fascinating way to see history as it was and then see what things look like today. Those tours are: Gritty City, On Tap!, Expositions to Jazz Musicians and The Great Escape.

What my trolley tour was like

Durham Museum's River City History Tours trolley
The trolley for each River City History Tour departs and returns to The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha.

I brought Mr. Wonderful with me for a history-filled date night learning about Omaha’s seedier times in the tour Gritty City. I was hoping for some real dirt, and maybe some things connected to the crimes that happened at some of the restaurants in my book, Lost Restaurants of Omaha. Alas, this was just a taste of crime history, and more about how Omaha grew from a “rough and tumble town” to a thriving city. I think I would’ve enjoyed a tour like “Last Call for Alcohol” if I wanted to hear more about bootlegging and organized crime.

We boarded our trolley, Porkchop, and began the tour past the Old Market and then through more of the downtown area. Our tour included the tablet, which was a great idea. Our tablet was missing some of the photos the guide was talking about, so that got a little frustrating.

Tours last an hour and a half. Sunday tours start at 2 p.m. and Tuesday tours start at 6 p.m. We opted for 6 p.m. to make it a date. Of course, we’re lame and did not go out for a night cap after our tour, but the option was there.

Are the tours kid-friendly?

I wouldn’t take my kids on the tour, but I could see how teens could get something out of the trolley tour if they’re learning about some of the topics in school. There’s nothing necessarily inappropriate about the tour, though some subjects that came up on ours was prostitution and lynching. History isn’t the prettiest.

However, given the length of the tour and the subject, young kids are not going to sit well on a trolley. Plus, if your kids are anything like mine, they get SO EXCITED about trolleys, that they would surely be a distracting bundle of energy.

Remaining Omaha history tours for 2018

Unfortunately, you guys missed the bulk of the River City History Tours this summer, but they still have some that go through the fall. The remaining tours are:

River City History Tours logo

From Expositions to Jazz Musicians Tour – Aug. 5

Millionaires and Mansions South Tour – Aug. 14 and Oct. 7

The Great Escape: Exploring Omaha’s Historic Theaters – Aug. 26 and Oct. 21

Millionaires and Mansions North Tour – Sept. 9

Magic City Tour – Sept. 18

Last Call for Alcohol Tour – Sept. 23

Gritty City Tour – Oct. 16

The other tour that’s done for the year is On Tap! Omaha’s Brewing History. To register for a tour, go to durhammuseum.org. Tours are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Membership discount
applies only to those in the household.

These are the kinds of tours that would make great gifts to history buffs in your life. If you have a foodie in your life, take a look at Omaha Culinary Tours.

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