Girl’s Night Out In Omaha

Spank in Omaha

Updated on May 2, 2018

Girl’s Night Out in Omaha is a rarity for me, so let me state for the record that these are almost all suggestions based on Girl’s Night Outs I’ve only imagined or they’ve been recommended to me. But in my head, these sound fun, so that has to count for something, right?

Nothing says classy like a girls night out at the Orpheum. To catcall the lone male actor on stage. At a "50 Shades" parody. We're classy ladies, we are.
Cheers to girl’s night out.

My last Girl’s Night Out was in early June. We saw “SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody” at the Orpheum Theater, drank fruity mixed drinks with silly names and showed remarkable restraint by not catcalling the shirtless male actor.

A girl’s got to get out from time to time and be a little silly. A mama’s got to leave the house without kids and breathe unwind just a little.

So, ladies, grab that outfit you reserve for special nights (you know the one), turn off your cell phone’s ringer, and pick a place to go for a Girl’s Night Out in Omaha:

Creative Juices Flowing

Wow, guys, you love to drink and paint. I asked Oh My! Omaha Facebook fans for GNO ideas and, a popular place was Corky Canvas at Midtown Crossing. Apparently, I’m the only woman in Omaha who hasn’t visited either of these places. Must fix that, huh?

Anyway, you all spoke highly of the creative night out. AJ said about Corky Canvas: “Wednesday is half price bottle of wine night, so even better 🙂 They take you step by step through the process, so even those of us that are not artists can create a beautiful work of art! Have someone get there early to save spots for your group. We were done by 9, which is nice as well.”

Why go out, though? You can invite a bunch of your friends over for a low-key creative night doing an in-home workshop with Knotty Nail.

Another creative option for you ladies is to test out one of the Continuing Education classes at Metro Community College. You can pick an art class, learn a new recipe, dance or whatever floats your group’s boat. As you might have guessed, drinks aren’t mentioned at all in the syllabus. What’s up with that?

A Round of Drinks

For a good beer, I look no further than Crescent Moon at 36th and Farnam streets. They have 50 beers on tap, from local to Belgian. Low key and casual night out. If wine is more your thing, I recommend you and your friends meet at La Buvette or Corkscrew Wine & Cheese.

Show Off Your Smarts

Get all your smart friends together (or the ones who are a well of useless information) and kick butt at a bar’s trivia night. Omaha has a few options. The one I’m familiar with is the Thursday night trivia battles at Varsity (Dundee location).

Night at the Theater

I’ll never forget the whoops and the catcalls heard throughout the Orpheum during “Spank.” Apparently, GNO can include a trip to the theater. I combed through a couple of my favorite venues’ upcoming season and found a few shows I could see a group of ladies enjoying. As much as I love thought-provoking performances that stir up all sorts of emotions, but my criteria for this category is that it will be fun or funny night. Who wants to sob alongside their besties for two hours?

I’m a Broadway fan so you can’t really go wrong taking a group of friends to one of the shows in the Omaha Performing Arts Broadway series. Check out what’s coming in the 2018-2019 season…”Hamilton”! The comedy tours coming through in the upcoming months are great too. Browse Ticket Omaha for information.

Where do you like to go for a Girl’s Night Out?

Omaha Farmers Market Fun

A trip to the farmers market can be more than just an errand you do to get the produce for the week. Consider it free entertainment.

Beyond buying fresh, locally-grown produce, farmers markets all over Omaha offer free entertainment.
Beyond buying fresh, locally-grown produce, farmers markets all over Omaha offer free entertainment.

Music

Venture to the Omaha Farmers Market in the Old Market and you’ll likely hear more than one live musician playing. An Omaha staple, the Prairie Gators are often performing their energetic and fun Zydeco songs there. That area also is known for some talented buskers on the corners, seek them out, as well as young violinist and the occasional traveling band. We lucked out and caught a free performance by the Kansas City swing band Grand Marquis. Awesome.

Kansas City-based band Grand Marquis plays on an Old Market street corner during a recent farmers market.
Kansas City-based band Grand Marquis plays on an Old Market street corner during a recent farmers market.

Omaha Farmers Market at Aksarben often has music, and often, it’s the Prairie Gators. Those guys get around.

Samples

OK, maybe there are just a few of us that find eating to be entertainment. Farmers often offer samples of their bounty to tempt you. Take the bait. From juicy tomatoes to sugary sweet shortbread cookies, your taste buds are in for a treat. It’s also a good way to introduce new foods to children. Who better to convince your child to try a new veggie than the person who grew it?

Herbs and vegetable plants for sale at the Omaha Farmers Market in the Old Market.
Herbs and vegetable plants for sale at the Omaha Farmers Market in the Old Market.

Odd story to share here, last year, one friendly vendor thought she’d help the teething 1-year-old Mooch and gave the kid her version of teething toy: A chili pepper. Um, no thanks.

Events

Check your local farmers market’s website for upcoming events, because they pop up all the time! Events can be anything from live cooking demonstrations to free activities. A glance at Village Pointe Farmers Market showed that on Aug. 10, they’ll have an Iron Chef-type competition. Cool!

Nearby Fun

I like Sundays at Aksarben since we can visit the playground or splash pad after shopping the market. You go before and you’ll never get your child to leave to go shopping. Aksarben also has Zumba going on at the nearby Stinson Park starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

So which farmers market do you like to visit? Don’t have one? Edible Omaha maintains a good list for Omaha and beyond. Check it out.

Off the Beaten Path – Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine

We’re starting one other new series at Oh My! Omaha called “Off the Beaten Path.” I asked friends, and fellow writers and bloggers to share some of their lesser known haunts, be it a park, shop or attraction.

Hope you read last week’s “My Ideal Day in Omaha” written by Tiffany. We’ll have a new “Ideal Day” next Friday.

To kick off this series, I thought I’d share one of my Off the Beaten Path favorites in Omaha: Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine. (Urbanspoon listing, Yelp listing).

The Old Market restaurant, Ahmad's Persian Cuisine, is worth a visit.
The Old Market restaurant, Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine, is worth a visit.

Located in the Old Market, it’s not hidden from the masses, but somehow, this place is never busy. It’s a shame.

The food is good, seasoned with a variety of spices but not spicy. Start the meal off with hummus, and choose from the many meat or vegetarian options. I recommend the Chicken Kabob (Jujeh Kabob) for the omnivores. Vegetarians, you have a lot of choices, none have disappointed me.

The atmosphere is calming, and Ahmad greets you with a friendly welcome. If the weather allows, there’s a small patio in front. It’s a date-night favorite of mine and Mr. Wonderful’s even if we only make it there once a year.

The pace here is slow, so please don’t go expecting your meal to fly by as it might at other restaurants. The menu prices are pretty typical for the Old Market, so yes, things are going to be more expensive. If that’s an issue, go over lunch where the prices are significantly lower (and skip alcoholic drinks). But, if you’re strapped for time, visit Ahmad’s another day.

Trains On The Brain In Omaha

Trains. Either you like or you’re obessed with them.

My son dabbles in obession when it comes to trains. He plays it cool whenever we show him a real train (I look like the excited fool, usually), so I don’t classify him as a fanatic. Do you have a fanatic in your house?

I call this one "Mommy's smiling because you're supposed to be having fun."
I call this one “Mommy’s smiling because you’re supposed to be having fun.”

Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, are steeped in railroad history so if you’re raising a train devotee in your house, you’re in luck in this town. Here are some places to go to feed the train addiction:

Durham Museum

Durham WM
Exploring a caboose at The Durham Museum. With a cheese stick, naturally.

Let’s start at what was once Union Station, Durham Museum. Kids love the real train cars you can walk through and the O Scale model railroad exhibit, as well as ringing the damn bell over and over again (you know which one I’m talking about). While there, get some ice cream at the old fashioned soda fountain. It’s not train related, but mama’s got to keep her energy up when out and about with excited train lovers.

Lauritzen Gardens/Kenefick Park

Lauritzen Gardens’ Model Railroad Garden featuring G-scale model trains running around a landscape of Omaha landmarks made out of natural materials is really neat to look at, not just for the kids, either.  In the winter, it’s brought indoors and runs around their poinsettia exhibit.

While at Lauritzen, jet on up the stairs to the south of the gardens to visit Kenefick Park. Check out two giant locomotives on display there. It’s free and open to the public.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum

In Council Bluffs, you can take your kiddos to this museum for free! The newest exhibit, “Building America,” is interactive.

A massive steam engine Union Pacific rolled into Council Bluffs in 2012. While not actually part of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, I wanted to include this shot because UP does this sort of thing every year. Kids love getting up close to these giants and walking through the cars. For free!
A massive steam engine Union Pacific rolled into Council Bluffs in 2012. While not actually part of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, I wanted to include this shot because UP does this sort of thing every year. Kids love getting up close to these giants and walking through the cars. For free!

Historic General Dodge House

While you’re not going to spot a ton of train stuff here, I thought I’d mention this Bluffs National Historic Landmark. Dodge has been called “the greatest railroad builder of all time,” so if your train lover appreciates history, this is a good place to visit. Good to note, children 6 and younger are admitted free.

RailsWest Railroad Museum

A restored train depot, the museum  features railcars on display outdoors that kids will like checking out up close. Inside, check out the large model railroad display. This museum lacks the funding of some of the other locations on this list, so it’s not as polished or new-looking, but your kids won’t care. Trains are trains.

Nebraska-Iowa Model Railroaders Club Train Room

I have yet to visit this set up at the Mall of the Bluffs, but I know and trust the reporter who wrote about it (story here) – so I’m including it. The Nebraska-Iowa Model Railroaders Club has set up shop at this Council Bluffs mall and on Saturdays, the public is invited to stop by and check it from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other Train Stuff

Train park WM
Doesn’t matter who you are, if a 2-year-old invites you to a picnic in a tiny train car, you go on a picnic in a tiny train car.

You can check out a park located in the Bemis Park neighborhood that has playground equipment shaped like a train.

OK, it’s more of a place that I’d rather go without my kids, but if since we’re talking trains, one of the newer restaurants in Omaha celebrates Omaha’s railroading history. Railcar Modern American Kitchen is at 144th and Blondo streets. The Sunday Brunch menu does have a kids breakfast listed.

Council Bluffs has the Golden Spike, which commemorates the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific rail lines at the Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869. There’s not much to see or do there, but if your kid likes trains and history, why not check it out? Along that train of thought (pun intended), swing by the Lincoln Monument while in C.B. From this site, Lincoln viewed and selected the Eastern Terminus of the first transcontinental railroad built on the United States.

Mooch and Farley ride a freezing train ride with their dad and Grampy at Vala's Pumpkin Patch.
Mooch and Farley take a cold train ride with their dad and Grampy at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch.

Want to ride a train? Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium has one, as does Vala’s Pumpkin Patch.

Every July, Railroad Days is celebrated at several locations on this list There are activities planned at each place. The perk of this event is that family admission is very reasonable and it’s good for both days.

Omaha also has its share of little kid-friendly train tables where kids are welcome to build tracks and play until their heart’s content. Stop by one of the two Barnes & Noble locations, where you’ll find the train set in the children’s department. Omaha Children’s Museum has a train table in its Wiggle Room.

Free Activities To Do At Omaha’s Zoo

My family never gets bored visiting Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. Just not possible at Omaha’s zoo – especially with new exhibits opening, it seems, every year like this year’s Asian Highlands.

But, it never hurts to spice things up. I mean, really, how many times can you watch your kid lick the glass at the penguin exhibit before you decide surely there’s got to be something else she could be doing at this moment?

Lots of free printables and ideas to make any zoo you visit even more fun #zoos #printables #bingo #scavengerhunts

Being a Pinterest devotee (to a fault, if you ask my husband), I found some wonderful and FREE activities to do at Omaha’s zoo. Check it out (and while I’ve got Pinterest on your mind, why don’t you swing on over and follow me? Click here.)

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Activity Guides

One of the many printables available on the Omaha zoo's website.
One of the many printables available on the Omaha zoo’s website.

First thing’s first, head to the zoo’s resource page to find guides specific to Omaha’s zoo. There are activity booklets you can print out for visiting the aquarium, for instance, or for temporary exhibits, like the log book tied to the “Dinosaurs Alive” exhibit. There are 13 links to guides there!

Zoo Bingo

Here are free zoo bingo printables from Mother’s Niche suitable for the younger crowd.

Mom It Forward has a different free zoo printable that’s good for a little older kiddos.

Zoo Scavenger Hunt

This scavenger hunt from Teaching’s a Hoot asks kids to find specific things, like an animal with a feather (so it helps if your child can read).

Blues Skies Ahead has a great scavenger hunt that helps with spelling and letter recognition (fun and learning, jackpot).

My favorite hunt of the bunch comes from Dating Divas (who got it from guest blogger, Sierra, from The Blue Robin Cottage. First thing’s first, she has a fun DIY binoculars tip that you’ll want to make for/with your kids.  Her hunt involves clues for each animal and it looks like it would be so much fun! Check it out.

Journal

Encourage reflection after your visit or while taking a rest break. Ready-Set-Read has a zoo journal page great for budding writers. It’s good on its own, but also part of a zoo themed pack, completely free and printable. There’s a lot in there from animal movement cards, animal number sorting game and early reader books.

No Printer Required Zoo Activities

–          Feed the koi – Always a favorite with my kids

–          Let your kids take pictures and see the zoo through their eyes

–          Bring binoculars (real or the homemade kind with toilet paper rolls)

The Omaha Art Walk

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!”

What also makes the Omaha Art Walk appealing is the water fountain near No. 7 on the walk (First National Bank).
What also makes the Omaha Art Walk appealing is the water fountain near No. 7 on the walk (First National Bank).

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).

First National Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Park, or No. 7 on your tour. Run across the street to the fountains in front of First National Bank if you need to cool off.
First National Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Park, or No. 7 on your tour. Run across the street to the fountains in front of First National Bank if you need to cool off.

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.

Totem, or No. 6 on the tour, AKA, the bathroom break.
Totem, or No. 6 on the tour, AKA, the bathroom break.

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.

Checking out the pioneer families at First National Pioneer Courage Park in Omaha.
Checking out the pioneer families at First National Pioneer Courage Park in Omaha.

The waterfall at First National Pioneer Courage Park as a hit with the kids. Notice how Mr. Wonderful had to keep them from falling in.
The waterfall at First National Pioneer Courage Park as a hit with the kids. Notice how Mr. Wonderful had to keep them from falling in.

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.