January 18, 2019

Review: Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

I first heard about “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” a few years ago when some colleagues of mine raved about it. They saw the Tony-winning production of it on Broadway, and returned to Omaha thoroughly impressed. So, flash-forward to 2019. When I hear Omaha Community Playhouse is doing a production of it, you know I jumped at the chance to see it myself. The play is on OCP’s mainstage in Omaha Jan. 18 through Feb. 10, 2019.

Here’s my review of OCP’s production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”:

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to review the performance.

What to expect if you see "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" - This Tony-winning play is on stage in Omaha in early 2019 #theater #Omaha #Nebraska

What to expect

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a dramatic play about Christopher, a 15-year-old boy on the autism spectrum. It begins quite startling with the death of a neighbor’s dog, and spirals into a bit of a mystery to be solved and then it juts off into another direction. It’s simply captivating.

How’s this for the opening scene of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”?

Christopher is portrayed by Dominic Torres, who does an outstanding job in the role managing to bring the audience and making us feel all sorts of emotions for his character. He is on stage the entire performance.

The rest of the cast plays a variety of roles, from the most trusted people in his life (his parents — maybe — and teacher) to strangers Christopher encounters. It’s fascinating to see the world through Christopher’s eyes. Sitting in the dark theater, it’s eye-opening to wonder how I would react if I were in their shoes. I think that’s one of the key things about this play – it’s going challenge you (at least it did for me).

Dominic Torres, the lead actor in the Omaha Community Playhouse production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
Dominic Torres portrays Christopher in the Omaha Community Playhouse production of the Tony-winning drama “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” The play runs Jan. 18 through Feb. 10, 2019. Photo courtesy Omaha Community Playhouse

This play is billed as visually-stunning, and I do have to agree that the set is pretty unique. It’s a grid and lights and that’s about it. There are very little props and while the play takes place in a variety of places like a backyard, on the London tube, and in classrooms, the set never changes. Yet, you never lose sense of where the characters are. It’s incredibly well done.

Timing a bathroom break

The play is two acts, each one lasting 60 minutes. There is a 15-intermission.

Is it kid-friendly?

While it is a wonderful play that draws the audience into the world of one boy on the autism spectrum, it is not what I’d consider an all-ages show. Teens will certainly be able to handle it, probably tweens, though. There’s some mild cursing in the play.

I wouldn’t take my kids to it, but my high school-aged nieces? Sure.

Will an adult like this?

Absolutely. This is live theater at its best. The story is great, the acting is great, plus there’s humor in it to lighten things up.

However, if you prefer your live theater to more along the lines of a light-hearted Broadway musical (which I love), this may not appeal to you.

What’s it about again?

Winner of five Tony Awards including Best Play and based on the best-selling mystery novel by Mark Haddon, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” tells the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with an autism spectrum condition, who sets out to solve the mysterious death of a neighbor’s dog.

The 15-year-old character, Christopher, in the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is portrayed by Dominic Torres. Photo courtesy Omaha Community Playhouse

Related exhibits

There are two exhibits on display at the Playhouse to view. “The Inner Dialogue Paper Lantern Exhibit” is a collaboration with CHI Health and the CHI Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. More than 20 patients at the CHI Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility have designed and constructed nearly 60 paper lanterns which represent—in visual form—the voices of the play’s main character, Christopher. These paper lanterns will be on display in the lobby throughout the run of the show. The artists are between the ages of 9 and 18.

“Adventures Art Exhibit” is a collaboration with WhyArts and the Autism Center of Nebraska. Participants at visual art workshops explored themes from “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” through clay, paint and collage creations. The artwork will be on display at the Omaha Community Playhouse throughout the run of the show.

If you go

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

When: Jan. 18 through Feb. 10, 2019; performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

Cost: Tickets start at $24 and may be purchased at the Omaha Community Playhouse Box Office, located at 6915 Cass St., by phone at (402) 553-0800 or online at OmahaPlayhouse.com.

Make a night of it! Here’s my list of favorite places to go for post-show treats in Omaha.

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January 8, 2019

How To Get Free Drinks In Omaha

I’m past the days of bar hopping. I’m more into finding great places for a meal or a drink. There’s a new, local app that totally gets me. The app, called Libate, is designed to get people out exploring neighborhood bars and hip restaurants around Omaha and Council Bluffs. The best thing about Libate? You get free drinks with it.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Libate. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Want to get a free drink the next time you visit a new restaurant in Omaha? There's an app that gets people out exploring new bars and hip restaurants all the while enjoying a free drink. #Libate #partner #Omaha #Nebraska

How To Get Libate

Libate is an app you download to your phone. The app is available to download on iOS and Play stores. You get a free drink just for downloading the app. Then you have two options: Use the free version or become a member.

The Libate app logo and "Drive Adventurously" tagline

The free version gets you one free drink a month. You choose which place to get that free drink from a list of participating establishments.

The member version is $10 a month. As a member, you get one free drink at each of the establishments every month. It’s a steal.

And good news: Oh My! Omaha readers get their first month free! Use promo code OHMYOMAHA after you download the app to claim your free month. Download the app from iOS and Play stores.

How Libate Works

Using the Libate app to get a free drink at Herbe Sainte in Omaha
I used Libate to get a free frozen cocktail at Herbe Sainte. The flavor? Frosé, which is a frozen rosé.

I talked with Mike Roth, the app’s designer, about Libate and what inspired him to launch it. You see, Roth is a firefighter in Council Bluffs, so it’s not like he’s a restaurant owner hoping to bring in customers. Roth saw a similar app in New York, where people could get a free drink, and he thought it could work in this market.

“Libate to encourage people to get out and visit new places and try new drinks,” said Roth. “Drink adventurously.”

That’s my kind of app. I like finding new places, but trying new drinks…I’m always a little reluctant to buy a new drink in case I don’t like it. But, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and this has zero risk since that drink is free. It reminds me of the time a bartender at Spirit World proved that I could actually like a drink with gin as an ingredient.

A draft beer on the bar at Stirnella. It's a participating restaurant in the Libate app.
Stirnella, a restaurant in the Blackstone District, allows Libate app users to get a draft beer or tap wine for free, up to a maximum of $8. Photo courtesy Libate

Libate has about 30 restaurants and bars participating so far, plus one brewery. Once you download the app onto your phone, you can check out the list. There are quite a few I’ve been to–and love–around Omaha and Council Bluffs. Here are a few restaurants I can’t wait to return to for that free drink:

Roth sought out a great variety of places right from the start. The places I listed above are a bit more upscale than some of the others on the list, but they all have their charm. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s are place for it.

Interior of 712 Eat + Drink in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It's a participating restaurant in the Libate app.
712 Eat + Drink is a participating restaurant in the Libate app and allows users to get a free drink, excluding shots, worth up to $8. It’s my brunch pick for Council Bluffs, in case you were wondering.

In the Old Market? You can get a drink at Brickway Brewery. Seeing a concert at CHI Health Center? You can choose between Nosh Wine Lounge or Moe & Curly’s Pub. Headed to the historic 100 Block in Council Bluffs? You’ve got a free drink waiting at Barley’s Bar.

“We want people to try new things, that’s our mission,” said Roth. “Use this app as an excuse to go to different places.”

Each restaurant and bar experience is going to be different. Some establishments may impose limitations, like limiting the your complimentary drink to costing between $5 or $10.

Other places may limit app users to getting a specific cocktail or a class of cocktails, or maybe just a glass of wine or pint of beer. The app will communicate the limitations. For instance, for Cellar 19 Wine & Deli, their limit is that the drink must be $9 or under, and excludes shots and double pours.

Interior photo of Cellar 19 Wine & Deli in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It's a participating restaurant in the Libate app.
Cellar 19 Wine & Deli is a wine bar and deli in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It’s one of the participating establishments that gives a free drink to Libate app users. Photo courtesy Libate

For obvious reasons, so you can’t go from bar to bar in 20 minutes to claim all your free drinks and then pass out. You need to wait two hours before going to a new place to claim a drink. So chill out and enjoy that cocktail.

Try the Libate app for free

I’m pretty excited that Libate is letting Oh My! Omaha readers try the app’s member level for one month at no cost! All you need to do is download the app (available at iOS and Play stores) and enter in the promo code OHMYOMAHA.

Go out and try something new for me, OK?

Learn how to use the app Libate which allows users to get free drinks at restaurants and bars in Omaha & Council Bluffs. #Libate #partner #Omaha #Nebraska

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January 2, 2019

5 Things To Expect During A Radon Test

I haven’t thought much about radon after we purchased our home…almost a decade ago. It had a mitigation system already, but we tested the radon level in the home, just to be safe. And all was well. So, I forgot about radon.

Since January is National Radon Action Month, I’m partnering with the local business, Thrasher, to let you know why radon testing is important, even for people like me, who think they already have radon under control.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Thrasher. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Never had a radon test in your home? Here are 5 things to expect during and after the test. #AD #homeownership

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas. It’s a byproduct of uranium decay, and all soils and rocks contain different concentrations of uranium.

Graphic showing the average radon level in Nebraska, which is 6.0 pCi/L

There’s a lot of it in Nebraska and Iowa. On average, the radon level in Nebraska is 6.0 pCi/L and 8.5 pCi/L in Iowa.

Graphic showing the average radon level in Iowa, which is 8.5 pCi/L

As uranium breaks down over time, it releases toxic byproducts that seep up and out of the soil and into the air. You can’t smell it and you can’t see it, but it’s linked to lung cancer.

Graphic explaining how radon causes up to 15% of lunch cancers worldwide

If high levels are detected in your home, you will need to have a Radon Mitigation System installed in your home.

Radon Mitigation System, or a Radon Removal System Gauge
This is part of the Radon Mitigation System inside our home. It was installed before we purchased it and I confess to not knowing how to check the gauge to make sure it was still working.

To learn more about radon, you should read this Radon Homeowner Guide.

What to expect during a home radon test

You can test radon levels in your house on your home with a store-bought kit or you can hire someone like Thrasher, who will send a specialist to test it and read the results for you. It’s cheaper to do the test yourself, but you’re on your own for interpreting the results.

Radon Gas Measurement Specialist from Thrasher reviewing results from the Continuous Radon Monitor
Ben from Thrasher explained the results from the Continuous Radon Monitor, that little yellow box in his hand. This occurred during our second appointment (the first being the one where he simply set up the monitor to read radon levels in our house).

For my partnership with Thrasher, they sent Ben, a Radon Gas Measurement Specialist, to my home to measure the radon with a 48-hour test.

If you’re going with a specialist to measure things, I recommend going through a reputable company. Take Thrasher, for instance, who has been a fixture in the Omaha metro area for more than 40 years. Here’s the process with Thrasher:

  • Set up the monitor drop-off – For radon testing, you’ll need to set up two appointments. The first one is a quick one where you’ll meet your Radon Gas Measurement Specialist and he or she will set up a device called a Continuous Radon Monitor, or CRM, in your home. The CRM measures radon hourly for 48 hours. Thrasher put me in direct contact with Ben, who coordinated a time to drop off the CRM and accommodated my schedule to get the kids dropped off at school first. The test needs to sit undisturbed for 48 hours.
The device that measures radon levels in a home. It's called a Continuous Radon Monitor.
This is a Continuous Radon Monitor from Thrasher. It reads radon levels in a home for 48 hours.
  • Stay away from the CRM – Ben determined the best place to put the CRM was in the basement, near our laundry room. For these kinds of tests, you’re supposed to limit opening windows and such. Since we were doing the test in December, that was no problem (except for the garage door that we kept forgetting to not raise). For good measure, I used it as an excuse to not do laundry for a few days. Ha!
  • Learn more about radon – Ben returned about 48 hours to review the results during our second meeting. We allotted about 60 to 90 minutes for it, since this also involved some informational videos, mostly about radon and the background on Thrasher. While short, the videos are boring. They’re necessary, though, since you really don’t learn this stuff anywhere else (and it’s helpful to know more about who’s taking care of your house). They’re not quite alarmist but do explain concisely why radon is a naturally-occurring toxin that’s not to be ignored.
  • Review test results –   Ben went over our results, and it turned out we still had trace radon in our home. We had a reading of 2.0 piC/L. It was lower than both EPA requirements and WHO requirements, but still concerning for me. If you have a reading that’s above a safe level, at this point, you’d talk with your specialist about your mitigation system options.
A graph on a computer screen showing a graph radon levels for a house
Ben showed us the results from our Continuous Radon Monitor. The graph shows the radon levels read hourly over the course of 48 hours.
  • Ask questions – Even with the videos and Ben explaining our results thoroughly, my husband and I still had questions. We talked to Ben about further steps we could take to drop our radon levels even more. While our levels are considered safe, we felt like we could do better than that. Ben offered a good suggestion about installing a special filter. The filter not only reduces the radon levels in a home, it removes things like allergens that are circulating in our home. We’re definitely going to look into it now. We have Ben’s card should we think of more questions later (lucky him).

Save on testing your home

For more than four decades, Thrasher has been waterproofing basements, fixing home foundations, and repairing concrete in Nebraska. The company is local, though now they’ve expanded into Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

They’re offering a 25% off discount on a Continuous Radon Monitor this month, making January a great time to test your home’s radon levels. The test usually costs $100, but with this discount, you pay $75.

Never had a radon test in your home? Here are 5 things to expect during and after the test. #AD #homeownership

Win a free mitigation system

Thrasher is holding a giveaway for a free mitigation system. To enter the giveaway, visit this gothrasher.com and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the giveaway form. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 or older to enter. Radon system must be installed in Thrasher radon service area. 

I recommend getting your home tested first before entering to be sure you even need one.

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December 26, 2018

8 Great Downtown Omaha Restaurants For Families

Having worked in downtown Omaha for more than five years, and living downtown for about seven years before that, I know my restaurants in the area. And I know which ones are great to take kids to. If you’re looking for a family restaurant in downtown Omaha, here are some of my recommendations:

Family restaurants in downtown Omaha

Short list of recommended family-friendly restaurants in downtown Omaha, including near the Old Market and TD Ameritrade Park

 

The Blatt Beer & Table North Downtown

By all appearance, this looks like a gastropub where grown-ups want to hang out in peace, but they’re pretty welcoming to families. The kid’s menu is above-average here (try the chicken strips), and the location can’t be beat for games and shows at TD Ameritrade Park and CHI Health Center. Plus, they have a changing table in the bathrooms.

Address: 610 N. 12th St. (North Downtown)

Olsen Bake Shop

Olsen is strictly a carry-out, hole-in-the-wall kind of bakery, but don’t let that deter you. They have, quite arguably, the best best donuts in Omaha. Not only do they taste good, they’re cheap, too. Olsen is on the list of
Best Donuts In Omaha.

Address: 1708 S. 10th St. (downtown, south of the Old Market)

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria can be found just outside of the Old Market, in a neighborhood that was once a bustling Little Italy.

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria

It’s Omaha’s longest-running restaurant for a reason. The garlic bread is my favorite, though it hardly makes a meal, so go ahead and order a sheet of pizza. Since I’ve visited last visited Orsi’s, it has expanded to have a dining room (or is planning to), so it has moved beyond being mostly a take-out kind of restaurant.

Address: 621 Pacific St. (Little Italy, southeast of the Old Market)

Plank Seafood Provisions has great outdoor seating – perfect for Old Market people watching.

Plank Seafood + Provisions

My kids are touch and go with seafood, but I can often get them to eat the fish sticks at Plank. The menu for adults and kids is pretty good (try to get there at happy hour for the best deals), and when we went, they gave my kid fun temp tattoos.

Address: 1205 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

Trini’s The Mexican Restaurant

Trini’s is located in my favorite part of the Old Market: The Passageway. It’s a charming indoor space with shops and restaurants. Trini’s is pretty casual and budget-friendly when ordering with kids (though, there is no kid’s menu). Trini’s made the list of best places to Mexican food in Omaha.

Address: 1020 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

Upstream Brewing Co.

I know. A brewery? I’ve gone for brunch, lunch, and dinner and my kids have always been welcomed. There is a kid’s menu (not for brunch, though), and usually some form of entertainment to occupy them while we wait for the food. They also happen to have great beer. The upstairs area will be more of a bar-like atmosphere, so stick to the first floor or the outdoor seating in front.

Address: 514 S 11th St. (in the Old Market)

Zio’s Pizzeria has a location in the heart of the Old Market in downtown Omaha. 

Zio’s Pizzeria

Zio’s is a bit of an institution in Omaha. If you dig New York-style pizza, try it out. There is a kid’s menu, and often, the waiter will bring a ball of dough to the table to keep your kid occupied. Zio’s made the list for best places to get pizza in Omaha.

To be honest, though, if we’re going to have pizza downtown, my kids ask for Old Chicago; and if we’re downtown without the kids, we go to Via Farina. But if you’re looking for local and kid-friendly, Zio’s is a good bet.

Address: 1109 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

11-Worth Cafe

This is classic greasy spoon food at its best. I’ve only been for breakfast, so I can’t vouch for the grill after noon, but beforehand, it’s spot-on. They have a kid’s menu and, usually, will give your kid a balloon before you leave.

Address: 2419 Leavenworth St. (downtown, east of the Old Market)

Related post: 20+ Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha

Recommended restaurants and donut shops in downtown Omaha #familyfriendly #OldMarket #Nebraska

Bonus restaurant for zoo visitors

Headed to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium? You can purchase food there at plenty of dining locations, but they aren’t always satisfying and they’re definitely pricey . If you didn’t pack a lunch, here’ s another option we tried recently:

Louie M.’s Burger Lust, 1718 Vinton St. Located in the historic Vinton neighborhood, this small but charming burger joint is going to please both kids and parents. I brought the kids here after a trip to the zoo recently, and was pleased they had a kid’s menu. Order a burger, obviously.

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November 9, 2018

30+ Things To Do In Omaha In The Winter

Omaha winters can be long and, before you  know it, cabin fever sets in. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Omaha when it’s cold out:

Things to do in Omaha in the winter - Including activity centers, climbing walls, museums, sledding hills, ski slopes, snow shoe rentals, ice skating, and so much more! #Nebraska #winter #snow

Things To Do Indoors In Omaha

If you’re looking for unique things to do indoors in the winter, this is your list:

Giant activity centers – These are a lot of fun and are a mix of arcade games, food, and sometimes bowling. Most are located in West Omaha, including Amazing Pizza MachineFamily Fun Center XL, SkateDaze, The MARK, Dave & Buster’s, and Chuck E. Cheese. Check Groupon for discounts or visit at off times of the day to save some money. 

Bounce houses & trampoline park – Tire the kids out at Sky Zone Trampoline Park and Urban Air Trampoline Park. Urban Air also has an indoor ropes course and a ninja course. For bounce houses with open play times, check out Pump It Up and BounceU. You’ll have to sign wavers before playing at any of these places.

Gyms For Kids – More for younger kids, gyms are popping up everywhere to give kids a chance to run, tumble, and climb safely. Gyms with public play hours include GO! Kids Gym, KIDS body shop, Kids Warrior Gym, and PE 101 Kids Gym.

Escape rooms – Escape rooms can be found all over Omaha now. I’ve tried two and would recommend them: Get Out Omaha and House of Conundrum. Others include The Escape Omaha, Entrap Games, and Locked Room Omaha. Escape rooms, generally, are better for older kids or going there with a group of your friends. Occasionally, one of the Omaha Public Library branches will have a one-day or weekend-long kid-friendly escape room set up.

I went with a group of friends to Axe Games in West Omaha. While I did not win, I did manage to hit the target once, so it’s a win in my book.

Axe throwing – This is a fun thing to do with a group or as a couple. Some places, like Axe Games, allow younger kids to throw if they’re supervised, but call ahead. Other places to look into include Flying Timber Axe Throwing and Craft Axe Throwing.

Archery Games – I tried out Archery Games with friends, and it’s a workout as much as it is just a fun time. I can see older kids loving it, but it figuring out a bow and arrow in the archery arena may frustrate younger kids.

Indoor putt putt – Like the idea of playing mini golf around a pirate ship, dinosaurs or glow-in-the-dark stuff? Omaha has several indoor putting options. See where you can putt indoors (and outdoors) in Omaha in this post

Climbing Walls – The long-awaited Venture Parks’ new rock climbing walls at Mahoney State Park are open now at the park’s Activity Center (must pay state park admission fee, as well as fee for climbing). Approach Climbing Gym is another option for the public. UNO also has a climbing wall and its free for UNO students, and pretty inexpensive for non-students (kids must be at least 5 years old). And last, but not least, for the really little kids, Omaha Children’s Museum’s special exhibit, Super Sports, has a small wall. The exhibit runs through April 14, 2019.

The Activity Center at Mahoney State Park has a climbing wall area. For $10, you can have the equipment you need to climb.

Performances – It wouldn’t be my blog if I skipped over the great performing arts scene in Omaha. Winter is the best time to see a play or musical performance! Some of my favorite theatrical venues in Omaha are Omaha Community Playhouse, Bluebarn Theatre, and the Broadway Series presented by Omaha Performing Arts. If you’re looking for kids’ shows, see what’s happening at The Rose or what’s coming up in the Omaha Performing Arts Family Series. Live music? Omaha Symphony has a ton of shows, including a Family Series and a great Movie Series. And don’t forget the new Nashville Row Omaha.

Ice skating – Indoor ice skating in Omaha include Motto McLean Ice Arena,  Moylan Iceplex, Baxter Arena, and Ralston Arena. 

Felius is a nonprofit cat cafe in downtown Omaha where you can sip a mocha while cats prowl around you.

Felius – Yes there is a cat cafe in Omaha, and yes, you need to go (assuming you like cats). You order your coffee separately at Felius, and then pay for the amount of time you want to sit in the room, playing with the cats. It’s a relaxing place…again, assuming you like cats.

Bowling – There are several bowling alleys without the frills if you’re looking for inexpensive fun, and then there are a few with flashy add-ons like laser tag or a huge arcade. Bowling alleys in Omaha include Maplewood Lanes, West Lanes Bowling Center, The MARK, Papio Bowl, Chops Bowling Alley, and Western Bowl.

Omaha Attractions That Are Great In The Winter

Staying, somewhat, with the indoor theme, check out some of these area attractions that are great to visit in the winter:

Lauritzen Gardens – The conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens offers two different climates to experience while walking a path through lush gardens. If you visit during the holiday season, you can enjoy additional decorations and the impressive poinsettia tree. Kids love the model trains that have been moved indoors over the winter. 

Omaha’s zoo has several indoor exhibits near the main entrance, making it a great option for a winter afternoon.

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – With five indoor attractions near the main entrance, it’s easy to see a lot of animals without spending much time outside. Plus, the Desert Dome and indoor rainforest are fine places to go to forget about winter drearies. I love visiting in the winter so much, I wrote Five Great Things To Do At Omaha’s Zoo In The Winter.

Durham Museum – Expect the Durham Museum to be busy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve since it’s decked out for the holidays. It’s a fun time to visit, though. After the New Year, it quiets down and you can enjoy exhibits without the crowds. Bring kids here to see the trains (full-size and model).

Kids can climb, play, paint and do all sorts of fun experiments at Omaha Children’s Museum.

Omaha Children’s Museum – If you’ve got kids younger than 9, Omaha Children’s Museum is the best place to let them loose. After a few hours of playing, building, and learning, they’ll be all tuckered out. On weekday mornings, there are Kitchen ABCs classes where kids can learn kitchen skills by preparing a snack and then they get to eat it (class is included with admission, too!). Disclosure: I work at Omaha Children’s Museum. 

Do Space – Head to Do Space for hands-on tech activities for kids. There’s a room for younger kids and one for teens (that has a huge video game screen). Check out kits to test out robots and play games. Adults head here to use the computers and 3D printer. Best of all – it’s FREE!

Joslyn Art MuseumJoslyn Art Museum is my go-to for a calming experience. I just head right to my favorite galleries and seek out new details in familiar paintings. That works when I’m alone. When I’m with my kids, we head to Art Works or check out an activity backpack and do all the activities. Don’t forget, Joslyn is FREE (some traveling exhibitions may be an additional ticket for you, but kids are going to be admitted free).

Council Bluffs attractions – Don’t overlook Council Bluffs when planning winter outings. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is FREE, so if you have a train-loving kids, it’s a no-brainer place to visit. The first Friday night of the month usually has a fun theme night event. Bass Pro Shop is another FREE place to visit with a large aquarium to fascinate kids, plus around Christmas, there’s Santa’s Wonderland to visit.

More attractions – Don’t forget there’s also Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb. And while the store itself isn’t an attraction (in my opinion), the ferris wheel inside Scheels is always an inexpensive hit with kids.

Parks With Winter Activities

Bundle up for these outdoor activities you can do in Omaha in the winter:

Mahoney State Park – This is the ultimate winter destination, in my opinion. You have the outdoor stuff like toboggan hill and ice skating, but then the (already cool) Activity Center now has climbing walls. If you have younger kids, don’t skip the Activity Center – it has the area’s best indoor playground. For more ideas on what to do there, read Mahoney State Park In The Winter. You will need to pay a state park fee, per vehicle, to enter Mahoney, and pay a nominal fee to get into the Activity Center (ice skating and wall climbing are additional fees, too).

Hummel ParkHummel Park usually has a hiking club that heads out on the first Saturday of the month (even in winter), plus winter special events at Hummel include Santa Sleigh Ride in December and in February, there’s an event planned near Valentine’s Day. The park is FREE to enter and so are the events.

After hiking at Fontelle Forest, have the kids warm up at Habitat Hollow, located in the lower level of the visitor’s center.

Fontenelle Forest – I know a lot of moms who love bringing their kids to Fontenelle Forest for the indoor play area called Habitat Hollow in the lower level of the visitor’s center. But, don’t skip the trails to get some fresh air on a brief hike – you can even rent snow shoes from Fontenelle. However, if OPS is closed for snow, Fontenelle will be closed too. There are always special events or guided hikes, so check the calendar for details. There is a fee, per person, to enter Fontenelle Forest. 

Hitchcock Nature Center – One of my favorite parks to visit any time of the year is Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa (about 20 miles from Omaha). The nature center is fantastic, so if you have kids, stop there first; you can check out a kid’s activity backpack while there. Outdoor winter activities at Hitchcock include sledding down Chute Trail or renting snow shoes. You’ll need to pay a county park entry fee, per vehicle, to enter Hitchcock Nature Center.

Outdoor Activities In The Winter

Mt. Crescent Ski Area – The area’s only ski slopes, Mt. Crescent Ski Area is located in Crescent, Iowa. You can rent skis and snowboards, plus sleds. Their sled hill is the only one I know of in the area that has a chair lift to get you to the top of the hill.

Sledding – Popular hills include Memorial Park, Walnut Hill, Spring Lake Park, and Zorinski Park. Schools with great slopes include Black Elk Elementary School, Holling Heights Elementary School, St. Robert Bellarmine School, Papillion-La Vista South High, Portal Elementary School, Ralston Middle School, Laura Dodge Elementary School, Bryan High School, and Bellevue East High School.

Ice skating – Find outdoor rinks near Nebraska Medical Center in Midtown and the Brickyard in downtown Omaha.

Omaha Movie Theaters With Kids Series

Film Streams – Expect high quality films (including some of your childhood favorites) to be screened in Film Streams‘ Forever Young Family & Children’s Series. Kids’ tickets are only $2.50 for the series! These are screened at the Ruth Sokolof Theater in downtown Omaha.

Marcus Theaters – This chain of movie theaters usually has a few series screening older films for low-price tickets. Check the website for upcoming series. The typical locations in Omaha to show these films are at Village Pointe, Majestic and Twin Creek.

Winter Fun In Nebraska

Get out of Omaha for even more winter activities! The Well-Traveled Nebraskan wrote about 13 Surprising Nebraska Winter Things To Do and Activities.

A huge list of things to do in the winter in Omaha, Nebraska - Everything from rock walls to snow shoeing, plus the best sledding hills, cheap movies and more

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October 14, 2018

Fun Shows In 18-19 Omaha Symphony Family Series

Love “Star Wars”? I’ve got an Omaha Symphony show for you. Does your kid love pirates? Sit tight, I’ve got another Omaha Symphony show for you. I’ve taken my kids to quite a few Family Series shows to know a good show theme my kids will love, and this year, all three shows in the series are dialed into my kids’ passions: “Star Wars,” magical tales like “Aladdin,” and pirates.

What to expect at an Omaha Symphony Family Series concert, plus details on the 2018-2019 season #partner #orchestra #concert #familyfriendly

I’ve partnered with my friends at the Omaha Symphony to tell you about the 2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series – and throughout the season, I’ll be giving away tickets to each show! Follow Oh My! Omaha on Facebook for those giveaways.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Omaha Symphony. Omaha Symphony provided the tickets for the giveaways. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

What are Family Series shows like?

I think my youngest was about 2 years old when she went to her first Omaha Symphony concert. She was dressed like a little fairy. And she fit in.

My daughter’s was 2 years old when she went to her first Omaha Symphony show, the “Spooktacular.”

Omaha Symphony Family Series is a great introduction to the orchestral music because they’re designed to be short, fun, and super engaging. They’re in the middle of the afternoon, lights are not as dim, and there are plenty of jokes to make everyone smile. Every show is at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Related post: The Family-Friendly Omaha Symphony

What I liked about these shows, too, was that if one kid got a little antsy, it was fine for her to be squirmy in her seat because we were surrounded by other families. 

Signs direct you where to go for the lobby activities held before each Omaha Symphony Family Series show.

My kids’ favorite part is the pre-show lobby activities. Before each show in the Family Series, starting at 1:15 p.m., there are activities in the lobby that may include a craft table, photo opp, and our personal favorite… the instrument petting zoo. 

My kids love the instrument petting zoo because they get to play different instruments and make a lot of noise. 

My son, the pirate, testing out at trumpet at the instrument petting zoo.

They’re pretty affordable, too. Family Series shows are all general admission, and tickets are $15 each. While there are other great concerts coming up by the Omaha Symphony that may appeal to your children, you’ll have a hard time beating that $15 price. Same orchestra, much lower price to hear them play!

2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series

I’m pretty excited about each show in the 2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series. The themes are a lot of fun, plus it looks like some shows are going to have great guests at them. 

Omaha Symphony’s Spooktacular: Out Of This World

My all-time favorite Family Series show is the Spooktacular each year. Not only is most of the audience dressed in costumes, but the musicians on stage are too! 

This year’s show, “Spooktacular: Out Of This World,” has a space adventure theme running throughout, so you’re going to hear some very recognizable theme music. Of course, that means some “Star Wars” music, “Star Trek,” and more. The Spooktacular is on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.

Related post: What to expect at Omaha Symphony’s Spooktacular

Members of the 501st Garrison will be there, and you’ll want your camera for the lobby pre-show activities and photo opps. 

Plus, there is trick-or-treating after the show! 

Tip: I work at Omaha Children’s Museum and they’ve partnered with Omaha Symphony for an awesome promotion! Visit the Tinker Lab at the museum and make a lightsaber hilt, share a picture on social media (tagging both OCM and OS), and you’ll be entered in to win four tickets to the Spooktacular AND a pass for four to Omaha Children’s Museum. Plus, if your child brings the hilt to the Spooktacular, he/she gets a special prize and their own line to get a picture with a stormtrooper. 

“Aladdin, Cinderella and More Magical Tales”

The next show in the series is “Aladdin, Cinderella and More Magical Tales” on Feb. 10, 2019. This one will be fun to watch because the special guests are dancers from the Heartland Youth Ballet.

This one sounds like an adventure, featuring music from  “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and selections from Prokofiev’s “Cinderella.”

“Pirates Ahoy!”

My kids love them some pirates, so this last show in the series may be their favorite. “Pirates Ahoy!” is on March 31, 2019. There’s a story to this show, and apparently it’s a race against Captain Guerrero and his crew to find Blackbeard’s treasure.

If you want tickets to any of the shows above, visit OmahaSymphony.org. Also, don’t forget, I’ll be doing giveaways before each show on the Oh My! Omaha Facebook page (First one starts this week!). Follow the page or subscribe to the Oh My! Omaha e-newsletter to get a heads up on each giveaway. 

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Find out why your family will love the Omaha Symphony's Family Series - Pre-show lobby activities like instrument petting zoo and lots of fun during the performance #partner #Omaha #Nebraska #familyfriendly