July 18, 2018

Omaha History Tours By Trolley

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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July 3, 2018

8 Great Places To Get Ice Cream In Omaha

Updated: Oct. 1, 2018

When the weather is hot, there is no other dessert besides ice cream. (Seriously, I asked and I was ridiculed because really, is there anything better?) We have many great options for ice cream in Omaha, but few can top the ones on this list. If you have a favorite or a recommendation that isn’t on this list, please leave a comment.

Here are some of my favorite ice cream shops in Omaha (the first four I can vouch for) and some readers tell me are top notch.

Here's where to find the best ice cream in Omaha - Whether you want artisanal, memorable or a classic rootbeer float #OmahaWeekend #Nebraska #USA

Coneflower – Coneflower is a fairly new ice cream shop in the Blackstone District that uses local ingredients and deserves all the rave review it has received. Expect a line out the door, but also expect it to be worth the wait (though, my guilty secret is going during Husker football games – no line!). 3921 Farnam St.

Ted and Wally’s – I’m pretty loyal to Ted and Wally’s, which has a location in the Old Market and in Benson. The flavors rotate regularly and some can be pretty radical combinations. I’m a traditionalist and swear by their dutch chocolate – it’s the best in the world. Yes, the world. 1120 Jackson St. and 6023 Maple St.

eCreamery – Perhaps you saw eCreamery on “Shark Tank”? Their Shark Bait ice cream is legendary, and well worth sampling, if not just getting yourself a waffle cone of it. For those always up for a challenge, eCreamery has the Dundee Challenge – eat 12 scoops of ice cream in 20 minutes. 5001 Underwood Ave.

The Durham Museum – For old-fashioned root beer floats, you’ve got to go to the soda fountain at the Durham Museum. It’s one of those Omaha experiences you just have to do. Note that it’s in a museum, so you will have to pay museum admission – might as well explore while you’re there. 801 S. 10th St.

Freezing Thai Rolled Ice Cream – For something a little different, there’s rolled ice cream. I hear the process of it being made takes the ice cream experience to a new level. 1918 S. 67th St.

Zen Coffee – Coffee shops aren’t my first choice for ice cream, either. But for a jolt of energy with your ice cream, head to Zen Coffee to get an affogato, which is typically vanilla ice cream (or gelato) and a shot of espresso. Zen Coffee uses Ted and Wally’s ice cream, so it’s delish. 230 S. 25th St., suite 3

Dairy Chef – This Elkhorn, Neb., ice cream shop continues to pop up every time I ask the question, “Where’s the best ice cream in Omaha,” so I’m beginning to suspect I need to make a trip out west to test it out. Because it continues to be recommended, I’m adding it to this list. PS, look up their Facebook page. Lately, they’ve been sharing some pictures of tasty ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies and crumbled Reese’s Pieces. 3223 N. 204th St., Elkhorn, Neb.

Doozies – This ice cream shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has a following, and like Dairy Chef, always comes up when I’m talking about homemade ice cream. It also wins for its location: It’s right by Lake Manawa State Park. 321 Comanche St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

One more…

Since I wrote this, I found out about a place in Omaha serving HUGE milkshakes, and I felt that it should be mentioned (though, I can’t vouch for quality or if it’s worth the price since I haven’t been there). The Hunger Block, 11036 Elm St., is a Latin restaurant but their shakes are getting attention. They’re served in mason jars and topped with ice cream, donuts, sundae cones, cookies and more. Good luck finishing it!

* * * * *

If you like this list, you’ll probably like my post about the best places to find chocolate in Omaha. Several of these ice cream shops make the list.

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June 26, 2018

Things To Know About Nashville Row Omaha

A new country music series is starting in Omaha, with the goal of bringing up-and-coming singers and songwriters here. Read on to learn more about Nashville Row Omaha and get the details of the first concert in the series.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nashville Row Omaha. Al thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

What’s Nashville Row Omaha

The creator behind Nashville Row Omaha, Troy, was inspired by trips to Nashville where there’s an incredible performer playing in some bar every night of the week. The bars mostly surround Nashville’s Music Row, home to music recording studios. Inspired by the sheer talent, Nashville Row Omaha was created to bring some of those up-and-coming stars to Omaha.

Nashville Row Omaha logo

According to Nashville Row Omaha’s website: “Perhaps we just got lucky on our trips, but we ran into many performers in the bars and restaurants around the famed ‘Music Row’ that were not only incredible talents but also seemed to be performing for the pure joy of it (most feel lucky to get stage time and work for tips). We began to think of ways we could bring some of this talent to Omaha. Now we are going to do it!”

Troy told me he intends the lineup to be more female singer-songwriters or female-fronted duos, because he has a daughter, and who doesn’t want their daughter to be inspired by talented women living their dream? I love it.

Who are the artists playing Nashville Row Omaha

The first band performing is The Young Fables, who will play at The Side Room at the Ralston Arena on July 13. This talented duo consists of “American Idol” alum Laurel Wright and guitarist/vocalist Wesley Lunsford.

They have two albums under their belt, “Two” and “Old Songs,” and have appeared with performers like Lauren Alaina, Josh Turner, Sara Evans. It’s my kind of country with gifted songwriting and beautiful vocals. Things more along the lines of traditional country rather than modern country. It’s the kind of stuff that wowed me when we went to the Grand Ole Opry.

Nashville Row Omaha performers

Nashville Row Omaha brings The Young Fables to Omaha on July 13, 2018.

Troy saw these The Young Fables at The Row Kitchen and Pub in Nashville, and now, he’s booked them to be the inaugural Nashville Row Omaha act.

I’ve never been to The Side Room at Ralston Arena, but it’s much intimate than an arena show, seating about 300 people. Troy said the show is going to be “a little bit cocktail party, a listening event and little bit like a game show,” in that it’s more interactive than a typical concert and they’ll have a lot of giveaways.

Want to have a say who’s next?

Nashville Row Omaha is building its email list to show performers there is a demand for them to play in Omaha, plus it’s a way to share the series’ progress and to solicit feedback on what artists who’ve played. If you want to join the community, head to nashvillerowomaha.com and sign up.

Oh My! Omaha discount on tickets

Want to see The Young Fables when they play in Omaha on July 13? Oh My! Omaha readers get $3 off tickets! Click here to buy your tickets and the discount will automatically be applied.

It’s fun to think that if you go to this show, you can say you were at the first Nashville Row Omaha show ever, and crossing fingers, we’ll see some country stars before they were country stars.

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June 18, 2018

Billy’s 10 Favorite Restaurants In Omaha

I’ve been a fan of Billy McGuigan ever since I was reviewing theater for The Daily Nonpareil and I heard him sing the first few notes in “Rave On: The Buddy Holly Experience.” He’s gone on to perform in other great shows too, including “Rock Twist,” opening Aug. 1 at Omaha Community Playhouse. So I have this chance to ask him anything about Omaha…and my mind goes to food. Typical. I’m so glad I asked him what his favorite restaurants in Omaha were, because, you guys, McGuigan’s list is stellar.

Billy McGuigan Rock Twist

Billy McGuigan’s “Rock Twist” runs Aug. 1-12, 2018 at Omaha Community Playhouse. Photo courtesy Christine McGuigan Photography

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rave On Productions. All thoughts and opinions below are Billy’s. 

Here’s Billy’s take on the Omaha food scene, in his own words:

I would never classify myself as a foodie. Let’s start there. But, after touring the country and world for the past 15 years, I started noticing that I judged a city by its local restaurants and the food in a city in general. San Francisco’s Dungeness crab, New Orleans’ crawfish and any restaurant in Albuquerque are some of my favorite spots in the U.S. Omaha is no exception and I’ve come to love the local flavor of this town. With that, I’ve put together my 10 favorite food spots in Omaha in no particular order. If you haven’t tried these places, please do!

list of favorite restaurants in Omaha

Billy’s favorite restaurants in Omaha

10. Stokes (Old Market and West Omaha)

Billy McGuigan orders an off-the-menu hot sauce to go with the Sharon’s (World Famous) Enchiladas at Stokes. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

I first had Stokes when it was located in the 114th and Dodge streets area. After having Sharon’s chicken enchiladas with a side of inner beauty (their off-the-menu hot sauce), I was immediately hooked. Spicy and fresh and delicious. I’ve eaten at Stokes more than any other restaurant in my life.

Favorite Menu Items: Sharon’s (World Famous) Chicken Enchiladas, Koko’s Harvest Salad, Stokes Tenderloin Pueblo

9. Wilson & Washburn (Downtown Omaha)

Wilson & Washburn is located in downtown Omaha. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

This place is an experience. It feels very Chicago, very New York. The drinks are finely crafted and the food is so great. The bartenders tend to remember you after a few visits and they learn the way you like your drinks made and typically how you ordered your food the last time you where there. Bonus party room upstairs for private parties as well!

Favorite Menu Items: Scotch Egg, Beet Chips (seriously!), Beet Burger (again, seriously), Braised Short Rib

8. Early Bird (Blackstone)

Billy McGuigan and his kids in front of Early Bird, a favorite brunch spot for his family. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

My kids would kill me if this all-day brunch place wasn’t included on this list. It opened last year and I think we’ve been here six times already. Be prepared for a wait because this place is super popular. It is totally worth it. A unique brunch menu filled with both traditional and non-traditional breakfast items (check out the Ka-Bob’s) as well as sweet and savory. The service is also fantastic!

Favorite Menu Items: Ka-Bobs, Corned Beef Hash, Cereal Killer Pancakes (my son Ciaran’s favorite), Morning Pot Pie (my daughter Cartney’s favorite)

7. Mula (Blackstone)

Mula makes borracha beans like Billy McGuigan’s grandmother used to make. Photo courtesy Mula

I’m a complete and total sucker for Mexican food. My grandmother was a Garcia and she made borracho beans so good they could make you cry. Mula makes these and after the wave of nostalgia I got from eating them here, I choked up a bit. A massive tequila selection and a varied selection of unique tacos and tortas.

Favorite Menu Items: Any of their Guacamoles, Camaron Tacos, Carne Asada Torta, Jalapeño Margarita

6. Block 16 (Downtown Omaha)

Billy McGruigan promises that Block 16 is worth the wait. Photo courtesy The Mullers via Block 16

The first time I came here, I nearly didn’t go in because there was such a long line. The guy in the back of the line looked at me and told me it was well worth the wait. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re under the impression that vegan food has no flavor, you should go vegan here. I love this place so much!

Favorite Menu Items: Vegan Sloppy Nick, Vegan Dragon Fries, Vegan Poutine Burrito

5. Yoshitomo (Benson)

Sushi at Yoshimoto is as good as the best Billy McGuigan has tried across the U.S. Photo courtesy Yoshimoto

I’ve been a huge sushi fan since the late ‘90s when I had it for the first time at Sushi Ichiban when it was on the corner on Dodge street. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to try it all over the country and Yoshitomo is as good as any I’ve ever had. Super classy environment and a menu that rocks!

Favorite Menu Items: Sake Nigiri, Hamachi Nigiri, 3 Kings Maki, Aburi Wagyu

4. Pitch (Dundee)

Pitch in Dundee

Pitch manages to make pizza without cheese so good, you don’t miss the cheese. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

Full disclosure: I have a dairy allergy. I know, pizza with no cheese? Yeah, it’s hard to find. Pitch’s pizza is so good, it works without the cheese. Try it! Also, those Brussel sprouts. Have you not had these? They are ridiculously good.

Favorite Menu Items: Shrooms Pizza (no cheese), Roasted Brussel Sprouts, House Made Fennel Sausage Pizza (No cheese)

3. Coneflower Creamery (Blackstone)

Coneflower makes a wickedly good, dairy-free ice cream. And a tip from McGuigan: Always add Spanish peanuts. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

Speaking of no dairy, do you have any idea how hard it is to find really good, dairy-free ice cream? Look no further. This place is an absolute gem. There’s nearly always a line, but again, totally worth it. The vinyl records and great taste in music also add to the ambiance of this wickedly good ice cream shop!

Favorite Menu Items: Vegan Golden Milk Ice Cream, Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter, always add Spanish Peanuts

2. Red Lion Lounge (Blackstone)

McGuigan’s choice for a place to hang out with friends and enjoy a good cocktail. Photo courtesy Billy McGuigan

“Friends” had Central Perk. “How I Met Your Mother” had McLarens. You know, the iconic place to hang out with friends and have a drink or two. I always wanted one of these and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it in the RL. Limited snack items and amazing craft cocktails. Amazing “Mad Men”-esque decor with iconic black and white photos throughout. If you find Roald Dahl, you’ll find me.

Favorite Menu Items: Candied Cashews, Local Heirloom Popcorn, Rusty Nail, Infusion Vanilla Bean Blonde

1. Farine + Four (Midtown)

The spicy chicken sandwich at Farine + Four. Photo courtesy Farine + Four

You ever hope and dream there’d be a place you could wake up and walk to and grab a great coffee and a sandwich? Farine and Four is this place for me. Nestled in the heart of my neighborhood is this gem. Farine + Four means Flour + Oven in French. It also means they only use four ingredients as the base for all of their breads: flour, water, salt, and levain (yeast). It’s so amazingly good and you have to try it. They open the garage door in the summer and you won’t be able to resist the smells coming from their kitchen.

Favorite Menu Items: Spicy Chicken Sandwich (best you’ll ever have), Egg Sandwich, Peanut Butter Cookie

Billy McGuigan’s “Rock Twist”

If you didn’t know Billy McGuigan before this post, you’ve got to hear the music of this foodie-that’s-not-a-foodie. You can see him in the show, “Rock Twist,” which will be at Omaha Community Playhouse Aug. 1-12.

The show features McGuigan and a 13-piece band performing the music of artists who have impacted McGuigan’s life. There’s everything from Frank Sinatra to The Doors and Chuck Berry. 

Performances of “Rock Twist” are Aug. 1-12, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $42 each and are available at by calling the box office at 402-552-0800 or go online to www.omahaplayhouse.com.

 

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June 15, 2018

15+ Fun Outdoor Activities For Families In Omaha

Summer is a great time to get outdoors as a family, and while I have my favorite go-to spots (like these nearby hikes), I love finding new things to do. One of the best resources I’ve come across is the list of the 2018 Cub Scouts’ outdoor activities that are open to families In Omaha and in areas just outside the metro. These summer activities aren’t only for Scouts and their families – you don’t have to have a Cub Scout in your family to attend. These activities are open to EVERYONE.

Fishing derbies are held throughout the summer and offer a free chance to try out fishing as a family. Photo courtesy Boy Scouts of America Mid-America Council

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Boys Scouts of America Mid-America Council. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

This summer is all about finding ways to Get Out and Scout. My family has only dabbled in Scouting, and I think all of these events are a great way for my family (and yours) to learn more about Scouting and have a ton of fun. Girls are definitely welcomed to participate, because now they can become Cub Scouts.

And the best part of all the events below? A lot of them are FREE!

If you see an event that interests you, visit the Cub Scouts calendar for more details or to register.

Complete list of 2018 Summer Programs

Cub Scouts is a program for boys and girls grades K-5 to experience the outdoors together as a family. The following programs take place in Omaha unless otherwise noted. You may find Scouts from your school at these activities, but know that you are welcome to join in the fun as a guest.

Storm Chasers Overnighter

When: June 22-23

Where: Werner Park in Papillion, Neb.

What: The Omaha Storm Chasers are excitement enough – but we celebrate the game all night long by camping out on the baseball field and watching movies on the mega-tron!

Cost: $19

 

Carter Lake Fishing Day

When: June 28, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Carter Lake in Carter Lake, Iowa

What: Grab your pole (or use one of the provided poles) and join us for a relaxing evening of catch and release!

Cost: FREE

 

Dutch Oven Cooking

When: June 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Louisville State Recreation Area

What: Learn to prepare and enjoy a tasty outdoor meal.

Cost: $10

 

Wildlife Safari Hike

When: July 1, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Neb.

What: Feel like you are on an actual safari, coming face-to-face with North American plants and animals such as elk, white-tailed deer, bison and waterfowl.

Cost: $15

 

Wakonda Day Camp

When: July 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Camp Wakonda in Bellevue, Neb.

What: Enjoy a day of Scouting with a raingutter regatta, Scout skills obstacle course and campfire with patch trading (patches provided)!

Cost: $5

 

Campmaster Radios

When: July 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Camp Wakonda in Bellevue, Neb.

What: Utilize radio technology to find a hidden transmitter and learn more about this method of communication.

Cost: FREE

 

Zorinsky Fishing Day

When: July 17, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Zorinsky Park

What: Enjoy the beautiful setting of Zorinsky Park while we play a game of catch and release.

Cost: FREE

 

NE Highway 66 Concourse Classic

When: July 21 & 22

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb.

What: This premier classic automobile show featuring exclusive vintage and collectable cars, hot-rods and motorcycles – all nestled among the historic aircraft of the museum.

Cost: $6 youth/$11 adult

 

Elmwood Twilight Camp

When: July 26, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Elmwood Park

What: Take your passport to adventure out of this world with a visit to UNO’s planetarium, climbing the moon rock wall and ice giants experiments with liquid nitrogen!

Cost: $10

 

Cunningham Day Camp

When: July 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Lake Cunningham Park

What: The ultimate experience with trail rides, shooting sports and much more!

Cost: $30

 

Waterfront Weekend

When: Aug. 3-4

Where: Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Little Sioux, Iowa

What: Make a splash with this single overnight experience packed with swimming and boating activities!

Cost: FREE

 

Family Fun Carnival

When: Aug. 4

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

What: Experience the Big Top with magicians, face painting, bounce houses and more!

Cost: $6 youth/$11 adult

 

Think Like a Citizen Scientist

When: Aug. 5, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Neb.

What: Get a better understanding of the world around you and what you can do to protect it.

Cost: $15

 

Campmasters Shooting Sports & Pool Party

When: Aug. 10-12

Where: Covered Wagon Scout Ranch in Cedar Bluffs, Neb.

What: Shooting and swimming…two favorite outdoor activities in a single overnight experience!

Cost: FREE

 

Fishing Derby

When: Aug. 11, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Viking Lake near Stanton, Iowa

What: Catch some rays and some fish on this relaxing morning!

Cost: $10

 

Scouts for Wildlife Conservation

When: Aug. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Henry Doorly Zoo & Lauritzen Gardens

What: Recognize the importance of wildlife and the conservation of its natural habitats in this two for one experience

Cost: $18

 

World of Water

When: Sept. 8, noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Chalco Hills Park

What: Learn about the importance of water conservation from experts in the field while having fun in the great outdoors.

Cost: FREE

 

 

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June 4, 2018

Everything To Know About Railroad Days 2018

Railroad Days 2018 celebrates trains and the railroad history of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Held on July 14 and 15, you have two days to explore each of the five venues participating in the event. I’ve taken the kids to Railroad Days in the past, so I can vouch for it being it being an affordable event for families. Keep reading – there’s a giveaway ahead!

guide to Railroad Days Omaha

Railroad Days 2018 venues

This event is definitely one for train aficionados, but even if trains aren’t your thing, you’ve got plenty to see and do. I always think of Railroad Days as a great staycation option to see Omaha and Council Bluffs attractions for one price.

Each location is open as usual, so in addition to the special activities planned for the weekend, this is a good time to explore their permanent exhibits, gardens, and historic artifacts.

Families can get up close to real trains during Railroad Days. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

The Durham Museum (801 S. 10th St., Omaha) – New this year is The Durham Museum‘s largest model railroad display ever in the Swanson Galley featuring actual locations in the Midwest. There will also be music by “Freight Train” Frank and the chance to talk with model railroad experts by the House of Trains on Track Level. Behind the museum, you can get up-close to Union Pacific’s Chicago and North Western Heritage locomotive. While there, don’t skip the special exhibit American Adventure.”

Lauritzen Gardens (100 Bancroft St., Omaha) – The activities at Lauritzen Gardens are always a hit with my kids, especially the free mini train rides. Things to see:Centennial No. 6900 and Big Boy No. 4023 locomotives at Kenefick Park, model train railroad garden, LEGO brick rail yard, and Paul Siebert performing railroad ditties.

RailsWest Railroad Museum (1512 S. Main St., Council Bluffs) – Don’t miss the chance to visit the train yard, climbing aboard old steam engines, cabooses and cars. Indoors, there’s a large H.O. scale model train layout operated by the Carter Lake Model Railroad Youth Club.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum (200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs) – Head to the “Wheels of War” exhibit to learn about the history between the military and the railroads in every American conflict since the U.S. Civil War in the “Wheels of War,” exhibit. Another exhibit to check out is “Working on the Railroad,” an up close and personal experience with modern Union Pacific operations. My kids also like pretend to “detonate” explosives – go look for it in one of the permanent inside the museum.

Historic General Dodge House (605 Third St., Council Bluffs) – Here’s the chance to walk through the house of the man called “the greatest railroad builder of all time.” The 1869 Victorian home is on a National Historic Landmark.

Food at Railroad Days

Each location has food/snacks and beverages available for purchase. I’ve only dined at Lauritzen Gardens and The Durham Museum. If you’re looking to cool off, the Durham soda fountain sells a delicious root beer float.

Food and beverages are not included in the ticket price.

Railroad Days Family Passes

Family passes are quite the deal. Family Passes are $15, and available for purchase at any participating venue during the event. The Family Pass for Railroad Days gets two adults and their dependents (or grandchildren) under the age of 18 in to the venues as well as admission to the trolley/bus transportation between the locations.

Climb aboard train cars and engines at the RailsWest Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs. Admission is included with the Family Pass during Railroad Days. Photo courtesy RailsWest Railroad Museum

Even if you’re just purchasing the pass for yourself, you save money on admission to each place – the regular price of admission for a single adult to visit all five venues is $35.

A $5 pass is also available for one adult with the purchase of a Family Pass (limit one). Keep the wristbands on and they will be valid both days.

Railroad Days 2018 Giveaway!

Want to go to Railroad Days 2018? I’m giving away TWO (2) Family Passes on the blog. It’s easy to enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends Sunday, June 17, at 11:59 p.m. I’ll contact the winners within 48 hours via email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Must be 18 or older to enter. Family Passes have no cash value.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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