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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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 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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May 24, 2018

What’s At Omaha Zoo’s Asian Highlands

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium newest exhibit, Asian Highlands, adds to an already impressive collection of new exhibits added in the last year.

 

Read about African Grasslands here and watch a video of Children’s Adventure Trails. African Grasslands opened in 2016, and Children’s Adventure Trail opened in 2017.

What to expect at Omaha Zoo’s Asian Highlands

Asian Highlands is opening in two phases, so with Phase I, you will encounter only a handful of animals that will be a part of the complete exhibit (which is slated to open in spring 2019).

A rhino roams in the Asian Highlands, a new exhibit at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

You’ll see two red pandas named Tofu and Wasabi, as well as white-naped cranes, two Indian rhinos, tufted deer and Pere David’s deer.

The two red pandas are the first animals to spot at the entrance of Asian Highlands. Photo courtesy Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

They’re well adapted to live in cold environments so this will be a year-round exhibit.

Part of the charm of Asian Highlands is the story line that is incorporated into the exhibit, one where guests feel like they’re on an immersive journey through Northern India and the Himalayan Mountains.

Tip: The train passes by Asian Highlands, giving passengers a peek at what’s open in the Asian Highlands, as well as the areas that are under construction.

The entryway, a replica of a temple ruin, is a nice to touch to it all.

A replica of a temple ruin serves as the entrance to Asian Highlands. Photo courtesy Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

What else should you know? First, there are no restrooms in the exhibit nor food service (yet). Those are to come in 2019.

Also, this exhibit isn’t quite complete, because it’s rolling out in phases. So if you visit now, expect the trail to be a short out-and-back. There are barricades blocking entry into the areas under construction. But, what’s to come is going to be worth the wait!

A bridge in the Asian Highlands exhibit at Omaha’s zoo.

What’s coming to Asia Highlands in 2019

I’m especially looking forward to Phase II of Asian Highlands, which should open in the spring of 2019. The expected animals that will be included in Phase II will be sloth bears, tigers, snow leopards, takin and Chinese goral. I think all families are going to love the Kid’s Discovery Trail, which was described to me as a place with rocks to climb and misters to cool people off.

Omaha Zoo Asian Highlands

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May 22, 2018

Fan Tips For Storm Chasers Baseball Games

Omaha Storm Chasers baseball games are great for families, couples (could totally be a cheap date night), and friends. I’ve asked fans to share their tips for Storm Chasers baseball games, including where the best seats are, parking tips, how to get autographs, and more insider knowledge. I’m sharing the tips I thought were most helpful below. You can see the original post and tweet, too, to see all answers.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by the Omaha Storm Chasers. All tips, though, are provided by Oh My! Omaha readers. Any typos are probably mine. 

Good things to know about Omaha Storm Chasers games

Tips For Taking Kids To Games

“Taking kids is a must to fully enjoy the atmosphere. Get berm tickets, bring a blanket, let the kids run around, lay back and enjoy the game,” said Scott R. “All seasons are good to go, outside of the first couple of weeks. With small children, weekday night games leave plenty of room for your kids to roam.”

“Always check the schedule for any fun nights (Princess, Star Wars or Super Hero nights),” said April S.

“Kids will love Friday fireworks or Sundays kids day. The kids will love the family fun zone or mini golf. Berm seats are great if you have little ones who might need to runaround,” said Tiffany N.

“The Family Fun Zone is free if you are a member of Centris.” said Kaila W., who also said the berm is a good option for those with kids. She packs “a picnic blanket and toys/ bubbles to keep them occupied.” Show your Centris card to get the free wristbands, said Jeanne D.

“Kids have the Centris Family Fun zone with carousel, playground, putt-putt. Wristbands are $6 a piece. Basketball hoop and a mini baseball field for games in center/right center field. Fireworks nights are pretty nice,” said Jaima N.

Laura C. recommends getting the Little Storm Chasers membership. “Get $10 off thru Parent Savvy. It’s good for Sunday games which are often Hy-Vee Can Good Sundays.” Tiffany N. thought she’d seen the Little Storm Chasers membership half-off through Parent Savvy, so you just might to double check things.

Ready to take the kids to a game this year? Here are 10 Things Families Will Love About The Storm Chasers’ 2018 Season.

Storm Chasers Parking Tips

“Carpool if you can! And don’t park too close for out park balls can hit the car,” said Ash H.

“If just going to game, always go to the free lot. Plenty of spots. If tailgating, paying the $5 is worth it,” said Scott R.

Storm Chasers Game Seating Tips

“For places to sit, early season get first base side, they have the most sun. For summer get third base seats behind the dugout, they get the most shade,” said Scott R.

“We like seats to keep both (kids) contained. I feel more stressed in the berm,” said Ash H.

“We’ve sat behind home plate before when we were able to score those tickets and they were second to NONE (we were right up at the fence!).” said April S.

Going to sit on the berm? Cameron W. recommended standing or sitting by right field and bring a blanket to sit on.

Food & Drink Tips For Storm Chasers Games

“You can bring water bottles empty with no labels for free water,” said Ash H.

“They have gluten free options at some of the food stands!” shared Kaila W.

“Food wise we love the nachos from LeMesa or just getting a good old fashioned hot dog or pretzel,” suggested Tiffany N.

“Tuesdays are 50-cent nights on a lot of the food and Wednesday are Wiener Wednesdays for cheap hot dogs,” said Natalie J.

“If you go to last game of year, alcohol drinks are cheap!” said Jaima N.

Discount Ticket Tips

“I got tickets before the season when they had their promotion for the cold weather. $2/ticket was a steal.” said Danell T. from Small Guy Promotions

Tips For Storm Chasers Autographs

Fans in the know suggest heading to the bridge area by left field if you want to get autographs, and get there early.

“Come early enough to get autographs on the bridge (see who is going to be there by looking on their website),” suggested April S.

“Getting autographs is a lot of luck & perseverance. Always try to use the players name when asking. ‘Mr. O’Hearn would you sign my card please?’ Always be courteous by saying ‘Thank You’ afterwards. Players never have to sign, they do it out of their own kindness & on their time,” said @RoyalsCollector. “If a player does not sign. Don’t be rude to them. They have a job to do and sometimes they just don’t have the time to stop. Try again the next day or the next game your at. Always have a pen or sharpie ready for them use and the item you want signed. Always be kind and courteous to the other fans around you trying to get autographs too. Don’t push, shove, crowd others around. If you get the autograph you want let somebody else get in for a chance too.”

“Be polite. Call players by name (Mr. Gore) not number (Hey 0). Bring a pen (ball point pen for baseballs a sharpie for anything else). Have something for them to sign (I recommend a ball, program, or usually you can get a team card set for souvenir shop),” said Jeff E. “Some players won’t sign and don’t be frustrated because many others will. Often starting pitchers or catchers won’t sign because they need the longest amount of time to get ready. Before game is usually better than after.”

Giveaway Tips

“Always check the schedule and go on giveaway nights! All kinds of fun stuff,” said Tiffany N. Tim T. with The Walking Tourists said the Bobblehead games are his favorite – check this post to see when the next 2018 bobble head giveaway is scheduled.

Your turn! What tips do you have for Omaha Storm Chasers games?

 

fans share 20+ tips for Storm Chasers games

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