June 18, 2019

What’s At The Durham Museum This Summer

Every year, I wait with anticipation to hear what’s the summer exhibit at The Durham Museum. Without fail, they’ve opened a fun temporary exhibit that my kids (and I) enjoy. This year, the summer exhibit is called “Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family.” The exhibit runs through Sept. 1, 2019.

Looking for fun things to do in Omaha this summer? Check out the summer exhibit at The Durham Museum - "Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family"! Get details on the exhibit, when to see, and the kids activities inspired by the exhibit. #Omaha #Nebraska #museums

Disclosure: I have a partnership with The Durham Museum. I was not paid to write this post, but I do receive a complimentary membership in order to visit and write about the exhibits. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

About the Durham Museum summer exhibit

As the name implies, “Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family” is about the Tyrannosaurs and the various prehistoric creatures that are classified under that name. It’s not just T.rex, it turns out.

Things to know about The Durham Museum summer exhibit about Tyrannosaurs - The exhibit is a mix of specimens and fossil casts along with interactive screens.

The most fun my whole family had at the exhibit was learning about the family tree by playing the interactive game table. After about three or four rounds, we declared ourselves experts of in the entire Tyrannosaur family tree.

I can see us returning a few times this summer so my kids can try to beat their previous top time on the game.

Things kids love about the Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family exhibit - The interactive family tree is a popular game for kids and even adults.

The exhibit uses both technology and dinosaur specimens. My kids were drawn more to the tech than the casts and models of dinosaurs.

One of the more amusing pieces in the exhibit was the interactive augmented reality screen. We watched as life-sized dinosaurs roamed nearby.

My kids may or may not have tried to kick the dinosaurs. Sorry about that!

Interactive things to do in the summer exhibit at The Durham Museum - The augmented reality screen puts you in a scene with life-sized dinosaurs.

Other multimedia experiences and touch screen interactive were interspersed by exhibit pieces, and their were large-scale projections at the exhibit entrance. The projections feature Omaha streetscapes and dinosaurs roaming them.

My son was particularly interested in the interactive piece comparing his strength to that of a T.rex.

The life-sized dinosaur specimens included five complete tyrannosaurs cast skeletons.

The ‘Big’ draw of the exhibit

“Scotty,” the largest and oldest T.rex ever discovered, is a part of this exhibit. Well, the exhibit doesn’t have THE “Scotty.” One of only four casts of the T.rex skeleton is included in this exhibit.

The cast of "Scotty," the largest and oldest T.rex ever discovered, is part of the Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family exhibition at The Durham Museum through Sept. 1, 2019.

It’s an impressive sight, putting the scale of what T.rex was like millions of years ago into perspective.

Another interesting thing to check out in the exhibit is the feathery Guanlong wucaii. This newly-discovered dinosaur is a relative of the T.rex.

It’s easy to walk right past the bird-like dinosaur, though. There’s a big screen nearby that will easily distract you and the kids.

Things to know about the Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family exhibition - The traveling exhibit has a newly-discovered Guanlong wucaii display.

Things to know about visiting the Durham in the summer

The Durham Museum experiences an uptick in visitors in the summer, but you don’t have to be too strategic about when to visit. Why? It’s a huge museum. You won’t feel the crowd.

Things to know about visiting The Durham Museum in the summer - The museum is housed in Omaha's former Union Station, so it's spacious. Summer crowds aren't usually noticed due to its size.

You may feel the crowd, however, in the special exhibit space. Consider going first thing in the morning or at the last hour or two of the day.

We visited about an hour after the museum opened on a Saturday and didn’t have to jockey for position at any interactive exhibit piece. However, once a tour group walked into the exhibit, it did start to feel a little more packed.

If you want more tips for visiting The Durham Museum, especially if you’re bringing children with you, visit this guide to exploring the museum with kids!

Summer exhibit special events

The good thing to know about summers at the museum is that there are usually extra events planned in coordination with the summer exhibit. “Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family” has a few great ones including some for kids and adults.

Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family - The 2019 summer exhibit at The Durham Museum has special events planned throughout the exhibit's run.

For kids: Storytime with Scotty is held every Wednesday through July 31 at 10:30 a.m. Each week features a different dinosaur-themed book and craft led by one of the museum’s engaging education facilitators. Registration is not required and regular museum admission applies. All ages are welcome.

For adults: Dinos and Daiquiris is June 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Search for hidden “fossils” around the museum to win a prize, and sip on a daiquiri, enjoy the cash bar or visit the Soda Fountain for some snacks and sweet treats. Tickets are $10 for members, $20 for nonmembers, and with the ticket you get admission to the museum after hours and one drink ticket.

For everyone: There are daily tours at 2 p.m. until the close of the exhibit. Each day of the week will have a different topic, complete with trivia and prizes.

Fossil Fridays include crafts, games, guided tours, giveaways from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Aug. 9. The crafts and giveaways are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and there’s a dino-themed game at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Back-to-School Bash is Aug. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. There will be a dino movie on the big screen, a bounce house, and kids can get their faces painted like a dinosaur. There will also be a food truck. This event is included with museum admission and free for members, but reservations are required.

Planning a trip to Omaha this summer? See what special exhibit is on display at The Durham Museum! In the summer of 2019, the exhibit is "Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family." Get the scoop on special events planned for the exhibit plus what things kids will like there. #Omaha #Nebraska #FamilyTravel

If you go

The Durham Museum

Where: 801 S. 10th St., Omaha

When: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (during the summer, the museum is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed major holidays.

Cost: Adults, $11; Seniors (62+), $8; Children (ages 3 – 12), $7; children 2 years and under, FREE; Members, FREE.

A note on memberships: If you’re going to visit the Durham Museum more than once a year, it pays to get a family membership. It’s $60 for 12 months, and includes admission to the special events like the Great Halloween Haunt and all the Christmas festivities. It also gets you discounts to the gift shop, soda fountain and summer camps.

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April 6, 2018

‘American Adventure’ Guide For Families

The description of “American Adventure,” the temporary exhibit at The Durham Museum,” reads like it would go over the heads of most kids: Minotaur Mazes’ ‘American Adventure’ takes visitors on an immersive, educational roleplay adventure that asks people to conquer one great challenge: survive the year as one of the original
Jamestown colonists.”

I tried out this maze with my two kids, ages 6 an 8, and here’s how what we thought of the experience. If you want to visit “American Adventure,” the exhibit runs through July 29, 2018. Be sure to check out the rest of the museum while there! Here’s my guide to taking children to The Durham MuseumDisclosure: I was provided complimentary passes to experience the exhibit so I could write about it.

What to expect during “American Adventure”

An overhead view of “American Adventure.” The traveling exhibit is at The Durham Museum in Omaha through July 29, 2018. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

Like a typical maze, there is only one way to enter. At the entrance, we each received our unique identity of one the Jamestown colonists. These were real colonists (all men) and at the end of the maze, we could check if they survived that first year or not.

Each colonist has a life chart, and as we move through the maze, we each track a series of life choices on an it. You can earn (or lose) points for health, wealth, food and morale at each turn of the maze. Watch out for the Wheel of Misfortune!

The goal is to make it past more than two-dozen tests spread out over four seasons. Tests range from trying to rope a sturgeon and guessing whether or not you can eat an animal, to more historically significant questions, like if you’re a gentleman, do you really help with manual labor or not. Keep all four life chart categories above the life line and you “survive.” Choose poorly and you have to exit the maze.

What kids think of “American Adventure”

The physical challenges in the “American Adventure” were my kids’ favorites.

There are plenty of things for my kids to like about the exhibit, “American Adventure,” and a few things that they didn’t. The physical challenges, pretending to climb was high up there and getting a Food point just for scraping a turtle shell were fun things for them.

What’s difficult, especially for my 6-year-old, was that most challenges required some reading. If your child isn’t patient, you may have to skip reading most of the things and go right to the challenge. It misses the educational component of the exhibit, but keeps the fun going for the kid.

Also note that the younger the kid, the more help they’ll need tracking their life chart.

Some challenges required reading, which my youngest didn’t have patience for, though most were self-explanatory. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

If your kids are competitive, they may also get frustrated with how easy it is to fail at “American Adventure.” The odds of survival are stacked against you. One accidental snakebite or bad food choice, and you’re dead.

Tips for “American Adventure”

Not many exhibits have mini ziplines, but “American Adventure” does. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

Visit during non-peak hours. This is a popular exhibit and since it’s a maze, you may have groups in front of you or behind you. If you don’t feel like rushing through your reading, I recommend going during the week instead of on the weekend.

Go to the bathroom before starting the maze. Self-explanatory, especially if you’re visiting with kids.

See the rest of the exhibit. It’s tempting to finish the maze, get your “I survived” sticker, and then head out. However, there’s more to “American Adventure” than the maze. There are displays of items found at the original James Fort of Historic Jamestown as well as original documents. There’s also a building activity table and a fun photo opp.

Plan about an hour for the exhibit. You can rush through it quicker, sure, but if you’re there to learn about about what it took to start a colony in the New World, read some of the displays. Also, realize if your colonist dies early and you have to exit the maze, you can start all over again.

Learn more. There are three lectures scheduled tied to the exhibit: “Surviving Jamestown: The Harrowing First Years of a Founding American Community,” April 17 at 6:30 p.m.; “The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America,” May 8 at 6:30 p.m. (book-signing to follow); and “Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma,” July 24 at 6:30 p.m. (book-signing to follow). Registration is required. Regular museum admission applies; free for members.

If you go

“American Adventure”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through July 29, 2018

Cost: Included with museum admission


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October 9, 2017

Zoom Into Nano Now In Omaha

The Durham Museum just opened the newest kid-friendly exhibit in Omaha, “Zoom Into Nano,” and I took my two kids, ages 6 and 7, to see it. Could something like nano be explained to children, I wondered. Could it be explained to me?



Let me explain.

By the way, if you haven’t been to this museum before, here’s my guide for visiting the Durham Museum with kids. I was not compensated to write this post; I was, however, provided complimentary passes for myself and to use for the giveaway.

What to expect at Zoom Into Nano

If you’re wondering what nanotechnology is, you’re not alone. It’s technology that deals with “dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.” (dictionary definition)

A model carbon nanotube inside “Zoom Into Nano,” now in Omaha through Jan. 7, 2018.

Or more simply, it’s technology dealing with things on the smallest of small scales. Nano stuff.

This exhibit demonstrates nano in surprisingly simple ways.

Like magnification. There are a few stations that simply help kids (and adults) see everyday things like a butterfly wing or a speck of dust in super, crazy magnification. My kids returned to these “zooming” stations throughout our visit.

Everything in the exhibit is hands-on, which is a kid’s dream. Even my youngest enjoyed practicing with an atom transporter.

I’m sure moving atoms is a lot more difficult than moving these “atoms.”

The three us worked together to dissolve salt crystals (virtually) by generating heat through arm movement.

Is this really a kid-friendly exhibit?

This definitely has the look and feel of an exhibit that’s intended to be enjoyed by families.

Kids can design a model nano town, making sure things are balanced or their surface will tip in one direction.

Really young kids, like toddlers, probably won’t get a whole lot out of the exhibit, though. Maybe, they’ll enjoy some of the molecule building stations or the nano town balance table.

Older kids? Yes, this exhibit is going to be great for them, especially preteens and teens learning about this stuff already.

Magnets are always a hit in an exhibit, and this table was particularly effective at explaining how the smaller the material, the easier it was to move.

My two kids are early grader schoolers and were able to engage with all of the exhibit pieces. One could read and the other could not, so the reader definitely had a fuller experiences.

The room not to miss

There’s a small room at the back of the exhibit that is easy to skip, but probably does the best job at explaining what nanotechonology matters to us. Because, even after playing with all the different exhibit pieces, I was kinda wondering still what nanotechonology was and why it’s so significant (my son would tell me just to read the signs better, but he’s a know-it-all).

Anyway, in this little room, there are a few displays that break it down to layman’s terms, the breakthroughs that nanotechnology has already (waterproof clothes, for instance), and why some people are optimistic and some people are cautious about what the future holds.


If you go

“Zoom Into Nano”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through Jan. 7, 2018

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $11, adults; $8, seniors; $7, children (ages 3-12); and FREE for children younger than 3 and members



Want to go for FREE?

I’ve partnered The Durham Museum to give away one family pass to one lucky reader. This pass will get up to four people into the museum! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form. Must be at least 18 to enter. The giveaway ends Sunday, Oct. 22, at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be randomly drawn within 48 hours and will have 48 hours to claim the prize before another name is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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June 14, 2017

Kids & The Durham Museum’s ‘Top Secret’ Exhibit

We’re at the Durham Museum often because it’s a fun place to take kids (here’s my guide for bringing kids to the Durham Museum). Every new temporary exhibit is a great excuse to return. This summer, there’s an exhibit unlike any other we’ve seen called “Top Secret: License to Spy.”

I was invited to check out the exhibit with my kids so I can report back to you about the experience.

Think you have what it takes to be a secret agent? Head to the Durham Museum this summer and visit “Top Secret: License to Spy.”

Wondering if “Top Secret” is kid-friendly?

Wondering if a family can easily solve the case?

Read on!


The Concept Behind “Top Secret: License to Spy”

Top Secret at Durham Museum

Spy gadgets! This room’s challenge was tough for my little ones (you had to find the four hidden cameras). Photo courtesy Durham Museum

The concept of this summer exhibit is brilliant: Visitors take on the role as spies, and as you move through the exhibit, you use different spy equipment or techniques to gather clues to solve the case. You’re supposed to figure out who stole the most powerful computer chip in the world and why.

When you complete the mission, you go to the final stop, the Debriefing Room, to see if you were right.


Into the exhibit

Instructions for one of the areas in the “Top Secret” exhibit at The Durham. In case you were wondering, it’s a lot harder than it looks to spy on someone with a laser listener.

“Top Secret: License to Spy” sounds like a fun exhibit for families, and it is, but it’s not for all ages. Why? Little ones who can’t read or who get spooked by dim lighting may not enjoy it as much as older kids.

My 5-year-old was easily frustrated with challenges and started to get anxious at every turn. Perhaps it seemed too real for her?

She most definitely did not like the looks of the laser room. Even when I showed her how to do it, she refused to go in there thinking they were real lasers (full disclosure: It was more like I showed her how not to do it. I’m not flexible at all).

In “Top Secret” at the Durham Museum, you can pretend to be a spy and try to make your way through a room of lasers. Photo courtesy the Durham Museum

My 7-year-old wanted to try everything in this exhibit. Sometimes he needed my help or subtle nudge on noticing a clue; other times, he was on it. I think the older the kid, the more they’re going to love this.

Just based on my observation, it looked like the Code Room was the most popular area in the entire exhibit. It was packed when we went in. There are several codes to break in that one room, and each provide a little clue to who the suspect is.

Every kid visiting the exhibit seemed to want to be in the Code Room at the same time. It’s understandable, these codes were fun to try to crack.

The most popular area in the exhibit for my family didn’t actually help us solve the case, but it did help us craft some awesome disguises.

My son’s spy disguise is top notch.

By the way, I totally solved the case. I’d make an excellent secret agent.

For the little ones

“Top Secret: License to Spy” can be a little challenging for youngsters, so there are a few activities that are more of their speed. Plan your visit to be around 10:30 a.m. on the second or fourth Wednesday of the month (June-August), and your little one can enjoy Top Secret For Tots. The program includes a story and craft, and it’s included with museum admission.

Pick up a scavenger hunt from the information desk in the Durham Museum lobby, then see if you can find the clues.

There’s also a fun scavenger hunt going on this summer. Pick up a sheet and pencil at the welcome desk to get started. The hunt will lead you through some of the permanent exhibits to search for clues.

This one was more of my kids’ speed and they knew the exhibits we needed to go to based on the clues. I had to help decipher the code.

Once finished, the kids returned their sheet to the welcome desk to get their surprise.

If you go

“Top Secret: License to Spy”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through Sept. 17, 2017; during regular museum hours

Special events: There are special programs planned through the exhibit’s run. Visit this page to learn more.



Disclosure: I was provided complimentary admission to the museum so I could review this exhibit. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.

April 10, 2017

Durham Museum Summer Camps

While on the hunt for the most fun summer camps for my kids, I kept returning to The Durham Museum summer camps list. There are so many to choose from! There are 27 camps there this summer, and they’re all so different from any place else in Omaha. I’ve partnered with The Durham Museum to tell you about them.

Choosing Camp

From time travel to wizardry to spies, there are some super fun themes for summer camps at The Durham Museum. There’s even Meet the Metr’O’ camps, where kids visit things like a courthouse to meet a judge and the First National Bank Tower to get a sky-high view of the city. Check all the summer camps out here.

Summer camps at The Durham Museum are taught by certified, professional educators. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

I had a hard time figuring which camps my 7-year-old would love best. He is really into history, which is perfect for all of the camps at the museum – camps combine history and science for a balance that turns out to be fun and educational. I’m told they strike a perfect chord for summer – kids have so much fun, they don’t realize they’re learning.

Some of the popular camps at The Durham Museum include Mischief Managed, a wizardry camp that will surely appeal to the “Harry Potter” fans of Omaha; Lego Apprentice, Lego Builder, and Lego Master, camps for the three age groups that are focused on building; and the camp tied with the summer exhibit at the museum, Top Secret, will likely be popular.

New Camps At The Durham Museum

The Durham Museum has added some unique new camps this summer. I think Road Trip! sounds fun. Without leaving the museum, kids will imagine themselves on a Nebraska adventure. It’s great timing for the state’s 150th celebration.

Campers at a Durham Museum summer camp. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

There’s also a camp called History With Heroes, blending learning about superheroes and real life heroes. The museum is also trying out a camp that’s going to feel like the traditional outdoor summer camp, again without leaving the museum. Think, “campfire” with s’mores kinds of stuff.

What Makes Durham Camps Different


Teachers – What impressed me about The Durham Museum summer camps is that they’re all taught by certified, practicing teachers, who also create the camp curriculum. The camps also have what’s called summer facilitators, who assist in the summer camps and many are studying to become educators.

One-Day Camps – Here’s the conundrum for working parents: What do you do with holiday weeks where no place in Omaha is offering week-long camps then, but you still have to work most of those days? The museum has created day-long camps for each day of those holiday weeks (Memorial Day and Fourth of July). Kids can go to just one all-day camp or all four that week (there’s a discount if you sign up for all four).

Variety – Very few camps are repeated in the summer. Many parents working downtown sign their children up for summer camps at the museum all summer long and never have repeated week. There are 27 camps in all.

Extended Hours – The museum offers “Beyond the Camp” Experience, which is before care and after care with planned games and activities with camp staff. It’s such a huge help for me, when my work day starts well before 9 a.m. camp does. Full-day campers also have supervision during the lunch hour, and they get the added perk of having the option of purchasing lunch (they can also bring a sack lunch).

Age Groups – The Durham Museum summer camps are divided by grade levels, so the camp content suits the abilities of the campers all the time. Camps are available for Grades 1-2, Grade 3-4, and Grades 5-6. Note: This is for the grade level kids will be entering in the 2017-2018 school year.

Ready For Durham Museum Summer Camp?

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Cost: Half-Day Week, $80/members and $90/non-members; Full-Day Week, $160/members and $180/non-members; Summer Fun Days (full-day camp), $40/Day or $140/four days for members and $45/day or $160/four days for non-members; Meet The Metr’O’ (weeklong, full-day), $170/members and $190/non-members.
“Beyond The Camp” Experience: $15/day or $60/week


Online at Durham.org

Call 402-444-5027

Email Education@DurhamMuseum.org

Write The Durham Museum, Education Dept., 801 S. 10th St., Omaha, NE 68108

Fax 402-444-5397, Attn: Education Dept.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary camp registration in compensation for writing this post.


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May 18, 2015

Exploring The Durham Museum With Kids

If you have a kid that has even a remote interest in trains, chances are, you’ve been to the Durham Museum in downtown Omaha. We’re going on five years of visiting the museum, and while we still hit the train stuff at the museum, the kids have progressed to exploring the rest of the museum.

This post was written in 2015 and updated in 2019 to reflect current prices and events. Disclosure: The Durham Museum provided complimentary admission for my family so we could explore the museum, and I could tell you about it. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

If you haven’t been to Durham in a while – or ever – here’s what you’re missing:

Visiting Omaha? Here's what you need to know about visiting The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha, especially if you're visiting with kids. Tips include things to look, special events to attend, and more! #familytravel #omaha #nebraska #guide

Activities to do with children at the Durham Museum

1. Explore the trains – The Durham Museum used to be Omaha’s Union Station, where 10,000 people passed through each day. It’s only natural that trains are a huge part of the museum.

Things to do at The Durham Museum - Walk around real trains.

The Durham has a huge model train exhibit that kids can interact with, as well as real train cars families can walk through. And, being the loudest thing in the museum, kids just love ringing the train bell.

Things kids can do at The Durham Museum - Kids like to ring the bell on the bottom level of the museum.

When I asked Jessica Brummer, director of marketing and public relations, for a little inside scoop on the trains, here’s what she suggested: Be on the look out for train car hosts. These volunteers are uber-knowledgeable about trains so ask them questions! “Some have worked here back when it was a train station. They’re great at explaining what it was like to ride the train.”

Along a similar vein as the train car is the streetcar. We’ve never been to the Durham and NOT ran through the streetcar at least once.

Things to look for at The Durham Museum - Kids love running through the old streetcar.

2. Visit the soda fountain – Here’s a trip back into time: The Durham has a functioning soda fountain, where the staff wears soda jerk uniforms and pour tasty phosphate (the original soda).

Where to eat at The Durham Museum - Visit the working soda fountain at The Durham Museum and get a phosphate, root beer float or a full lunch.

We ordered a chocolate malt, vanilla coke phosphate soda, and a rootbeer float during our recent visit. The malt and rootbeer float were hits with the kids

Treats at The Durham Museum - The soda fountain at the museum has root beer floats, popcorn and candy for purchase, as well as more substantial food for lunches.

Kids can also order at the candy counter. They’re not quite priced for the 20th century, but the candies are still pretty inexpensive.

Things you'll find at the Durham Museum soda fountain - Kids will always find the candy on display and available for purchase at the soda fountain.

3. Check out the teepee and earth lodge – Brummer said both are popular exhibits. My kids enjoyed running in and out of them several times.

4. Pose with the statues – Come on, everybody does it. The Durham’s gorgeous main hall features several statues of people doing what you’d expect people would be doing at a train station: Checking out departure times, saying their goodbyes, waiting for a loved one.

The grand hall is the first thing you see when you enter the Durham Museum. Look for statues scattered around the hall.

5. Head to the “Coin Room” – Brummer has noticed kids like looking at the ancient coins in the Byron Reed Exhibit.

6. Look for Scout the Buffalo – Being an actual buffalo, he’s pretty easy to find. Since you can’t touch Scout, the museum thoughtfully put a coat on display that you can touch.

7. Play! – You can’t miss the kid’s area set up near the elevators on the bottom level of the museum. Build with LEGOs, play with toy trains or construct your own marble run on a magnet wall.

More things to look for at the Durham Museum

There are a few places in the galleries I think families find interesting (at least, my family finds interesting). Be sure to check out the display of the Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898.

The Durham Museum has a room dedicated to The Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898.
A museum docent tried explaining to Farley how buildings and bridges just like the ones in this display once were real and existed for a short time in Omaha. The Durham Museum has a room dedicated to The Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898.

This large model has incredible details, and it gives you a peek at what downtown Omaha looked like for a brief period more than 100 years ago!

Also, as you walk around the museum, be on the lookout for old cars, a one-room schoolhouse, and other interesting sculptures.

There are few antique vehicles in the museum in addition to trains.
There's a model of a one-room schoolhouse in the lower level of the Durham Museum.
The Durham Museum incorporates sculpture art throughout the museum.

Hidden gems

There’s a photo archive in the basement that is open to the public. You can purchase prints there, or just take a look at really old photos of Omaha. I found a lot of photos here for my book, “Lost Restaurants of Omaha.”

It’s probably more interesting to adults to see what familiar haunts used to look like, though.

Annual special events at Durham Museum

In July – Railroad Days. Durham Museum is one of five participating venues and you can get up close to train on the railroad tracks outside.

Special events at The Durham - One of the most popular annual events is Railroad Days every July. The Durham Museum is one of the stops for the event.
Photo courtesy the Durham Musem

In July – Wild Wild West Days. Celebrate all things Wild West, and learn to lasso, watch a shootout and other fun activities.

In August – Root Beer Float Day. FREE root beer floats at the soda fountain!

In October – Great Halloween Haunt. Trick or treat to historical figures, join in a dance party, and make crafts. It ties in Halloween fun with a little historical education.

Nov. 23 through early January 2020 – Christmas at Union Station kicks off with the area’s largest indoor tree lighting celebration the day after Thanksgiving, and continues through the holiday season with family-friendly events like visits from Santa, concerts, the Ethnic Holiday Festival, the popular Noon Year’s Eve and many more.

The Durham Museum celebrates the New Year each year with a Noon Year's Eve celebration in the afternoon on Dec. 31.
Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

If you go

The Durham Museum

Where: 801 S. 10th St.

When: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (during the summer, the museum is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed major holidays.

Cost: Adults, $11; Seniors (62+), $8; Children (ages 3 – 12), $7; children 2 years and under, FREE; Members, FREE.

A note on memberships: If you’re going to visit the Durham Museum more than once a year, it pays to get a family membership. It’s $60 for 12 months, and includes admission to the special events like the Great Halloween Haunt and all the Christmas festivities. It also gets you discounts to the gift shop, soda fountain and summer camps.


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