August 10, 2016

Vintage Wheels & Hot Air Balloons This Weekend

Looking for fun things to do this weekend in Omaha? There’s a lot going on, but I found three events for families looking for something different, something a little out of the ordinary, to do this week. Hot air balloons? Vintage cars? Woven art? Cool, right?

For more ideas, visit the post 40+ Fun Things To Do In August.


10th Annual Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival

Nebraska balloon and wine festival

When: Friday, 5 to 11 p.m., and Saturday, 3 to 11 p.m. (balloon launch starts at 7 p.m., balloon glow at 8:30 p.m. each night)

Where: Coventry Campus, just south of 204th and Q streets

Why: Mom and Dad get a little wine tasting, kids get a lot of hot air balloons. Winning all around.

Who’d like it: Wine lovers; hot air balloon enthusiasts



Wrapped, Dyed & Woven: A Celebration of the Work of Sheila Hicks

Joslyn logo

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (KickstART kids hands-on activities from 10 a.m. to noon)

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.

Why: You’re curious about the new exhibit and want to show your kids a different form of artwork.

Who’d like it: Art lovers; creative types; families on a budget

Note: The event is FREE but if you want to see the exhibition, you’ll have to pay admission. Go between 10 a.m. to noon when it’s half the price, $5 for adults (kids are FREE).

2016 Vintage Wheels at the Fort


When: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Fort Omaha, 30th and Fort streets (on the Metropolitan Community College campus)

Why: If you have car shows, and really love the FREE ones, this event hosted by Douglas County Historical Society is for you. Plus, mix in additional local histry with by visiting the General Crook House Museum for FREE that day.

Who’d like it: History buffs; gear heads; curious types wanting to see pre-1965 era cars; families on a budget

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July 11, 2016

17 Things To Do During Railroad Days

Looking for the Railroad Days 2018 post? Click here!

Update: The Family Pass giveaway has ended. Congrats to Shane T. and Lisa H.!

The annual event that celebrates all things railroad – Railroad Days – is back and this year, the event organizers will be highlighting railroads’ connections to national parks. The family-friendly event is July 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at six unique railroad-themed attractions in Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

17 Things to Do during railroad days 2016
Read on to see what special activities are planned plus how you can win a family pass to attend! 

A family pass gets your family into Lauritzen Gardens, The Durham Museum, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the RailsWest Railroad Museum, the Historic General Dodge House and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail on both days. Most of these attractions usually have an admission fee, so the family pass is a great deal!

Our region has a rich railroad heritage and you can learn more about it during Railroad Days 2016. In addition to their regular exhibits and offerings, attractions will offer activities and educational opportunities in support of this year’s theme: All Set for the West: Railroads and National Parks. There will be several hands-on activities for children as well as the opportunity to get really close to huge engines, plus a chance to ride a mini-locomotive!

17 Things To Do During Railroad Days 2016


The mini UP train will have free rides for children at Lauritzen Garden. My kids loved riding it last year!

The mini UP train will have free rides for children at Lauritzen Gardens. My kids loved riding it last year!

– Get up close to Centennial No. 6900 and Big Boy No. 4023 at Union Pacific Railroad at Kenefick Park.

– Visit the model railroad garden. This area is a kid-favorite!

– Rides on board the popular Union Pacific miniature train, an innovative scale model of a 900-series locomotive.

– Enjoy model train exhibits, an 18-inch passenger train made from LEGO® bricks, railroad ditties from entertainer Paul Siebert, as well as children’s activities and 100 acres of display gardens.

– Where: First and Bancroft streets



Get up close to huge engines during Railroad Days 2016. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

Get up close to huge locomotives like Rio Grande, which will be located trackside at The Durham Museum during Railroad Days 2016. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

– See Union Pacific’s beautiful Denver, Rio Grande and Western Heritage locomotive. The heritage locomotive will be located on trackside for guests to see up close and take photos.

– Freight Train Frank will perform railroad songs.

– Explore the summer exhibition, “Odyssey’s SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure”

– Where: 801 S. 10th St.



The Union Pacific Railroad Museum will have cool travel memorabilia marketing travel to national parks.

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum will have cool travel memorabilia marketing travel to national parks.

– See exhibit celebrating railroads and the National Park service, including Union Pacific photography and parks-centric marketing materials 

– See the original motion picture film from the Union Pacific Movie department from the 1940s-1950s filmed on location in Yellowstone, Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks as part of the exhibit.

– Where: 200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa



Climb aboard train cars and engines at the RailsWest Railroad Museum. Admission is included with the Family Pass during Railroad Days 2016.

Tour train cars and engines at the RailsWest Railroad Museum. Admission is included with the Family Pass during Railroad Days 2016.

– Tour the historic Rock Island Depot’s displays and artifacts from the numerous rail lines that passed through Council Bluffs.

– H.O. scale model train layout operated by the Greater Omaha Society of Model Engineers

– Climb aboard old steam engines outdoors

– Where: 16th Avenue and South Main Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa



– Tour the Victorian home of one of Council Bluffs’ most famous residents, General Grenville M. Dodge, “the greatest railroad builder of all time.”

– Where: 605 Third St., Council Bluffs, Iowa



– Visit the trail’s headquarters and interact with displays about animals, uniforms, plants, and the American Indians important to the expedition’s success. Read about what kids will like at the visitors center in this post I wrote earlier this spring!

– Where: Located next to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on the Omaha side


If you go

Railroad Days 2016

When: July 16 or 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $15 for family pass (two adults and up to four dependent children), $5 pass is available for one additional adult with the purchase of a family pass. Purchase tickets at all venues during Railroad Days (except of the Lewis and Clark Trail). Guests can still start their day at Lewis and Clark and then purchase their pass at the next location. No pre-sale tickets will be sold.

Tip: Parking is available at all six venues.



I’m giving away TWO (2) Family Passes to Railroad Days 2016! There are two ways to enter:

  1. Follow @ohmyomaha on Instagram and leave a comment below that you are a follower. One winner will be drawn Wednesday, July 13, using Because of the quick turnaround, the winner will need to respond to the email I send within 24 hours.
  2. One subscriber will automatically receive a Family Pass to Railroad Days. If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe for FREE here. I will contact the winner on Wednesday, July 13. The winner will have 24 hours to respond before I draw another name.
May 26, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend In Omaha

Memorial Day Weekend is a busy one in Omaha – Loessfest, great concerts, fun stuff for kids. It wasn’t easy to recommend just three things to do this weekend, but here goes:

Helicopter Day


When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (helicopters descend at 10-11; helicopter rides from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Mad Scientist demo at 2 p.m.)

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 West Parkway, Ashland, Neb.

WhyIf your kids can’t get enough of helicopters and flying stuff, this is the event for them. they can watch helicopters descend to the museum between 10 and 11 a.m. and if you feel like splurging, you can take a helicopter ride from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rides are $60 per person ($65 if using a credit card)

Who’d like this: Aviation geeks; kids who like “things that go”;


Omaha Symphony Presents “Superheroes: Music From Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, The Avengers and More”


When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (register for the costume contest by 7:15)

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Why: You and your kid love superhero movies and this is the ultimate way to hear those memorable scores. Plus, it’s another excuse to dress in costume.

Who’d like this: Comic fans; superhero wannabes; classical music fans who enjoy a variety; kids who can sit through full-length concerts (this is not a Family Series show)

Tip: This is not a Family Series show, so it is neither short nor in the afternoon. Likewise, tickets are more than the Family Series shows. Just a heads up.


Loessfest – Fireworks for Freedom Omaha Symphony Concert

A concert during Loessfest in 2014.

A concert during Loessfest in 2014. Photo courtesy Emspace

When: Monday, 8 p.m.

Where: Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, Council Bluffs’ side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Why: You’re looking for something FREE to do and nothing beats patriotic music and fireworks.

Who’d like this: Outdoor concert fans; fireworks lovers; families on a budget; parents who like concerts that have space for kids to play

Tip: On Saturday, the Imagination Movers will perform at FREE concert at Loessfest followed by a screening of “Inside Out.” Get the details here.

* * * * *

There is a whole lot more going on at in Omaha this weekend – the Children’s Parade and four new exhibits at Omaha Children’s Museum; Memorial Day Weekend events at the zoo; and so much more! See all of them here.

April 28, 2016

3 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve challenged myself to finding budget-friendly things for my family to do after being a little too spendy lately, so my sights for this post have automatically have gone to the free stuff. Here are three FREE things to do this weekend with children:


“William Joyce: Guardian of Childhood”


Photo courtesy Joslyn Art Musem

When: Today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.

Why: Children’s books illustrations are really accessible forms of art for young children, and these are really charming…plus, it’s right by the family-favorite destination to play, Art Works.

Who’d like it: Arty types; bookworms; young artists; families on a budget


Family Movie Night ‧ “The Book of Life”


When: Friday, 5:30 p.m. sugar skull craft, 6 p.m. movie

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Why: It’s a good way to spend quality time together, especially if you help your kiddo make the mask.

Who’d like it: Movie lovers; families on a budget


Children’s Day Story Times & Fiestas


When: Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (Willa Cather, Saddlebrook), 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. (South Omaha), and 2 p.m. (Florence)

Where: Willa Cather Public Library, 1905 S. 44th St.; Saddlebrook Public Library, 14850 Laurel Ave.; South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St.; Florence Public Library, 2920 Bondesson St.

Why: Storytimes and activities celebrating Children’s Day are being held all over the city this weekend, surely there’s one near you. Plus, if you make the trek to Saddlebrook or Florence, your child could get a FREE book (while supplies last).

Who’d like this: Bookworms; younger children; families on a budget


Want more options? Check out my post of Big Ol’ List Of Fun Things To Do In April.


Have some dough to spend, but prefer to spend wisely? Check out the local deals at Groupon!

February 1, 2014

My Daughter’s First Show At The Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater’s splendor never gets old for me. I go there often for my job, and each time I walk in, I feel inspired. Awed. How cool is it that I work here (OK, I really work at the Holland Center, but some nights, it’s my job to be at the Orpheum).

Seeing the building through a child’s eyes, though, is an even more impressive experience.

On Thursday, Mr. Wonderful and I took the kids to see “Sid the Science Kid Live!” presented by Omaha Performing Arts at the Orpheum.  It was Mooch’s first time at the theater. I think she liked it.

My 2-year-old's first show at Omaha's Orpheum Theater.

My 2-year-old’s first show at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater.

We arrived about a half-hour before the show so we could take part in the activities in the KIDS ZONE. Alas, 900 other people thought the same thing.

So, we colored a little and then waited in line for balloon animals.

Mooch can't resist a chance to color. Luckily, no wait here.

Mooch can’t resist a chance to color. Luckily, no wait here.

Then it was show time.

Farley was transfixed the entire time. The songs, the colors, the characters, even the way they talked, everything about “Sid” spoke to him. Mooch sat for most of it, but she’s still young enough to be interested in the treats we ate than the story. Mr. Wonderful zoned out while the kid seated behind him repeatedly waved his light up toy in his face.

At intermission, we explored the theater. Up and down the grand stairs we went, Mooch having to do it herself, carrying her half-deflated balloon dog with her.

Mr. Wonderful, the kids and the lone surviving balloon animal.

Mr. Wonderful, the kids and the lone surviving balloon animal.

The second half of the show rolled along quickly, but not quick enough for little Mooch. Mr. Wonderful left early with her to get the car while Farley and I watched and danced to the end of the show.

“Sid the Science Kid Live!” entertained the preschool to grade school crowd; not really the adults. That’s pretty much what I expected. As parents, it was enough to see our kids’ excited reactions to it all – and I’ll admit, it was a relief to make it through without any meltdowns.

July 2, 2013

Joslyn Art Museum With Children

Edited: Nov. 26, 2014

My earliest memory of the Joslyn Art Museum was a class field trip. I don’t recall visiting the museum with my parents, though. I don’t know if they didn’t trust me – I do have this compulsion to touch merchandise at stores, and Mr. Wonderful thinks my tendancy to drop breakables is like that of Chunk’s from “The Goonies.” Maybe they really thought I’d do some damage at an art museum.

I see the potential in my kids, too, but I still have brought them to Joslyn. Why not, I figured? It’s FREE now.

Don't be fooled. Mooch and other go-go-go toddlers aren't so calm at museums. You've got to be on your toes!
Ha! Ha! Ha! As if this is how our visit went.

I tested the waters recently with Mr. Wonderful and our darling, and turns out touch-feely, children. We – and the priceless works of art – survived, though, and here’s what I learned.

Related post: Tips For Enjoying Gallery Visits With Kids

Taking small children to Joslyn Art Museum

The Art Packs are themed and designed for specific age groups. We went with the Shapes pack for our preschooler and toddler.
The Art Packs are themed and designed for specific age groups. We went with the Shapes pack for our preschooler and toddler.

1. Head to the Scott EdTech Gallery first and pick up a themed backpack (an Art Pack, if you wanna know the lingo). With toddlers in tow, we opted for the mini art pack with a shapes them, which had a board book, a shape sorter and a  suggestion on what to look for in the paintings when you roam the museum. Other focus on architecture and sketching and other stuff beyond my kidlets.

2. If you have your themed backpack and you’ve done the activities, then it’s time to explore. In an ideal world, you’ll stroll casually with your children and they’d say “Look, Mama! There’s a circle!” In my world, I chase Mooch while Mr. Wonderful shuffles along with Farley, leaving cameras and odds and ends behind on benches. Make no goals and you’ll enjoy yourself.

This fountain. I tell you, kids are attracted to it like flies to a Coke bottle.
This fountain. I tell you, kids are attracted to it like flies to a Coke bottle.

3. Visit the fountain. You don’t even need to plan it in your tour, kids seem to find this instinctually. It’s a charming area to sit for a spell, while your children splash your back. Fun!

There are zones designed especially for children at Joslyn.
There are zones designed especially for children at Joslyn.

4. Visit the areas designated for children: The Mind’s Eye Gallery and the open space by the Special Exhibit area (near that cool, swirly Chihuly). The Mind’s Eye Gallery often features a well-known children’s book illustrator, like Dr. Seuss next month (yay!). Upstairs, you’ll find a colorful little corner to rest while your little artist draws, reads or wrecks havoc. Add their creation to the other abstract works of art made by youngsters.

Farley's the Dali of his preschool classroom.
Play, color and read with your children during your visit to Joslyn Art Museum. He’s the Dali in his daycare.

There’s a drawer of games that older kids may enjoy playing as well. Younger ones will enjoy the mess they make.

Play, color and read with your children during your visit to Joslyn Art Museum.
Play, color and read with your children during your visit to Joslyn Art Museum.

5. Consider a trip just to sketch or take pictures. Farley enjoyed taking pictures with his camera (no flash).

Farley fancies himself a budding photographer. He's got the eye.
Farley fancies himself a budding photographer. He’s got the eye.

6. For older children, do a scavenger hunt while you’re there. Get the iArt scavenger hunt for your smartphone here.

Farley in the Discovery Garden.
Farley in the Discovery Garden.

7. End your visit outdoors with a wild rumpus in the sculpture gardens. On the northwest corner, you’ll find the colorful Discovery Garden made just for children. To the east of the museum is the Peter Kiewit Foundation Sculpture Garden. Yes, you can get into the reflecting pool, which is why I suggested you end here.

End your visit on a hot day with a slow walk in the reflective pool. Slow. A hard-learned lesson for some scrappy toddlers.
End your visit on a hot day with a slow walk in the reflective pool. Slow – that was a hard-learned lesson for a particularly scrappy toddler.

* * * * *

More things to know about Joslyn and young children:

– A new space called Art Works opened in November 2014 featuring nine stations to explore various forms of visual art, from sculpture to drawing to animation. Read about the kid-friendly space here.

– There are self-guided art activities for children every other Saturday morning. See details here.

– Joslyn and the Omaha Public Library offer free story time each month. See details here.

* * * * *

Check back tomorrow for a special post about visiting Omaha art galleries with children. Local artist Lori Elliott-Bartle and freelance art writer Suzanne Smith Arney will share tips on making the most of your visit!