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
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
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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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.
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
– 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
THE 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.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD MUSEUM
– 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
RAILSWEST RAILROAD MUSEUM
– 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
HISTORIC GENERAL DODGE HOUSE
– 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
LEWIS AND CLARK NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
– 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:
Follow @ohmyomaha on Instagram and leave a comment below that you are a follower. One winner will be drawn Wednesday, July 13, using random.org. Because of the quick turnaround, the winner will need to respond to the email I send within 24 hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
There’s a drawer of games that older kids may enjoy playing as well. Younger ones will enjoy the mess they make.
5. Consider a trip just to sketch or take pictures. Farley enjoyed taking pictures with his camera (no flash).
6. For older children, do a scavenger hunt while you’re there. Get the iArt scavenger hunt for your smartphone here.
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.
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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.
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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!