April 12, 2014

Birthday Celebration Day 6: Omaha Children’s Museum Pass Giveaway

We cannot drive by the Omaha Children’s Museum without my son pointing it out, matter-of-factly mentioning it’s been a while since we’ve been there or just flat out telling me to stop.

Every child in Omaha knows the moment they see these doohickeys they're near the Omaha Children's Museum. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism.

Every child in Omaha knows the moment they see these doohickeys they’re near the Omaha Children’s Museum. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism.

He and his little sister love the place.

We recently renewed our family membership there because I foresee a lot of visits soon. On May 24, the newest temporary exhibit opens: Dinos The Big Dig.

Dinos-The-Big-Dig-Banner-2014

In addition to robotic dinosaurs, these things you’ll want to check out at The Big Dig:

  • Two-Story Dig Pit
  • Water Dino-Mine
  • Dino-Train (costs extra)
  • Photosaurus T-Rex
  • 40-foot Fossil Climber
  • Dino-Diner
  • Lil’ Explorers Tent
  • Paleo Tent
  • 3 Tiered Mosaic Climber

My kids love checking out the new exhibits at the museum, and they love dinosaurs, so I sense a hit in the works.

Omaha children's museumPlus, the museum is one of my go-to places when I need the kids to run out some of their excess energy and the weather outside isn’t cooperating. So, rainy, stormy spring weekends and unbelievably hot summer days often call for a children’s museum visit. I don’t mind since this place makes all of so happy.

Selfie with Farley during a recent evening visit for First Friday Family Date Night (my favorite time to visit!).

Selfie with Farley during a recent evening visit for First Friday Family Date Night (my favorite time to visit!).

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Giveaway!

OCM CollageWIN. jpg

Who wants a free day to the Omaha Children’s Museum? I’ve got FOUR (4) passes to the Omaha Children’s Museum for today’s giveaway! Great for families, grandparents, favorite aunts and uncles, you name it.

It’s easy to enter. You can get extra entries if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, plus you can tweet about this giveaway daily for an extra entry each day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 4. A random winner will be selected by Rafflecopter, and I will contact that winner via email with details on retrieving the tickets. Total value of the tickets is $36.

I want to thank the sponsors who are making Oh My! Omaha’s birthday celebration so awesome, especially Omaha Children’s Museum for providing tickets for today’s giveaway! Other great sponsors are Omaha Symphony, The Rose, Omaha Performing Arts, Vino Van Gogh, the Strategic Air & Space Museum, and Bluebarn Theatre.

 

Check out the other giveaways:

Win 4 tickets to see National Geographic Live’s Exploring the Red Planet – ends April 18

Win 2 tickets to see Omaha Symphony’s “Singin’ in the Rain” + a $25 gift card to Upstream Brewery – ends April 20

Win 4 tickets The Rose’s “Ramona Quimby” – ends April 20

Win 4 tickets to “Spank! Harder The Musical” – ends May 4

Win 4 passes to any Vino Van Gogh class in Omaha – ends May 4

Win 2 passes to the Strategic Air & Space Museum – ends May 4 (starts April 13)

Win 2 tickets to Bluebarn Theatre’s “33 Variations” – ends May 4 (starts April 13)

April 7, 2014

Birthday Celebration Day 1: Exploring The Red Planet Giveaway

7 days giveaways

Stock photo by Praveen (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en). Photo has been edited.

I’m so excited to have made it to one year of blogging! I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to maintain a blog, full-time job, and, most importantly, be a good wife and mother without half-assing something.

Nothing’s gone up in flames yet, so I’m calling this past year a success.

And so, I want to celebrate this milestone.

What to do, what to do?

Ah, heck. Let’s do a giveaway. Every day.

Please come back to the blog each day this week, read about the fantastic sponsor helping me throw this mega-giveaway and enter to win one of the fabulous prizes. And they are fabulous.

* * * * *

Giveaway!

Exploring Red Planet Win

For those who never gave up that dream of space travel – or those with a kid at home who dreams big – National Geographic Live’s Exploring the Red Planet is the show to see this month.

Kobie Boykins

Kobie Boykins

Kobie Boykins is a NASA engineer (not to mention an Omaha native) who will be presenting a fascinating look at Mars on Tuesday, April 22. His enthusiasm for space exploration, Mars in particular, is engaging and infectious – you’ll love this guy!

Boykins worked on the Mars Rovers, so he knows a thing or two about the planet. He’ll talk about his career, show the latest images from Mars and discuss the future of exploration. You and your budding explorers (or nerdy smart friends) will be inspired.

OPA logo_colorExploring the Red Planet is presented by Omaha Performing Arts (full disclosure: I work for Omaha Performing Arts). The speaking engagement is Tuesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Want to see this show? Win FOUR (4) tickets to see Exploring the Red Planet.

It’s easy to enter. You can get extra entries if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, plus you can tweet about this giveaway daily for an extra entry each day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 18. A random winner will be selected by Rafflecopter, and I will contact that winner with details on retrieving the tickets. Total value of the tickets is $120.

I want to thank the sponsors who are making Oh My! Omaha’s birthday celebration so awesome, especially Omaha Performing Arts for providing tickets for today’s giveaway! Other great sponsors are Omaha Symphony, The Rose, Omaha Children’s Museum, Vino Van Gogh, and the Strategic Air & Space Museum. Disclosure: I work for Omaha Performing Arts.

Check out the other giveaways:

Win two tickets to see Omaha Symphony’s “Singin’ in the Rain” + a $25 gift card to Upstream Brewery – ends April 20 (starts April 8)

Win 4 tickets The Rose’s “Ramona Quimby” – ends April 20 (starts April 9)

Win 4 tickets to “Spank! Harder The Musical” – ends April 27 (starts April 10)

Win 4 passes to any Vino Van Gogh class in Omaha – ends April 27 (starts April 11)

Win a family pass to the Omaha Children’s Museum – ends May 4 (starts April 12)

Win 2 passes to the Strategic Air & Space Museum – ends May 4 (starts April 13)

April 3, 2014

Fun Things To Do In Omaha April 4-6

You know it’s spring when baseball has started. Check out the fun things going on in Omaha this weekend, starting with a baseball game, eh?

Omaha Storm Chasers vs. Nashville Sounds

storm chasers logoWhen: Tonight and Friday, 7:05 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 2:05 p.m. Fireworks follow all Friday games and Family Fun Day is every Sunday.

Where: Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, Neb.

Why: You’ve been waiting for baseball season to begin forever. Purchase tickets here.

Who’d like this: Sports fanatics; all ages (though, honestly, my toddler did not stay seated for 5 minutes at the one game we went to last year); families who like fresh air; fireworks (Fridays only, yo)

Tip: Berm seating is only $7 per person and kids 2 and younger are FREE, plus the first 50 kids (10 years and under) to arrive at the ticket office will be able to purchase tickets for berm seating for just $1, all season long.

Omaha Symphony’s “All Aboard”

All_Aboard_OmahaWhen: Sunday, 2 p.m. (get there an hour early for the pre-show activities!)

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Why: This is the perfect performance to introduce youngsters to classical music. First, it’s transportation themed, so hello! Kids love that stuff. Plus, there will be a video screen for kids (and you) to watch while the orchestra plays.

Who’d like this: Classical music lovers and the kids they’re raising; kids who love “things that go”; preschoolers on up;

Tip: Tickets are $12 each, and that’s a steal for a professional symphonic concert. Purchase here.

Teddy Bear Weekend

When: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Note: ER closes at 1 p.m.)Teddy Bear Weekend

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

Why: This is just stinkin’ adorable, that’s why. Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal for a check up, including height, heartbeat, ear and eye exams and, if needed, a trip to the emergency room.

Who’d like this: Toddlers to grade schoolers (older kids will like the zoo, skipping the activity stations); parents wanting to start pushing that interest in a medical career early;

Tip: Children, ages 3-12, who bring in their favorite stuffed animal will receive FREE admission to the zoo. Members are always FREE; everyone else has to pay zoo admission.

Need more options for your weekend? Head over to Out With Sprout to see their awesome calendar of events in and around Omaha.

April 1, 2014

Highlights From Omaha Performing Arts’ 14-15 Season

Omaha Performing Arts announced its 2014-2015 season yesterday. As some of you know, full disclosure, I work for Omaha Performing Arts, so I’ve been pondering this upcoming season for months now.

OPA logo_color

Here’s my honest opinion on what I think are the highlights, or at least the stuff I think kids will like. I wouldn’t consider bringing my kids to a lot of the shows in our season (a toddler at a Lisa Lampanellis show? Nuh uh), but there’s plenty to choose from.

Here are a season’s worth of shows to consider:

Pre-K to early grade school crowd

Dinosaur Train LIVE! is Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater.

Dinosaur Train LIVE! is Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater.

Dinosaur Train Live! Buddy’s Big Adventure – Jan. 23, 2015. This is a live theatrical production of the PBS series. If your kids loved Sid the Science Kid Live this year, this is right up your alley.

Bubbles from John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean, which is Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum.

Bubbles from John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean, which is Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum.

John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean – February 20, 2015. It’s a  live, black-light puppet show. It looks pretty imaginative and fun for youngsters.

Grade school crowd

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Starring the Rockettes is Nov. 13-30 at the Orpheum Theater. Photo by Paul Kolnik for MSG Entertainment NYC

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Starring the Rockettes is Nov. 13-30 at the Orpheum Theater. Photo by Paul Kolnik for MSG Entertainment NYC

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes – November 13-30. You’ll get into the Christmas spirit early this year (how could you not when there’s a living Nativity in the show?). Expect an extravagant production with music and high kicking, gorgeous costumes, a full-size double-decker bus and Santa.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast" is Dec. 19-21 at the Orpheum Theater. Poto by Amy Boyle

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” is Dec. 19-21 at the Orpheum Theater.
Photo by Amy Boyle

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” – Dec. 19- 21. Do I even need to say anything about this Broadway musical?! OK, since it is a Broadway show, only bring kids who can handle nearly three hours of theater, no matter how enchanting it is.

Catch Sinbad at the Holland Center on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Catch Sinbad at the Holland Center on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Sinbad – February 6, 2015. He’s one of the cleanest comedians out there and you can feel comfortable bringing older kids to this show. Plus, he’s really funny (ranked by Comedy Central as one of the 100 best comedians of all time).

The Golden Dragon Acrobats will be at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 7 p.m.

The Golden Dragon Acrobats will be at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Golden Dragon Acrobats – April 29, 2015. Your kids are going to be amazed by the feats this Chinese acrobatic touring company will perform (you will be too).

Pre-teens and teens crowd

The Blue Man Group performs at the Orpheum Theater Oct. 24-26. Photo by Paul Kolnik

The Blue Man Group performs at the Orpheum Theater Oct. 24-26. Photo by Paul Kolnik

Blue Man Group – October 24-26. Such a fun, smart show that’s hard to describe. It’s comedy and music thrown at you through a wild multimedia presentation. They were very entertaining the last time they played the Orpheum.

The photographer who took this photo, Carsten Peter, will present Extreme Planet on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center.

The photographer who took this photo, Carsten Peter, will present Extreme Planet on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center.

Extreme Planet – February 10, 2015. This is part of the National Geographic Live Series and features Carsten Peter, an extreme weather photographer. He’ll share stunning pictures and stories about his career going to extreme ends of the earth.

The underwater photographer who took this photo, Brian Skerry, will present Ocean Soul on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center.

The underwater photographer who took this photo, Brian Skerry, will present Ocean Soul on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center.

Ocean Soul – March 10, 2015. Underwater photographer Brian Skerry will share some captivating tales from the deep as well as share gorgeous images you’ve come to expect from National Geographic photographers.

Primatologist Mireya Mayor will present Pink Boots and a Machete on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center. Photo by Mark Thiessen

Primatologist Mireya Mayor will present Pink Boots and a Machete on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center. Photo by Mark Thiessen

Pink Boots and a Machete – April 7, 2015. Primatologist Mireya Mayor is a fascinating wildlife expert and she’ll be talking about working in exotic locations, and like the other two National Geographic shows, expect pretty pictures.

Pilobolus Dance Theatre performs Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater.

Pilobolus Dance Theatre performs Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater.

Pilobolus Dance Theatre – April 23, 2015. I saw their show the last time they were in Omaha and I’ve been a fan since. What they do is nothing short of phenomenal feats of athleticism. They’re going to do a Penn & Teller piece described as, “the ultimate in gripping, do-not-try-this-at-home choreography” – intriguing, no?

Date Night Alert

Ballroom with a Twist is Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum.

Ballroom with a Twist is Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum.

Ballroom with a Twist – Jan. 21, 2015. If you’ve watched “Dancing with the Stars” and thought some of the dances were hot, wait ‘til you see them performed live. This is the show for reality TV fans because not only are there pro dancers from that show, there are stars from “American Idol” paired up with them.

Hot Sardines will play at the 1200 CLUB inside the Holland Center on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 at 7 p.m. Photo by Harry Fellows

Hot Sardines will play at the 1200 CLUB inside the Holland Center on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 at 7 p.m. Photo by Harry Fellows

Hot Sardines – Feb. 17, 2015. This is a jazz party band out of New Orleans playing on Mardi Gras. They’re described as war time Paris via New Orleans, so think rowdy hot jazz with some salty, sultry vocals. It’s going to be fun. Plus, they’re playing in the 1200 CLUB, which is a cozy nightclub kind of place (think candles on the table, full bar, dance floor).

"Once" runs May 12-17, 2015 at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. Photo by Joan Marcus

“Once” runs May 12-17, 2015 at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. Photo by Joan Marcus

“Once” – May 12-17, 2015. I loved the movie, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the Broadway touring production of it. “Once” tells the tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his songs. The songs you loved in the movie? They’re in this musical.

* * * * *

A caveat to my list above: Don’t feel like you can only bring your kid to the shows listed in the appropriate age group I arbitrarily picked. You know your kids. Some youngsters can sit still for three hours and will LOVE “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ll probably take my son to Blue Man Group, for instance because, having seen it before, I know it’s something he’d totally love. And seeing how well the kids liked the taiko drummers this year, I think they’d enjoy something like Golden Dragon Acrobats.

* * * * *

So that’s just a handful of shows in the Omaha Performing Arts Season. It doesn’t include all the shows I’m excited about, but it’s enough for now. Season tickets to the series are available at OmahaPerformingArts.org. Tickets to individual shows go on sale later.

Your turn: What show are you excited about in Omaha Performing Arts’ new season?

March 4, 2014

Review: ‘Jackie & Me’ Entertains While Challenging You

I took my favorite theater buddy with me to see “Jackie & Me” at The Rose last weekend.

My son was very excited waiting for the play "Jackie & Me" to begin. Well, I'll be honest, he only smiles for cameras now when I say "Don't smile."Maybe he wasn't excited?

My son was very excited waiting for the play “Jackie & Me” to begin. Well, I’ll be honest, he only smiles for cameras now when I say “Don’t smile.”Maybe he wasn’t excited?

I was unsure how he’d do with a historical drama, but good news – he enjoyed it!

So much so, that for the first time, he agreed to get cast autographs after the show and get a picture with them. I swear he was all smiles right after this picture was taken and he was showing off his autographs once we got home.

The look of a happy boy just going stone faced to spite his mom.

The look of a happy boy just going stone faced to spite his mom. Pictured with my poker-faced son are Aaron Ellis and Kimberly Clark Kaczmarek,

What to expect

The play is right around 60 minutes, no music or dance numbers…we’re talking baseball here, folks – there’s no dancing in baseball. If you have a fan in the house, he or she will love Joey (Robby Stone) and his obsession with the game.

The play deals with Jackie Robinson, pro baseball’s first African American player and the trials he went through overcoming racism in America at that time. There are a lot of mean things said to him on stage, and it might make you or your children uncomfortable. I prepped my 4-year-old ahead of time by explaining this play was about people being mean to a baseball player because of the color of his skin.

Expect to be wrapped up in the time travel story almost as much as Jackie’s triumph.

Don’t forget to see the small exhibit of Robinson memorabilia in the lobby.

Timing a potty break

Go before the start of the show. There is no intermission.

Is it kid-friendly?

Yes, it’s The Rose! It’s recommended for children older than 6 due to the themes of racial inequality and intolerance. I saw many children younger than that in the Saturday matinee audience. Some sat through it better than others (there’s a cry room). It’s a good history lesson we should give our kids the opportunity to learn about in an engaging way, so I took the chance and brought my 4-year-old. It’s tough, no doubt, for a preschooler to understand why someone is being mean to another because of his skin color or ethnicity – I took seeing this show with my young son as an opportunity for to talk about treating people nicely and fairly.

Will an adult like this?

Certainly, and I don’t even really like baseball. There were several reasons why I liked this show: The historical background is fascinating and it’s presented in an entertaining way for me. But best of all, I liked that as a production written for a young audience, it doesn’t talk down to children.

What was it about again?

"Jackie & Me" runs through March 16 at The Rose.

“Jackie & Me” runs through March 16 at The Rose.

The story of Jackie Robinson told with a time-traveling twist: A young boy can be transported back in time by holding a baseball card. The 10-year-old, baseball-obsessed boy named Joey Stoshack with a temper, travels back to 1947 to research his project for Black History Month. He witness Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (played by one of my favorite Omaha actors, Nils Haaland) sign Jackie Robinson. What follows is a recount of Robinson’s challenge to the color line in baseball. Joey experiences the a surprise when he travels back in time: His skin darkened, offering him a startling personal experience with racism.

It’s an inspiring play, especially when you watch teammates and others step forward in support of Robinson. The play does a great job not only explaining how Robinson changed baseball, but how he change racial dynamics in America.

If you want to go

“Jackie & Me”

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

When: Through March 16; performances on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., and on Sundays at 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. show on Saturday, March 8, will be interpreted for the hearing impaired.

Cost: Tickets are $18 per person, but get discount ticket vouchers for $14 each at all Hy-Vee stores. You can also purchase tickets at the box office or www.rosetheater.org.

Disclaimer: The Rose provided complimentary tickets so that I could review the play. The opinions expressed are mine.

March 3, 2014

Sound The Trumpets: ‘Carnival Of The Animals’ Is Soon

 Omaha Symphony’s next performance in the Family Series is “Carnival of the Animals” this Sunday at 2 p.m.

It’s live symphony music, as should be expected, but with some special guests.

Flying ones.

You'll typically see Penelope at the Omaha zoo's indoor rainforest, but I got a chance to watch her soar through Kiewit Hall inside the Holland Performing Arts Center last week. You'll get to see her, too, if you attend "Carnival of the Animals" on Sunday.

You’ll typically see Penelope at the Omaha zoo’s indoor rainforest, but I got a chance to watch her soar through Kiewit Hall inside the Holland Performing Arts Center last week. You’ll get to see her, too, if you attend “Carnival of the Animals” on Sunday.

Furry ones.

This prairie dog was a little too excited about being in the concert hall for rehearsal. I'm hoping he'll be in the show - because he's stinking cute - but he might not be.

This prairie dog was a little too excited about being in the concert hall for rehearsal. I’m hoping he’ll be in the show – because he’s stinking cute – but he might not be.

Feathered ones.

Foster rehearsing for "Carnival of the Animals" last week. This bird is a total ham and your kids are going to love his "Ta da!"

Foster rehearsing for “Carnival of the Animals” last week. This bird is a total ham and your kids are going to love his “Ta da!”

I’m more excited than a grown woman should be but let me tell you, it never gets old seeing wild animals. Love them at the zoo, love them in unexpected settings like a concert hall.

What to expect

Expect a professional concert tailored to the tastes of children. Short. Interactive.

With a chicken that plays the piano.

Here's Q-Tip, the zoo's resident "Beethov-hen." It's their joke, not mine.

Here’s Q-Tip, the zoo’s resident “Beethov-hen.” It’s their joke, not mine.

Expect lively music that makes kids picture animal movements and sounds, like a roar of a lion or a stampede of elephants.

Thomas Wilkins is conducting and I’m told he’s a lot of fun to watch. He only conducts one show in the Family Series, and this is the one.

When I interviewed T. Adam Goos last year, he told me if I only saw one show, this was the one because Wilkins is so engaging.

I attended the symphony’s Spooktacular in October, so check out my review if you want to get a better idea.

When to get there

Early. The show starts at 2 p.m. but you don’t want to miss the pre-show activities that start at 1 p.m.

This show features a petting zoo! I was told by an Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium representative that you could expect probably four animals. Likely, a turtle, snake bunny and… wait for it… a penguin! Squee!! OK, you can’t touch the penguin, but it will still be neat to see one up close.

And as always at each of these Family shows, there will be an instrument petting zoo for kids to touch and play (in case you’re wondering, they clean off the woodwinds and brass before each kid tries to play).

Tip

The performance is general admission so as soon as you get to the Holland Center, make your way to the concert hall to find good seats. Leave your coats there and then explore the pre-show activities.

If you go

Omaha Symphony presents “Carnival of the Animals”

When: Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Get tickets: They’re super reasonable for families ($12 each) at Ticket Omaha.

Disclosure: Omaha Symphony is providing complimentary tickets for me to attend “Carnival of the Animals.” All opinions expressed in this post are mine.