October 18, 2019

Top Posts In 2019

Reader Favorites Of 2019

If the top posts of 2019 are any indication, Oh My! Omaha readers love two things: Food and traveling. Here are the reader favorites of the year:

Locals share their favorite must-try restaruants in Omaha for brunch, lunch, dinner and everything in between.

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Omaha restaurants take breakfast and brunch seriously. Here 19 of the best placs in Omaha to get breakfast!

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Find 101 things to do in Nebraska, including adventures outdoors, cultural attractions indoors, and unique foods to try.

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From weird decorations to unusual entertainment, Omaha has more than 15 quirky restaurants to go for your next meal.

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October 2, 2019

10+ Best Things To Do In Nebraska City

Every fall, my family joins thousands of others making the short trip to Nebraska City. In the past, this was a day trip for us, but this year, we planned a longer stay to see and do more things. Keep reading to find my list of favorite things to do in Nebraska City, especially in the fall!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

10+ things to do in Nebraska City - This guide shares the best time to visit, best thing to do and eat, and the best place to stay in Nebraska City. Guide includes what's fun for kids at Arbor Day Farm. #sponsored #ArborDayFarm #Nebraska #guide

Where is Nebraska City?

Nebraska City is the county seat of Otoe County located in southeastern Nebraska. The population is less than 10,000.

Nebraska City is a two-lane highway drive from Omaha. It’s not far, and can be pretty scenic, if you like golden fields in the fall.

Here’s the drive distance to Nebraska City from several metro areas:

  • -Omaha to Nebraska City – 40 miles
  • -Lincoln to Nebraska City – 50 miles
  • -Topeka, Kan. to Nebraska City – 120 miles
  • -Kansas City, Mo. to Nebraska City – 140 miles

Timing a visit to Nebraska City

Very few people are going to argue this: Nebraska City’s prime time is autumn! Home to Arbor Day, trees are treasured in the city, so you can imagine how beautiful things get in the fall.

Sunset view of Nebraska City from Lied Lodge & Conference Center. Early fall is a great time to visit Nebraska City.

Nebraska City is home to popular apple orchards and pumpkin patches, which again, are best to visit in the fall. Apples are ripe for picking in mid-September and pumpkins are ready shortly after that.

Nebraska weather can be unpredictable in the fall, so if you plan a visit, pack in layers. Don’t forget an umbrella! We got caught in the rain on our recent visit.

My second favorite time to visit Nebraska City is in the summer, when the green trees provide ample shade. If you want to see sunflowers — and there is a sunflower field at Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure — you’ll want to visit the last week in August.

Nebraska City hotel recommendations

There are not a lot of options for hotels in Nebraska City. You’ll find a range of motels and moderate-priced hotels, as well as my recommended accommodations: Lied Lodge & Conference Center.

Want to learn more about the hotel and save 10% off a stay? Visit the Lied Lodge & Conference Center website! Be sure to use promo code OHMYOMAHA.

The impressive lobby of the Lied Lodge, my top recommended hotel in Nebraska City

My last stay at the lodge was about 15 years ago, and in the past five years, the Lied Lodge has undergone renovations. It’s gorgeous!

What I love about Lied Lodge is that it’s very family-friendly, focused on sustainability, and it’s within walking distance of our favorite Nebraska City destination: Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure.

Actually, the Tree Adventure and Lied Lodge are all part of the 260-acre Arbor Day Farm, managed by Arbor Day Foundation. Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees.

Other notable features about the Lied Lodge:

  • -Indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, kiddie pool and hot tub.
  • -Two restaurants on site, Timbers and the Library Lounge. The Library Lounge is a cozy-looking bar setting with a limited menu.
  • -Kids eat FREE at Timber at Sunday brunch.

Oh My! Omaha readers save 10% if you book a package! Be sure to use promo code OHMYOMAHA. Visit LiedLodge.org for details.

Things to do in Nebraska City

Play in tree houses

Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure has had a 50-foot-tall tree house to explore for years, but Treetop Village is a new addition in 2019. It consists of 11 tree houses. I’ve been looking forward to taking the kids to see it!

Things to do with kids in Nebraska City - Visit Treetop Village at Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure.

The Treetop Village’s tree houses are connected by rope bridges. There are a few slides, including a net slide. The highlight is the WonderNet, the first net trampoline of its kind in North America.

Don’t skip the Treetop Village…but expect a possible wait if you go on a weekend. Due to the nature of the bridges, traffic is one-way, so they have to monitor how many people enter the village at a time.

And note that if you go down a slide or step through one of the exits, you have to go back to the start and wait in line again. The wait wasn’t long for us, luckily.

Shop for tree souvenirs

OK, maybe that’s just me. The gift shop at the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure is packed with gifts and souvenirs inspired by nature, trees and camping. It’s the best place to shop for kid’s stuff.

Another good place to shop is the Apple House Market. It’s a cute decor shop, wine tasting room, and restaurant all in one building, and it’s within walking distance of the Arbor Day Farm Tree Tree Adventure.

Learn Arbor Day history

There are two places to learn more about the early days of Arbor Day and the Morton family. The Discovery Ride, which I mentioned above, as well as a visit to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

The historic state park is the property where Arbor Day started. J. Sterling and his wife, Caroline, lived there when they initiated their vision and started challenging people to plant trees. On the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, they say nearly 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska.

The mansion at Arbor Lodge Historic State Park in Nebraska City.

You don’t need a park permit to enter the grounds of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, but you will need to pay admission if you want to walk through the 52-room mansion.

In the mansion, you’ll find artifacts from the Morton family, and see beautiful rooms preserved as they once were.

The mansion is a little worn on the exterior, but signs indicated that a renovation is planned. I’m excited to see the mansion restored to its former glory.

Pick apples in Nebraska City

Apple picking is a seasonal activity in Nebraska City, with prime picking being in September (which is why the city holds the AppleJack Festival every year in mid-September!).

We picked a peck during our visit to the Tree Adventure, searching for the best apples among primarily Fuji and Jonagold trees. Your options may vary depending on when you time your visit.

Shelley, the guide during our Discovery. Ride, showed my daughter one of the antique varieties of apples in the Preservation Orchard at Arbor Day Farm.

My family also got to pick apples in the Preservation Orchard at the farm. You have to take the Discovery Ride to get to this special orchard. The apple trees in the Preservation Orchard are heirloom varieties you’ll never find in a grocery store.

It was an exciting chance to taste a Kandil Sinip, Winter Banana and Stern apple.

Pick pumpkins

We didn’t get a chance to pick pumpkins on our recent weekend getaway, but we have picked pumpkins at the Tree Adventure in the past. It’s fun to ride the hayrack out to the pumpkin field and scour the patch for a good one!

Related post: 20+ Things To Do This Fall In Nebraska

Challenge yourself

Quite possibly the most memorable experience we had the entire weekend was climbing a tree. Both kids made it to the top!

Tree climbing is held on select weekend days at the Tree Adventure, and it’s included with admission. It can be popular, and we were lucky to get there early enough to not have much of a wait.

The folks helping with the tree climb were wonderful coaches for the kids. They were also pretty patient trying to help me figure it out. In case you were wondering, it’s ridiculously hard for an adult woman to try to climb a tree!

Take a Discovery Ride

This one-hour ride is a backwoods experience at the Tree Adventure. Part history lesson, part tour, the ride takes you to orchards you don’t usually get to see, including the Preservation Orchard.

Learning about the history of Arbor Day Farm and the Morton family on the Discover Ride at Tree Adventure in Nebraska City.

I liked the opportunity to try the rare apples. My fourth grader loved hearing and about the history he’s beginning to learn this year. For younger kids, the most enjoyable part may have been the chance to touch animal pelts.

Tip: There are no restroom breaks on the Discovery Ride. My youngest learned this the hard way.

Attend a special event

Everyone and their grandma has heard of the annual AppleJack Festival in Nebraska City, but that’s only one September weekend. There’s plenty of special events happening on other weekends.

One of the special events held in Nebraska City is the Living History Weekends held on Saturdays and Sundays seasonally.

Here are a few events to look forward to this fall:

  • -Living History Weekends (Arbor Lodge Mansion, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 27). On the weekend we visited, my kids loved talking with a man who made beaded pieces and they got a chance to throw a tomahawk.
  • -Harvest Celebration (Arbor Day Farm, through Oct. 31)
  • -Hayrack Ride, Storytelling & S’mores (Tree Adventure, Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 9; reservations are required)
  • -Halloween Pumpkin Party (Tree Adventure, Oct. 26)

Eat good food

For the best dining experience, I recommend Timbers inside the Lied Lodge & Conference Center. We tried dinner there as well as breakfast. Reservations are recommended for weekend dinners and Sunday brunch. I had no problem reserving meals the day before.

Outdoor seating is an option, and the view was wonderful.

Tip: When we were there, Timbers had a sign that advertised that kids eat FREE at Sunday brunch! The brunch is a buffet that starts at 11 a.m. We went before 11, so there was still a buffet, just not as large…and kids were $5 each.

The Timbers at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City overlooks the property.

If you’ve come for all-things-apple, Nebraska City is your place. Apple pie (with the works) is available at The Apple House Market, as are caramel apples and apple cider.

Looking for apple cider donuts? I didn’t find them at The Apple House Market, so your best bet is to head to Kimmel Orchard, where we got some that were still warm from the fryer.

Porters, a barbecue restaurant attached to The Apple Market House, is also a great option. It’s extremely popular, and I almost always saw a line. We tried brisket, smoked chicken and pulled pork. The baked beans were the best side, IMO.

If you’re wondering about restaurants in Nebraska City away from Arbor Day Farm, I asked around and got quite a few tips. Oh My! Omaha Twitter and Facebook followers shared these Nebraska City restaurant recommendations. Here were their tips: The Keeping Room, Buck Snort, Ladybug BBQ and Tacos El Pueblito.

We had the hardest time finding a place open after 7 p.m. on a Friday night! Our first pick was Tacos El Pueblito but we missed its closing time by 15 minutes. We ended up at El Portal, which had pretty good food. But being one of the few restaurants open after 7 p.m., there was quite a wait.

Sip Nebraska wines

Nebraska wines, like a lot of Midwestern wines, tend to be sweet. My personal preference is to stick to the white varieties. The reds just aren’t robust enough for my taste.

Wine tasting is available at The Apple House Market and Lied Lodge.

Arbor Day Farm offers two places to try wine tastings – daily at The Apple House Market and on Friday and Saturday evenings in the lobby of the Lied Lodge. FYI: Tastings are not free.

I recommend trying the Arbor Day Farm vignoles. If you like super sweet stuff, a lot of people in the tasting room when I visited loved the honey crisp wine.

Enjoy the trails

Our visits to the Tree Adventure almost always include an easy hike through the forest. You’ll find a play area, cute photo opps, and a fun look-and-find game. Be on the lookout for the fairy doors, too!

We had plans to bike the Steamboat Trace Bicycle Trail until we found out the crushed limestone trail had been flooded this year. We’ll return to explore it another (drier) year.

Play outdoors at the Tree Adventure

For my family, Nebraska City is about spending time together outside. The apples, the pumpkins, the hayrack rides…those are all a part of it. But’ nothing beats the pure joy of simply playing. 

Things for kids to do at Arbor Day Farm - Play at the Tree Adventure

Among my kids’ favorite places to visit at the Tree Adventure are:

  • -The Nature Explore Classroom where they can play the marimba and build with blocks, and sit in colorful hammocks.
  • -The little zip line course, huge spider web, and larger-than-life tic tac toe game. They’re all group near each other.
  • -The Treetop Village is a new favorite.

Take a hayrack ride

There are two opportunities for hayrack rides at Arbor Day Farm. You can get a free one while you’re in the Tree Adventure, which will take you to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard.

If you plan ahead–like months ahead–you can reserve spots on the Hayrack Ride, Storytelling & S’mores. The rides are seasonal on Friday and Saturday nights. The ride was full on the one rain-free night we were there, unfortunately.

Save on your Nebraska City stay

If this post has inspired a future weekend getaway, you’re in luck!

One of the treehouses at Treetop Village at the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure in Nebraska City.

I’m excited to announce that Oh My! Omaha readers can save 10% off their stay at the Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City! Be sure to use promo code OHMYOMAHA.

To book a package, visit LiedLodge.org for details.

Like this post?

Subscribe to the FREE twice a month(ish) e-newsletter sharing family travel ideas, giveaways and more! Subscribe here.

Headed to Nebraska City in eastern Nebraska? Here's a guide to fun things to do, including visiting Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, and recommended restaurants. If you're looking for all-things-apples, from. orchards to apple pie, this post includes where to go in Nebraska City for all of it! #Sponsored #Guide #Outdoors #Nebraska #ArborDayFarm #USA
September 17, 2019

5 Must-Try Food At Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

A trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard is a family tradition of ours each fall. In addition to picking out pumpkins, feeding the animals and racing each other on carts, we know we’re going to eat while there. The food is a big part of the Vala’s experience!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

I visited Vala’s on opening weekend so my family could enjoy some of the special entertainment available during the new Honeycrisp Festival (and so I could try food only available during the festival…more on that below). If you want to catch the Honeycrisp Festival, it’s in September.

Things you should know about Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

If you’re not from Nebraska, you should know a few things about Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard before you go. This pumpkin patch, located just west of Omaha at 12102 S. 180th St. in Gretna, Neb., is not your typical pumpkin patch.

I liken Vala’s to a Disney-fied pumpkin patch full of attractions, photo opportunities and characters (but no rides, though). You need a map or you will get lost. And like Disney, a trip to Vala’s is a full-day affair.

Vala's Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard in Gretna, Nebraska is a large attraction near Omaha.

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch hours

Vala’s is open seasonally from mid-September through Oct. 31. The daily hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch prices

Admission varies, and it’s cheaper to visit on the weekdays than on the weekends. 2019 prices are:

  • – Mondays through Thursdays, $12.95 per person
  • -September Fridays through Sundays, $16.95 per person
  • -October Fridays through Sundays, $23.95 per person

There’s also the option of buying a season pass.

Parking is free. The parking is on grass and dirt and is a well-orchestrated operation. There are attendants in the lots on busy weekends directing you where to park.

Related post: Try the Vala’s Scavenger Hunt on your next trip to the pumpkin patch!

Things to know about Vala’s food & drinks

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard is open daily starting at 9 a.m. and going on into the night, so you have the option of breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between for food.

There are 26 different places to purchase food a Vala’s, ranging from sweet shops with ice cream or donuts to more substantial offerings of burgers, pizza and chili. See the current map with all the food options here.

The sign for the Harvest Barn Donuts at Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Nebraska.

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch food prices

For entrees, expect to pay about $6 for kids and about $11 for adults. Ordering à la carte or just snack items will be cheaper.

Tip: You won’t find many water fountains at Vala’s (there’s one by the main restroom). Every food vendor with a soda fountain, though, will kindly fill up your water bottle with ice water, though.

What should you eat at Vala’s if you only want to splurge on one thing? Well, that depends.

Read on for my suggestions:

Best new food to try at Vala’s

Each year, Vala’s introduces new foods to rival your annual must-haves.

In 2019, my favorite new food is the apple funnel cake sundae. The warm, crisp funnel cake is tipped with caramel sauce, baked apples and vanilla ice cream. This is a very shareable treat.

New must-try food at Vala's Pumpkin Patch - apple funnel cake sundae.

Other new treats at Vala’s includes an apple cider donut sundae and a new popcorn and cotton candy stand by the Howl at the Moon Stage.

For more substantial food, new options include meatball subs, available in the Country Bakery and vegetable chili (vegan) available at the Country Bakery.

There are a few new foods available only during the Honeycrisp Festival, including ribs, which I highly recommend trying. You can only find them at Time-Out Turkey Legs. There is also a Honeycrisp apple pie available only early in the season.

Vala’s best snack food to try

This topic – the best snack at Vala’s – is highly debatable. I’m going to suggest no trip is complete without kettle corn. 

I have some close friends who will argue vehemently that there are far superior, must-have-every-time snacks, including the cookie cone and the apple cider donut. 

And while not a sweet treat, I’d add roasted corn on the cob makes for a great snack option, too.

Must-try dinner food at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

I would recommend visiting Vala’s on the weekend during the Honeycrisp Festival to try the ribs. Those would be my top choice if they were available all season. As it is, you have until Sunday, Sept. 22, to try the and even then, they’re only available on a limited basis Saturday and Sunday. Hurry!

Vala's Pumpkin Patch serves ribs on a limited basis during the Honeycrisp Festival in September.

So, besides the ribs, I’d recommend trying the gigantic pork tenderloin sandwich at Pork Chop Annie’s. It’s good if you’ve got a big appetite.

Pork Chop Annie’s is our go-to place for food at Vala’s. Entrees there come with two sides. Having tried all of the sides, I’d say go with the baked beans and then your choice of a second one (psst, get the fries).

Many people will tell you to just buy a turkey leg and call it a day. You could go that route and it would cost you about the same.

Going earlier in the day? I found out that Vala’s serves breakfast! You can get quiche in The Pie Barn, fresh waffles served with apple butter at Cousin’s Chicken, biscuits and gravy at the Country Bakery.

Don’t miss these pies at Vala’s Pie Barn

Kirsten Fong grew up at Vala’s (her parents, Tim and Jan Vala, started the pumpkin patch in 1984) and her one of her sisters, Kelsey, bakes the pies. I asked Kirsten what the best pie to try was and she told the s’mores pie has a devoted following among the staff members and guests in the know.

Head directly to The Pie Barn if you want to try a slice or any of the other flavors like pumpkin or apple.

The Pie Barn at Vala's Pumpkin Patch serves pies and other pastries.

Vala’s has weekly pie specials. In 2019, the schedule is:

Sept. 20 – Lemon Walnut 
Sept. 27 – Kitchen Sink
Oct. 4 – Chocolate Caramel Turtle Pie 
Oct. 11 – Monster Cookie 
Oct. 18 – S’mores 
Oct. 25 – Apple Cranberry

True story: The pies aren’t the best thing available in The Pie Barn! “Kelsey’s apple dumplings are the very best thing to eat on the whole entire farm. Seriously,” said Fong. “They’re not even a pie, but they’re available in The Pie Barn, and on a limited basis, meaning she sometimes runs out.”

While I don’t have pie recipes, or even tasty dumpling recipes, Vala’s was kind enough to share its pumpkin bar recipe found in their cookbook. You can download it here.

Bucket list food item at Vala’s

If you want to ultimate splurge, even more of a splurge than the apple funnel cake sundae, head to Kyla’s Ice Cream Shop & Caramel Apple Barn and get yourself a Freak Shake. The giant shake comes in two flavors: caramel apple and s’mores. 

The Freak Shakes are each $11.99 and are definitely shareable.

A sign at Vala's Pumpkin Patch for two of their Freak Shake flavors.

Trying a shake is on my bucket list because those things are huge! I can’t vouch for it being tasty or not, but I can tell you it’s highly Instagrammable food.

Stay In The Know!

Subscribe to the FREE twice a month(ish) e-newsletter sharing what’s new in Omaha, giveaways, family travel ideas, and more! Subscribe here.

A trip to Vala's Pumpkin Patch is a fall tradition for families in eastern Nebraska. Find out the best foods to try - including new items like an apple funnel cake sundae! If you're wondering what to budget for food, the post includes what to expect on food prices. #Nebraska #pumpkinpatch #USA #fallfun #familytravel
August 26, 2019

Omaha Events Calendar – Things To Do This Week

Fall is here and there are a ton of things to see and do in Omaha. Check out this Omaha events calendar for upcoming kid-friendly activities, exhibits, stage shows, and more happening in the Omaha Metro Area in October 2019 (and beyond!).

NOTE: This page is updated weekly. 

Looking for things to do in Omaha? Here's a family-friendly Omaha events calendar, featuring exhibits and shows, free activities, festivals and more! #Nebraska #USA

How to read this post: The first events listed are things to come in chronological order, followed by all the on-going events like exhibits or shows that have already opened. Everything is in Omaha, unless otherwise noted in the address.

The post ends with weekly activities at recreation centers and libraries (you may want to call ahead to make sure it is happening the day you plan on visiting).

Family-friendly events in Omaha

The Great Hall-oween Haunt

When: Oct. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m.

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

Cost: Included with regular museum admission

Ghouls & Glow

When: Oct. 24-25, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday nights and 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Cost: $8-13/member child; $11-16/member adult; $10-15/non-member child; and $13-18/non-member adult.

Healthy Trick or Treat Night

When: Oct. 25, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission

HETRA’s Stall and Treat Halloween Party With The Horses

When: Oct. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: 10130 S. 222nd St., Gretna, Neb.

Cost: FREE

Baseballoween at Werner Park

When: Oct. 25 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way

Cost: FREE

Monster Mash

When: Oct. 25, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Oak View Mall, 3001 S. 144th St.

Cost: FREE

“Ella Enchanted: A New Musical”

When: Oct. 25 through Nov. 10; performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

Cost: $20, non-members; members receive four tickets

Superhero Spootacular

When: Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission

Farnam Hill’s Trunk OR Treat

When: Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Zen Coffee Co., 230 S. 25th St.

Cost: FREE

There are A LOT of free Halloween activities in Omaha this week. See the complete list here!

Trick Or Treat The Museum

When: Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Union Pacific Railroad Museum, 200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

Hallo-Weekend

When: Oct. 26 and 27

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

Cost: Included with regular museum admission; children ages 12 and younger are admitted FREE in costume

Halloween Village

When: Oct. 27, 2 to 5 p.m.

Where: City Sprouts South location, 1815 N St.

Cost: FREE

Bison Night at the Museum

When: Nov. 1, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Where: Union Pacific Railroad Museum, 200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

Art Of The Book

When: Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (family activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.

Cost: FREE

The Bookworm Presents “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Wrecking Ball Show”

When: Nov. 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Westside High School, 8701 Pacific St.

Cost: $19.99, solo ticket, and $22.99 to admit one child and one adult (ticket includes copy of the new book with pre-personalized bookplate signed by Jeff Kinney, photo with Kinney, and entry into the show)

Paddington Bear At Story Time

When: Nov. 15-23; story times are on Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. (Florence), Nob. 16 at 10:30 a.m. (Sorensen), Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. (Elkhorn), Nov. 19 at 10:30 a.m. (South Omaha), Nov. 20 at 10:30 a.m. (Main), Nov. 21 at 10:30 a.m. (Millard), Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. (Swanson) and Nov. 23 at 10:15 a.m. (Benson)

Where: Various Omaha Public Library branches

Cost: FREE

Looking for even more ideas of things to do in Omaha? I always check the Visit Omaha calendar for special events!

Dinos On The Loose

When: Nov. 15, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with regular admission, which is $14 for kids and adults, and FREE for kids under 24 months

Ailey II

When: Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

Cost: Tickets start at $20

“Music Of Vince Guaraldi and the Peanuts”

When: Nov. 17, 2 p.m.

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.

Cost: $20, adults; $10, children

Omaha Exhibits & Shows Ending Soon

The exhibitions and theatrical performances have been on this Omaha calendar of events for weeks, but they’re ending soon!

If you want more ideas for cultural attractions to see in the city (even if there isn’t a must-see temporary exhibit), check out this list of 20+ Omaha museums you should visit.

Opera Omaha at Storytime

When: Through Oct. 25 ; storytimes are at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 9 (Willa Cather), Oct. 11 (Florence) and Oct. 25 (Swanson)

Where: Omaha Public Library various locations

Cost: FREE

“HUIPILES, Indigenous Textiles from Guatemala”

When: Through Oct. 26

Where: El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St.

Cost: $5, general admission; $3.50 for kids grade K-12; FREE for kids under 3 and members

Cobweb Castle

When: Through Oct. 31

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $13 for kids and adults, $12 for seniors, and FREE for kids under 24 months and members.

The Great Pumpkin Celebration

When: Through Oct. 31 at various times

Where: Cabela’s, 12703 Westport Parkway, La Vista, Neb.

Cost: FREE

“A Bucket of Blessings”

When: Through Nov. 3

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

Cost: $10, members; $12, nom-members

Fall Chrysanthemum Show

When: Through Nov. 17

Where: Laurizen Garden, 100 Bancroft St.

Cost: Included with museum admission

“RACE: Are We So Different?”

When: Through Jan. 5, 2020

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

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $11 for adults; $8 for seniors; $7 for children 3-12; and FREE for members and children
age 2 and under. Admission is FREE to all on Sept. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m.

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics”

When: Through Feb. 2, 2020

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

Cost: Included with regular museum admission

“Diggin’ Dinos”

When: Through April 11, 2020

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission

“Influence”

When: Through Aug. 20, 2020

Where: KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.

Cost: FREE

Fun things to do in Omaha with kids - This Omaha event calendar lists upcoming shows, exhibits, free activities and more things happening in the city and nearby. This list is great for finding things to do with kids in Omaha!

Weekly Activities In Omaha For Families & Kids

These activities are on-going and held on the same day each week. Still, it’s a good idea to call ahead before going, just to be sure.

Toddler Tuesdays

When: Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Where: =The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St. (gym or at the pool starting at 10:30)

Cost: FREE for members; non-members participate by paying a $4 activity fee for your toddler (age 9 months to 4 years) and the attending parent is FREE.

Toddler Tuesday

When: Tuesdays, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Fat Brain Toys, 16909 Burke St.

Cost: FREE

Crafty Tots

When: Wednesdays, 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave.

Cost: FREE

Tots of the Town

When: Second Thursday of the month, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Shadow Lake Towne Center, 7775 Olson Drive, Papillion, Neb.

Cost: FREE

Story Time At Barnes & Noble 

When: Fridays at 9:30 a.m. (Crossroads) and Saturdays at 11 a.m. (Crossroads and Oakview)

Where: Barnes and Noble at Crossroads, 7400 Dodge St., and Barnes and Noble at Oakview, 3333 Oakview Drive

Cost: FREE

Inflatable Fridays

When: Fridays, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

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

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults

Kids Craft Time

When: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Mangelsen’s, 3457 S. 84th St.

Cost: $1

Second Saturdays Nature Program

When: Second Saturday of every month, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Heron Haven Wetland Sanctuary, 11809 Old Maple Road

Cost: FREE

Kidz Kayak Racing

When: Saturdays, 2 to 4 p.m.

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

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

Arts for All

When: Saturdays, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha South Public Library, 2808 Q St.

Cost: FREE (ages 8-12, registration required)

Sunday Funday

When: Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.

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

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

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August 15, 2019

14 Great Places To Get Nebraska Donuts

Nebraska might not have an official donut trail like Ohio, but we have some excellent donut shops. I created this post to feature donut shops throughout Nebraska, in large cities and small towns. And, because I’m inspired by that Ohio donut trail, I created my own version of a Nebraska Donut Trail at the end of the post. Enjoy!

14 must-visit donut shops in Nebraska - Tour the state by visiting bakeries and trying what they're famous for! Donut shops are all locally-owned and found in large and small towns. #Nebraska #Doughnut #Guide

Why some Nebraska donut shops didn’t make the list

The criteria to be on this Nebraska list included A) the donut shops needed to be locally-owned shops and B) they needed to sell donuts, obviously. In some cases, the bakeries were more famous for other pastries (and I’ll point those out later), but still, donuts have to be available at the bakery in order to be included.

In cities that had more than one locally-owned donut shop, I used two methods to decide on which to include.

For Omaha, I went with my favorite since I have compared the options (and there are a lot of great options). I’m more of a traditional donut fan, so cake donuts without a lot of frills are my favorite, and thus, Olsen Bake Shop was picked over something like, say, Bob’s Donuts.

In Lincoln, I looked at various review sites plus this story about Lincoln donut shops. Since websites kept ranking a chain as the top donut shop, I selected the highest ranking locally-owned shop.

Side note: I nearly included all the Daylight Donuts that popped up in a few Nebraska towns. But, it’s a chain, and not even a Nebraska chain, so please don’t point out that the lone donut shop in your town was left off this list if it’s a Daylight Donuts. 

Where to find great donuts in Nebraska

Ready to explore the state one donut shop at a time? Here are some of the best places to find donuts in Nebraska! Whenever possible, I included fans’ feedback on the bakery.

So, if you are a fan and want to chime in about your favorite bakery, leave me a comment.

Bluffs Bakery

Where: 1520 Broadway, Scottsbluff

About: According to the Bluffs Bakery Facebook page, the Bluffs Bakery bakes its products from scratch and uses all fresh ingredients. “We make every item from scratch. We also try to buy as many local ingredients as we can. That includes Robinson Honey from the honey farm in Scottsbluff, NE.”

Bluffs Bakery is owned by Ron Ahlers, Sr., a master baker, and Chris Ahlers. The bakery’s Facebook page said Ron was one of the first 500 certified bakers in the United States. Two other bakeries on this list are connected with the Ahlers (Gering Bakery and Rolling Pin Bakery).

What readers say: Jessica H. said both Gering Bakery and Bluffs bakery both have cute cookies and an assortment of cakes and donuts but that Bluffs bakery has a larger assortment of cookies, bagels, and muffins, and so many donuts doughnuts. “Bluffs also had Italian sodas (not great) and other breakfast and lunch items.”

Delight Donuts

Where: 818 S. 13th St., Norfolk

About: To be honest, not much is out there about this bakery in Norfolk. From what I can see in photos, though, this donut shop sells giant donuts.

What readers say: According to Jill T. “I can’t be in Norfolk without stocking up on Delight donuts!!! Best donuts and most amazing owners! Definitely a Norfolk staple! Nothing beats seeing that pink box on the break room table.”

Gering Bakery

Where: 1446 10th St., Gering

About: Gering Bakery, along with Bluffs Bakery and Rolling Pin Bakery, is owned by Ron Ahlers, Sr., and Chris Ahlers.

What readers say: Amanda C. grew up in Gering and said “The Gering bakery has delicious donuts and cookies. They also make absolutely incredible cabbage burgers! 🤤 I miss that bakery!”

Katie M. puts it simply: “I love the Gering Bakery!”

Jessica H. said between Bluffs Bakery and Gering Bakery, she prefers Gering Bakery. “Gering Bakery and Bluffs bakery both have cute cookies and an assortment of cakes and doughnuts. Gering has a better and larger assortment of doughnuts and a little bit of bagels. Bluffs bakery has a larger assortment of cookies, bagels, and muffins, but not as large of an assortment of doughnuts. I like Gering’s cookies better.”

Jim And Connie’s Blair Bakery

Where: 132 S. 17th St., Blair

About: Located not too far from Omaha, Jim and Connie’s Blair Bakery has a lot of fans here. They sell more than donuts, including pfeffernusse at Christmas time.

What readers say: Jim R. has childhood memories at the Blair bakery and said they have the best glazed donuts. “I always recommend to friends and coworkers to stop by there and get a glazed donut when they are in the area.”

Susan L. and Annie R. is also fans of their glazed donuts. Annie mentioned something about being sure to get them when warm, because, yeah. “Jim and Connie’s Blair Bakery is the BEST. I drive from Omaha to get their glazed donuts.”

Kelli K. is a big fan, too. “Love love love Jim and Connie’s in Blair!!!! Get the donuts, long johns, bear claws, okay there isn’t any of their pastries that are not delicious. I’ve had co workers in Omaha offices specifically request jim and Connie’s donuts they are so good!! Get there early on Friday, though – it is Blair tradition the high school kids bring donuts to share in homeroom on Friday.”

And, the bakery’s donut holes gets a recommendation from Katie W. “Jim and Connie’s glazed donut holes are one in a million. My coworkers from Omaha request for me to stop quite often and they are never disappointed!”

Kimball Bakery

Where: 124 S. Chestnut St., Kimball

About: Not much is out there about this small town bakery, other than they have the most unique of offerings (I’ve seen the picture): A glazed donut man.

What readers say: Jessica H. said her visit was rather disappointing at Kimball Bakery, but she did let me know they had a cute glazed man.

Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard

Where: 5995 G Road, Nebraska City

About: Kimmel Orchard has been around since 1925. Being an orchard, the draw is all-things-apples. So, obviously, you get the apple donut.

The apple donuts are made fresh every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (seasonally).

What readers say: Maureen Q. said “Best donuts ever!! It’s been too long since I’ve had them.”

Olsen Bake Shop

Where: 1708 S. 10th St., Omaha

About: It’s easy to miss this donut shop just south of the Old Market – it’s a true hidden gem. Olsen donuts are fresh and no frills, just great tasting. It’s near the zoo and botanical gardens if you want a place to walk off the donut calories.

What readers say: “I only eat Olsens bakery donuts. Best in town,” said Jephrey M.

Dan H. agreed, saying “They’re the best I’ve ever had, period. Try other donuts when I’m out of town and nothing ever compares.”

Nebraska Doughnuts - Find some of the best in the state at Olsen Bake Shop in downtown Omaha.

Randy’s Donut Shop

Where: 201 Capitol Beach Blvd., suite 5, Lincoln

About: Randy’s competes with a popular regional chain with Nebraska’s only location (ahem, Hurts Donuts). However, from the reviews I’ve read online, Randy’s has a following.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star “Another family-owned local establishment, Randy’s lauds freshness, hand-made quality and cost as indicators of its success. Staff member Amanda Ryan said that Randy’s price of 85 cents for a doughnut is the lowest in town. Options include the ever-popular original glazed raised doughnut as well as other raised options and multiple cake doughnut choices.”

Rolling Pin Bakery

Where: 2044 10th Ave., Sidney

About: The Rolling Pin Bakery is the third of the Ahlers’ great bakeries in Nebraska. Learn more about their approach to baking in the Bluffs Bakery “About” section.

Am I missing a hidden gem of a donut shop in Nebraska? Leave a comment and let me know!

Rosie’s Deli & Rolls

Where: 1519 M St., Ord

About: Rosie’s is more than only a donut shop – it’s a full deli. A lot of fan reviews online point out that not only is the food great, it’s all reasonably priced.

Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe

Where: 312 Norris Ave., McCook

About: Sehnert’s has been around since 1957 and run by the same family. While this is the place to go to try the famous bieroc of Nebraska, it’s included on this list because they also have tasty donuts.

It’s worth pointing out that this is the lone Nebraska bakery that can say they have a James Beard America’s Classic Award, which they earned in January 2019.

What readers say: Want donut recommendations? Stacy W. has a few. “Sehnert’s is an institution in my hometown. Anytime people come back to town this is a must stop. For donuts the sundae donut and apple fritters are a big draw. My personal favorite item are the peanut butter brownies.”

Monica J. pretty much convinced me that I need to try one of everything off their menu. Here’s what she said about Sehnert’s: “The buttercream frosting is the BEST! I remember my mom ordering cakes from there ever since I was little ❤️ I’ve found no buttercream that compares. With that being said, the chocolate Sundae is freaking the best ever. Also- the cream horns are to die for. Every Holiday season they also make Stollen bread- ridiculous. I can’t even explain the goodness that happens in your mouth after eating a piece of warm Stollen from the oven. I’ve never had anything like it. You can just taste all of the homemade goodness.

Another item I’ve ordered since I was young is the Delaware Doughnut! It’s a cheese and sausage filled “doughnut”- no icing. 🤤🤤 And last- the bieroc (runza). I order dozens of these to take home. There’s just nothing like the homemade “bread” flavor. I personally LOVE the hamburger/cheese/sauerkraut. I can’t eat Runza’s runzas because I grew up on these and they’re that good.”

Nebraska Donuts - Sehnert's Bakery and Bieroc Cafe is in McCook, Nebraska
Photo courtesy Tor Olson – Olson Photography

Sunrise Bakery

Where: 419 Court St., Beatrice

About: This long-time bakery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017 – and it’s stayed in the family (current owner Clayton Replogle is the great-great-grandson of the original owner).

According to the Beatrice Daily Sun “The donuts, the bread, the cakes, the puddings and creams: everything but the fruit filling is made from scratch in the kitchen.”

What readers say: Samantha M. brought Sunrise Bakery to my attention. She said “My family loves their rolls and when we moved away whenever we visit our grandparents we stop in to get their buttered rolls and donuts!”

Amanda V. agreed, and said “Still trying to find a place in Omaha that even comes close to comparing!”

Verdigre Bakery

Where: 405 S. Main St., Verdigre

About: Verdigre, Neb., is billed as the kolache capital of the world. Soooo, here’s a bakery where you’re probably better off ordering what they’re famous for (kolaches).

But, this is a donut list, so fear not, Verdigre Bakery has donuts.

What readers say: I didn’t get a lot of reader responses about donuts here because – big surprise – kolaches kept coming up.

Beth L. said “We love the kolaches at the Verdigre Bakery!!”

While kolaches are their specialty, Andrea N. said she prefers to order the rohliky there (and if you’re curious, Andrea said the kolaches made by the Methodist church in town during Kolache Days are the best). “Rohliky is the thing at Verdigre’s bakery. I get that every time I go back. … Donuts are good there too! But I nearly always just get rohliky.”

LeAnna B. is another one who has a preference to kolaches made elsewhere (her in-laws’ recipe). She was disappointed with the kolaches there. “I had much higher hopes than what we ate from the bakery.”

Wahoo Bakery

Where: 544 N. Linden St., Wahoo

About: Like any great Nebraska bakery, Wahoo Bakery sells cakes, cookiesand rolls in addition to donuts (and of course, kolaches).

Check ahead of time to see what their donut of the month is. They’ll sell the specialty flavor on Saturdays.

Guide to the best (and locally-owned) donut shops in Nebraska! This post includes the Nebraska Donut Trail, with stops throughout the state, including the Panhandle and cities like Omaha and Nebraska. #doughnut #guide #Nebraska #USA

The Nebraska Donut Trail

Now that you’ve got a list of Nebraska donut shops, why not go visit them? Grab a map and loosen your belts, I created a donut trail for the state.

The Nebraska donut trail starts and finishes in Omaha. The round-trip nature of the trail allows for people to start at any point. The route I have mapped out is a little more than 1,200 miles.

Nebraska Donut Trail - 14 places to get fresh donuts in Nebraska

Here are your stops:

  1. Olsen Bake Shop, Omaha
  2. Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard, Nebraska City
  3. Sunrise Bakery, Beatrice
  4. Randy’s Donut Shop, Lincoln
  5. Wahoo Bakery, Wahoo
  6. Bluffs Bakery, Scottsbluffs
  7. Gering Bakery, Gering
  8. Kimball Bakery, Kimball
  9. Rolling Pin Bakery, Sidney
  10. Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe, McCook
  11. Rosie’s Deli & Rolls, Ord
  12. Verdigre Bakery, Verdigre
  13. Delight Donuts, Norfolk
  14. Jim And Connie’s Blair Bakery, Blair

Many bakeries on this list are known for something other than donuts. It’s forgivable if you show up at one of them and buy something else to eat instead of a donut. I won’t tell anyone.

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July 31, 2019

20+ Omaha Museums You Should Visit

Whether you’re visiting Omaha for the first time or you’ve lived here for 20 years, there’s a museum out there waiting for you to visit. Whenever someone asks for suggestions on things to do in Omaha, I almost always recommend visiting one of our museums – we have something for everyone.

Looking for things to do in Omaha, Nebraska? Visit a museum! Here's a guide to Omaha museums and galleries, including the must-see attractions. #guide #Omaha #Nebraska

Top Omaha museums to visit

Below I share some of my favorite museums in Omaha and the ones that are considered the must-visit cultural attractions. They’re the ones that are the most-visited and happen to be the ones I’m most familiar with.

For the six museums featured in this post, I share tips on what’s the must-see thing at each and what makes each unique. You’ll also find some other tips that I think are helpful for planning, like roughly how much time you may spend there and if there is food available for purchase.

The second section includes museums and galleries that are notable but I may not be as familiar with or haven’t visited yet. I’m not about to give you tips for museums I haven’t visited yet, so for the list, I provide a description on what you can expect.

At the end of the post, you’ll find a section of museums near Omaha that are easy enough to include in your itinerary if you’re a visitor, though technically, they’re not in Omaha.

Things to know about to Joslyn Art Museum

Top museums in Omaha - Omaha's largest art museum, Joslyn Art Museum, is a free attraction you should visit.

Where: 2200 Dodge St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: A beautiful building, a visit Joslyn Art Museum is one of the best free things to do in Omaha. 

Must see thing: I’m a particular fan of the small Impressionist collection, which include Degas, Monet and Cassatt. The museum has a large collection of American West and Native American art. Don’t leave without dipping your toes in the fountain out front. In the summer, kids often will wade through it. 

How much time: Allow between 2 to 3 hours; if you’re there with kids, expect to spend about an hour in the Art Works area.

Cost: FREE, though special exhibits are often an additional fee. Often, there is a discount to see the special exhibit on Thursday nights. One recent exhibit was free on the first weekend of each month.

Is it kid-friendly? It can be very kid-friendly. Head to the lower level to visit Art Works, an interactive space for making art related to exhibit pieces. Also, you can check out themed backpacks with activities for kids. Read my guide to visiting Joslyn Art Museum with kids.

Cafe? Yes, it’s located in the atrium. The food is pretty good, if a bit pricey. No special food items that are necessarily just for kids. Do not try to bring your own food in. You can picnic in the sculpture garden.

Things to know about The Durham Museum

Omaha's best museums - Learn about local and regional history and railroading history at The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha.

Where: 801 S. 10th St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: Housed in Union Station, The Durham Museum is a large museum celebrating the region’s history, with a particular emphasis on the railroad. 

Must see thing: Walk through the restored trains on the lower level. 

How much time: You can easily spend at least 3 hours at the museum (more if you like to read descriptions).

Cost: $11, adults; $8, seniors; $7, children (ages 3-12); FREE, children 2 and younger

Is it kid-friendly? Yes, there’s a hands-on play area on the lower level, plus no kid can resist the huge model train display. Read my guide to visiting The Durham Museum with kids.

Cafe? Yes, Union Station’s soda fountain is the cafe. Don’t leave without trying a root beer float or phosphate. Outside food is not permitted.

Things to know about Omaha Children’s Museum

Museums of Omaha to visit with kids - The top museum to visit with young children is Omaha children's Museum.

Where: 500 S. 20th St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: Omaha Children’s Museum is the best place to go for hands-on play with an educational emphasis for kids under the age of 10. It’s also the most-visited museum in Nebraska.

Must see thing: The Imagination Playground is the most popular permanent exhibit. I personally think the Tinker Lab is pretty unique and worth a stop. Read my tips for visiting Omaha Children’s Museum.

How much time: You could spend a day here, but kids may start to tucker out after 3 hours. If your kids don’t take naps anymore, expect to spend at least 4 hours here.

Cost: $13 for kids and adults ages 2 and older; $12 for seniors; free for children younger than 24 months. If you have a membership to another science center or children’s museum, you may get a discounted admission (or FREE!). Read more about reciprocal museum admission here.

Is it kid-friendly? Of course! There’s a family bathroom near the Imagination Playground, as well as a nursing room.

Cafe? There is a small cafe upstairs offering pizza by the slice, hot dogs and other kid-friendly fare. You’re also welcome to bring your own food.

Things to know about KANEKO

One of the museums and galleries found in downtown Omaha is KANEKO, where the exhibit space features mostly temporary exhibitions like this sound playground.

Where: 1111 Jones St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: KANEKO is truly a creative space that’s hard to define. It’s part gallery, part performance space, part gathering space for creatives.

Must see thing: KANEKO is an ever-evolving space so the must-see thing is usually whatever the special exhibit happens to be. When I visit with my family, there’s usually at least one area that appeals to the kids, something they’re allowed to touch. And every so often, it’s much like an art gallery where everything is “no touch.”

How much time: Expect to spend about 1 to 2 hours here.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? Some special exhibits are more accessible to kids than others. We almost always find something pretty cool there that’s OK to touch and therefore OK for kids. There are occasional family-friendly events there.

Cafe? No

Things to know about Bemis Center For Contemporary Art

Bemis Center For Contemporary Art is an Omaha art gallery to visit near the Old Market.

Where: 724 S. 12th St.

What makes it unique: The Bemis Center For Contemporary Art has an excellent artist residency program. Take advantage of the open studio days to meet the artists and see what they’re working on.

Must see thing: Much of this space is temporary art exhibitions, so you never know what you’re going to find. But, one thing you can find there is the Art-o-Mat, an art vending machine that dispenses real, one-of-a-kind art!

How much time: You can expect to spend about an hour here unless you’re visiting during one of their special events like open studios or a family day. Then, plan on about 2 hours.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? The art itself may or may not appeal to kids when doing a self-guided tour, so try to visit during open studios or one of the family days. I find the art here to be more thought-provoking than other places, which sometimes just doesn’t register with younger kids.

Cafe? No.

Things to know about Boys Town Hall of History & Father Flanagan’s House

Learn about this history of Boys Town by visiting the Hall of History, Father Flanagan's home and stopping by the Visitor's Center (which is home to the world's largest ball of stamps).

Where: 14057 Flanagan Blvd, Boys Town, Neb. (West Omaha)

What makes it unique: What was started by Father Flanagan in 1921 for a few orphaned boys is now the National Historic Landmark Boys Town. Visit the Hall of History, tour Flanagan’s home and stop by the Visitor’s Center to learn all about it.

Must see thing: Everyone says the world’s largest ball of stamps at the Visitor’s Center is a must-see, but I prefer the Hall of History with its replica bus to climb aboard and the memorabilia from the Spencer Tracy movie “Boys Town.”

How much time: Plan about an hour or 2 hours to visit.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? Yes, though it’s not very hands-on.

Cafe? Yes, breakfast and lunch is available at a cafe in the Visitor’s Center.

More galleries and museums in Omaha to visit

Hot Shops Art Center in NoDo Omaha features dozens of work studios and galleries of work made by local artists.

Omaha has a lot of smaller galleries and museums that are worth visiting. Many on the list below are quite niche. Expect to spend about an hour or less at each.

Artist Co-operative Gallery – This Old Market art gallery features more than 30 artists and artisans. Expect to find unique paintings, sculptures, textiles and more. Exhibit openings are a great time to visit and meet some of the artists.

Czech and Slovak Educational Center and Cultural Museum – This museum tucked in Crossroads Mall in Midtown Omaha is dedicated to the history of Czech and Slovak immigrants.

El Museo Latino – Located in South Omaha, this is the Midwest’s first Latino art and history museum. The museum has several special events worth checking out.

Gen. Crook House – This beautifully restored home of the Civil War hero is found on the North Omaha campus of Metro Community College.

Great Plains Black History Museum – Located in North Omaha on historic 24th Street, the museum preserves the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout middle America.

Historic Florence Bank and Depot Museums – The Florence Bank is Nebraska’s oldest bank. Learn about the Florence neighborhood history at the bank, plus visit the depot that dates back to 1888 and has a caboose and railroad displays.

Hot Shops Art Center – Located in NoDo (North Downtown), this multi-level building is home to galleries and working spaces of more than 80 artists of every imaginable medium. Time your visit during the May or December open house and see demonstrations like glass blowing.

Love’s Jazz and Arts Center – This center preserves and highlights the African American culture of North Omaha, and particularly highlights the impact the neighborhood had on jazz music. The space includes the Preston Love gallery, a performing arts area and an exhibition space. 

Modern Arts Midtown – This art gallery is an extension of Modern Arts Midwest in Lincoln, Neb., and features local and regional contemporary artists. The exhibition space features abstract and traditional art forms ranging from paint, sculpture, photography and textiles.

Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters – The museum and visitor’s center at Winter Quarters tells the history of the migration of 90,000 pioneers to the Rocky Mountains. Displays include a log cabin, covered wagon, oxen and handcart. 

South Omaha Museum – South Omaha Museum preserves and celebrates that which makes South O so unique to this area, like the stockyards and Rosenblatt Stadium. The museum gives tours of the area and presentations.

Split Gallery – This downtown art gallery is a space created by artists for artists. Find exhibitions, pop-up shows and studio sales, as well as performances, lectures, workshops and more.

Museums and historic sites near Omaha

Museums near Omaha - Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum is located about 30 miles from Omaha.

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (Fort Calhoun, Neb.) – The main draw is the actual fort, though there is a visitor’s center to explore as well. I recommend visiting on one of the living history weekends when they have re-enactors demonstrating what life was like in the early 1800s. Read more about the fort’s living history weekends here.

General Dodge House (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This stately home of Grenville M. Dodge was built in 1869. Dodge was a major figure in the railroad history of the area, as well as a Union Army general and politician. 

Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum (Ashland, Neb.) – Get up close to aircraft and space travel memorabilia at this Smithsonian affiliate. This large museum is home to to the largest collection of Cold War aircraft and artifacts in the United States.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This free museum celebrates the long history of Union Pacific. There are interactive exhibits that appeal to kids.

Western Historic Trails Center (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This small, free attraction has displays about the Lewis & Clark, Oregon, Mormon and California Trails, all of which passed through the region. I visited it with the kids and shared details about it here.

Omaha is home to world class museums and galleries. Here's a guide to visiting the most popular art and history museums and the hidden gems of Omaha. Read this post for tips for visiting the biggest museums in Omaha, as well as suggestions on nearby museums to include on an itinerary. #Nebraska #history #art

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