January 2, 2017

17 Family Events To Look Forward in 2017

2017 is going to be an awesome year for Omaha families. This list of family events will get you through summer (check back for the fall and winter edition later!).

Here are some exciting things to look forward to:

2017 family events

Performing Arts

Whether it’s theatrical, musical or on ice, there are several Omaha venues with some great family shows in the first half of the year. Here are the highlights:

– Broadway touring production of “The Sound of Music,” Jan. 24-29, at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater

– “Disney on Ice: Worlds of Enchantment,” March 16-19, at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs, Iowa (Kim’s note: Previously, the ice show was “Ice Age,” but that is no longer on the arena’s calendar) 

– Omaha Symphony presents “The Music of Star Wars,” May 6, Holland Performing Arts Center

– “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” May 26 through June 25, at Omaha Community Playhouse

– “Peter Pan,” June 2-18, at The Rose

 

Museums & Cultural Attractions

This is a broad category since it’s hard to fit botanical gardens with an arena, but I’ll try. Here are the highlights of some events happening at Omaha museums and other cultural attractions:

– “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® Bricks,” Jan. 14 through May 15, at Lauritzen Gardens

– FEI World Cup™ Jumping & FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals, March 29 through April 1, at the CenturyLink Center

– “Top Secret License to Spy,” May 20 through Sept. 17, at The Durham Museum

– “Dinosaur Safari,” May 27 through Sept. 3, at Omaha Children’s Museum

 

Road Trip!

Feel like hitting the road for an overnight in another city? Here are some destination events to consider with for the family:

– “A Year With Frog and Toad,” Jan. 14, at Des Moines Civic Center in Iowa

– “Annie,” March 30, at  the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa

– “One Man Star Wars Trilogy,” April 4-9,  at The Temple Theater in Des Moines, Iowa

– New rides Mustang Runner and Falcon’s Flight unveiled, April 14, at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo.

– “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical,” May 31 through June 3, at Lied Center in Lincoln, Neb.

– “Garfield: The Musical With Cattitude” June 20 through Aug. 5 at The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Mo.

– “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” In Concert June 21-24 at Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Mo.

– Nebraska State Fair, Aug. 25 through Sept. 4, at the State Fairgrounds in Grand Island (if your kids loved “Pirates and Mermaids: Voyage to Creature Cove” at Omaha Children’s Museum, they can see the sea creatures at the fair)

Your turn! What events are you looking forward to in Omaha & beyond?

June 21, 2016

The Apollon Art Space In Omaha

Omaha’s vibrant performing arts scene has just about every kind of theater I could hope for: We’ve got the classics, the traditional musicals, contemporary theater, improv, and interactive dinner theater.

It’s the last one I’m going to write about. Well. Not really. Come to think of it, it’s a bit improv, and definitely contemporary, and there was some song and dance…

Apollon Art Space logo

The Apollon Art Space is a little bit of everything, but most of all, it’s collaborative.

I was invited to attend a performance of the theater’s latest show, “A Very Important Date: The Untold Story of the White Rabbit.” I was encouraged to bring the kids along. I’m so glad I did.

 

Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum were Mooch's clear favorites from the performance we attended at The Apollon in Omaha.

Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum were Mooch’s clear favorites from the performance we attended at The Apollon in Omaha.

They’ve become No. 1 fans of the place!

What to expect

The Apollon Art Space is more than theater, and it’s not quite like anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s space for arts (I hope you deduced that from the name).

It’s based on three elements: “The performer, the witness, and the shared experience between them.”

Here’s where it gets fun for kids.

Their shows are interactive. You may influence the outcome of the show. You may be in the show.

Farley chatting with the hare before the show began. Or had it already begun when we arrived?

Farley chatting with the hare before the show began. Or had it already begun when we arrived?

This shared experience is everything for kids. And adults. For those of us not brave enough to step foot on a stage, it’s exciting to interact with the actors at The Apollon.

Our show was general admission, and rather than rows of seats, we sat at tables. You’ll meet some new people when you attend a show. Your experience becomes theirs.

My children’s enthusiastic reaction to a character or recoil from an oddly colored food was shared with the whole table. I’m fairly sure they found my kids entertaining.

The look says it all: This is not cake but a chicken salad sandwich?! The Apollon likes to play with food during a show.

The look says it all: “This is not cake but a chicken salad sandwich?? Why, Mommy, why?” The Apollon likes to play with food during a show.

I hope.

Not all shows are suitable for all ages, so before buying a ticket for your whole crew, double check. This Alice show, though, is great for kids. My kids are 4 and 6 and enjoyed every minute of it (except for the sandwiches that looked like cakes and were not at all like cake).

My daughter has been pretending to be Dweedle Dee for four days now. So I guess you could say she liked it.

The food

Meals are themed off the performance. They’re included with your ticket.

Since the show we attended was a riff off Alice and Wonderland, our food was wonderfully bizarre.

Vertical salad with bright blue ranch dressing kicked off our "Alice in Wonderland" fanciful themed dinner.

Vertical salad with bright blue ranch dressing kicked off our “Alice in Wonderland” fanciful themed dinner.

We had four courses for our meal, ending with a birthday cake. It was a birthday party, after all.

Drinks were extra. I had to order one of the specialty cocktails, just because.

You try going to a dinner show alone with your kids. You'd order a Mad Hatter, too.

You try going to a dinner show alone with your kids. You’d order a Mad Hatter, too.

The prices were pretty reasonable – $3 for a glass of wine? Bottoms up!

The space

The Apollon is along a charming stretch of Vinton Street in downtown Omaha.  The space itself is small and not set up like a typical theater. It’s a space for many uses.

A lot of the art on the walls not only served as a set for the show – it doubled as a gallery space. We, the audience, were asked to create some art for the wall during the show. However, working artists also have some work on the walls that could be purchased.

Besides interactive theater, the space hosts improv shows, Drink and Draw nights, and there’s a little art supply store. We bought some coloring books after the show from the store, and the kids were happy to use them to collect autographs from the cast. They also host free art classes occasionally, which you can keep tabs on here.

What’s coming up

Very Important Date Apollon

“A Very Important Date: The Untold Story of the White Rabbit” – Runs through July 2.

Big Canvas Improv at The Apollon – July 15, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

 

If you go

The Apollon

Where: 1801 Vinton St.

Parking: Park on the street, and if you can’t find a spot, there’s overflow parking at the Supermercado Nuestra Familia, 1826 Vinton St.

Website 

February 1, 2014

My Daughter’s First Show At The Orpheum Theater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then it was show time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 28, 2013

3 Ways To Score Cheap Tickets to Shows

Updated: July 9, 2018

In my former life, I was a theater and movie critic for a newspaper. I got to go to shows for free, bringing giddy nieces, tipsy friends and Mr. Wonderful to many a good show. Alas, my freeloading days are over. What’s a girl to do?

You figure out where the discounts are and you hunt them down. Challenge accepted, right?

Farley's first Broadway tour show was "Shrek." I recommend not timing your kid's first musical to coincide with the week you begin potty training.

Farley’s first Broadway tour show was “Shrek.”
I recommend not timing your kid’s first musical to coincide with the week you begin potty training.

Assuming you aren’t looking to buy a season ticket anywhere, here are some tips to help you afford your entertainment habit:

Follow them on social media

Organizations like Omaha Performing Arts (disclosure: I worked for this organization, but they are not endorsing or sponsoring this blog), Omaha Community Playhouse, Film Streams and The Rose are all active on different platforms. Find the place that offers shows that interest you and follow them on Facebook, Twitter or if they have a blog, follow that. If they offer discounts, especially last-minute ones, you can be sure they offer them to their fans first. You’ll even find giveaways on these platforms.

Giddy niece on her way to The Rose.

Giddy niece on her way to a show at The Rose.

 

Know the discount days

Omaha Community Playhouse offers $10 tickets on the first Wednesday night of a performance, $7 tickets for students on weekends and half-off tickets if purchased the day of the performance. Visit here to get all the details. The Rose offers discount tickets if purchased at Hy-Vee; they’re good for up to $5 off each ticket.

And, Omaha Performing Arts often offers $5 off discounts and other promos on certain shows, so be on the lookout for those. They’ll probably let you know via email.

NET Supporter

If you donate $80 or more to Nebraska Public Television, you receive the NET MemberCard that gets you tons of discounts throughout Nebraska. While many of them are 2-for-1 discounts to museums and restaurants, you will find some great deals for performances.

Metro Arts & Culture Pass

Editor’s update: This program no longer exists, unfortunately.

Check here  before buying a ticket ever again (or better yet, check here). Each month, two organizations offer a discount or freebie. If you are a season subscriber or member to any of the participating organizations, you can enjoy those benefits! It’s not a physical pass, if you’re wondering.

Do you know of any discounts? Share your tips in a comment, please!