Lincoln is a favorite quick getaway for my family, since it’s less than an hour drive from Omaha. We plan a day trip or overnight trip to the city at least once a year. After a few years of doing this, we have a good idea of some of the most fun things to do with kids in Lincoln, Ne.
UPDATE: This post was written in 2018 but has been updated in 2021 to include new admission prices.
I’ve compiled a list of the places my kids loved the most in Lincoln. Here they are, eight great things to do with kids in Lincoln:
Lincoln Children’s Museum
Where: 1420 P St., Lincoln, Neb.
Why: Hands down, this is the one place in Lincoln my kids request to visit every. single. time. If your kids are younger than 8, this place will be a hit with them. It’s three stories and full of play opportunities. My kids love the role play areas, like pretending to be Johnny Carson.
Cost: Children (18 months to 15 years old), $13.95; adults (ages 16+), $11.95; and children younger than 18, FREE. Reciprocal membership alert!
Learn more about the Lincoln Children’s Museum.
Tip: Lincoln Children’s Museum is within walking distance a FREE museum worth visiting with kids – Nebraska History Museum.
Planning a trip to Lincoln? You may want to include one of these Lincoln pizza shops on your list.
Where: 635 N. 14th St., Lincoln Neb. (located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus)
Why: In a word: Dinosaurs. This is a natural history museum has an appeal for all ages, but if you have younger kids, don’t skip the bottom level, where there’s a great kid’s space with tons of hands-on play like a fossil dig.
Cost: Adults 19 and older, $8 ($12 to include planetarium); children 5-18, $4 ($7 to include planetarium); children 4 and younger, FREE ($4 to include planetarium, though children younger than 3 are not permitted in the planetarium); UNL students and faculty, FREE ($4 to include planetarium)
See lots of pictures of the kid-friendly side of Morrill Hall here.
Tip: UNL’s sports teams tend to overshadow this museum. Consider pairing a well-timed visit to the museum with a seeing a Huskers game. Football is king, but the women’s volleyball team is also a must-see game.
Where: South 27th Street and Capitol Parkway, Lincoln, Neb.
Why: The Sunken Gardens are meticulously cared for, so it’s a sight to behold. The best part is, it’s a public garden, so there is no cost to stroll the grounds. My kids were fans of the ponds. It’s very near the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, so it’s easy to visit both.
I shared details on our visit to Sunken Gardens in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.
Where: 701 P St., Lincoln, Neb.
Why: By day, this alley in the historic Haymarket isn’t going to draw you in. At night, however, the strung lights are aglow and the murals and sculptures found along the alley walls take on a whole new and exciting life.
The Haymarket is nice to stroll around with kids, too. I’ve seen it referred to as Art Alley, which I think is fitting. Read this post for a Haymarket hotel suggestion and restaurant tip.
UNL Dairy Store
Where: 114 Food Industry Complex, Lincoln, Neb.
Why: Ice cream! The dairy on the East University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus has been in the business of handmade food since 1917. If you plan ahead, you can sign up for a complimentary tour of the dairy facilities.
Cost: FREE (unless you want to buy ice cream, which obviously, we all do)
I shared details on our visit to UNL Dairy Store in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.
Lost In Fun!
Where: 8431 Cody Drive, Lincoln, Neb.
Why: Lost in Fun! is an excellent rainy day outing in Lincoln. Think bounce house, jump pillow, foam pit, jungle gyms and arcade games. The only downside is that it’s not near ANYTHING else on this list, and it’s not near the interstate. So, it’s not a convenient place, but it’s a ton of fun for kids.
Cost: Mega Fun Pass (ages 6-14), $10.99; Mini Fun Pass (ages 2-5), $6.99; Micro Fun Pass (12 months old), $3.99; and FREE for children younger than 12 months old and adults
Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Where: 1222 S. 27th, Lincoln, Neb.
Why: This zoo may be on the small side, but it packs in a lot of animal engagement opportunities. Some are additional fees, like riding a horse or feeding the goats, while others are free, such as touching a lizard or bunny.
The zoo’s largest expansion ever opened in May 2019.
Cost: Adults, 13-61, $13.95; children 2-12 and seniors, 62+, $11.95; children 1 and younger, FREE. Check if your zoo membership qualifies for a reciprocal discount.
Get the scoop on things to do at the Lincoln zoo here.
Where: 23rd and N Streets to 33rd Street and Sheridan Boulevard
Why: Few parks can compare to the massive Antelope Park. I counted 12 slides when we were there. This is a great, budget-friendly option to let the kids run wild.
I shared details about Antelope Park in this post about 24 Hours in Lincoln.
Pioneer Park Nature Center
Where: 3201 S. Coddington Ave.
Why: This beautiful park spans 668 acres, featuring tallgrass prairie, woodlands, wetlands, and a stream. The hiking trails are pretty kid-friendly, but the real draw is the animals like the raptor exhibits, bison, elk, and white-tailed deer.
Don’t skip the nature center and the children’s natural play area.
Cost: FREE (there is a suggested donation)
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Monday 11th of February 2019
so many people who say these ideas are boring, yet the don't offer up any ideas of their own....... just want to say thank you for your suggestions....
Monday 11th of February 2019
Thanks! I figure, everyone has a different idea of what is fun and what is boring, so I'll juts offer suggestions and let them decide for themselves.