Shining Stars at the Lincoln Children’s Museum Tonight (April 14th)

When a child’s immune systems is compromised, he/she is limited on attending places that are public.   This not only affects the ill child but also all family members.  Bringing home a cold is not just inconvenient, the consequences can be quite dire.  Getting to enjoy a family outing is rare.

The Lincoln Children’s Museum is changing that for tonight.  They will be open only to those who fit into the immune challenged category.  And they can bring along their families.  The museum is closed all day today to disinfect and prepare for this special crowd of people.  Here is the official description from the press release.

This event is closed to the public to ensure children with compromised systems have complete access to more than 30 hands-on exhibits on all three levels of the Museum. For some, Shining Star represents a rare opportunity to meet and interact with others facing similar struggles and presents the chance to build memories of play outside of the home or hospital. For many, this will be the first family outing in more than a year.

This event is taking place from 4:30 to 7:30 tonight (April 14th).  If you know someone who qualifies, please send them to the Museum.  I am hoping that they have a full house complete with excited children who are finally getting to be kids.

Not from the Lincoln area but in need of such an event?  Check with your area museum.  I believe that the Omaha Children’s Museum recently completed their own “Shining Stars” event.  So, there may be one near you, or possibly you can be the catalyst to get such an event going!

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Family Outings, Lincoln, Metro | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Springing Into the Lincoln Zoo

Did you guess what place we featured yesterday?

Zoo sign

Yesterday was opening day of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, so I knew that I wanted to feature them at the beginning of the season.  Now I must confess that when we went to the zoo earlier last summer, writing a Nebraska blog was not on my radar.  Obviously the pictures that I took were not with publishing in mind, and for whatever reason I took hardly any that day, even of my kids.  Although I did go back later to take a few additional shots of the entrance, if you want to see the animals, you will have to go there yourself! :-)  Or enjoy the photos on the website taken by Lincoln’s National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore.  His shots are AMAZING – maybe I won’t post any upcoming animal pictures! :-)

Zoo entrance

One interesting program that was started last year was Zoofari with Nebraska’s own Larry the Cable Guy.  Throughout the zoo, you can see the videos playing which tell about the science behind zoology in a fun way for kids.  The best part about these videos?  They were developed with children’s hospitals in mind to bring Zoofari to children who maybe cannot visit the zoo right now themselves.

In the future I hope to do another post after I have traveled through the zoo purposefully with the intent to share ideas.  For now I will simply share our favorite things about the zoo.  We love watching the penguin show.  Just wandering around to look at all of the different animals can keep my kids entertained for hours.  Usually each visit we are there for almost all day, and the zoo is really not THAT big.  My kids just enjoy visiting.

Zoo Train Collage 1

Of course, our other favorite part is riding the train.  But empty cars are definitely a bit sad.

Zoo Train Collage 2

The train cars look much more fun when filled with happy kids!  Especially my boys have loved riding when they were younger.  Although we went there right before one of my kids turned two.  He was not such a fan and sobbed loudly the whole two times around the zoo’s perimeter.  Funny now but rather frustrating at the time!

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo has all kinds of classes and programs for kids of all ages.  If you have a teenager, they can even volunteer with the zoo crew.  Memberships are also available.  We enjoyed having one a few years ago, but due to a busy summer ball schedule, we usually just manage to make it there once now.  But I do always look forward to our annual trip!

P.S. If you make a trip to the Lincoln Zoo next week, you could win a family membership simply by taking your picture!  They are part of the See Lincoln: Picture to Win Contest.  Here are the details on what you need to do to participate.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Date: April 14-20

Snap photo: In front of “Leo” the Paper Eating Lion

Prize: One Family Membership

Categories: Family Outings, Lincoln, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Metro | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

Where 4-9-14

Where 4-9-14 2

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April Nebraska Stories

Tomorrow night is the premiere of yet another Nebraska Stories show on Nebraska Public Television (NET).  This episode seems to be a packed one!  I have to admit that due to a busy week, I have not been able to watch this edition yet.  But I hope to watch tomorrow night at 9:00.  (Well, basically tonight since it happens to be almost midnight :-) )Click here for a preview of all that you will be able to see Sunday night, including the return of our Nebraska Olympian, a topic I blogged about in February!

Nebraska Stories Episodes

Air Dates: Premieres Sunday, April 6, at 9 p.m. CT on NET1. This episode of “Nebraska Stories” will repeat several times during April on NET1 including Tuesday, April 8, at 6 p.m. CT; Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. CT; Tuesday, April 15, at 10:30 p.m. CT; Friday, April 18, at 7 p.m. CT; and Tuesday, April 22, at 11 p.m. CT. It will also air on NET2 World on Saturday, April12, at 1:30 p.m. CT and Sunday, April 13, at 5 p.m. CT.


Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Union Plaza Place Park: A New Adventure of Playing in Lincoln

Perhaps writing about a park when the state is covered with snow watches is a bit premature.  But, the month on the calendar does read April, and one week from now, the temperature is supposed to be in the 70′s.  Surely spring will come someday, right?  So, hopefully this post will encourage you to know that sunny days are ahead!

I have to say that Union Plaza Place Park is one of my favorite family destinations!  Traveling the trails around the park on a bike is particularly fun!  So is exploring all of the nooks and whimsical features.


The park is full of unexpected surprises.  Including an area where you can play chess with rocks.  Or do rubbings of nature elements. Even Fido is not forgotten with designated areas for pets.

Gabriel on turtle at park

This park in Lincoln is just east of Downtown and almost merges sections of the city together.  Planning occurred for several years in advance, particularly for the children’s play garden.  This was created in memory of Kit Scott, a lovely young woman who I never had the privilege of meeting.  But, I did get the honor of telling a bit of her story in the January edition of the L Magazine.  I would be honored if you would choose to read “Leaving Lincoln a Legacy.”

You can also see more pictures of the park there.  At the moment, I am not getting my backup drive to cooperate, so I only could post some cell phone pictures.  (Not exactly quality!)  If you have not taken the time to check out Union Plaza Place Park for yourself, I would highly encourage you to do so.  The park is located between about “Q” and “Vine” streets near 20th.  Definitely worth your time to explore!



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Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

Park fountain

Park Playground

Park play tables

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Earth Wellness Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska

Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing a group of homeschoolers to the 20th annual Earth Wellness Festival.  This is an event that is for Lincoln area fifth graders, and one I was involved with as a teacher.  I was excited to get to take  my oldest son and some friends.

For each festival, the student groups get to attend three separate workshops, and then all of the groups assemble together to watch a raptor show.  This event runs for two days, so several sections come to visit the events.  Each “workshop” is presented many times by volunteers from the community.

Here are the workshops we attended …


Yes, you read that correctly.  We learned all about poop can help in detecting which animals are in the area.  (Bet I may not use that word on this blog again for a long time!)  This definitely appealed to the boys as they all got to create edible scat out of tootsie rolls and other added ingredients.  (Hence the picture of the shredded wheat from yesterday!)

Earth Wellness Festival One

Our second workshop had to with learning about saline wetlands.  I definitely learned a lot about the habitat that exists nearby our metro area.  This culminated in a fun game of jeopardy.

Earth Wellness Festival Two

Our third workshop  had to do with CROPS (community gardens) and composting.  Including the worm variety.  The kids enjoyed getting to hold the worms.  I had never pondered all of the items that should not be composted (especially processed ones!)  Maybe someday I would even be willing to give this ecological habit a try someday!

Earth Wellness Festival Three

The highlight every year is the raptor show.  Just something special about having a large bird of prey fly right over your head.  They are beautiful animals to see in flight.

Earth Wellness Festival Four

Although he did not actually fly, the favorite bird of both me and my son was probably the bald eagle.  What a beautiful animal!

Earth Wellness Festival Five

This one was much smaller than we expected.  Evidently the baby birds have only brown tail feathers, so maybe we have seen a baby bald eagle without realizing it!

I enjoyed attending the Earth Wellness Festival as a mom.  I definitely want to take my other children/students when they are in fifth grade.  What a great event for those in ecology and conservation to put on for the Lincoln area kids!

Categories: Annual Events, Lincoln, Metro | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

3-26-14 Where were we 3

3-26-14 Where were we 1

3-26-14 Where were we 2

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Carhenge: Nebraska’s Circular Standout

Having three sons and being married to a “car” guy, I knew that Carhenge needed to be on our list of destinations when we went up to Northwest Nebraska last fall.  What surprised me: this iconic landmark is in the middle of farm fields with the Alliance water tower just a short distance away.

Carhenge 1

Our next move – walking closer through this modern “sculpture.”


Until you see the cars in person, telling just how many pieces and parts are there would be challenging.  Even in person grasping all that went into the creation of these metals towers is impossible.

Carhenge 2

So why cars in the middle of the field anyway?  The Reiners family wanted to honor their late father’s memory, the former farmer who had tilled this very land.  Only five years and thirty-eight cars later, their dream of Carhenge was realized.  Modeling their sculpture after ancient Stonehenge, the visualization of automobiles will never be the same!

Carhenge 3

Our family enjoyed wandering about.  Seeing the incorporated designs was interesting to me.  For my husband, he could determine the actual car make and models.  Besides seeing the cars, the kids (and the rest of us) were just glad to take a break from our long car drive.

Carhenge 5

The day was a hot one.  When my sister-in-law broke out her popsicle stash, she observed some happy people.  Not happen to bring your own sweet treats?  The adjacent gift shop sells them along with more souvenirs that a person could seemingly think up.

Carhenge 4

This unique collection has gone beyond the original formation.  Now this is all considered the “Car Art Preserve.”

Carhenge 6

And if automobiles are not your thing, you may enjoy seeing the other pieces of fabricated art.  No longer family owned, the city of Alliance are the proud operators with volunteers staffing this free family adventure.  Definitely a worthwhile detour to enjoy this unique Nebraska attraction.

Categories: Panhandle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the Dads: Carhenge

Within the next week, both my father-in-law and father are celebrating birthdays (Sunday and Monday respectively).  They both enjoy classic cars.  So, this week I had to do a post in honor of them.  Did anyone guess correctly where we visited?


Carhenge!  Tomorrow I will write a combination Friday photography/Friday flashback session on just how this iconic Nebraskan landmark came to be!

Categories: Panhandle, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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