Great Park Pursuit

Tuesday Travel Tips: So Many Nebraska Places, So Little Time

Looking over my folder crammed full of options, I can see …

20 parks on the Nebraska Great Park Pursuit

80 Nebraska Passport Places

32 options in Lincoln: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown

Several Lincoln places are on both lists: The Capitol, Morrill Hall, International Quilt Study Center and the Lincoln Zoo.  That still leaves ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT PLACES to go.  This does not include all of the places that did not make one of the passport tours this year.  Or the places from last year.  Or the festivals that one can find in Nebraska (To find these fun events, check out this list by by Family Fun in Omaha compiled with help from The Walking Tourists )  Or the extra 21 places that just were added to our list of “must-go” places (thankfully there are a few locations that duplicate other lists!  More on those soon!) And they say that there is NOTHING to do in Nebraska?  I say there is TOO MUCH to do!

Just noticed this building, a part of the Lincoln skyline, and I am not sure I have ever been inside.  Yet another place to explore!

To avoid being overwhelmed at all the possibilities, following these suggestions will help you.

First, set your goals.  How many places do you want to visit? One or two per month?  One per week?  Several in one day ?  We tend to do the latter now that my kids are older.   At the same time, I am committed to spend at least one day per week at HOME!   We need that to stay balanced.   Another question: is going to the travel program places important to you?  Last year, we traveled to Northwest Nebraska. Since we do not have long distance travel plans yet, I know that we will probably not get as many Nebraska Passport stamps this year. Because we are sticking close to home, we hope to hit 30 of the “Lincoln: Be a Tourist in your own Hometown” places. As we needed a challenge, we are going for the platinum level!

One of the 8 Lincoln passport stops we made today.

Second, pick a theme or a focus. Much to family’s amusement, I am teaching art at our cooperative this fall. While I am creative, my artistic skills might be lacking.  Yet I know that I can improve and grow in this content area. Going to art galleries is a part of that process for me. Today  we saw an original Warhol, and the kids were amazed at the price tag.   This focus has been rather enjoyable !  Need inspiration?  Check out the Nebraska Passport “tours” for suggested themes. Even if you cannot make their specific locations, possibly you have similar places near you.

Third, involve your children in the process.  Ask them where they want to go, but at the same time, give them parameters.   Would you rather go here or there ?  Which place do you want to go first?  Without giving them direction, you could end up on an unexpected three hour tour. Another necessity when traveling with children is to mix learning with play.  Even our children, who have gone to countless places, would not handle going to multiple places without taking play breaks!

An impromptu short game of hide-and-seek.  Can you see the children?  Thankfully they did not hide very often. Not too keen on this particular activity in busy public spaces!  🙂

How do you narrow down your travel options?  How do you pick your travel destinations?  Wherever you decide to go, I hope your family’s journey is an enjoyable one!

Categories: Family Outings, Great Park Pursuit, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Nebraska Passport, Passport Pursuit Programs, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Travel Tips Tuesday: Passports and Pursuits are Back

This is a fun time of year to be a tourist in Nebraska.  All three of the programs that we enjoy participating in as a family are back.  Basically you go to their suggested places and get rubbings or stamps to show that you visited.  Then you are eligible for prizes.  Best yet you get to make memories as you travel around our great state!

Nebraska Great Park Pursuit (Explore 20 of Nebraska’s state parks and recreation areas!)

Back Home


Nebraska Passport (80 options across the state on several tours including “Forks in the Road” and “Stars and Stripes”

Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown (Lincoln): This one just started again YESTERDAY, so the links may not be up quite yet.

Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau

You can pick up the passports at participating locations.  I will be featuring many of these places over the next several months on my blog!  Go out and explore – today is supposed to be a beautiful day!

Categories: Annual Events, Great Park Pursuit, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Nebraska Passport, Passport Pursuit Programs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A (somewhat sad) tale of two (Nebraska) lakes

Going to college in Minnesota, I loved living such a short driving distance from many lakes.  I would go for walks along the shore and even attempt to complete homework in the serene locations.  So, when I have a chance to go see a big lake in Nebraska, I am really excited.

Lake # 1

On our way home from the Panhandle Monday, I convinced my husband to drive a bit out of the way to drive by Lake McConaughy on our way back home.  We had packed a picnic, and I thought that we could not find a lovelier dining setting.  (Plus the lake is a part of the Nebraska Great Park Pursuit, and the kids & I were wanting to get another post rubbing).


One of our first glimpses of the lake.


The lake was definitely beautiful.

2LakeMac area

And so was the surrounding shoreline!

We stopped at just one portion of the lake.  Area 2.  Near the showers and the post.  We had the area to ourselves.  Well, almost.

DSCN5423_2093NE Trip Nikon 13

What we did not anticipate: flies.  Everywhere.  At first I was annoyed with my children about their complaining about the flies.  (And the heat, but that’s another story!)  Then I became annoyed with the flies.  Actually rather mad especially once they started biting.  And even drew blood.  Ouch!

DSCN5425_2095NE Trip Nikon 13

A view near the rubbing post (we did at least get that!)

Suddenly, we could not wait to leave.  The view from the minivan was much more attractive than the great outdoors.  (Obviously we may not make great campers!)  The kids finished their lunch in the car, and I took a few more pictures out of the window.  Much more comfortable.


Should have brought forth a peaceful, easy feeling – instead was still feeling stressed about the picnic failure.

DSCN5433_2100NE Trip Nikon 13

A slightly blurry view of the dam.

DSCN5437_2102NE Trip Nikon 13

A museum is near the official entrance to the lake and dam.  They feature information about water conservation and the lake.  At this point, we were just ready to leave the area.  End of Lake Experience # 1.

Lake # 2

This adventure actually took place a day later (you think we would have been tired of being in the car).  But no, the kids and I were determined that we were going to get one last Great Park Pursuit rubbing.  So, since we were in Waverly and halfway there, we headed out to find Lake Wanahoo near Wahoo.  My grandparents lived up in northern Nebraska, so I think we drove by this lake different times growing up.  But we had never stopped, so I was looking forward to getting out and exploring.

But, I tend to be a bit optimistic on timing.  On how long the completion of a task really takes.  That day was no exception.  Our timing was later than I hoped, and my daughter had gymnastics we needed to get back for.  So while wandering around was no longer an option, I still wanted to get to the post.  I did not pay enough attention to the fact that the post was 1/2 mile away.  That usually means a trek across grass and a harder one to spot – different than the ones near parking lots.   We could not find the post.  Anywhere.  Finally we called the NGPP and asked for assistance.  Eventually we found this sign.

DSCN5537_2194NEPassp Nikon 13

So one of my sons (the one with the allergies) joined me on my sprint across the prairie to find the rubbing quickly to hopefully make it back to Lincoln in time for a 4:30 event that we had scheduled.  (We were both a bit stuffy later!)  We ran part of the way (he at least had tennis shoes) and felt like giving up this point.  But we were so close, so we didn’t.  We successfully found the post (after 20+ minutes of being at the park).  We ran back to car.  The other kids had climbed out in the meantime, and a bee had flown in.  So, now I got to be exterminator (thankfully he flew out when I swooped at him).  But this did delay us further.  I snapped a couple of pictures of the lake.


A lovely little lake!


We could see the rain beginning to fall nearby …


There was even a winding path.  Untraveled by us due to timing!

Then headed home (where we were 10 minutes late, so my daughter had to skip practice)!  This lake was also not what I expected – hopefully we will make it back someday when we can actually enjoy what the lake has to offer.  End of Lake Experience # 2.

Maybe someday my Nebraska Lake experiences will work out better.  We did get our Nebraska Great Park Pursuit rubbings sent in yesterday.  If you participated in the Park Pursuit, your entry needs to be postmarked by Monday.  So, it’s not too late to join in the fun. Now that the Husker game is over, you have the rest of the week-end to go out  and experience one of the great Nebraska State Parks.  Hopefully your trips will go better than ours did!  At least we made some long-term memories.


Categories: Great Park Pursuit, Metro, Passport Pursuit Programs, Prairie Lakes, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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