Region or City

What Cottage Did I Visit in Nebraska?

Sadly, my followers have still not be sent over to my new site.  You are probably one of them since you are reading this post here.

www.odysseythroughnebraska.com

I am working on fixing that.  In the mean time, if you would like to learn about the caretaker cottage that we recently saw in Nebraska, please click on the above link.

Note: due to the delays, I have also postponed my Holen One Farms BBQ Gift Pack Giveaway to expire on FRIDAY morning at 6:00 a.m., rather than tomorrow to give you a bit more time this week.  Please make sure to enter  – it is rather easy to do so!

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Friday Photography: Happy Birthday, America, from Nebraska!

July 4th Eagle & Balloon

Even our national symbol is blown up …

July 4th Rider Collage

I love a parade!

July 4th Two Flags Collage

Flags from yesterday and today …

July 4th In God We Trust Edited

Our national motto …

July 4th Capital

Reminders of our government …

July 4th Kids on Capital Steps

A beautiful day to enjoy the Nebraska Capital!

 

July 4th Fireworks Collage

Have a safe and happy 4th of  July!  A BIG THANK YOU to those who serve our country and who have made freedom possible!  God bless America!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nebraska’s Small Town Independence Day Celebrations (Featuring Seward and Waverly)

4th of July Narrow

I am feeling a bit embarrassed this morning.  In my haste to try to get information out to you last night, so that you could actually catch the fireworks shows that were happening last evening, I forgot something rather important.  I only left “America’s Fourth of July City-Small Town USA!” city off of my list.  Jeepers!  I also know that nearby Waverly is having a full day of festivities.    These two towns get their own post evidently! 🙂

Photo taken from July Fourth Seward website

All of these events are taking place in Seward, and you can find a printable schedule on their site.

A Grand Parade at 4:00 pm                                   Outstanding Fireworks Display
“Food Alley”                                                                Free Movies at the Rivoli Theater
Crafts on the Square-Craft Show                          Humanities Presentations/Lectures
Patriotic Programs                                                   Children’s Games
Historic Exhibits                                                        Walking Tour of Downtown
Art Shows                                                                   Clowns
Quilt Lectures/Talks                                                 Special Seward County Independent
Quilt Exhibit                                                                Travelogues
Anvil Firing                                                                  Prayer Service
Grand Concert in Plum Creek Park                      Children’s Drama/Shows
Rotary Club Royalty                                                  Antique Auto Show/Contest
Parachutists                                                              Cloggers and Dancers
Holiday Lights Downtown                                       Horseshoe Contest
Carnival                                                                      Freedom Run
Bar-B-Que                                                                  Band Concerts
Miscellaneous Market                                             Tourist Family
Pet Parade/Contest                                                 Awards
Apple Pie Eating Contest                                       Pictorial Postal Cancellation
Guest Register                                                         Baseball games
Wild West Shootout                                                 Band Concerts
Magic Shows                                                            Family Shows/Concerts

Their GIANT fireworks salute takes place tonight at 10!

As for WaverlyFest, you missed the state’s largest street dance last night.  Sorry!  But you still have time to make it to the 10 a.m. parade.  I could not find the exact schedule of events, but here is a description from their website of the upcoming events.  (Note: the picture is also from their website!)

Come join the Fourth of July celebration in Waverly Nebraska.  Events include a pancake feed, a parade, Ice Cream Social, Kid Games, Money Toss, Sand Volleyball, Beer Garden, Street Dance, and Swimming.  The celebration concludes with a Fireworks Display at Lawson Park.

However you celebrate the day of Independence, I pray that you and your loved ones stay safe!

flagparade

Categories: Annual Events, Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Celebrating Independence Day Across Nebraska

File:Fireworks 4.jpg

Image from Wikimedia Commons

I had hoped to get this posted earlier today because many events have been underway, at least in this area, for quite awhile.  Yet since there are a few more hours left until dark and the real shows are beginning, I decided it was still worth the post.  Obviously I will not manage to catch every town.  But here are some of the larger celebrations happening across Nebraska today, tomorrow and the rest of this week-end!

Frontier Trails

Grand Island: Fonner Park Fireworks at Dusk on July 4th

Hastings: 4th of July Concert with “The Rumbles” (possibly fireworks to follow?)

Kearney Fireworks: Thursday July 3rd 10 pm

Fort Kearny Stampede Day (July 4th Day)

Lewis and Clark

Columbus: Red, White & KaBoom on Thursday July 3rd

Norfolk (Saturday the 5th at 10 pm)

Metro

Fremont: Thursday Night

Lincoln: Uncle Sam Jam: Thursday July 3rd

Lincoln Red, White and Zoo (Friday All Day)

Two Other Lincoln Events on the 4th of July:

Celebrate America! — 9:30 a.m., kids’ parade and marching band; 10-11 a.m., patriotic program; 11-11:30 a.m., old-fashioned family games; 11:30 a.m.-noon, hot dog lunch, Cripple Creek Park, Pine Lake Road between 40th and 56th streets, north on Beaver Creek Lane; the park is on the corner of Fir Hollow and Beaver Creek Lane. Everyone welcome.

Fourth of July storytime — 11 a.m., SouthPointe Barnes & Noble Booksellers. “Corduroy’s 4th of July” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Omaha: Link to “Family Fun in Omaha” for all the area events!

Panhandle

Alliance: Laing Lake Lunatic Boat Races

Gering Fireworks (Thursday Night)

Scotts Bluff Area VIewing (Watch area fireworks from the Bluff – no actual fireworks permitted on site)

Pioneer Country

Beatrice: Homestead National Monument: Campire Series (July 4th evening events)

Nebraska City: Events on Friday and Saturday

York: July 3rd Fireworks

Prairie Lakes

Maxwell: Maranatha Bible Camp (Dinner, concert & fireworks: $)

North Platte Fireworks on July 4th- 8 p.m.?

Ogallala Fireworks: July 4th at Dusk

Sandhills:

Ainsworth Fourth of July (Celebration all day including races & evening fireworks)

Know of any other great events happening to celebrate the 4th of July?  Please post them on my “Odyssey Through Nebraska” Facebook Page!

Happy Birthday, United States of America!

 

 

 

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Capitol: A Nebraska Masterpiece

Capitol Exterior

Truly the Nebraska Capitol is one of my very favorite places across the whole state.  Why it has taken me a year to feature Nebraska’s most recognizable building on this blog I am not sure.  Maybe this is because writing this post is STILL daunting to me!    How can you narrow down a building that contains so much architectural beauty, cultural significance and Nebraska symbolism.  I think this is why this post has never been written.  Today, in my own feeble way, I will attempt to give you a”quick” tour of this Nebraska Masterpiece.

Nebraska’s Capitol building is filled with murals, mosaics, tapestries and distinguishing architectural details.  Because I am pretty certain that no one will take the time to read 32 pages of one blog post, I am setting those details aside.  Additionally I plan on writing a separate post on my kids’ favorite part of the building: the tippy top.  To ride to the “14th” floor, one must climb into a rather small, older elevator.  By the way, in case you were wondering, despite its appearance to the contrary, you CAN in fact fit a double stroller inside to ride up.  We have done it successfully several times!

Back to the purpose of today’s blog … Just like our national government, our Nebraska state government has three branches.

Capitol Judicial Branch

The Judicial branch.

Capitol Legislative Chambers

The Legislative Branch.

As long as the judges and senators are not work, both of these sections are part of the daily tours that run hourly (except at noon.)  Now we also happen to have an executive area where the governor and his staff are busily at work.  Since they are a bit more involved in the daily aspects of government, this section is usually closed to the public.  As we once had a special family event take place inside the Capitol, I do have a picture of the executive press room.

Capitol Executive Press Room with family

Cropped and from my scrapbook, really you only get a good idea of the official press conference desk.

These are the main sections that exist inside of the capitol.  Of course, the basement is filled with legislative offices and the cafeteria and a gift shop.  Statues of famous Nebraskans line the rotunda, but I think that is another post as well.  Guess you will be hearing about the Nebraska Capitol for a long time to come!

Capitol Walkway

Another favorite area – the outdoor mezzanine.  By walking around the outdoor platform, one can learn the names of all of the Nebraska counties.  One could also learns the basics of the history of government.  The relief carvings above the walkway are not necessarily in chronological order, so I do recommend getting the explanatory pamphlet from inside the capitol.  By the way, I wrote a more detailed article on walking around the Capitol with children for the May/June/July issue of the Lincoln Kids Newspaper.  You can pick up a copy from many area Lincoln places, or you can look online.

The Capitol Website has a wealth of information on all of the history and interesting facts of the building.  NET Public Television has also produced an excellent documentary on the Nebraska Capitol.  Our family was rivoted – okay, I definitely was, but my husband and kids also enjoyed the show!

Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece

Would you look at that?  I used the same word to describe the capitol that they did!  If you have never been to the Nebraska Capitol, I HIGHLY recommend you visit.  The Capitol Website also has downloadable building, Abraham Lincoln and civics scavenger hunts.  Completing these will help your older kids be engaged in the experience.  As for your younger kids, have them go on a shape and color hunt as you walk through.  The Capitol is filled with all sorts of possibilities!  In fact, below is a picture of one of the courtyard areas I have yet to explore.  Maybe someday I will figure out how to do that!

Capitol Courtyard

One more important item to note: The Nebraska Capitol Building can be found on both the “Lincoln: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” passport and the Nebraska Passport.  When you go visit, make sure to get a stamp.  The programs run through the end of August and September respectively.

 

 

 

Categories: Lincoln, Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Metro, Nebraska History, Nebraska Passport, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Travel Tips: Having a Nebraska State Park Permit Expands Your Adventure Options

Today was the best kind of day: full of wonderful places and most importantly spending time with wonderful people.  We were with dear friends and then had a few adventures alone.  Lovely memories!  On the way back from our first adventure, we took a quick detour.

Conestoga Lake Zoomed In

Having driven by the Conestoga Lake sign many times, I thought it was high time that we stopped!  The park was so close to the main road and to Denton – a great location!

Conestoga Lake Sign

Conestoga Lake is one of the many state recreation areas across Nebraska.  I appreciate the fact that these areas can be found in SO many places across our state.  87 possibilities to be exact! As our kids continue to grow, I hope that we will make these outings happen more often.  And that we will have time to actually stop, as opposed to just driving into the parking lot like we did today!  This is why I plan to add a similar sticker (like the one below) every year from now on!

Nebraska Park Permit

This year we bought these little Nebraska park permit stickers for BOTH of our vehicles for UNDER $40.  Now we can stop at state parks when we are out and about – totally worth the outdoor adventures that await! I do believe that walking around Conestoga Lake would be a fun outing!

Conestoga Lake Shore

I am happy to announce that for my first bloGIVEversary prize, I get to give away a 2014 Nebraska Annual Park Permit!   Please enter below using the lovely Rafflecopter link!  Next Tuesday I will introduce my next prize and will announce this week’s winner then!

Link to Rafflecopter Giveaway

P.S. A big thank you to my dear friend who donated her extra park permit for me to give away to one of you!  Our family loves experiencing adventures with yours!  So glad that you are a part of our lives!

 

Categories: Annual Events, Metro, Region or City, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Happy Blogiversary to Me: One Year of Odyssey Through Nebraska

Blow up the balloons!  Throw the confetti!  Drape the streamers!”Odyssey Through Nebraska” is exactly one year old today.

When I started this blog last July, I had no idea how much this would change my life and also the lives of my family.   While there have been a few bumps in the road, overall I have definitely enjoyed the journey.  Thank you for being a part of this path with me!

Four in a Jeep

Don’t you just love the various expressions on my kids’ faces?  Kind of sums up the year for me: happy, confused, delirious and tired.  Guess you can assign who is who! 🙂

I plan to make this month a true BloGIVErsary.  That is right: I have been working on lining up some great giveaways.   While most bloggers manage to feature several prizes in a row, I have decided to space mine out a bit.  Each Tuesday in July, I will be announcing what prize my readers are eligible to win!  I am so excited – giving away prizes is so fun!  Especially when you have such great sponsors!  Later on today, I will announce my first one, so please stay tuned!

 

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills, Where to Begin | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Memories: Riverview Pool’s Part in Omaha’s Zoo

 

How places come to be is always interesting to me.  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo definitely has a history!  First there was a park formed by the city of Omaha through condemnation proceedings on area properties in 1894.  Over 100 hilly wooded acres were set aside for what officially became Riverview Park Zoo.  In a short span of only four years, 120 animals were park residents.

Omaha Riverview Pool

In 1916, the park added another feature as the Riverview Pool quickly became a place for refreshment in Omaha.   For about 34 years, the pool was open to patrons.  Then the polio epidemic began and going out in public areas scared families away.  Covered over in 1944, the pool was almost forgotten.

Omaha Riverview Pool Past

Unfortunately the story behind the pool is gradually fading away.  Hopefully they will fix this, so that patrons can continue to appreciate the past life of the pool.

Around 1970 the buried pool was given a new life.  Mentioning to the caretaker his plans for a sea lion pool, the current Henry Doorly Zoo director was startled to learn a bit of history that had been set aside.  Rather than building a new swimming area, the caretaker suggested that he simply unearth the pool that was already there.  This once enjoyed pool became a new home for the sea lions.

Omaha Zoo Sea Lion Pool

The sea lion pool in 2014.

Despite what my children think, I was not around when this happened.  While I do remember loving watching the sea lions frolic and play in the pool when I was a child, this process was before my time.  Exactly how much of the original pool remains is a bit of a mystery, but the pools are definitely on the same site.  I appreciate the fact that they are trying to preserve parts of Omaha history.

A special thank you to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo for their assistance in this story.  All other references that I used can be clicked on above.  To learn more about early Omaha parks, you can read the Nebraska Historical Society’s PDF on the History of Omaha Parks & Rec.  Sometime later this summer I will be doing a longer feature post on  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.  This zoo is definitely one of our family’s favorite places to visit!

P.S. I have recently been honored to join a Midwest Travel Bloggers Group.  The topic of the month just happened to be zoos.  To learn about more great zoos across the Midwest United States, here is what you need to do.  First, read this excellent post about the Walking Tourist’s Camel Ride at the Kansas City Zoo.  At the bottom, links are included to all of the other June posts about zoos.  This is great way to find out about other wonderful travel bloggers, as well other zoos around this area of the United States!

 

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Friday Flashback: Nebraska’s Ashfall and the Missed Photo Op

In 1996, I was privileged to go on road trip with two VIP’s.  At least they definitely were to me.  Weeks away from starting my first “grown-up” job teaching fifth graders, I went up and stayed with my grandparents for several days late that summer.

They were the ones who initiated the outing.  At age 84 and 88, they still got around quite well.  Although they did have me drive, they picked the destination.  Ashfall.

Ashfall text

I loved the time we spent there!  The above picture of a picture almost captures the fun adventures that await for anyone that chooses to visit.

Ashfall Scrapbook 2

In fact, I captured the experience in one of my very first scrapbook layouts.  Documenting the landscape and the fossils complete with stickers of the animals that once were found here in Nebraska in ages long ago (probably right before Noah’s great flood), I still enjoy remembering that trip.  I would have enjoyed seeing all of those animals.  Hopefully sometime we will get to take our kids there!

Ashfall Scrapbook 1

My biggest regret: while I managed to document the place, for whatever reason I did not document the people.  No pictures exist of the couple that day that wanted to make a memory with their oldest granddaughter. I can still picture them then – Grandma guiding Grandpa along as he was no longer quite as steady.  Arm-in-arm, they walked the paths, just as they traveled through life.

They are both gone now – on to meet their Savior.  I still miss them.  In fact, tears are streaming down my face as I type this.  I am hopeful that maybe a picture of them together that day still exists in one of my many boxes of snapshots waiting to be documented.  But I am afraid that I will just be forever relying on the pictures in my head, rather than on the page, for the memories that day.

I still take many, many pictures of places.  But today, as we were on yet another adventure, I was intentional about capturing my kids in the moment.  For that is what will really matter someday.

 

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Ashfall Fossill Beds: Ancient Adventure in Nebraska

As you  maybe guessed from my title yesterday, a guest blogger is being featured on “Odyssey Through Nebraska” today.  This post is by my dear friend, Lynnette, a fellow homeschool mom.  Our kids are very close in age and get along very well.  Almost too well as they have gotten into some mischief on occasion … 🙂  I know you will enjoy reading her recap of one of my favorite Nebraska places.

ashfall01

As a transplant to Nebraska, I get to learn about the state right along with my kids. I learned about Ash Fall Fossil Beds a number of years ago- perhaps at Morrill Hall, and my mother-in-law was very excited about doing this trip with us. (She was a high school science teacher before kids, then a preschool teacher for a number of years. The perfect traveling companion for a trip like this with five kids!) We had been waiting for the kids to be old enough to learn something, as well as for me not to be pregnant or nursing. 🙂  The time had finally come!

ashfall02

Ash Fall Fossil Beds is open from May 1 – October 12 for the 2014 season. Depending on when exactly, the hours are slightly different. We went in October of 2013, and spent a few hours there. It was plenty of time to see and do almost everything. There is an entrance fee, and you also need a valid park permit for your vehicle. If you have a Morrill Hall membership, you can add a “Friends of AshFall” for $10. (A huge benefit of this membership is the passport program which gets you into other science museums around the country for free or reduced costs)

From Lincoln, it is about a three hour drive. An adventurous and ambitious family could make this a day trip. A long day, but doable. We decided to make it a longer adventure, and rented a cabin at Niobrara State Park, so traveled another hour further north. (This is another trip worth doing on it’s own! Beautiful!)

After a long car ride and a beautiful evening at the park, we woke to cold, dreary, gray skies. We found out one reason why this site is closed in winter- no heat in most of the buildings! So bring a sweater if you plan to visit early or late in the season. This site is literally in the middle of fields, so plan your day accordingly by bringing a lunch or eating a big breakfast. It will be a bit of a drive to get to the nearest fast food.

ashfall03

We started our trip by checking in at the Visitor Orientation Center. Here we got a map and an overview of the grounds. There’s a gift shop and a couple of displays. One wall is glassed off and gives you a peek into a lab. During the summer you may be able to observe scientists at work!

We enjoyed the displays of fossils, shark teeth, and bones found in the area. But we spent most of our time at the interactive station where the children could examine samples for themselves.

ashfall04

From there we headed outside. On our short walk to the education building, we stopped by two more displays. The first had fossil samples on tables outside of the Visitor Center, the second was a place to stop and dig for bones.

ashfall05

The building we were headed to (that I can’t remember the name of) is an education building that provides many interactive opportunities for children. We were the only kids there (the benefit of homeschool means we can take a trip like this during a weekday in October). Displays included bones from several animals’ legs, a 3d camel, fossil vs petrified wood, puzzles for preschoolers, and the ever-popular digging experience. Later I learned that these (and the ones you can uncover at Morrill Hall) were made from casts of skeletons found here!

ashfall06

After examining every display, we made our way to the Hubbard Rhino Barn. Lots of education happened here! There are numerous posters and displays and even volunteers on hand. The main fossil bed is protected within the barn, but on the walk there, we passed several exposed and labeled fossils. Within the building, you can look down from above, you can see the areas that have already been excavated, you can see the exploratory trenches that determined the size of the fossil field, and you can view exposed fossils. That volunteer was great at pointing out things of interest for both adults and kids! She helped to make sense of what we were seeing. During the summer, when scientists are working in the field, there are cameras and video screens that give you a closeup view of what they are working on (the downside of being here during a non-peek time means no scientists). The students who come here for internships get the lovely job of sifting the sand looking for smaller fragments. One of the biggest lessons my kids learned is that being a paleontologist is tedious and time consuming. They’ve been excavating this site for decades!

ashfall07

Even a trip to the bathroom is an educational experience! The sidewalks were lined with Nebraska rock samples.

ashfall08

If it had not been so cold and rainy, we would have taken a walk on the beautiful one mile trail.  Perhaps we would have eaten our lunch at the picnic tables.  Although our family could easily have enjoyed a couple more hours here, we did not feel we missed out on anything since we did get to spend 3-4 hours exploring.

nette01

 

Categories: Family Outings, Lewis and Clark | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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