Posts Tagged With: Durham Museum

Nebraska Science Festival This Week-end (April 26-27)

Nebraska Science Festival 2014

When I first heard about the Nebraska Science Festival, I felt a bit behind.  How did I miss this huge event going on?  But now that I know that this gigantic science fair of sorts is only in its second year, I realized I am not quite as out of it as I thought.  I must say for this being a relatively new event, they have quite the line-up.  What is possibly the best part?  Free or discounted admission to many places!  NOTE: Tickets are still required.  To print out your complimentary tickets and to see the schedule, please visit their site!

Now to highlight a few of the events that are especially for families … (information taken directly from their website!)

The Expo will be held April 24-26 from 8:30 am to 2 pm at The Durham Museum and The Strategic Air & Space Museum. The Expo on April 26 at The Durham Museum will be held from 9 am to 1pm. It’s expected to attract up to 2,000 plus visitors, so be prepared for a busy day!

City Sprouts Community Garden will have special events happening this morning.  This Omaha place is all about involving the community in planting.  They will feature an Arbor Day theme today with educational stations.

(Unfortunately the “Science of Ice Cream is full at E-Creamery.  Doesn’t that sound like a delicious opportunity?)

Fontenelle Forest

April 26 – 27 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Stop by the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center on April 26-27 and receive free admission to the forest from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Thanks to a partnership with NET Television, Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie will make a special appearance both afternoons to meet and take photos with children.

I haven’t been to Fontenelle Forest  since I was a child and was trying to figure out how we could make it up there today.  Alas with two baseball practices, a party and a gathering, our visit will have to wait for another day.  Normally it would cost our family $34 to attend, so the free admission is a BIG deal.  Go out and enjoy the free event!

(The “Science of Bacon” at the French Bulldog is also sold out.  I think I am getting hungry …)

The Heartland Organization of Rocketry (T.H.O.R.) had to cancel their plans for the next two days due to the possibility of impending bad weather.

Laurtizen Gardens: I mentioned their TREEmendous Arbor Day Celebration, but I forgot to mention that a kid is admitted free with each paying adult – a definite bargain.  Plus, again the first 100 households leave with a free tree seedling!  (If you have never been to the Gardens, they are absolutely beautiful!)

Lincoln Children’s Museum

April 26 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join us for Science Saturday at Lincoln Children’s Museum. We’re teaming up with University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering and science students to conduct experiments and engineering feats. (NOTE: I heard a rumor that they also have free children’s admission for the first early arrivers today!)

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

April 26 – 27 | 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  

Special stations are happening throughout the zoo!

Omaha Children’s Museum

April 27 | 1 – 5 p.m. (TOMORROW)

Enjoy quirky science with the Mad Scientist Show or the April Fool’s Science Show, immerse yourself in a 360-degree science program in the Discovery Dome Planetarium, or enjoy our newest permanent exhibit, “Maker Space.”  Always a  fun musuem to visit!

University of Nebraska State Museum

April 24 – 27 | UNL’s Morrill Hall and Mueller Planetarium

Today just happens to be “Astronomy Day” with all kinds of activities planned.  Yes, there is still admission.  But how many days do you get to meet an astronaut?

I hope you are able to check out some of these fun events!  They are hoping to make this even more of a statewide event.  So, if this week does not work for you, be watching for it next year!  I know that I am already hoping we can attend the school day portion next year!

P.S. I have no idea why the last half is all in italics.  Sorry about that!  Computers!




Categories: Annual Events, Family Outings, Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tips Tuesday: To Join or Not to Join? Museum Memberships Across Nebraska

Are you a joiner?  Do you like to participate in different clubs?  Do you belong to any organizations?

As I look back, I probably could consider myself an active participant in many organizations.  But I have to say, that where I (really we) have belonged tends to fluctuate with the season and ages of my children.

Membership is a great option for supporting an organization.  Plus when you have a larger family, sometimes joining costs only a bit more than simply paying admission.  For instance, for us to visit the Durham Museum several years ago would have cost $30.  We could buy an educator membership for $45.  Even though the museum was an hour away from our home, belonging there made sense.  We just had to return one more time for our membership to pay for itself.  (I think we went back 2 or 3 more times -a  great place)!

Morrill Hall Z

Currently we are members at Morrill Hall in Lincoln.  We partially joined this place due to its reciprocal membership benefits.  (More on this option next week!)  With studying Nebraska, this is also a great place to see displays on Native Nebraskans – both people and even some animals.  (Disclaimer: I have to admit that I am not exactly on board with their dating system, so there are certain areas we basically avoid).  As I wrote about several months ago, I really love their Discovery Center.

I am also a member of the Nebraska State Historical Society.  This allows me to get into their various locations.  More importantly, I also receive their publications – quite helpful to this aspiring writer.  For this one, I just have an individual membership since kids have free entrance anyway.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock – one of the places I got in “free” this year with my Nebraska Historical Society membership.

How does one decide whether just to visit or to join?

1)  Will you be going there often?  If the location is a long distance away, a membership may not be justifiable.  But if you travel to the region often (visiting grandparents and such), joining may be a good idea even if you are not from that area.

2) Will the cost even itself out?  Sometimes memberships are a bargain.  A few are a bit more costly.  What fits into your budget?

3) Will  a membership make you feel guilty if you do not make it back there as often as you hoped?  We used to belong to the Lincoln Children’s Museum.  I love that place!  We still make it back there a few times a year.  But since my kids are older now and we are homeschooling, joining there just does not make sense at this point.  Trying to make it there often enough to justify the expense would stress me out.  (Sorry, youngest child, I recognize that you got the shaft!)

4) Will having a membership motivate you to visit more?  The inverse is also true. Sometimes when we join a place, we tend to push ourselves to visit more often.   While this may not always work for the gym :-), but this might work if you belong to the zoo.  If nothing else, your children will be clamoring to go.  Incessant begging can often be highly motivational. 🙂

Memberships are often great options.  Whether you officially join places or not, Nebraska has many great places to go visit.  May 2014 be full of adventures across “The Good Life”state!

Categories: Lincoln, Metro, Nebraska History, Region or City, Travel Tips, Where to Begin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Savoring Saturday: Bronco’s: An Omaha Tradition

On a trip up to Omaha this summer, we decided to grab a quick supper out. This place was new to us but has been an Omaha tradition since 1959.  Bronco’s!

Broncos sign

Currently there are two locations to choose from: 1123 South 120th St (near Pacific) or 4540 Leavenworth.  We chose the former.

Broncos riders

The Western decor just fits when you want to mosey on in for a burger.

Broncos best fries

They were voted Omaha’s best french fries in 2012.  We tried both their regular and their Laredo fries.  Our vote was mixed as to which kind was better.

Broncos menu

Their menu has the typical fast food options.  But at great prices.  We chose to drink water, and with their ala carte prices being less expensive, that choice worked great.  Rather than getting meals, we just ordered a bunch of food to share, so that we could try everything.  We tried both the regular hamburgers and cheeseburgers.  Thin like other fast food places yet fresher.  My favorite was the hickory – their version of a barbecue burger.  We also tried their famous freshly breaded pork tenderloin – definitely a nice option beyond burgers!

Two things were slightly distracting about our experience.

Broncos stool

We sat on the fun bar stools.  They were lower, which is nice, but I think someone still managed to fall off.  And when you are spinning around, eating takes a lower priority.  Obviously a booth might be safer, especially if my husband and I sit on the outside seats, making everyone else be stuck. This would be especially helpful because …

Broncos video games

Video games.  Even without providing our children with any money, they spent a lot of time by the games.  This was rather distracting.  Maybe if we sat on the other side of the restaurant next time?

Broncos family picture

Overall, our experience was definitely positive.  We would definitely go to Bronco’s again sometime, and the kids definitely liked everything about the places.  I like eating at original places that are full of tradition.  The food was good at even better prices.  Very economical for a family of six!

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

Flashback Friday: Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition and Indian Congress: Omaha’s World Fair

To those of you who receive my posts by e-mail, my initial post accidentally did not include my numbers chart – sorry about that omission!

Until we went to the Durham Museum, I never had heard of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition and Indian Congress.  This immense international event was hosted by Omaha right before the turn of the century in 1898.  The Durham captures the feel of the experience of this international gathering with its model and excellent collection of photographs and narratives.

Display at the Durham Museum (Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism)

What struck me about the whole event was how temporary and superficial the buildings were.  If you drove down to the expo area, there is no longer any evidence of the grandeur that used to be, other than a possible dip in the road where a big lagoon used to be.  In fact, one one Omaha blogger went back and took pictures of the places that replaced the expo building.  A very interesting chronicle of bringing the past to present.  As far as historical reference, the  Omaha Public Library has an excellent online digital collection of the whole Expo experience.

including this excerpt on the main architect, Thomas Rogers Kimball.  He had designed the house of the organizer, Gurdon Wattles previously.  This put him in excellent stead to be a co-architect, devoting two years of his life to this venture.  This narrative explains how the buildings were designed.

The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with a mixture of plaster and horsehair. They were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings. The lower the cost allowed the construction of larger structures.

The goal was for this event to make money, rather than cost money.  Elaborate structures would motivate people to come to the experience.  This 4 month event took over Omaha and changed the landscape.  But only temporarily.  As around a year later, according to the city of Omaha, the buildings were demolished.  They took longer to build than they did to stay.

Because this event happened recently enough and was on such a grand scale, the photographs of the experience are numerous.  Rather than recapping the whole experience, I will be providing many links at the end of the entry for those of you who have the time and the interest to learn more.   I will give my own take from two different angles.

File:Night illumination, Grand Court, Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska, 1898.jpg

Photochrom print of the Grand Court of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition

First: By the numbers.  (In high school, I used to be the basketball statistician.  While parts of math, such as geometry,  scare me a bit, there is something about seeing numbers organized on a chart that still make me a bit giddy.)  How the experience makes sense to me!

Nebraska History search: “Triumph of the West” Nebraska History pdf article

Event Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition and Indian Congress
Construction Dates Began in 1896 – finished by opening June 1, 1898
$ Raised/Set Aside Around $500,000 was appropriated and funded from other states
Number of Buildings At least 46, including restaurants, arches and operations
Space Required About 108 city blocks – just less than 200 acres
Operating Dates June 1st – October 31st, 1898 (the last date being Omaha Day)
National Participation 28 of 45 states; 3 territories and Pottawatamie County separate display
Internationals Official: Mexico; 10 other countries sent private exhibitors (see p. 15)
Visitor Statistics 2,613,508 people visited the 4,062 exhibits, receipts $1,977,338
Admission Costs Varied on the time and date; Advance passes: sold at $20.00 for 100 admissions, $12.50 for 25 admissions; employment passes $1.50/$2; prices varied beyond this – discounted for children was $.15 on one day
Indian Congress Around 450-500 individuals from 23-28 different tribes (differing info.)
Photographs Over 1800 by official photographer, F.A. Rinehart (500 of Indian Congress)

Second: Events I would not have wanted my kids to miss.  Our pretend field trip to the Trans-Mississippi Expo.


First, we would take a ride in the swanboats!  (These could be found in the nine foot deep man-made lagoon.  A tour about the grounds by water).


Next, we would take a ride on the  giant see-saw..  If we were lucky, maybe we would be there on a day when a couple was getting married at the very top.  Who knew that destination weddings were also a thing of the past?

We would have all enjoyed seeing the giant wigwam.  the official exhibit of Council Bluffs.  The first two floors were exhibits, and the remaining floors provided resting places for the visitors. (Picture from the Omaha Library).

File:Band of Sioux Warriors.jpg

I know that my husband and boys would have wanted to meet a real, live Indian.  This experience would have been thrilling for them.   Not such a great ending for the Native Americans, as soon after many were sent off to reservations.


My daughter would have enjoyed seeing the Fountain of Neptune.  (Although I have a feeling I might have been covering her eyes for the statue part!)  I think that action would have been a bit tame compared to the reaction of two ladies of the Salvation Army.  They went after two other statues featuring unclothed women with an ax and were given jail time and a $75 fine for their efforts.

Yes, there would have been parts that were not as family friendly – the dancing girls, and the supposedly free vat of wine at the California exhibit would have made me a bit nervous, not wanting my young children to imbibe.  (This fear proved to be false – the exhibit did not have any drink.  But this did make the Prohibitionists at the time rather fearful of this being a reality!)

At least four days, we would have wanted to attend …

Fourth of July! 45,000 people enjoyed a parade. The grounds were filled with red, white and blue.  And a military band played on.  Fitting since the nation was actually in the midst of the Spanish-American War.  In fact in the middle of the day, good news reached the grounds …

When the early afternoon papers reached the grounds bearing the news of the destruction of Spanish Admiral Cervera’s fleet and of General Shafter’s ultimatum to the Spanish army in Santiago, bedlam broke loose and tremendous enthusiasm found expression in cheer after cheer.

A spectacular display of fireworks and illumination of the Mid-way ended this patriotic day.

August 31st:  As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to take my kids to see Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  On this date, that wish could have come true as he brought his extravaganza on display before an adoring crowd.

October 12th: The day the President came to town!  Actually , he had arrived with much fanfare the night before.  But the 12th was his day to be featured.  His time in Omaha involved a speech.  And a reception where he met the prominent people.  And a carriage procession.  And a meeting of Indians (including Geronimo) – he also watched Indian battle re-enactments.  Meals had been perfectly planned (frog legs included), and the guests were seated according to prominence.  While we probably would not have made this list, William Jennings Bryan did.  Would have definitely enjoyed meeting him.  And dining with the President had to have been an enjoyable experience.  The evening was capped off with fireworks.

(To read more about 7/4 and 10/12, check out the links above or read chapter 22 “New White City” in the book, A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha by David L. Bristow).


Grand Court Looking West at Night

One last day we would have definitely attended: October 22nd: Children enter free day!  (Hey, as a homeschool mom who wants her kids to have lots of experiences, free is a good price 🙂  )

In case you would like to learn even more, many resources are available.


Historic Photos of Omaha by Jeffrey Spencer (pages 72-95)

Historic Omaha: Illustrated History of Omaha and Douglas Country by Bob, Hugh and Pegeen Reilly (pages 34-39)

Omaha’s Trans-Mississippi Exposition by Jess R. Peterson

Additional Web Resources (Beyond the links in the article above):

NET coverage (includes link for documentary on Omaha 1898 World’s Fair) (4 pages of online photo galleries)

Trans-Mississippi Expo on Facebook

The Official On-line Program

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Metro, Nebraska History, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Durham Museuum in Omaha: Celebrating our Western Heritage

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism

Name/Location Durham Museum; 801 S. 10th near downtown Omaha; Facebook
Open hours/Contacts Sun: 1-5; Tues. 10-8; W-Sat. 10-5; Closed Mon.; (402)444-5071
Cost Adults $9; Seniors $7; Kids 3-12: $6; Memberships including family, military, education
What to Know Permanent and temporary displays – many hands-on possibilities
Group Tours Group Tour Rates for 10 or more; 2 weeks notice required
Museum Manners This museum is large so supervision is needed; nothing too fragile
Recommended Ages Younger kids would enjoy certain parts; ideally age 5 and up

This is one of my favorite places to take kids in the big “O.”  In fact, despite the fact that we do not reside in Omaha, we had a membership here for a year.  I would imagine at some point we will again.  (In some future posts I plan on taking all about the benefits of museum memberships and even the bonus of reciprocal memberships).

We have not been to the museum for a few years.  I know that I took a bunch of pictures – enjoyed our experiences there.  We do not have the best system for storing photographs on our computer yet – I cannot find any of the photos.  Maybe they were all on our old cell phone?

When we were in Omaha, we stopped by to take a new pictures of the outside at least.  (We were there on a Monday evening – the day the place is closed).  By this point in our adventure,  my Nikon phone batteries were dead.  And of course I did not have any charged and ready.  (Have tried to remedy that, so that does not happen).  A warm summer evening, I think the humidity played havoc on my cell phone camera.  My pictures are horrible (as was evidenced from my “Wordless Wednesday” photos from yesterday.  Anyway, I am very thankful that I have discovered Nebraska Tourism’s Photo Gallery.  They have photographs from around the state that you can use on your site as long as you give them the photo credits.  So, thankfully you will still be able to see a few pictures despite my personal inability to reproduce any great shots.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism

The Durham used to be called the Western Heritage Museum.  Being situated in one of Omaha’s most beautiful buildings, the 1931 Union train station, definitely adds to the charm of your experience.  At Christmastime, they fill the place with an international celebration.  (But more on that in a December blog entry!)

This statue reminds me of my grandparents – a couple who married soon after the War.  (Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism)

The entrance level to the museum has a gift shop and space to hold special events.  They also have room for traveling exhibits.  Many patrons probably have another favorite on this floor – the old-fashioned soda shop.  (I talked about this in my Scoop In Nebraska post.)  I have to admit that we never splurged on this (usually we were going to eat actual food some place instead).  But maybe someday, we can enjoy the treat!

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism

The basement level features an actual train that you can climb aboard.  Plus a delightful history of Omaha.  There was a lot that I did not know about Omaha.  Including that there used to be a Buffett general store.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism

Some early furniture designs and even forms of housing are on display.  Such a tipi that kids can climb inside.  There is even a section on who has made good that is from Omaha (an Omaha “Who’s Who.”)

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism

They also have rotating and traveling displays from the museum.  One of my daughter’s favorites (and mine as well) was the traveling First Lady Inaugural Dress exhibit.  They have had science exhibits also, as well as an outstanding display on Abraham Lincoln.  This is their current traveling exhibit (straight from their website.

Interestingly enough, I found out that they also have a temporary exhibit on the 1913 Easter tornadoes – what I wrote about for last week’s Flashback Friday.    We definitely need to make it back there soon!  And if you have never been to the Durham Museum, I would encourage you to make a trip there as well!

Photo Credit: Nebraska Tourism (Thankful they have such a great photo gallery)!

Categories: Metro, Nebraska History, Region or City, Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Social Media Whirlwind through Nebraska

As a mom, I often feel like I am twirling around.  Keeping up with my responsibilities can be a bit overwhelming, and I can be a bit too good at ignoring the things that are not my favorite.  (Like balancing the checkbook or mopping the floor!)  This new world of social media options causes me to feel even more twisted.  And having been a bit too close to the 2004 tornado that passed near our Hickman home has left me rather leery of whirlwinds!


Picture of the Omaha tornado from 100 years ago that I am perfectly fine with having missed!

I am caught right in between the informational age.  After all, I can still remember our Apple Computer green screen and playing “Little Brick Out” as a child. And I didn’t really begin sending e-mails until I was a senior in college.  Back then, even being on the internet was a big deal.  Cell phones were often in a bag in your car for emergencies – not for connecting you to the world 24/7.

Because I enjoy writing and like staying connected, I can struggle with social media.  I will admit I have checked my Facebook page during my kids’ baseball games.  Not very often, but more than I should have.  Although I like watching, sitting there for 2 hours does seem a bit long at times.  Or I will quickly look up things on the internet on family outings that could have waited until later.  I know that is something that I need to work on because I do want to be fully there for them – not distracted all of the time.

But despite the pull of my smart phone, I know that I am definitely not technologically savvy.  I really do not fully understand all of the options that blogging presents to me.  I thought tumbler described my daughter who does gymnastics.  And “digg it” sounds like a 70’s phrase – not one from today.  And for a long time, I thought “Linked in” was only for people who lived in Lincoln who were a part of some secret club. I still think tweeting is for the birds. Although I have to appreciate one’s ability to abbreviate thoughts, rather than going on and on (like writers can tend to do …)  But, while I love my life, I am really not sure that anyone beyond my family would enjoy subscribing to it.

Took kids swimming Wednesday.  Sunburns abound despite sunscreen.  Too little or too late?

Really?  Not even sure that is worth writing home about, much less having it land in a bunch of people’s accounts.  Now I have to admit that I might like being a Twitter follower during Husker football season.  I would enjoy knowing the inside scoop of what is happening on the field during 1st quarter.  But I think for now, I will just stick with watching television sports coverage after the game.


One of my goals in writing on this site is to talk about what my family has experienced through Nebraska.  Sorry – I already broke that rule this week by writing about Burwell, despite the fact that I have not set foot in that town.  Yet.   I really do not want to be just a tourism site – you can go to Visit Nebraska for that.  But I know that events will be coming up that will be perfect for families.  Events that if I would simply blog about them later would already be missed.  That is like looking through a stack of vacation pictures taken by someone else – definitely not the same thing as being there.

So, while so far I have not joined the world of tumbling or digging or tweeting, I do know Facebook.  So, I have started an Odyssey Through Nebraska Facebook page.  All of my posts go directly there, so if you really do not like getting e-mail updates, you can know about what I am writing by checking that page sometimes.  I also am hoping to post information about upcoming family friendly activities in Nebraska.  Like today, the Durham Museum is having a “Wild West” day, and that fits in perfectly with what I have been posting lately even!  (Visit my Facebook page to learn more!)  (In the future, I will try to give you more notice than just a few hours)


Now this does not mean that I am personally endorsing every publicized event or even attending them all.  In fact, I would love to head up to the Durham today, but for my daughter, attending her friends’ birthday party is a much more significant event.  But maybe some of you have the time today and want to get away on this beautiful almost spring-like July day.

I also did finally join the world of Pinterest too.  So, I hope to gradually begin posting some of my Nebraska pictures on my site.  I want more people to know about our great state!

At some point, I will hopefully have links on my blog where you can connect to either my Facebook or Pinterest pages.  (I will be calling one of my tech savvy friends to help me with that).  While there will be some overlap between those pages, I am hoping to include unique aspects to each site.  Nothing was more annoying in college than to go to class and listen to the professor basically read the assigned textbook pages back to me.  Just as there was no reason to go to class to learn what I had already read, there is no point in having three “Odyssey through Nebraska” sites that are all almost identical.  I am hopeful that the Facebook page especially will be a community site where many of you will also post.  Many of you will know about events that have not crossed my radar, and I want you to share them.

I hope you know that I do appreciate you joining me on this blog adventure.  (And if you decide to join me in the other lands of social media, that is great too.)  I also desire to keep my online world in check.  Since one of my main goals of this blog is to explore Nebraska with my kids, I do not want to be so busy connecting with everyone else that I forget to be a part of my own family and do not manage to engage in the experiences with them.  So, while future social media connections may be eventual possibilities, for now the ones that I have entered are enough of a whirlwind to me.  And don’t worry – if I begin tweeting, you’ll be the first to know.  Apart from those waiting with bated breath on Twitter for me to join of course!


P.S. If you are one who can keep up with all of the social media, this entry was not intended to bash you in any way.  I am guessing that for you “technology” is a ten letter word the way that it was intended, rather than the four letter word that it often is for me!

Categories: Metro, Where to Begin | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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