Posts Tagged With: Lincoln

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

Nebraska Passport: Tours Across Nebraska

I must admit I am a rather big Jeopardy fan.   Not very many shows have made my “follow” list, but that is one that I have watched almost daily for years.  One category that they feature is “Common Bonds.”  As for the pictures that I featured on yesterday’s “Wordless Wednesday,” they all had one thing in common: they are all 2014 “Nebraska Passport” stops.  Many of them I have covered on my blog already.  Several are yet to be shown, so for those I plan to keep you guessing.

Can’t Get Enough Tour

1) ?

2) Morrill Hall on Odyssey Through Nebraska

Morrill Hall Z

Forks in the Road Tour

Homestead Brand

3) High Plains Homestead (Home of the Drifter Cookshack and Bunkhouse) on Odyssey Through Nebraska

Hit the Snooze Tour

4) ?

Nebraska Homegrown Tour

Prairie Gounds interior

5) Prairie Grounds Cafe and Gifts on Odyssey Through Nebraska

How We Move Tour


6) Carhenge on Odyssey through Nebraska

7) ?

8) ?

Patchwork Passion

Quilts 5 purposes arch

9) International Quilt Study Center & Museum on Odyssey Through Nebraska

Rare Finds

Unfortunately I have not been to any of these places recently.  My grandparents lived in Laurel, so I did grow up walking into their downtown.  I am pretty sure that I have been to the Apothecary, but I think that it has drastically changed since then.  Hopefully someday I will make it back!

Sips and Suds Tour

Not sure that we will make too many of these places since we do more of the family tour.  But hey, Nebraska Passport has at least one place that will appeal to everyone! 🙂

Stars and Stripes Tour

10) ?

11) ?

SAS copter and plane

12) Strategic Air & Space Museum on Odyssey Through Nebraska

(By the end of the Nebraska Passport 2014 season, which happens to be the end of September, every one of the ? mark places will be featured on this blog!  I also will be featuring several of the places from Lincoln’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” program as well!)

Have you picked up your copy of the 2014 Nebraska Passport yet? This year they have even added a downloadable app, so you can keep track of your places that way.  Achieving prizes for the Nebraska Passport is a bit challenging.  Since the ones I would really want are for 40 stamps and above, I am pretty sure that we will not be getting any.  But, we will be enjoying the stops on the way.  Some familiar and some that are new.  All places to make memories as we travel across the nice state of Nebraska.

Categories: Family Outings, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Nebraska Passport, Panhandle, Passport Pursuit Programs, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lux Center: Arts for the Community

Gallery.  Studio. Workshop.  Display Area.  Museum. Boutique & Gift Shop.  Gathering Place.  All of these describe the Lux Center for the Arts.  And that is exactly how they like it!

Lux Center Sign

We first discovered the Lux Center  as a part of Lincoln’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” program.  We have attended a family event or two as well, and I wish that we made it back there even more often, as they present so many great family events.

According to Christine Hunt who happens to be the Community Director of Involvement, the heart of the Lux Center for the Arts is just that: community.  They want the community to come inside to see their changing exhibitions.  Even more, they want families and individuals to be a part of creating their own art through workshops and classes.  Beyond this, the Lux Center staff go outside the building to provide outreach to those who cannot attend classes.  To the shut-ins,  elderly or even incarcerated patrons, they want to give the gift of art.  So, some of the artists bring a studio to those who cannot travel to one.

Lux Welcome Art

Children’s Classes and family adventures are available, as well as summer camps.  Including date nights and “girls night out,”  class opportunities abound for adults as well.  Pottery, jewelry making, painting, drawing: you name the artistic medium, and you may very well find it at Lux Center for the Arts.  Tomorrow I plan on telling you all about a special celebration that is happening there this week-end, as well as one of their current exhibits that has to do with Nebraska.



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

Give to Lincoln Day: Thursday May 29th, 2014

Today is “Give to Lincoln” Day!


On this day many of the Lincoln non-profit organizations that make a difference in our community will be getting donations and part of a matching $300,000 grant that help them to continue to make an impact.   This provides an interesting dilemma for me as I know so many people in each of these organizations.  Who should I support?  So many good options! If you are pondering this as well, you can check out the complete list of eligible organizations online.  Still stuck on who should receive your gift?  You can “love them all” and contribute to the matching fund.

P.S. Want a hint for our Wordless Wednesday from yesterday?  The location where we went just happens to be one of the “Give to Lincoln” organizations.  I will reveal that place to you later on today. 🙂

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

Experiencing the Country Near the City: Camp Sonshine near Lincoln

I have been looking forward to telling my blog readers all about one of our favorite Nebraska places.  Our kids have attended Camp Sonshine day camp for several summers.  Jeff and Trisha Keiser and many of her Schrader family relatives oversee the camp.  (My best friend from high school married a Schrader – they have all had a special place in my heart for a long time!)  The Schrader farm is still fully operational, but the real passion in their life is running this camp ministry.  I was privileged to write about the camp in the most recent L Magazine!  So, I will not go into how it went beyond a farm to a camp here, but I hope you will take the time to read the article!  Anyway, here is the mini tour as promised.


What do we love about the camp?  First of all, their goal to keep the Son as the focus of the week.  This camp shares about God and how He can impact daily life.  Another aspect we love – such a beautiful setting!  The camp is less than 10 minutes from the southern edge of Lincoln, but you feel like you are miles and miles away from the city!

Camp Buildings

A highlight for my kids is Nana’s Snack shack.  This could partially be because they like to pick out their own sweets.  But I think it is just as much because of Nana who runs the place.  Trisha’s Mom considers this her ministry – smiling and helping the kids to have a sweet time.  Now she has her own crew of nana’s coming out to help when it is their grandkids’ turn at camp.

Bathroom Tile Collage

Another great thing is their goal is to have Camp Sonshine be “Lincoln’s camp.”  This evident everywhere, even in the bathroom where the kids could paint a tile in honor of someone they love and to beautify the camp.  Also, the counselors who take such an interest in the kids’ lives.  We have seen some of them around town, and they are still excited to see our kids!  How wonderful to see positive young adults making such an impact in the lives of my kids!

first barn

This is the beloved camp barn that underwent a dramatic makeover (see the L Magazine pictures – you won’t believe it!)  The barn has served many a breakfast and has been used for storage and much more.  The only problem – not exactly enough room to shelter all campers from the heat or storms. Or enough room to serve a meal.  So, several years ago they began to raise money to build a new barn.  With the help of God and the community, they reached their goal!

Barn Collage

This beautiful building will allow them to continue to impact the lives of the community!  The exciting thing is you can tour the camp yourself TOMORROW.  They have all sorts of fun events planned for the family.  Here is the description directly from their website.

The 2014 Spring Open House & New Family Orientation will be held on Saturday, May 3rd from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.  Come tour the grounds, try some activities, meet some of the staff and get your questions answered.

– New Facility GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION!!!  From 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 3rd, after the Open House, we will be celebrating God’s faithfulness in providing camp with our new recreation facility.

      • Purchase dinner for the family from Papa D’s BBQ
      • Join us for a FREE Kids Concert featuring The Lads
      • Take a tour of the New Recreation Facility…we like to call it The Barn

If you would like your child to have an unforgettable camp experience, they are still taking applications for this summer.  You can contact them via their website or call (402-423-8746).  By the way, you can find Camp Sonshine at 13440 S. 25TH St. (just off of Saltillo Road) in case you want to go to the open house.  Should be a beautiful day to get out of the city!


Categories: Family Outings, Lincoln, Local Business, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hockey in Nebraska: Go, Lincoln Stars!

Did you guess where we were?

Lincoln Stars sign

Back in September when one of our sons won a prize from the Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” program, I knew that a Stars game was going to be on our agenda.  He was very excited to win four tickets.  He decided to take his older brother and his parents along.  🙂

Lincoln Stars Collage 1

We had not taken our kids to any hockey games yet.  Next time, I think I will check out some children’s non-fiction hockey picture books.  I like knowing what is going on, and I have not watched enough games to understand the penalties and strategies.  Although I could always tell when they scored and definitely know that the Stars won!

Two other important things:

1) Wear warm clothes.  After all, the games are played at “The Ice Box.” 🙂

2) Bring ear plugs.  While the music adds so much to the atmosphere, your ears will be ringing by the end.

We enjoyed getting to go out with just our older boys.  They enjoyed their first hockey experience, although one admitted he definitely could have done without the fighting and some of the slightly more obnoxious cheers.  But he definitely liked hockey itself.   I think he will have a greater appreciation for the Olympics hockey games now that he has attended in person.

Lincoln Stars Collage 2

Not into being a spectator and would rather enjoy being active?  The Ice Box has public skating sessions most week-ends.  Eventually a bigger ice venue will be coming to Lincoln.  Until then, the Stars have made their home at their rink located on the former Nebraska State Fair Park.

A big thank you to the Lincoln Stars for providing the tickets and to the Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for providing such great tourism incentives. We are excited to participate in the “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” program again this summer!


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

International in Nebraska: Back to the Bible

Yesterday was my 14th wedding anniversary.  (Love you, KJ!)  When I noticed that our special day was falling on Wednesday, I decided I could not resist featuring the place where we had our wedding reception.  In fact, the last picture in yesterday’s “Wordless Wednesday” was actually a picture of their great room decorated for our reception.  This happened to be the place where my Mom was employed at the time and was not just any old rental hall.  In fact, our location just so happened to be inside the international headquarters of an organization.

Back to the Bible International Sign

Back to the Bible started in Lincoln 75 years ago.  If you have ever driven by their current location on Cornhusker Highway in Lincoln, you would remember.  Why?  Because of all of the flags!

B2B Flags

Out in front of the building are the flags representing the places where Back to the Bible is currently broadcasting or has had radio programming in the past.  Their approach is slightly different in that the actual speakers are nationals of the countries where the broadcasts are taking place rather than using one universal speaker like many organizations tend to do.

Tomorrow I intend to do a bit of a combo of both  “Friday Photography” and “Friday Flashbacks,” showing some more interior pictures about the place and also explaining a bit of how Back to the Bible came to be.  Since their official anniversary celebration does not happen for several months, I will get into a bit more of their history at that point.  This is an organization that has been important to my family for various reasons for quite a long time.  I am excited that I get to tell you more about this lovely place!


Categories: Organizations across Nebraska | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Photography: Kit’s Corner at the Lincoln Children’s Museum

I had the opportunity recently to write about Kit’s Corner (at the Lincoln Children’s Museum) and another favorite Lincoln place for kids in the January L Magazine. (My other favorite? Union Plaza Place Park – more on that place later)

The story of what a family decided to do with their grief is actually what inspired to first think about writing beyond a blog.  After Kit Scott died tragically in her 20’s, her family chose to honor the memory this lovely young woman by creating, among other projects, two wonderful places around Lincoln where kids can play and learn and grow.  Because The L Magazine was possibly going to include children in the magazine photos, I asked two dear friends if I could photograph their toddlers playing.  Since the room is intended for kids age 3 and under, sadly my kids have outgrown the room. (Wait – I don’t think I want to go back to diapers – guess I will just enjoy watching others’ little ones play now! 🙂  )

Children's Museum Kit's Corner 2

And thus began my first (and possibly last) children’s photo shoot.  I am not sure if I just have a slow camera or if I really need to improve my photography skills.  Capturing the cuteness of little ones on the move was a big struggle.  I just know that I will not be signing up as a child’s portrait photographer anytime soon.  Those who are successful in that field must be way underpaid.

Well, the magazine ended up using more pictures of the places rather than people in the article.  But my friends graciously agreed to let me show you my efforts on the blog.  These two toddlers were definitely two of the cutest subjects I have ever tried to photograph (Besides my own children and new niece & nephew of course! 😉 )

Children's Museum J

She was a bit shy and did not get into having her picture taken.  But I love how her painted face adds to the atmosphere.  Fun to watch her explore!  Her favorite part was the puzzles, but those pictures are not quite as interesting as the ones above.  What a sweet little girl!

Lincoln Children's Museum E

This little guy knew he was being photographed.  So he kind of delighted in hiding from me.  And sending a few sly grins my way.  Love that kid!

Thanks, friends, for letting me attempt to successfully photograph your adorable toddlers!


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

The Best Place in Lincoln for Kids: The Lincoln Children’s Museum

One of my goals in writing this blog is to help families discover new places across Nebraska.  But even I have to admit that this familiar stand-by location would probably be the place my kids would often pick to go if they had their choice.

Children's Museum Z

Hip, hip, hooray for the Lincoln Children’s Museum! Within the last year, they have done some updates about the place.  I thought that the museum could not get any better.  But, it did!

There is so much to see and do about the Lincoln Children’s Museum.  Knowing what to write about is actually a bit of a challenge.  So, instead I decide to show you a glimpse of just what this favorite place has to offer.  The pictures are from a couple of visits.  Anyway, this will at least give you an idea!

Children's Museum Main Floor

The first floor exists for the imagination of “What do you want to be?”  A pizza parlor, farm area, grocery store, vet’s office, fire truck, television station, hospital, and possibly my kids’ favorite: Nebraska football and volleyball players.  They recently  added a car body mechanic shop.  Kids can design their own vehicle.

Now you have to decide up or down.  In the colder months when my kids were littler, we tended to avoid the basement.  Why?  That was the area where the water play occurred.  Not fun to take your kids outside into the freezing cold with wet clothes.  Of course, that has always been one of their most requested places.

Children's Museum Basement

They have completely redone that area as well – the possibilities are amazing.  They also like the truck driving/truck stop restaurant area.  And dressing up for the stage.  And climbing through the “gopher holes.”  This floor also has the room that changes often with temporary exhibits.  Their current exploratory adventure?  KEVA planks that my kids are exploring on a smaller scale above.

Now on to the top floor …

Children's Museum 3rd floor

Makes sense that the upstairs allows the kids to “fly high” and features not only a plane and terminal area but also a space shuttle for the kids to blast off.  This floor was also updated to include a train the kids can “ride.”  Face painting areas can be found on both the top and bottom floors.  I have always liked it best when my kids “make their own face.”  My friend’s cute little girl demonstrates her efforts above. 🙂

Tomorrow for “Friday Photography,” I will share about my former favorite place in the museum.  The room my kids have now outgrown.

Children's Museum Kit's Corner


Categories: Lincoln, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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