Posts Tagged With: Nebraska Passport

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: 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!

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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!

wow.odysseythroughnebraska.wordpress.com

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!

wow.odysseythroughnebraska.wordpress.com

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

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

Carhenge

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

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

Mellow Monday: Relaxing across Nebraska: Prairie Grounds Cafe & Gifts in Broken Bow

I just got back yesterday from a great girl’s week-end (our church’s women’s retreat up at Mahoney State Park).  So, yesterday at this time, I was just getting up.  (As opposed to waking up over two hours ago like today).  And I was anticipating a hot breakfast with friends.  (I did get to bring some leftovers home and at least had the pumpkin cream cheese French toast going for me this morning!).   And while there is nothing too hectic or upsetting about today, I am wishing I could be completely irresponsible and spend the morning drinking warm drinks and reading a book.  And if I lived a bit closer, one place would be my destination.  Prairie Grounds Cafe and Gifts.

Prairie Grounds Entrance

We intended on going in and out in a hurry, just to get our Nebraska Passport stamp.  But when we entered, I suddenly was wishing that we had several hours to spend in Broken Bow.  And that my husband would have a longing to spend several random hours with the kids in an unfamiliar town, so that I could just soak in the cozy environment.

Prairie Grounds booths

We had just eaten a picnic at the park, so I did not look too closely at the menu.  (I know they had soups and sandwiches).  Dessert on the other hand … their homemade treats are created in the back along with a varied selection of drinks.  Chelsie was the chef that day, and we left with a few of her cookies and an apple cinnamon scone.  Yum!  (They also carry a line of gluten free items,  which can be hard to find in smaller towns, but those are made elsewhere.)

Prairie Gounds interior

This warm and inviting living area was in one corner of the place.  Most of the items were for sale, but they all add to welcoming atmosphere.  Sitting inside this room with hot cocoa and a good book watching the snow fall would be lovely indeed.  (Until it was time to go home, but …)

I almost missed the best part of the place.  Thankfully friendly Mary Ann, who was working at the counter that day, told me that she had to show me the backyard.

Prairie Gounds courtyard

The owners have a created a bit of paradise that would be perfect for whittling away a beautiful sunny day.  This picture only captures part of the patio area which included tables for two, so you can dine with a friend.  The next time I make it to Broken Bow, I will be going there with intention.  And with several hours to spare, so I can actually get to soak up the serenity!

P.S. This lovely location is a part of the Nebraska passport program, so if you are close enough, definitely stop by today to get a stamp AND a treat!  And if your family participated in the Nebraska Passport program, the program is ending for the year.  The entries must be postmarked today: September 30, 2013.

Categories: Cornhusker Cuisine, Eating Establishments, Nebraska Passport, Passport Pursuit Programs, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flashback Friday: High Plains Homestead: The Old West in Western Nebraska

Before we went up to Northwest Nebraska, we had made a list of places we wanted to see.  The High Plains Homestead almost made the cut, but one of the reasons the location was removed was because I was not exactly  sure where the place could be found.  But as we were making the gravel drive out to Hudson-Meng Bison Boneyard, suddenly signs informed us that we were almost to the Homestead.  I convinced my family to stop, and none of us were disappointed.

Homestead Livery

Initially I had thought that the High Plains Homestead was merely a place to eat or to spend the night.  They were so much more than that.  Using the wood from old abandoned buildings as well as rebuilding some of the buildings on site, a new “old” town emerged on the plains.  We ended up spending a few hours here (including come back from lunch).  We explored much of the town, but there was so much more that I am sure that we missed.

Homestead 2 youngest by the jail

My kids LOVED putting their uncles and aunt into the jail.  And they were all good sports and went over AND over AND over again!  (Thanks. guys!)  The mercantile, schoolhouse and saloon were rebuilt on site using original buildings from the area.  The remaining places were built using the lumber from abandoned buildings to maintain the “old” feel that was wanted in the “town.”

High Plains award wall

Because of their meticulous approach to setting up their homestead, the owners, Mike and Linda Kesselring, have won several awards.   I was able to talk to the owners a little bit, although I would have enjoyed talking to them even longer.  How they have gone about creating the High Plains Homestead is fascinating.  They are continuing to look to expand their “site” and have other notifying them when other area abandoned buildings are available to move that would fit in with their place.

Homestead High Plains Gun collection

Behind every object is a story.  Many items have been donated to the Homestead by families who want to see their history continue to be on display.  Our boys noticed the guns (I have to say that I missed them.)  They happen to be the owner’s guns from childhood.  Evidently when you went to birthday parties or even to get your haircut, you would leave with a cap gun.  So his collection is on display – in the sheriff’s office of course.

I appreciate the mission of the High Plains Homestead (taken directly from their website).

High Plains Homestead, LLC is a private, family owned, business dedicated  to providing all visitors and customers a quality, rural western experience through good food, hospitality, and education that is inviting, safe, fun, informative and draws an appreciation for the area and the generations of people who have inhabited the NW Nebraska grasslands and badlands.

And the “Dirt Roads” essay on their contact page is definitely worth reading.  I hope that we can return to the High Plains Homestead again someday and see all the progress that they will continue to make.  And by the way, they serve a mean buffalo burger!  (Next time, I want to try the Indian taco though – watching my son eat his plateful confirmed that will be my next selection!)  If you are up in Northwest Nebraska, go to the High Plains Homestead.  Definitely worth the drive!

 

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Nebraska History, Nebraska Passport, Passport Pursuit Programs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And a Winner for the 2nd time in the Lincoln Passport …

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My 2nd son!  We received the call on vacation that Zechariah was a winner for the 2nd time.  Several years ago, he actually happened to win the grand “gold” prize for the kids division.  That included a box at the Salt Dogs as well as him getting to throw out the first pitch at a game.

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So to find out what he won this year, Z and I went to a dinner at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, along with all of the other winners.

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We were both rather excited about the evening and the Fazolis dinner that we would get to enjoy.  Z especially liked the breadsticks and the fact that I let him have a Mountain Dew at suppertime (that RARELY happens).

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A distant shot of the winners – my son is near the left.  I did not take too close of a shot on purpose since I did not stand on top of the table to ask permission to publish the picture or anything.  🙂 

Well, right after dinner, they got right down to handing out the prizes to all the winners.  If you completed 6-10 Passport stamps, you were eligible for a “silver” prize; 11 or more: a silver OR gold prize.  30 or more stamps: the grand prize (A box at a Lincoln Saltdogs game again). (Close to 250 people turned in passports that were eligible to win a prize.  But, only 8 people completed 30+ stamps – possibly represented by only 2-3 families – you had a good chance to win if you went to over 30 places!)

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The Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director, Jeff Maul, explained the program and then enjoyed “fist bumping” all of the winners.

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One of the adult gold prizes – a huge basket from Hillis.  Plus I think that winner also got a gas gift card -something we all can appreciate these days!

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My son won hockey tickets, Champions Fun Center game bands and a licorice gift certificate.  Plus, he was sweet and asked if he could bring home a breadstick for his sibling and Dad.  That was the winning moment for me – when he thought of others.  (Although we did deplete what would have been a nice lunch the following day for the Chamber staff – sorry again!)

I was impressed again with the Lincoln “Be a Tourist in your own Hometown” program.  We will definitely continue to participate and hope others will join us.  Maybe next year we will try for the grand prize …  Thanks to Lincoln Convention and Visitor’s Bureau staff and especially a BIG thank you to Tracie Simpson who coordinates this program.  She has done a great job with it!

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P.S. You have less than 2 weeks to complete your Nebraska Passports if you want to be eligible for their prizes.  I am glad that these two passport programs exist, as well as the Nebraska Great Park Pursuit.  They definitely motivated our family to get out and experience more of what Nebraska has to offer.  Even if we do not win any more prizes through either of the other programs, we definitely won with the experiences that we had.  (I should go into PR 🙂  )

 

 

 

Categories: Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Passport Pursuit Programs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stamps in my passport

One of the greatest movies ever (in my humble opinion 🙂 ) is While You Were Sleeping.  Lucy, the main female character, longs to travel and get away from her life.  This is how she is described by another movie character.

She would go all the way to Europe just to get a stamp in her passport. I don’t know if that amounts to insanity, or just being really, really… likable.

I can so relate to her feelings.  My most memorable activity in elementary school was our  “Around the World” 4th grade unit.  Each of us took turns dressing up and presenting information about a country.  One of my favorite parts was when we received a new stamp for each country we “visited” in our pretend passports.

After my high school freshman year, I went with my best friend Lindy’s aunt on a trip to visit Lindy & her missionary family who had gone back to Spain .  When I went to get my passport, I was excitedly anxious to fill the book with stamps.  Well, despite going to over a dozen countries, my first passport looks a little empty with only TWO stamps.

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Even though my trip was clear back in 1989, the European political climate had changed enough that passports were no longer checked and stamped at border crossings.  Although that system had to made for easier travel, that thought did not occur to me, and I was so disappointed!

I am happy to say that stamped passports have finally made their way back into my life.  Both the state of Nebraska and the city of Lincoln have passport programs.  Kids AND adults can take their pamphlets to various locations to get stamps.  Not only can you choose to go to enough places to fill your passport, but the more places that you visit, the more likely you are to win a PRIZE.  (That goes far beyond a simple booklet full of stamps!)

We have completed the “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” Lincoln passport program a few times.  Several years ago, one of my sons won the grand prize.  That just happened to be throwing out the pitch at a Lincoln Saltdogs baseball game, as well as 20 box seat tickets to an additional Saltdogs game.  (That was a fun evening!)

My kids are very excited to participate again this summer in the Lincoln program.  And this year, we are also going to try to fill up some of the stamps in the Nebraska passport program as well.  They were going through the booklets today plotting and planning all of the experiences that we can have together.  They are hoping to go to 40 different Nebraska places and win a digital camera for their efforts!  (We’ll see if we can manage to meet this lofty goal before running out of steam or tire of putting gas in our Odyssey!)

In the weeks to come, I will be writing more about both of these great programs.  But, if you want to find out more right away, you can visit these sites.

http://www.nebraskapassport.com/

http://www.lincoln.org/play/be-a-tourist

Note: you can pick up the passports at any of the participating locations, but you can also download the documents right away!

Since our family is participating in both programs, subsequently many of the places that I will be highlighting will be a part of one, or sometimes even both, passport programs.   Between both programs, there are over 100 Nebraska tourist possibilities.  Even if we only highlight half of them, I think that ought to keep this blog busy for awhile!

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

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