Posts Tagged With: Omaha Nebraska

Ready for Discounted Omaha Adventures in 2014?

The savings cards are here.  The saving cards are here!  That is right – you can pick up your very own “Omaha Adventure 2014” Discount Cards.  Two versions of this card happen to be available.  You can request the cards here.

If you live outside of Omaha, this is what your card includes:

Attraction Discounts (for up to 6 individuals):

•         Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo – $2 off Admission

•         Omaha Children’s Museum – $2 off Admission

•         The Durham Museum – $2 off Admission

•         Lauritzen Gardens – $2 off Admission/Tram Combo

•         Joslyn Art Museum – $2 off $10 @ the gift shop

Shopping & Restaurant coupons include:

•         Amazing Pizza Machine –  $2 off Power Play Buffet & Play Pack

•         Over $300 of coupons to Village Pointe Shopping Center

Discounts valid through September 30, 2014

Local Omaha residents – you can click here to learn more about the card that is specific to Omaha.  You can also pick a copy of the card at any First National Bank branch location.

Discount cards are while supplies last of course, so get yours today!  I have mine already, so I am set for many Omaha adventures this summer!  Maybe I will see you along the way!

P.S. Want more tips on enjoying Omaha this summer?  A bunch of my favorite Omaha bloggers got together and compiled a great how-to list of having the best summer ever in the big O!  Start out here at my friend’s Oh! My Omaha’s Water Fun post.  She has a link to all of the other places!


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Omaha Gives!: Today (5-21-14)

Today is the day to give to Omaha area non-profit organizations!  Why?  Because matching gifts will be given based on given donations.  This focused project powered by the Omaha Community Foundation allows community giving to be accelerated.  You can read all about how the matching funds amounts are determined.  And if you want to give but are not sure which organization is working with your preferred type of charity, they have a list of organization categories where you can peruse to find one that matches your type of “pet project.”  And there are MANY to choose from.  You can also look at the leaderboard and choose to give toward the organizations that need a boost in funding.  In addition, the area Omaha non-profits are hosting community events all day to fuel excitement in supporting the great work they all do in the Omaha community.

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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

Bob Kerry Bridge: Spanning Nebraska and Iowa

Bob Kerrey Bridge 1

Last summer, our family enjoyed walking between two states.    The Bob Kerrey Pedesterian Bridge spans the Missouri River and connects both Nebraska and Iowa.    With such wide paths, there was room to explore and enjoy family time outdoors together!

Bob Kerrey Bridge Collage

Always fun, especially for kids, to stand between two states!

Bob Kerrey Bridge 3

The bridge itself is a beautiful piece of architecture.

We chose to park on the Councils Bluffs, Iowa side near the park there to walk back and forth.  This seemed to work well, although we mainly ended up there because we missed the exit on the Omaha side. 🙂

Bob Kerrey Bridge 2

As you walk the 3,000 foot path, you can even stop and learn more about the river and conservation on the way.

Omaha Sign

Being close to downtown Omaha, the bridge is a great way to experience the outdoors while being in a metropolitan area.

Bob Kerrey Bridge 4

Suspended in space!

Bob Kerrey Bridge 5

I hope that we make it back to walk the bridge again in the next several months now that nicer weather is finally arriving in Nebraska!

P.S.  A big thank you to my husband who took many of the great pictures for both yesterday and today’s posts!



Categories: Family Outings, Metro, Photography, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Balloonacy: The Adventures of a Red Balloon in Omaha


We arrived in Omaha yesterday morning for a play that would celebrate friendship with a red balloon.  Being big fans of the movie “Up,” we were intrigued to see a balloon featured in a play.  Really the concept was a brilliant one – especially for little people!


Today begins the official 2 week run of the play “Balloonacy” at the Rose Theater in Downtown Omaha.  Who knew the shag rugs would turn into magic carpets as kids have the opportunity to sit on them for the show rather than having to sit still in theater seats?  Who also knew that the simple stage would soon be full of imagination?


A gentleman seems to be having an ordinary day when suddenly a balloon appears through the window.  He tries to send the balloon away but “somehow” the balloon keeps coming back.  Transforming the man from withdrawn to happy, the balloon does turn into the other main character of the show.


My “action” shots were a bit blurry, but you kind of get the idea.  This is unlike any play that I have seen.  Audience participation was encouraged rather than halted.  The cute little preschoolers added to the experience (although at times they might have been a bit distracting).   The main character had hardly any dialogue, but a storyteller came out frequently to discuss what was happening.


My oldest son makes his photographic appearance on this blog with these shots above.  He was so proud when he captured the balloon hiding behind the stage. 🙂 

Promoting friendship, they illustrated the fact that by learning to take a risk to play with the balloon, the lonely man would want to make the effort to make real friends as well.  Explaining how to handle feelings and apologies were also a part of the demonstrated lessons.  While the play is definitely for younger folk, even I walked away with the beneficial reminder that friendship matters!

A big thank you to the Rose Theater for providing the tickets and also for being so flexible on the timing with us!  While all of my kids liked the show, my youngest two really enjoyed the play and would gladly intend again.  As my middle son is almost 9, I think he recognized that the play was intended for littler kids.  The Rose Theater has done a great job with setting the ages correctly.  At $10 a ticket, this show has a lower price for an introductory experience of theater.  Plus at only 45 minutes, your kids should even make it through the whole performance without needing a break!



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

Friday Night Lights: Seeing Christmas Displays Across Nebraska

I love driving around this time of year – streets just seem happier this time of year with all of the lights!  I would love them up to shine all winter, but my husband usually shuts them off sometime in January (and most people are done earlier than that!)  I guess I had better enjoy them while I see them!

Nebraska Christmas lights 2

The light pictures above and the at the bottom of the post from our favorite place to drive by every year!  I think I might even be able to sing along with their song sequence by now!

In most small towns, finding the best decorated houses is a bit easier.  With lights on many a corner, finding the most fun displays in cities and larger towns is a bit challenging.  So I thought I would provide you with a few links of some of the best lit homes across the state.  At least according to my initial search – I am sure I missing many beautifully decorated homes. If you know of a great display in your area, please post a comment below or a link on my Odyssey Through Nebraska Facebook page.

Central Nebraska

Christmas lights from Central Nebraska Adventures (Displays and other holiday events)

Minden: Nebraska’s Christmas City

Christmas City

Photo from Minden’s above website!


Christmas on display in Beatrice


Lincoln Journal Star’s Holiday Light Displays


Divots Conference Center “Celebration of Lights” in Norfolk (admission)


Family Fun in Omaha’s Listings of Amazing Christmas Light Displays


Historic Main Street Alliance Displays

Scottsbluff View of Christmas Lights


Despite searching the larger towns in this region, I could not find any published record of any great displays.  If you know of any, please post them.

Nebraska Christmas lights

May the lights shine brightly wherever you are!



Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lauritzen Gardens: Omaha’s Hidden Paradise

Lauritzen Gardens entrance

Our trip to Lauritzen Gardens was like visiting paradise, especially in the midst of a very chilly day.  Located on the edge of Omaha, a nature reserve in the midst of a city is unexpected.  And quite beautiful, inside and out!

Lauritzen Gardens Poinsettia Triptech

Right now the Garden has their annual poinsettia display – over 29 varieties.  (And yes, those are pictures that I took while there – aren’t the flowers simply breathtaking!)

Lauritzen Gardens Christmas Building Collage

Nestled among the flowers are natural wood sculptures representing many of Omaha’s buildings.  (I think my son counted 34 of them!)  These are also quite the sight to see!

Lauritzen Gardens trains

My youngest definitely loved seeing the trains that ran throughout the flowers.  Actually, I think we all really liked that part!

Lauritzen Gardens floral displays

Their displays made you want to wander about, finding secret places of beauty!

Lauritzen Gardens Hallway Gallery

This is the hallway the connects the main gallery with the education wing.  A work of art in itself, plus they rotate displays of artwork.  (The shadows made it challenging to capture the artist’s painting well, but they were lovely!)

Lauritzen Gardens Winter

Despite the chilling weather, the kids and I took a short hike.  This would be a great area to explore in warmer weather, although we enjoyed looking around even in the cold.  My son and I also saw a hawk perched on a tree out front.

Lauritzen Gardens tropical edition

They are in the middle of expanding their facility to include a tropical gardens area.  This will add a wonderful element to all that they have to offer.

Lauritzen Gardens for Children

Our favorite part was making natural ornaments for the birds.  My kids loved stringing fruit loops, cranberries and peanut shells onto wire.  Evidently these ornaments are quite popular with the wildlife – they only last a day or two!

In the summer, they have a children’s garden.  They also have backpacks that you can check out to enrich your experience.  Lauritzen Gardens has a done a wonderful job of making the place friendly, warm and welcoming for the whole family.  We are excited to go back again in the future!

A big thank you to the Omaha Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for providing the tickets for us to visit this lovely place!

Categories: Metro, Photography, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Place of Fairy Tales: Joslyn Castle in Omaha (Part 2)

Joslyn Exterior Castle View

If I had to pick one home in Nebraska that I have always wanted to see, Joslyn Castle in Omaha would be at the top of list.  Since I always love going to homes that have been decorated for Christmas, I knew that getting to see Joslyn Castle in December would be incredible.  So, when the Joslyn Castle Trust graciously agreed to let us in to take a few photographs this week, I was definitely excited.

Joslyn Exterior Details

Wandering around the first floor with a camera resulted in many, many pictures – such an incredible place!  My eyes were almost on beauty overload!  So, this will be a longer post, but hopefully you will enjoy my view of Joslyn.  My ultimate goal is to convince you to visit yourself.  While it was fun being able to go from room to room, I think I would have enjoyed a tour even more.  I always like knowing the story behind the place.

Do you feel the same way?  You have 2 more Sunday opportunities to experience Joslyn Castle at its holiday finest.  Tours are happening at 1,2 and 3 p.m. this Sunday the 15th and the 22nd.  If you have an opportunity to go, I would highly recommend the experience!  (Note: adults are $6 and Seniors/students are $3.)  Now on to my pictures and a bit of the story …

As the wealthiest Nebraskans at the turn of the century, George and Sarah Joslyn wanted their home to reflect their means and station.  So, they purchased over 5 acres on the outskirts of Omaha (now considered mid-town) and spent 11 months having their dream home constructed.  This was an amazing feat due to the abundance of woodwork and the sheer size of the project.  As spectacular as the home is today, I am certain that it would have been even more beautiful when the place was furnished.

Joslyn Castle entrance alcove

The Grand Staircase hall.

Joslyn Castle 2nd floor Looking Out and Down

The view from the 2nd floor stained glass windows and the view looking down from the 2nd floor staircase landing.

Joslyn Castle Room with (interior) views

Which direction to choose?  So many beautiful options!

Joslyn Morning Room

The front morning room was used as Sarah Joslyn’s office.  I know that I would be perfectly happy to sit in this room and work!

Joslyn Library

The other main front room is the library.  Etched glass bookcases covered several of the walls.  They now contain pictures and memorabilia from the house and family.

Joslyn library photographs

Pictures of George and Sarah Joslyn grace several of the walls.

Joslyn Music RoomChapel

The music room occupies the front side of the house to the west.  Joslyn Castle does rent out parts of the first and second floor for many special occasions such as ceremonies and receptions.  Including weddings.  Almost as if this room was intended for this purpose …

(Note; We were so excited to have Grammi join us for the day.  My mom is pictured above with the kids!)

Joslyn Music Room Balcony

This small balcony area is the same level as the first floor.  There is a view of the conservatory – a miniature indoor greenhouse area resplendent with flowers and plants.

Joslyn Conservatory of Flowers

The conservatory is located on the back north part of the house.  The etched glass garden door is original.  A small path winds through the garden areas.  This area can also be seen just off of the Great Staircase Hallway. 

Joslyn Drawing Room

Due to the opulence, at first I thought this room was used for dining.  I found out that it was actually their main living and entertaining area.

Joslyn Dining Room Fireplace and Tree

The dining area is adjacent to the living room.  With the dark woodwork and ornate carvings, the room feels warm and cozy.  I was told that some of the woodwork is incredibly rare and would be impossible to replace since some of these types of trees are actually extinct now or challenging to find.

Joslyn Dining Room Collage 

The built-ins house family heirlooms and also display pictures of how the home used to look furnished.

The Joslyn Castle Trust takes care of operating and overseeing the maintenance of the home.  Their ultimate goal is to restore the home to way it looked when it was first completed in 1903.  This is an overwhelming and expensive undertaking.  By purchasing one of the items on their “gift tree,” you can be a part of the process.

Joslyn Gift Tree

Each of the tags on this tree have gift suggestions of varying prices.  These purchases will assist the Joslyn Castle Trust in preserving this mansion.

Joslyn Mansion and Carriage House

A side view of the castle and the carriage house.  (I think I would be perfectly happy to call even that lovely smaller building home!)  This building has now been converted into office.  The former green house (not pictured) located in the back of the castle now houses the Joslyn Castle Trust.

We loved visiting the Joslyn Castle -a home for the holidays!





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

Shop Local in Omaha: A Guest Blog Post by Oh My! Omaha

Since I value my sleep, I barely make it to any stores in Lincoln before Black Friday deals end.  So the thought of making in time to another city had never occurred to me.  Until now.  Maybe this will be my goal – after all these 2 local stores have specials all day – not just for the early birds!  Thanks, Kim, from  Oh My! Omaha for sharing these 2 places with us!
There are a lot of locally owned stores in Omaha, but two that are great for Christmas shoppers looking for unique gifts are The Afternoon and Le Wonderment. Luckily, they both have Black Friday deals for bargain hunters. Afternoon has two locations in Omaha: the original is at Westroads Mall, and the other is at Midtown Crossing. This place is great for gifts for everyone – the foodie, the creative, the traveler, the young, the funny – things you won’t find in a big box store. On Black Friday, save 25% all Christmas items (dept 18) at  the Westroads  location from 6 a.m. to noon and at the Midtown Crossing store from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, you’ll get 25% all Melissa and Doug items at both stores.

Le Wonderment is in the Old Market (just north of 11th and Howard). This is what toys stores were meant to be: inviting toys you can play with before you buy, colorful, full of educational toys, and they carry the toy getting lots of buzz, GoldieBlox. The store’s Black Friday specials are 15 % off themed and custom holiday gift baskets, and you’ll get a $25 gift card with the purchase of MZ Handbags.  (They also feature gifts for dogs!)

Categories: Local Business, Metro, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mahoney Melodrama: Ending Soon at a Theater Near You

I thought I had posted this last night – evidently I did not.  So much for my Wednesday being wordless.  🙂  I will tell more about that place tomorrow, but for today here is yesterday’s post.

One event that was included at our fall church women’s retreat was attending the melodrama presentation at Mahoney State Park.  I was bit skeptical, but the event ended up being just the ticket to start our relaxing and reflective time away.  The play was well-written, but I know that the actors were the true shining stars.

Dean's Deception 2

While our group did not throw any popcorn, watching many others try to “hit” the villain (located front and center) with the crunchy white missiles was certainly amusing.  And evidently sometimes the crowd throws dollars up on stage – also quite funny to watch the actors put their feet down on top of the bills until they could pocket the money.  My favorite character was the ditzy cheerleader – her enthusiastic chants added fun to the storyline.  (Plus the fact that she ended up being my longtime friend’s sister was a fun bonus!)

Dean's Deception 3

The play would be appropriate for audiences of all ages.  I was wishing that we could have made it up there as a family to watch – I would have gladly watched the show again.  But with busy Sundays and 8:00 performance times on Friday and Saturday, that is a bit late for my crew so far.  (Hopefully next year, this will be a family event!)

I meant to post this information right away to give everyone plenty of time to go see the show.  Instead I got caught up in Omaha and forgot.  So, this is the last week-end of performances.   Tickets are $7 per adult and $5 children age 12 and under.  Family pricing is also available.  Besides their Friday and Saturday evening performances, they do have a 3:00 matinee this Sunday.   If you do not have any plans, I would highly recommend the experience.   In case you miss this melodrama, they do several different performances throughout the year.  While some of the plays might be more family friendly than others, I am glad that they do put on high quality plays that are also budget friendly!

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