Family Vacation Spot: Omaha, NE

SummerAll Ages9 Comments

This year for our family vacation we ventured a trip to Omaha, Nebraska.

I was in contact with the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau and got lots of great tips on where to go, what to see and where to eat. Something I will definitely be doing with every city we visit in the upcoming years!

Not only were they super helpful with pointing me to places to go, but also handy with my kids ages! So we were off to Omaha for a few days.

We stayed in Midtown Crossing and enjoyed a meal at Ingredient when we got there. Almost a cafeteria-style restaurant, but fancier. Very kid-friendly and good food!

Our first attraction that we went to was downtown for a quick walk in the evening at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. It spans the Missouri River and even marks the border between Nebraska and Iowa. It’s an impressive bridge that curves back and forth and gives you a bit of the history of Omaha and the bridge itself.

We capped off the evening with a splash in the splash pad right next to the bridge. I think this might have been the highlight of the boys’ vacation. So simple!

The next day we planned to do the Children’s Museum, but since it didn’t open until 1pm, we thought we’d get a head start on the day and head a little ways out of the city to the Wildlife Safari Park. It’s part of the Henry Doorley Zoo, but not the ‘main attraction’.

We drove on our safari (minivan) spotting animals, such as elk that we could literally have held our hands out the window and touched (but didn’t, of course), along the drive. The boys were wide-eyed the entire time.

There were a couple of chances to get out and walk to see the animals even better, as well as a small petting zoo and a short hiking trail.

After a quick bite to eat for lunch we headed to the Omaha Children Museum. I knew this would be a hit. It’s a big toy room! But many rooms with many, many toys that let the kids explore and learn so much!

The ‘ball’ room had to be the hit of the day. It is full of those ball pit balls with lots of mechanics that let the kids explore how it works!

Henry spent the majority of his time on the crane. It was quite the operation that took a few kids to operate and by the end of the day there were a few of them doing it together in sync, helping each other to move the balls around the extravagant operation (the crane ‘center’ is pictured above that Henry and George are both sitting on).

This summer there’s a special exhibit for The Wizard of Oz. Complete with a yellow brick road, simulated tornado and even a wind tunnel so you can experience a tornado first hand! George was curious about the tornado for sure.

Exhausted (not to mention whiny) from no naps and playing all day long, we headed back to the hotel to rest and enjoyed a DVD that night to relax a little because the next day was going to be a long one at the Zoo!

We headed out to the Henry Doorley Zoo & Aquarium first thing in the morning to get there right at opening and before it got too hot.

It’s probably the best zoo we’ve been to in terms of actually getting to see the animals up and moving. And I’m not sure if that’s just because we got their first thing in the morning (because it was still somewhat cool and they were doing the animal feedings), but it was great to see the actual animals instead of having to  hunt for them.

We did a walk through of the outdoor part of the park first before it got hot, then headed through the Aquarium and stopped to each lunch at the Red Barn Park (The Dino Dig). After that we headed through the rest of the indoor stuff. The boys were getting pretty antsy, whiny and tired by then so we hurried through it unfortunately.

The Aquarium can’t be overlooked though. It has a beautiful walk through part that you’re in a tunnel with aquarium all around you, with sharks swimming right next to you and over you. It’s quite impressive and the boys absolutely loved this part.

That night we ventured to a restaurant we heard about that’s in Bellevue, and boy am I so glad we went there! Absolutely awesome hamburgers at Stella’s Bar & Grill! And served on a napkin! I loved that part!

My husband and I couldn’t stop talking about the Stellanator. Holy cow. I cannot imagine anyone eating this burger. It would be impressive (and maybe a little disgusting) to watch!

We found a nearby playground to let the boys run on afterwards and it was fun playing and climbing with them. Then headed downtown, along the river to The Heartland of America Park to hopefully catch a light show that evening. But either we were early or weren’t in the right spot. We couldn’t find the light show. But we didn’t care, the boys ran and jumped on large rocks! The sidewalk trails there are awesome and we wished we had the boys’ bikes with us!

The next day was our last in Omaha, but we had one more stop to make before heading out of town. The Durham Museum. It’s an old railroad station filled with train cars to walk through, tons of history and of course an awesome model train set that boys wouldn’t leave sight of.

There’s also an exhibit there this summer called Mindbender Mansion. If it wasn’t for the kids, I could have absolutely spent the entire day in there (even though its made for kids! Just older ones than my own!). It’s full of puzzles to solve, clues to unfold, and tons of thinking games!

Overall it was a great vacation, but very exhausting. We have to find a better way to spend our vacations so that we’re not constantly running, missing naps, late bedtime, while yet entertaining the kids and providing them the opportunity to explore something new.

 What are your best tips for vacationing as a family? 

Get into contact with the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau to plan a trip to Omaha, Nebraska!

Disclaimer:  The Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau provided my family with tickets to Omaha’s Children Museum, Henry Doorley Zoo & Aquarium and The Durham Museum. Thank you!

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  1. Margaret says

    Our son is 23 months old and we travel a fair amount. The biggest thing we do is keep the same bedtime routine (time and order of events). Sure, it is early for us parents to be sequestered in the hotel (or cabin or whatever), but it helps energize everyone for the next day’s adventures. By the way, this sounds like a really fun trip. We have been to Omaha several times (live in Iowa) and didn’t know about several of these attractions! Wow!!

    • Jamie says

      Margaret! So cool you’re in Iowa – us too!

      Do you do regular hotel rooms (one room, 2 double beds)? Or suites? We’ve had better luck with suites so the kids can go to bed and we can still watch TV or something at least. We try to stick to regular routine/bedtime, there’s just often a late night or two that throws us off!

      We have a hard time entertaining them in the hotel room too to just relax a little. So it seems that anytime we’re awake, we’re going, going going. So its exhausting.

      • Margaret says

        We get a suite if the price is right but otherwise get a room with 2 beds. He falls asleep without us present in his room at home so we do that in hotels, too. If we don’t have a suite, we have been known to camp out in the bathroom or read by flashlight between the beds until he is asleep. Glamorous, isn’t it? ;) We just returned from vacation, and with the Olympics on, we turned the TV on before putting him to sleep (low volume and turned the screen away from his sleeping area) so the light and sound remained the same and we could watch without disturbing his sleep. Have been known to use closed captioning, too. The gymnastics we go through sound silly now that I am writing them, but sleep is precious and a critical foundation for fun days on vacations so we do whatever to make it happen! :)

  2. Meghan says

    That’s so cool you came to Omaha for a vacation! I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and came across this post. I live in Omaha, so it’s awesome to see someone having fun here! We are lucky to have many things to do, and it’s a nice city for families. :-) Thanks for posting! Glad you had a good trip!

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