Two-thirds of the way through the summer my family started to get a little stir-crazy. We still had a month left of summer but nothing “fun” scheduled. At that point I knew we needed something to look forward to, something to get us out of town. Something like a weekend road trip to Omaha!
Here are five reasons why we love to visit Omaha:
1. Omaha’s proximity to Des Moines
Omaha is only a one and a half hour drive from Des Moines. That’s less time than it takes to watch Finding Nemo and minimizes questions of “are we there yet?” While this might not seem like a valid reason to some, there are times when small children do not have the capacity to be locked in their car seats for a multi-day road trip.
I have affectionately nicknamed the Henry Doorly Zoo the “Disney World of the Midwest” because of its notoriety and popularity. Many families take an entire weekend to see all the sites and exhibits, but I’ve found if you are intentional and keep everyone moving, it’s possible to hit all of the high points in a single day. Granted, you will be TIRED and your feet will ache, but it’s totally worth it.
My five-year-old son loved the new Alaskan Adventure splash playground. It was the perfect way to cool off at the end of a HOT day. Make sure to bring your swim clothes if you are planning a trip!
One of our “must visit” spots is the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium. If you have a child who is enamored with Finding Nemo (or Finding Dory), this is the spot for you! With penguins, eels and the Shark Reef, this an easy way to spend an hour gawking at the only accessible ocean life in the landlocked Midwest. My husband’s favorites were the giant Japanese Spider Crabs, while I was mesmerized by the floating jellyfish.
Another unique Omaha Zoo exhibit is their newly opened African Grasslands area. Roaming elephants, lions and zebras – yes please! A first for me was seeing a pelican. So fun!
3. The Omaha Savings App
When you’re planning your weekend trip to Omaha, make sure to check out The Omaha Tourism Authority’s website, visitomaha.com. It has all the information you need to figure out where to stay, learn what special events are happening, and find cool places to check out. Make sure you download the Omaha Savings App to help you save a ton of money on all sorts of cool Omaha attractions!
Our family had a BLAST at the Omaha Children’s Museum. It was fun for everyone from our one and a half year old daughter to my adult husband. It just goes to show that interactive learning is fun for all ages.
We especially loved the Super Gravitron area, a massive ball machine with pneumatic, hydraulic and mechanical sections. My son loved shooting the balls and my little one loved running around gathering up all the balls for her big brother. We easily spent an hour just on this section!
With two levels of fun and special shows going on hourly, the museum has something for everyone. One other perk: they have Starbucks coffee. If you need a pick me up to keep up with your kids, the Omaha Children’s Museum already has it covered!
Okay, I know I have you all concerned about eating at a place called “The Old Mattress Factory” and frankly, I don’t blame you. I was worried too.
It’s named “The Old Mattress Factory” because that’s what used to be housed in the building prior to the space becoming an eating establishment. Rest assured, everyone loved the food (even my picky-eater daughter) and we all left with full tummies and happy hearts. I even managed to get my anti-onion son to try onion rings. #momwin
Omaha is one of our favorite Midwest cities to visit because of all the family-friendly things to do and see. What is your favorite Omaha adventure?
This post was written in collaboration with Visit Omaha. All thoughts and opinion are my own.