July 21, 2017

Harry Potter Events In Omaha

This summer, “Harry Potter” turned 20. It’s hard to believe the first book printed 20 years ago, but there you go. We’re all old.

Anyway, Harry Potter is on everyone’s mind. If you’re a fan, and you live in Omaha, you’re in luck. You can celebrate all things Potter over these next few months. Here are some Harry Potter-themed events in the Omaha metro:

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series: “20 Years of Harry Potter”

When: “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone,” July 29 and 30; “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets,” Aug. 3 and 5; “Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Aug. 6 and 10; “Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix,” Aug. 17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince,” Aug.  17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” Aug. 26 and 27; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Aug. 27

Where: Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $9 general; $7 for seniors, students, teachers, military and those traveling to the theater by bicycle; $4.50 for Film Streams members; $2.50 for children ages 12 and under (July 29 screening is FREE). Tickets may be purchased at the box office.

 

Harry Potter Night at The Storm Chasers Game

When: Aug. 4, 7:05 p.m.

Where: Werner Park

Cost: $9 for berm seats, other seats range from $11-$28

 

Escape From Azkaban – Adult Night

When: Oct. 28, 8 to 11 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: $20 per person for members, $35 for non-members (must be 18+). Tickets are available here.

 

Omaha Symphony’s Movie Music Series: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™” In Concert

When: Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 26, 2 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Cost: $19 to $79. Individual tickets pre-sale is July 31 from 10 a.m. to midnight; regular on-sale is Aug. 14. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or in-person at the Holland Center box office.

 

Wizard’s Yule Ball

When: Dec. 4, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Where: TBD

Cost: $10 per person or $20 for four; children younger than4 admitted FREE. Adult tickets go up to $15 after Nov. 1

 

Know of a Harry Potter-themed event? Leave a comment and let me know! I’ll add it to the list.

 

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July 18, 2017

40+ Great Events In August For Families In Omaha

Summer’s not over yet! Get and have some fun with the following family-friendly events in August happening all around the Omaha metro area.

Looking for FREE movies and concerts this summer? Head over to the post 100+ Free Summer Movies & Concerts. Prefer nature to the crowds at events? Here are 7 Favorite Trails Near Omaha.

Neighborhood Night Out

When: Aug. 1, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Where: Kids Can Community Center, 4860 Q St.

Cost: FREE

 

National Night Out

When: Aug. 1, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave.

Cost: FREE

 

Crafty Tots: Caterpillars

When: Wednesdays, Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Saddlebrook Branch

Cost: FREE

 

Zoo Member Appreciation Days

When: Aug. 2 (last names M-Z), 1:30 to 7 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

Cost: FREE for members; regular zoo admission applies to non-members

 

Back to School: Weights and Measures at Wenninghoff Farm

When: Aug. 4, 10 to 11 a.m.

Where: Wenninghoff Farms, 6707 Wenninghoff Road

Cost: FREE

 

Out & About Storytime

When: Aug. 4, 10:15 a.m. (Aromas Coffeehouse at Flagship Commons); Aug. 4, 10:30 a.m. (Azria Health Montclair); Aug. 7, 10:30 a.m. (Chalco Hills Natural Resources Center); Aug. 15, 10:30 a.m. (Joslyn Art Museum); Aug. 25, 10:30 a.m. (Do Space)

Where: Various locations

Cost: FREE

 

AIM’s Amazing Tech Race

When: Aug. 4, noon to 4 p.m.

Where: AIM Brain Exchange, 1902 Howard St.

Cost: FREE (must pre-registers; for ages 4-17; must be accompanied by adults)

 

Party in the Park/Playground Grand Opening

When: Aug. 4, 4 to 7 p.m.

Where: Hanscom Park, 3201 Woolworth Ave.

Cost: FREE

 

Back to School Bash

When: Aug. 5 and 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

Cost: Included with regular zoo admission, which is $19.95 for adults (ages 12+), $18.95 for seniors (65+), $18.95 for military adults (ages 12+), $13.95 for kids (ages 3-11), and $12.95 for military kids (ages 3-11), and FREE for zoo members.

 

Community Wellness Bash

When: Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Bayliss Park, 530 First Ave., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

 

Family Fun Carnival

When: Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $12, adults; $11, seniors/military; $6, children (ages 4-12); and FREE for children 3 and younger

 

Root Beer Float Day

When: Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Cost: FREE root beer float; cost of admission applies ($11 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children (ages 3-12), and FREE for children younger than 2)

 

Nebraska Farm & Family Day

When: Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Going Buggy

When: Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari, 16406 N. 292 St., Ashland, Neb.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $7.50 adults (12 and over), $6.50 military adult; $5.50 children (3-11), $5.50 military child; $6.50 seniors (65 and over), $5.50 military senior; and FREE for children 2 and younger

 

Popping Dance Class

When: Aug. 5, 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Milton R. Abrahams Branch

Cost: FREE (for ages 10+)

 

Fairytale Ball

When: Aug. 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: $20 per person for members and $35 per person for non-members

 

Moon-day Afternoon

When: Aug. 7, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Where: South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St.

Cost: FREE

 

Solar Powered S’mores Teen Event

When: Aug. 10, 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave.

Cost: FREE

 

North Omaha Summer Arts Crawl

When: Aug. 11 (reception at 5:30 p.m. at Omaha Public Library George B. Washington Branch)

Where: Various venues along North 30th Street and nearby

Cost: FREE

 

Ribfest

When: Aug. 11-13; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, east side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE on Friday and Saturday until 5 p.m. and then $5 after 5 p.m., FREE all day Sunday

 

Board Game Party

When: Aug. 12, 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library A.V. Sorensen Branch, 4808 Cass St.

Cost: FREE

 

BSC Block Party

When: Aug. 12, 3 to 9 p.m.

Where: Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 7706 S. 96th St., La Vista, Neb.

Cost: FREE

 

Night Sky – Perseid Meteor Shower

When: Aug. 12, meet at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Hitchcock Nature Center, 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, Iowa

Cost: No additional fees, but must pay park admission per vehicle

 

S.T.E.A.M. Stations

When: Aug. 16, 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Milton R. Abrahams Branch

Cost: FREE (for elementary & middle school aged students)

 

Omaha’s Original Greek Festival

When: Aug. 18-20; Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church, 602 Park Ave.

Cost: $3 for adults, FREE for children 12 and younger

 

Gifford Farm Teacher Appreciation Night

When: Aug. 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue, Neb.

Cost: $5 for ages 2 and older; teachers and three family members get in FREE

 

Get Smart: Robotics

When: Aug. 12, 10 to 11 a.m.

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.

Cost: Included with museum admission

 

Pokemon Party

When: Aug. 18, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Florence Branch, 2920 Bondesson St.

Cost: FREE

 

Constellation Viewing at Neale Woods

When: Aug. 18, 8 to 11 p.m.

Where: Neale Woods Nature Center, 14323 Edith Marie Ave.

Cost: Included with daily admission

 

Council Bluffs Zombie Walk

When: Aug. 19, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Bayliss Park, 599 First Ave., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

 

Vintage Wheels at The Fort

When: Aug. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Historic Fort Omaha; 30th and Fort streets

Cost: FREE

 

WorldFest Days

When: Aug. 20 and 27, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Aug. 20 – Yantai, China; Xalapa, Mexico; and Siauliai, Lithuania; Aug. 27 – Shizuoka, Japan; Naas, Ireland; and Braunschweig, Germany)

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $12 general admission, $11 for seniors, and FREE for children under 2 and members

 

Back to Homeschooling Ice Cream Social

When: Aug. 22, 1 to 2 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

Cost: FREE

 

National Waffle Day Teen Event

When: Aug. 24, 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave.

Cost: FREE

 

Midwest Pirate Festival

When: Aug. 26 and 27, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch, 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion, Neb.

Cost: $7 for children and $10 for adults

 

Opera Outdoors

When: Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m. (Kids zone and lawn games start at 5:30 p.m.)

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing, 33rd and Farnam streets

Cost: FREE

 

Autism Night

When: Aug. 27, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: FREE (pre-register with Autism Action Partnership)

 

More Fun Events In August

The following events are on-going, or had started in a previous month:

Movies in the Park

When: Through Aug. 4, dusk; July 7 (“Sing”); July 14 (“Finding Dory”); July 21 (“Doctor Strange”), July 28 (“Jungle Book”), Aug. 4 (“The Great Gilly Hopkins”)

Where: Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs

Cost: FREE

 

“Fairytale Land”

When: Through Aug. 6

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for ages 2+; $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2

 

Kids Dream Summer Film Series

When: Through Aug. 16 at 10 a.m.; July 30-31, Aug 2 (TBD); Aug. 6-7, 9 (“Storks”); and Aug. 13-14, 16 (TBD)

Where: Majestic Cinema of Omaha, 14304 West Maple Road; Village Pointe Cinema,  304 N. 174th St.; and Twin Creek Cinema, 3909 Raynor Parkway,  Bellevue, Neb.

Cost: $3

 

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series: “ “20 Years of Harry Potter”

When: Through Aug. 27; “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets,” Aug. 3 and 5; “Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Aug. 6 and 10; “Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix,” Aug. 17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince,” Aug.  17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” Aug. 26 and 27; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Aug. 27

Where: Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $9 general; $7 for seniors, students, teachers, military and those traveling to the theater by bicycle; $4.50 for Film Streams members; $2.50 for children ages 12 and under (July 29 screening is FREE)

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Charles Drew Health Center

When: Wednesdays, through Aug. 30, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Where: Charles Drew Health Center, 30th and Grant streets

Cost: FREE

 

“Dinosaur Safari”

When: Through Sept. 3

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for ages 2+; $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2

 

“Glorious Flights: Illustration Art of Alice and Martin Provensen”

When: Through Sept. 3

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge. St.

Cost: FREE

 

“Top Secret: License To Spy”

When: Through Sept. 17

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $11 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children (ages 3-12), and FREE for children younger than 2

 

“KINETIC”

When: Through Oct. 14; Tuesday – Friday, noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.

Cost: FREE

See my video on the exhibit here!

 

Toddler Tuesdays

When: Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St. (gym or at the pool starting at 10:30)

Cost: FREE for members; non-members participate by paying a $4 activity fee for your toddler (age 9 months to 4 years) and the attending parent is FREE.

 

Inflatable Fridays

When: Fridays, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Old Market

When: Saturdays, Oct. 14, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: 11th and Jackson streets

Cost: FREE

 

Kidz Kayak Racing

When: Saturdays, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

 

Arts for All

When: Saturdays, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha South Public Library, 2808 Q St.

Cost: FREE (ages 8-12, registration required)

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Aksarben Village

When: Sundays, through Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Aksarben Village, 67th and Center streets

Cost: FREE

 

Sunday Funday

When: Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

 

Want more ideas? Follow me on Pinterest, or just check out this Pinterest board:

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July 10, 2017

7 Favorite Trails Near Omaha

Stumped on where to go for your next family hike? Here are seven of my family’s favorite trails near Omaha to inspire your next outdoor adventure:

Heron Haven

A limestone crushed trail at Heron Haven, located in the center of Omaha.

Where: Omaha city limits

Why: Head here if you want a taste of nature but you’re short on time. This pretty wetland sanctuary in the heart of the city feels like an escape once you’re in the thick of it, but it’s not very large (so it’s great for little legs). Definitely venture to the little boardwalk over the pond. Read more about Heron Haven here.

Tip: Heron Haven has monthly kids on the second Saturday of the month.

 

Hummel Park

One of the new slides at Hummel Park in Omaha.

Where: Omaha city limits

Why: This city park has easy to somewhat difficult trails, plus a nice visitor center. There are some interesting features on trails, like the stairs that no one seems to agree on the number of them, plus two cool new slides. 

Trail map

Tip: Omaha City Parks & Recreation holds quite a few FREE activities each year, that you should check out! My family has done a firefly night event and the Halloween themed one.

 

Fontenelle Forest

The entrance to Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Woodland Refuge in Bellevue, Neb.

Where: Bellevue, Neb. (about a 10-mile drive from Omaha)

Why: Fontenelle Forest has 26 miles of trails, including the area’s best accessible boardwalk that makes it easy for wheelchairs and strollers to go deep into the woods. They also have Acorn Acres, a great children’s outdoor playscape, and the new Raptor Woodland Refuge space that my kids insist we see each time we’re there.

Tip: While these trails have more signs posted than others, grab a map before heading out on your hike.

 

Hitchcock Nature Center

An easy trail at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa.

Where: Honey Creek, Iowa (about a 20-mile drive from Omaha)

Why: This park tucked in the Loess Hills is beautiful in any season. You’ll find 10 miles of trails with a good mix of easy ridge lines and difficult, rugged trails, plus an accessible boardwalk. The visitor center is top-notch, and there’s a lookout tower that kids enjoy. Time a visit well and participate in the Hawk Watch. Read more about fall at Hitchcock here.

Trail map

Tip: Check out a backpack at the visitor center. They’re free to borrow, and include kid-friendly items to enhance your hike.

 

Arbor Day Farms Tree Adventure

One of the bridges found along the trail at the Tree Adventure.

Where: Nebraska City, Neb. (about a 50-mile drive from Omaha)

Why: The South Table Creek Trail at the Tree Adventure is a favorite of my family. It has a couple bridges, some fun kids structures, and a bird sculpture-spotting game. In addition to the trail, we love the outdoor education center and tree house there. Read more about the Tree Adventure here. There is a paved trail and a dirt trail here.

Tip: There are frequent special events held at the Tree Adventure, so check the calendar to time a fun visit. We visited one time when there was a gnome scavenger hunt!

 

Platte River State Park

This waterfall at Platte River State Park is my favorite destination of any Omaha metro trail.

Where: Louisville, Neb. (about 30-mile drive from Omaha)

Why: This is one of my family’s favorite Nebraska State Park, with a good variety of easy to difficult trails. A favorite is the very short, flat trail to a waterfall. It’s a tough call which park, Platte River or Hitchcock, have the best terrain for hikes out of this list. Read more about Platte River State Park here.

Interactive trail map for NE state parks

Tip: Bring a map with you when exploring these trails. There aren’t a whole lot of signs out there, and you can end up taking a much longer hike than anticipated.

 

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Exploring the easy-to-hike trails near the lookout tower. If you time it right, you can catch a nice view of passing trains.

Where: Ashland, Neb. (about 30-mile drive from Omaha)

Why: This state park is full of things to do. It’s not a particular great place for hiking, but there are some trails and they are pretty easy. There’s a paved path around the park, too, though it’s not very shade. One highlight for kids is the trail near the lookout tower, which leads you to an overlook where you might catch a train passing by.

Interactive trail map for NE state parks

Tip: Bring a swimsuit and cool off at the park’s amazing aquatic center after your hike. Or, keep the trail theme going and go on a horseback ride at Mahoney.

 

Want MORE ideas for hikes? Read 3 Places To Hike In The Loess Hills!

 

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July 3, 2017

Urban Walking Labyrinth In Omaha

My family stumbled upon a map for the Urban Walking Labyrinth at Urban Abbey.

Curious thing to find, right? Sounded like an adventure.

My son was the map keeper and read the quotes at each stop of the Urban Walking Labyrinth.

On a whim, we decided to try it out.

Was it a walk full of adventure? Not so much.

Did we see things in our own city that we hadn’t noticed before? Definitely.

Side note: If you haven’t been to Urban Abbey, go check them out! It’s a bookstore/cafe/gathering place in the Old Market, and I love it.

About the Urban Walking Labyrinth

My kids using two maps to complete this walking tour through the Old Market.

The map for the labyrinth in Omaha guides you on a simple walk around the Old Market. There’s no actual labyrinth hidden in Omaha. At each stop, the map has a quote for you to read and ponder. Like a labyrinth, though, you don’t walk a direct route from start to finish.

“Walk slowly. Don’t rush. Each step brings you to the best moment of your life, the present moment.’

-a quote by thich nhat nanh to be read at the J’s on Jackson stop of the walk

The quotes you read along the route were about love, peace and kindness, with a nondenominational religious slant. Our kids are a bit young to get all philosophical with us, so we didn’t dwell much at each stop.

If you haven’t been to the Old Market in a while, this is a good way to discover or rediscover some places. We found a wall of records that my kids had never noticed, and I’ve honestly, just overlooked all these years.

Have these bent records been on this wall this whole time? I’ve lived and worked near the Old Market for more than a decade and I do not recall. Find them on the southeast corner of 12th and Jackson streets.

This is a walk best done on your own, if you ask me, or at least, with other contemplative adults. Maybe your kids like maps, maybe they’re little philosophers… go ahead and bring them! This walk is more of an excuse just to explore the city in a different way.

Want another downtown walk idea? Check out my post on the Omaha Art Walk!

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June 23, 2017

40+ Things To Do With Kids In Omaha This July

July might be my favorite month – and not just because it’s my birthday month. Check out all the fun things to do with kids in Omaha this month, including fireworks shows, FREE library parties and activities, and the annual favorite, Railroad Days.

 

 

Summer Splash

When: July 1, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue, Neb.

Cost: $5 for ages 2 and older; ½ price discount for military, fire & rescue, and health professionals

 

Shakespeare on the Green “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

When: July 1-2, 7 and 9, 8 p.m. (preshow activities)

Where: Young Park, 411-1/2 N. Elmwood Road just south of UNO’s campus

Cost: FREE

 

College Home Run Derby & Fireworks Show

When: July 1, 8 to 10 p.m.

Where: TD Ameritrade Park, 1200 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $8, kids (3-12); $12, adults; $36, four-pack

 

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series: “The Wizard of Oz”

When: July 1-2, 4, 6, 8-9 and 13

Where: Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $9 general; $7 for seniors, students, teachers, military and those traveling to the theater by bicycle; $4.50 for Film Streams members; $2.50 for children ages 12 and under

 

Red, White & Blue Days

When: July 1-3; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for kids and adults, $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2 and member families

 

 

Red, White & Zoo!

When: July 1-4, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

Cost: Included with zoo admission

 

Fireworks Fun

When: July 1, 7 to 10 p.m.

Where: River’s Edge Tom Hanafan Park, 1 North River Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

 

Lake Manawa Fireworks

When: July 1, 10 p.m.

Where: Lake Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE (park admission may be applicable)

 

Leashes at Lauritzen

When: July 3, 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.

Cost: $10 per person and $5 per dog; FREE for garden members

 

Omaha Storm Chasers Independence Fireworks

When: July 2 and 3, 7:05 p.m. (game time; fireworks follow)

Where: Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, Neb.

Cost: Tickets start at $13

 

Star Spangled Swim

When: July 4, open to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Pools

Cost: $1

 

2017 Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip

When: July 5, 3 to 5 p.m.

Where: The Bookworm, 2501 S. 90th St.

Cost: FREE

 

 

Shakespeare on the Green “King Lear”

When: July 5, 6, and 8, 8 p.m. (preshow activities)

Where: Young Park, 411-1/2 N. Elmwood Road just south of UNO’s campus

Cost: FREE

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Charles Drew Health Center

When: Wednesdays, July 5 through Aug. 30, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Where: Charles Drew Health Center, 30th and Grant streets

Cost: FREE

 

Kids Fun Fare

When: July 6 (Omaha Children’s Museum Mad Scientist Show), July 13 (Lemon Days – Meet Peppa Pig), July 20 (Jeff Quinn, magician), and July 27 (Omaha Street Percussion); 10 to 11 a.m.

Where: Regency Court, 120 Regency Parkway

Cost: FREE

 

Jazz on the Green

When: July 6, 13, 20, 27, and Aug. 3 and 10, 7:30 p.m. (pre-show at 6:30)

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing

Cost: FREE

 

O Comic Con

When: July 7-9; Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: $20-$25 for day passes ($5 more if purchased at door); FREE for children under 12; 3-day pass is $40 in advance

 

Nebraska Hispanic Festival

When: July 7-9; Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m.

Where: Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St., Ralston, Neb.

Cost: $17 all-day passes, FREE for children 5 and younger

 

Fire Station #60 Visit

When: July 7, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Millard branch, 13214 Westwood Lane

Cost: FREE

 

Bomb Pop With A Cop

When: July 7, 6 p.m.

Where: Deerfield Place, south of 136th and Q streets

Cost: FREE

 

“A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum”

When: July 7-22; Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, 2 p.m.

Where: 8969 Park Drive, Ralston, Neb.

Cost: $18, students and seniors; $20, adults

 

Get Smart: Space Engineer

When: July 8, 10 to 11 a.m.

Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.

Cost: Included with museum admission

 

Family Fit Series

When: July 8-22, 10 a.m.; July 8 (zumba), 15 (pilates), 22 (yoga)

Where: Elmwood Park, 802 S. 60th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Do Space Summer Youth Tours

When: July 10, 17, 24 and 31 (activity choice of Coding Robots or Electric Origami)

Where: Do Space, 7205 Dodge St.

Cost: FREE (for ages 6-12 and their chaperones)

 

Princess Party

When: July 10, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Lisa Laird Ventriloquist Show

When: July 11, 2 to 2:45 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Willa Cather branch, 1905 S. 44th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Fun in the Park

When: July 13, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Miller Park, 6201 N. 30th St.

Cost: FREE (grades K-6)

 

Playing With Fire

When: July 14 and 15; Friday performances start at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday performances start at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing

Cost: FREE (free-will donation accepted)

 

Railroad Days 2017

When: July 15 and 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Lauritzen Gardens and The Durham Museum in Omaha, and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the RailsWest Railroad Museum and the Historic General Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: $15, family pass (two adults and all dependent children); a $5 pass is available for one additional adult with the purchase of a family pass.

 

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series: “The Land Before Time”

When: July 15-16, 20, 22, 23 and 27

Where: Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $9 general; $7 for seniors, students, teachers, military and those traveling to the theater by bicycle; $4.50 for Film Streams members; $2.50 for children ages 12 and under

 

Safe, Fit & Fun Party!

When: July 15, 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Florence branch, 2920 Bondesson St.

Cost: FREE

 

Story Walk

When: July 15, 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: Bayliss Park, 599 First Ave., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

 

Super Mom Swim

When: July 16

Where: Omaha Public Pools

Cost: Moms admitted FREE with paid child admission

 

Hawaiian Luau 

When: July 17, 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Katelman Pool, 1230 16th Ave., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: $2

 

Jeff Quinn Magic Show

When: July 18, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Bess Johnson Elkhorn branch, 2100 Reading Plaza, Elkhorn, Neb.

Cost: FREE

 

Annual Puppet Show

When: July 20, 2 to 2:45 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Riverfest

When: July 21 and 22; Friday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. (fireworks Saturday at 10 p.m.)

Where: Haworth Park, 2502 Payne Drive, Bellevue, Neb.

Cost: $1

 

Tinkerfest

When: July 22, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mario The Maker Magician performs at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for kids and adults, $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2 and member families

 

Open House/Open Studios

When: July 22, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Hummel Family Camping Adventure

When: July 22-23, 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Where: Hummel Park Nature Center, 3033 Hummel Road

Cost: $7 per person; $30 per family (RSVP by July 17)

 

A Royal Party

When: July 24, 10:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Omaha Public Library Millar branch, 13214 Westwood Lane

Cost: FREE

 

Community Heroes Presentation & Obstacle Course

When: July 24, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where South Omaha Public Library, 2808 Q St.

Cost: FREE

 

Zoo Member Appreciation Days

When: July 26 (last names A-L) and Aug. 2 (last names M-Z), 1:30 to 7 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

Cost: FREE for members

 

Westfair

When: July 26-31

Where: Westfair Fairgrounds, 2 miles east of I-80 on Highway 6 (exit 8), Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE front gate admission; arena costs $10 for adults, $5 children (ages 6-12), and FREE for children 5 and younger

 

Gretna Days

When: July 27-30 (fireworks on July 28 at 9:45 p.m.)

Where: Various locations, Gretna, Neb.

Cost: FREE

 

Farmer Appreciation Day

When: July 29, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Village Pointe Farmers Market, 168th and Dodge streets

Cost: FREE

 

International Dance Day

When: July 29, noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

Cost: FREE

 

Fairytale Ball

When: July 29 and Aug. 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: $20 per person for members and $35 per person for non-members

 

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series: “ “20 Years of Harry Potter”

When: “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone,” July 29 and 30; “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets,” Aug. 3 and 5; “Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Aug. 6 and 10; “Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix,” Aug. 17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince,” Aug.  17 and 19; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” Aug. 26 and 27; “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” Aug. 27;

Where: Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Cost: $9 general; $7 for seniors, students, teachers, military and those traveling to the theater by bicycle; $4.50 for Film Streams members; $2.50 for children ages 12 and under (July 29 screening is FREE)

 

More Fun Events In July

The following events are on-going, or had started in a previous month:

Movies in the Park

When: Through Aug. 4, dusk; July 7 (“Sing”); July 14 (“Finding Dory”); July 21 (“Doctor Strange”), July 28 (“Jungle Book”), Aug. 4 (“The Great Gilly Hopkins”)

Where: Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs

Cost: FREE

 

“Fairytale Land”

When: Through Aug. 6

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for ages 2+; $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2

 

Kids Dream Summer Film Series

When: Through Aug. 16 at 10 a.m.; July 2-3, 5 (“A Dog’s Purpose”); July 9-10, 12 (“The Lego Batman Movie”); July 16-17, 19 (“Trolls”); July 23-24, 26 (“Monster Trucks”); July 30-31, Aug 2 (TBD); Aug. 6-7, 9 (“Storks”); and Aug. 13-14, 16 (TBD)

Where: Majestic Cinema of Omaha, 14304 West Maple Road; Village Pointe Cinema,  304 N. 174th St.; and Twin Creek Cinema, 3909 Raynor Parkway,  Bellevue, Neb.

Cost: $3

 

“Dinosaur Safari”

When: Through Sept. 3

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $12 for ages 2+; $11 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 2

 

“Glorious Flights: Illustration Art of Alice and Martin Provensen”

When: Through Sept. 3

Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge. St.

Cost: FREE

 

“Top Secret: License To Spy”

When: Through Sept. 17

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $11 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children (ages 3-12), and FREE for children younger than 2

 

“KINETIC”

When: Through Oct. 14; Tuesday – Friday, noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.

Cost: FREE

 

Toddler Tuesdays

When: Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St. (gym or at the pool starting at 10:30)

Cost: FREE for members; non-members participate by paying a $4 activity fee for your toddler (age 9 months to 4 years) and the attending parent is FREE.

 

Inflatable Fridays

When: Fridays, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Old Market

When: Saturdays, Oct. 14, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: 11th and Jackson streets

Cost: FREE

 

Kidz Kayak Racing

When: Saturdays, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

 

Arts for All

When: Saturdays, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha South Public Library, 2808 Q St.

Cost: FREE (ages 8-12, registration required)

 

Omaha Farmers Market – Aksarben Village

When: Sundays, through Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Aksarben Village, 67th and Center streets

Cost: FREE

 

 

Sunday Funday

When: Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St.

Cost: FREE to members; non-members pay daily entry fee of $5 per youth, $7 per adults (for ages 8-12)

 

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June 19, 2017

Hotel RL – A Fun Place To Stay In Omaha

Love a good makeover story? The new Hotel RL Omaha is in the process of remodeling the Midtown Omaha hotel connected to CoCo Key Water Resort, and the result (so far) is beautiful.

I was invited to enjoy a stay there with my family to get a feel for the new place and share it with you. Hotel RL is part of the Red Lion brand.

Hotel RL Lobby & Living Space

Hotel RL Omaha lobby

Hotel RL Omaha has a lobby straight out of a design magazine.

The lobby and vast open space in the hotel is where you’ll see the most impressive updates. The lobby is a study in Instagrammable space. It’s so stylish.

Move on and you’ll find a coffee shop, bar, and The Living Stage. The Living Stage is a performance space for variety of styles. The night we were there, a band performed. See a calendar of upcoming performances here.

Kids and adults love to play the huge chess game in Hotel RL’s Living Stage area.

The thing families will want to note is that The Living Stage is a strictly-enforced 18 and older space in the evening. Look for posted signs to see when that curfew is the night you’re there.

But the rest of the day, the kids will enjoy the over-sized chess board and climbing the pyramid-like stairs.

Once you venture toward the conference room area (especially, when you’re making your way to CoCo Key), you’ll see some areas that haven’t been remodeled yet.

The Rooms at Hotel RL

When renovations are complete at Hotel RL Omaha, rooms will look like this stylish model room I visited during our stay.

The remodel process isn’t complete, and so, you’re not going to see much change to the rooms, yet. But check out what’s to come.

The sliding door to the bathroom is pretty cool, but I also want to point out that the rooms will be decorated with Nebraska-inspired artwork. Nice touch.

The room we stayed in was a suite, providing a lot of space for my hotel-crazed kids. We had two queen-sized beds, plus a sofa bed. The tub is large.

We had a room facing the large open space, so we didn’t have the benefit of outside light brightening up the room.

The kids had to test out the beds immediately upon entering our hotel room.

Our room also had a mini fridge and microwave, which is handy if you’re staying for a few days.

Dining at Hotel RL

The Castaways dining room at Hotel RL Omaha.

There’s one restaurants in the huge Hotel RL called Castaways. The name and comical sign doesn’t do the restaurant any service. It was a surprisingly good hotel restaurant, with reasonably priced dinners (especially the kids meals). I tried fish and chips, and sampled a bit of Mr. Wonderful’s pulled pork sandwich. Everything was seasoned well, and the fries were spot on.

Breakfast buffet fresh picks. Kids under 5 eat free for the breakfast buffet.

Breakfast was buffet-only, but here’s a good deal: Kids under 5 eat free. Adults are $12. There weren’t any surprises there, your usual spread of hot food likes eggs and bacon. However, I loved the abundant fresh fruit. The kids, naturally, loved the variety of donuts. The coffee was disappointing.

About CoCo Key Water Resort

CoCo Key Water Resort is the best indoor water park in Omaha, in my opinion.

If you’re staying at the hotel and you have kids with you, you can’t skip the indoor water park, CoCo Key. It’s pretty fantastic. You get a pretty good deal if you get a room and add tickets to it.

We were staying only one night, but fit in two trips to the water park. 

We spent most of our time in the lazy river, and trying out the single and double-tube water slides. The huge play area with the giant bucket of water dumping out occasionally overwhelmed the kids at first, but they eventually found a way to avoid the bucket and enjoy all the water slides in that area.

Relaxing on a lazy river at CoCo Key in Omaha.

 

Tip: It’s a bit of a walk bit from the hotel rooms to the water park, but definitely manageable. You can also drive over to the entrance. No need to bring towels from your room.

You don’t have to be a hotel guest to go to CoCo Key, and in fact, I bet a lot of people there were day visitors. If you’re a day visitor, bring a towel.

There is a restaurant and bar at CoCo Key, but the service was so slow to get food, I didn’t last long waiting before we left to eat elsewhere. 

There’s an arcade between the water park and the hotel. Good luck walking through there without stopping.

If you walk from your hotel room to CoCo Key, you’ll have to pass through the danger zone: An arcade.

What’s Near Hotel RL Omaha

Aksarben Village is pretty near Hotel RL Omaha. This park at Aksarben Village (called Stinson Park) has a sandless playground, a small sprayground and amphitheater, plus it’s near several stores and restaurants.

Hotel RL is just off Interstate 80, making it ideal for family vacationers who want to get places like Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens, and further afield to the Old Market. It’s also makes a trip out west to Strategic Air & Space Museum a little more manageable. 

Close to the hotel, families have a few options for fun. It’s not far from Aksarben Village with its shops, playground, movie theater, and frequent fun events on the weekends. Cupcake fans will like that Jones Bros. Cupcakes is in that area. It’s also close to Baxter Arena, where if you time a visit well, you can catch a hockey game or sweet concert.

If you go

Hotel RL Omaha

Where: 3321 S. 72nd St.

Cost: You can book room-only, or look into family-friendly packages that include water park passes for four (starting at $189/night) or a zoo package. Definitely look around the packages offered because there are some incredibly low rates to introduce you to the hotel, well below $100! Add 4 CoCo Key passes to your hotel stay for $60 if you don’t have a water park package (this $60 bundle is only good for one day of admission).

Book a room

 

Disclosure: My stay at Hotel RL Omaha was hosted by the hotel. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.