Destination: Omaha

Each summer, we try to take at least one road trip to explore life outside of the metro area – preferably far enough away to require a hotel stay because in hotels, people clean for you! This year we loaded up the car, including a screaming six-week-old and traveled three hours north to Omaha, Nebraska. In the four years we’ve lived in Kansas City, the Omaha road trip is the one we hear the most about.

Our must-see sights included:

Henry Doorly ZooOmaha Zoo
Although we love the Kansas City Zoo, this is THE zoo everyone seems to talk about. From the rave reviews we’ve heard, I expected someone to actually take my children to see the animals while I sipped iced coffee in a cafe. Although this didn’t happen, the zoo’s indoor buildings were pretty impressive. From the indoor desert dome to the impressive primate building, I could have stayed much longer than the four hours my toddler allowed. Not to be missed are the butterfly house, aquarium (included in zoo admission), the petting zoo and the monkey island bridge.

The food is pricey, so bring in your own food and drink for a picnic near the playgrounds. Strollers and wagons are available for rent but again, it makes for a much cheaper day if you bring your own.

The best part? Kansas Citians with a Friends of the Zoo membership receive half off admission to the Henry Doorly Zoo!

dinosOmaha Children’s Museum
We came for the zoo, but ended up loving this musuem even more. We dressed up like doctors, harvested corn, shopped in a grocery store, played house, and changed some oil and a few tires. The science and technology center had an impressive ball machine showing off the science of mechanics and hydraulics.

Also, chaos.

The art center had an impressive offering of projects (included in the price of admission) such as building with clay, wooden birdhouse painting, glitter and finger painting. The second floor includes visiting exhibits; lucky for us, this season’s exhibit features life-like dinosaurs, fossil digging and a dino train. We ended our afternoon with Princess Poppy leading songs in Fairytale Land. As a boy mom, I hadn’t (yet) been privileged to hear 50 kids belt out “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs; sadly, that streak has now ended.

Old Market
We spent our evenings in this shopping and entertainment district. The highlight was definitely Ted and Wally’s which has homemade ice cream. Like, in big barrels. The peanut butter sundae was to die for! There were many restaurants to choose from, though we were thankful for our reservations as the lines did get long. Local shops include a fantastic boutique toy store – LeWonderment – and an old-fashioned candy store.

We missed the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge because road trips with infants don’t always go as planned, but it looked like a beautiful walk on your way back to KC.

Omaha was just the right amount of getaway for us – a tolerable driving distance, enough to do to fill a weekend but not too much that we were stressed trying to see it all and totally kid-friendly. If you’re looking for an affordable, easy weekend road trip this summer, then the “Gateway to the West” is for you.

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