Omaha: One Last Road Trip This Summer

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Looking for a road trip destination? Check out Omaha!

 

 

A scenic valley overlook not far off I-29 in southern Iowa made for a good family picture opp.
A scenic valley overlook not far off I-29 in southern Iowa made for a good family picture opp.

 

Another month, another conference for my husband, Andy. This time we found ourselves in Omaha, Nebraska. We hope you find our list of activities helpful if you head to the land of Cornhuskers.

 

Food Detours

 

When headed on a road trip, we plan our departure time based on arriving at our lunch destination in Josh’s ideal lunch window. For this trip, we landed on these two great food destinations:

 

Shakespeare's Pizza always hits the spot.
Shakespeare’s Pizza always hits the spot.

 

Shakespeare’s Pizza, Columbia, Missouri – It was the perfect time to introduce Josh to my old stomping grounds at Mizzou. While Shakespeare’s might not look the same, the pizza is still delicious. You can get it by the slice, and no need to bus your table! Kiddos can watch the pizza makers in action, and they might even get some dough thrown their way to take back to the table.

 

Jack Stack Barbecue, Kansas City, Missouri – If you are driving through Kansas City, barbecue is a must. They have an extensive food menu, especially for kids. The selling point for us was no standing in line with a hangry 6-year-old. The pulled pork mac and cheese, jalapeno cornbread, and baked beans were crowd pleasers. Also, get the lemonade, fresh-squeezed and available with flavor varieties.

 

Nature Detours

 

To survive this 6-1/2 hour drive each way, we needed places to get out, stretch our legs, and adventure. 

 

 

Vultures looking for their next meal along a bridge in the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge.
It wasn’t peak bird viewing season, but we did see these vultures looking for their next meal along a bridge in Vultures looking for their next meal along a bridge in the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Forest City, Missouri– My husband hunts near this area, and he wanted to take Josh to see the grounds. There were places to stop and look through viewing scopes to check out the massive acreage. At both entrances, you will find brochures that explain what to look for based on the time of year.

 

 

Waubonsie State Park, Hamburg, Iowa – There is not much to do along I-29 in southern Iowa except watch the cornfields and bluffs roll by. This state park is about 10 minutes off the highway. There are trails to hike (the shortest is 0.1 miles) and an impressive view of the valley below. Camping grounds are also available.

 

 

Omaha Eats

 

 

Lula B’s Breakfast, Brunch & Bar – Andy had to be at his conference way before any of the sites opened each morning, so we scouted breakfast options. Lula B’s offered the perfect place. We both opted for French toast, one with strawberries and one without. Josh said the sausage was the best.

 

 

Pettit’s Pastry – For breakfast on day two, we wanted to check out Pettit’s Pastry, a local donut shop. The cinnamon roll was a big hit. There wasn’t a place to sit and eat, so we went to Pioneer Courage Park. After eating, we walked around the park and took in the sculptures of four pioneer families headed west.

 

 

Upstream Brewery – Andy and I went there on our very first visit to Omaha in 2009. The beers are still delicious, the staff was tremendous, and Josh ate his entire meal (mac and cheese and fries). They even surprised him with ice cream! And it may sound crazy, but try one of their beer floats. The Afterglow White Stout with ice cream was quite tasty.

 

 

Omaha Adventures

 

 

Me and Omar the troll under the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge has a troll, and his name is Omar. He has stops along the journey where you scan a QR code to learn more about the bridge — like why it is swaying — which it was.

 

 

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – There is no better way to get out some early energy than walking to another state! We took the 3,000-foot walkway from Nebraska to Iowa, stopping to stand in both states. On the Nebraska side of the bridge, check out the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center. The Center opens at 8 a.m. 

 

 

The Durham Museum – Omaha’s Union Station, built in 1931, has been transformed, giving you a great look at the history of Nebraska. The real highlight for Josh was Fossil Friday, a special event with their Dinosaur Revolution exhibit. Check out the “Long Train” if you make the visit!

 

 

Josh posed with a bison in the permanent exhibit at The Durham Museum.
We participated in a scavenger hunt through The Durham’s permanent exhibits. Once we solved the code, we received $1 off ice cream at the Soda Fountain.

 

 

The Grove Park Splash Pad – We had time to kill one afternoon, and a splash pad seemed like a great option. This one did not disappoint. Josh spent an hour running around the pad and then another hour on the playground. The only drawback was changing Josh into swim gear in an outhouse.

 

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – The highlight for us was the shark tunnel in their aquarium. We also enjoyed watching the elephant herd play and wandering through the Desert Dome. Another cool feature is a tram that offers a bird’s eye view of the zoo. Bring your walking shoes, we logged almost four miles in three hours!

 

 

Josh in the shark tunnel at the Omaha Zoo.
Insider tip: St. Louis Zoo members receive a discount on entrance fees to the Omaha Zoo, if you show your membership card.

 

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum – I love airplanes. Josh loves space things. The SAC Museum offered a good mix of both. There were planes there we would never have been able to see up close. You can also look behind the scenes to see what aircraft they are working to restore. And there is a kids’ area and a huge Battleship game to play.

 

 

Next Time

 

We didn’t make it to these places this time, but they are on a future list:

 

Lauritzen Gardens – You could get free admission if you show your Missouri Botanical Gardens Card.

 

Omaha Children’s Museum

 

As you head west, don’t forget to count the number of times you cross the Missouri River!

 

 

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