Omaha is truly a gem of the Midwest, often underestimated by the rest of the country. Outsiders see it as traditional, rural town with nothing much to offer. What they don't see is the wealth of opportunities to learn about culture, history and art along with the farming that we're known for.
Here is my list of 50 things to do with kids around Omaha.
1. Visit Durham Museum. You'll love the design of the renovated train station and your kids will love the old-fashioned soda fountain within this history museum.
2. Honor the past at Freedom Park's naval museum and watch the little ones ooh and aah at the immensity of the military vehicles. Admission is free.
3. Spend the afternoon swimming at any one of a dozen pools in the Omaha area or sign your littles up for lessons.
4. Play tennis at one of the indoor or outdoor tennis courts around town and expel some of that excess energy.
5. Catch the Storm Catchers play at Werner Park. There is a fun zone and a basketball court as well as special events for families.
6. Rainy afternoon? Visit Oak View Mall. They've got plenty of stores for kids of all ages and an indoor play area.
7. Take them rock climbing at an indoor climbing gym and work on their problem solving and leadership skills.
8. If you don't mind a bit of a drive, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park has an eclectic variety of activities, from camping and fishing to mini golf, swimming, and craft workshops.
9. Get your reading on at a local library. Most public libraries have free events and programs for kids offered on a regular basis.
10. Visit the Fontenelle Forest and give your kids hands-on learning opportunities in biology and ecology. The nature center also has an indoor play center where kids can dress up as their favorite animal.
11. Reserve a community garden and show the kids how to grow their own produce. City Sprouts is one program that teaches kids how to care for a garden.
12. Explore the beauty in an artist's mind at Joslyn Art Museum and let the kids take part in hands-on learning classes.
13. Have a picnic in style at Josyln Castle and enjoy learning about local history at the same time.
14. Take the kids bicycling on a family-friendly trail. West Papio Trail is a 16 mile path that offers a cold-custard pit stop midway.
15. Visit your local Home Depot on the first Saturday morning of each month for workshops that teach your kids DIY skills and tool safety.
16. Spend a night under the stars. Stargazing gives your kids a chance to see the immensity of the universe in a casual and subtle way. If the weather is too cold, visit the local planetarium.
17. Take advantage of Kids-eat-free days at a local restaurant. Not only does it make for a nice meal out, it gives you the chance to check their behavior in public.
18. Explore your kids' talent for drama at The Rose, or go attend the latest performance and watch your kids get lost in their imagination.
19. Take advantage of all that the Y has to offer, including recreational programs, fitness and health programs.
20. Visit the Omaha Children's Museum and explore your kids' eclectic interests in spaces for science/technology, arts, and temporary exhibits.
21. Go crazy at the Family Aquatic Center at the Omaha Kroc Center. They've got a 3-story water slide and a lazy river.
22. Test your kid's resourcefulness and problem-solving skills with a visit to House of Conundrum, one of the many escape rooms located in Omaha.
23. Bring a little "air" to your day with a visit to Urban Air, and let your kids jump their worries away. It also has a ropes course, climbing walls and obstacle courses.
24. Catch a movie at one of the theaters around Omaha, or visit the IMAX screen at the Omaha Zoo for an awesome big-screen adventure.
25. Take your engineering geniuses to the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum for an afternoon of mind-bending fun at the Children's Learning Center.
26. Take a walk around your own neighborhood. Omaha has a wonderfully diverse variety of flora and fauna.
27. Put your kids in a U-Pick garden and let them pick their own berries. Better yet, start a small backyard garden of your own and let them tend it.
29. Pull the skates out of the closet and head to the rink for year-round ice-skating fun at Motto McLean Ice Arena.
30. Let your kids visit the historic Lewis & Clark Landing and enjoy the Missouri River. The site also occasionally has outdoor concerts and festivals.
31. Take your kids across the state line--and back again--with a walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
32. See the beauty of the world's greenery at Lauritzen Gardens. They have classes for kids and immersive exhibits. If you visit during the summer you might also catch of of their outdoor concert series.
33. Sing Karaoke with the kids at a local Karaoke bar. There are a number of kid-friendly restaurants that will encourage your youngsters to show off their musical prowess.
34. Let your kids try their hands at fishing at any of a number of local lakes/parks, and enjoy their sense of wonder and accomplishment when they make their first catch.
35. Visit The Old Market and let the kids skip along the cobblestone streets. There are plenty of things to do here. Visit an art gallery, eat at an eclectic diner or explore local shops.
36. Sign your kids up for art classes through Heart & Soul Art Studio and let their creativity swell. Beginning to advanced classes are offered.
37. Challenge your kids in the kitchen with cooking courses at Kidz Cook and let them see how fun and imaginative creating that dish can be.
38. Sign your kids up for Kids Bowl free and let your little ones work on their bowling technique all summer. Choose the alley you want to participate at.
39. Register for music classes and let your kids learn how to play their favorite instrument. If you've got a large family you could even start a band!
40. Let your kids volunteer for the Nebraska Humane Society or simply spend the afternoon wandering the shelter. Summer classes and camps are also available.
41. Visit your local homeless shelter or food pantry and volunteer to help out. Your kids will benefit from the experience and you'll be helping people who really need it.
42. Run with your kids or train to join a formal racing event. Perfect for the family that relishes competition.
43. Go geocaching with your kids. The sport of finding geocaches has caught on all over the country.
44. Watch a glass-blowing demonstration or traipse through the gallery of artwork from local artists at Hot Shops Art Center.
45. Keep your eyes peeled for 2018 festivals in the region. There are many things to do and explore in the region during these weekend or week-long celebrations.
46. Take the kids to the Douglas County Fair in July and experience the rides, exhibits and rodeo.
47. Spend the day riding go-karts, eating pizza, playing laser tag and trying your hand at the arcade games. Oh, and let the kids play some too at Amazing Pizza Machine.
48. Visit a local thrift shop or go yard-saling. There's nothing quite as exciting as getting a good deal on stuff you don't need!
49. Stay home and have a family game night. Sometimes a night in can lead to great memories.
50. If you don't mind the drive, visit Arbor Day Farm and spend the day learning about the history of Arbor Day at the Historical Park. While you're there, don't forget to climb the 50-ft tree house.
And there you have it—a list of things to do in Omaha with your children. We hope you and your family enjoy experiencing all the hidden gems that Omaha has to offer.