Often, Omaha, Nebraska, is overlooked by many tourists as a quick stop off point as they head to their destination. However, these opinions change once they step foot in the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium or the beautiful and romantic Lauritzen Gardens. Whether you are looking for fun things to do with your kids or a simple night out in the town, this delightful city has it all. To help you narrow it down, here is a list of fun and interesting things to do in Omaha, Nebraska.
The beautiful city of Omaha is home to several distinct tourist attractions. Sail down the river in a riverboat, explore the Joslyn Art Museum, stroll through the Old Market area, visit the zoo and aquarium, view the exhibits at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and learn about city’s history at the Durham Museum. Whether you are in the city with your whole family or simply with your friends, you will definitely find something to do. Here are the top tourist attractions in Omaha.
- Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
- The Old Market District
- Omaha's Children's Museum
- The Durham Museum
- Lauritzen Gardens
- Omaha Culinary Tours
- Omaha Craft Brewery Tour
- The Historic Dundee Neighborhood
- The Wildlife Safari Park
- The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
- The Joslyn Castle
- The Freedom Park Navy Museum
- Explore Boys Town
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a large facility in Omaha full of diverse exotic animals from all over the world. The amazing establishment is home to all kinds of unique exhibits and is one of the state’s most popular attractions. It houses the Dome Desert, the largest indoor desert in the world, the Lied Jungle, North America’s largest indoor rainforest and the Kingdoms of the Night exhibit, which is the largest nocturnal exhibit in the world allowing visitors to educate themselves on creatures of the dark.Visit the Hubbard Orangutan Forest and see live orangutans hang and swing from the banyan trees.The zoo is also home to the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium where you see remarkable marine life as you walk down a long shark tunnel.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is south of downtown, near the Nebraska-Iowa border. It is open daily with shortened hours during the winter. Admission prices range from $10 to $20, depending on age and season. For those going to the Theater, the Reciprocal Zoos,Skyfari, railroad, and carousel, you are required to pay additional fees, apart from the admission charges.
The Old Market District
In the heart of downtown Omaha is one of the city’s jewels, the Old Market District. It is a wonderful place to wander around, and some of Omaha’s best and most interesting cafés and restaurants are in this area. Similarly, the historic and rejuvenated district features rugged brick streets, plenty of coffeehouses and restaurants, amazing condos, exceptional galleries, outstanding live theater, diverse boutiques, talented street musicians, and romantic horse-drawn carriages. The Old Market is a favorite with locals and tourists all year round.
When in Omaha, you cannot go without a visit to the Old Market. However, we recommend parking your car near the Durham Museum and walking through the area as parking can be hard to come by. For more information on the Old Market District, visit theirofficial website.
Omaha’s Children’s Museum
The Omaha Children’s Museum is a favorite among both locals and visitors. The museum, which was founded in 1976, has a total of nine indoor and outdoor exhibits that focus on themes such as science and technology, arts and creativity, zoology and among others. During the months of summer, Sandy’s Splish Splash Garden, which is outside and typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, offers a refreshing escape from the summer heat.
The museum allows children to explore and participate in plenty of activities. Special exhibits such as Maker Space are held on a regular basis just to keep the kids entertained. Future auto mechanics will find themselves in heaven at the Walker Tire and Auto Service Center, where kids learn about and work on cars. Artsy minded children will love the Creative Arts Center, where they can make an array of handcrafted art. The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday.
The Durham Museum
In a spectacular Art Deco building, the Durham Museum is an urban renewal project with tremendous results. The museum showcases the history of the city of Omaha.
One of the high points of the museum is the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall.Exhibits from all over the world are brought and displayed in the fully restored main hall,which features a majestic Art Deco architecture. Another special highlight of the Durham Museumis the Steam Locomotive Stations where visitors get to see hands-on displays of the inner workings of this world-changing technology. The Durham Museum is a quick stroll southwest from the Old Market area.It is open from Tuesday – Sunday and admission costs range from $7-$11, depending on age.
In the riverfront hills area of the city, there features a 100-acre garden where visitors observe the beauty of nature in its finest form. The Lauritzen Gardens were founded in 1995 and have grown and expanded their displays from the initial roses and herbs, among many others. Now, visitors will find gardens focusing on many other themes, such as English and Victorian and Nebraskan prairies, called Song of the Lark Meadow. The gardens also have a model railroad, education center, and a bird sanctuary.
The botanical gardens have a wide variety of blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs and splendid creatures of the wild such as elephants, rabbits, deer, and bears.
For dog owners, you can bring your dog along and give them a nice workout at the Leashes at Lauritzen area. Likewise, there are numerous events and performances held at the gardens which engage your mind and curiosity by offering educational programs for adults and children, and summer camps as well.
Omaha Culinary Tours
Omaha Culinary Tours are the best way to learn about the Omaha food scene. These tours were invented by Omaha natives to introduce visitors to the best culinary delights in the area and show off the city’s unique culinary style. With over 50 businesses partners,the Omaha Culinary Tours ensures you really treat your palate to a taste of fantastic food.
The dishes do not disappoint as they have all been created with their own level of finesse, guaranteed to ensure you enjoy everything your tongue tastes. Each culinary tour pinpoints interesting historical points in Omaha as you walk or take the bus to the next stop on your 5-7 spot sample culinary tour. At your own discretion, there are classes available for those who would like to learn how to prepare a few culinary sensations at the comfort of their own kitchen.
Omaha Craft Brewery Tour
The Omaha craft brewery tour is the perfect opportunity to sample the tastiest beer you are likely to ever find. Get a taste of what is brewing in Omaha by discovering different beer brands.All featured beers are produced by dedicated locals with the passion and experience of making beer their entire lives. Ask for a free explorer journal and receive all the information you need, plus coupons for nine free beers. Sign up and learn all about your favorite beer in a fun and relaxed tour.
The Historic Dundee Neighborhood
The Dundee Neighborhood provides a true culinary adventure, making it one of the best places in Omaha to find top-notch and world-class flavors. The streets are filled with tempting scents thanks to hardworking chef based restaurants that source all their ingredients locally. Not hungry? Then head on down to the Dundee Gallery and shop till you drop at Hello Holiday and Denim Saloon or if it is a tipple you are after why not visit Dundee Dell’s where you will find the nation’s largest collection of Scotch whiskey.
The Wildlife Safari Park
With a petting zoo and a hands-on approach, children are sure to have a great day out at The Wildlife Safari Park. Enjoy a drive-through adventure with your children through the four-m
ile park. Visitors boast about their close encounters with animals such as the sandhill cranes and bald eagles. Why not make a day of it and have a picnic in the picnic area, located at the wolf woods parking lot, or stop off at the visitor’s center for a wide array of refreshing drinks and snacks? The park hosts an astonishing variety of beasts from elk to bison and wolfs to eagles. Do not forget to visit the gift shop on your way out where you will find animal themes quality merchandise including stuffed toys, and sweatshirts, among many more.
The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is unique as it is one of the only footbridges to connect two states. The bridge provides a great and refreshing space for an evening stroll or for snacks from various shops at the simply impressively restored Old Market part of town, which is located very nearby. The bridge connects to a large trail network in both cities where bicycle enthusiasts can enjoy an afternoon ride at their own leisure. Furthermore, the bridge is just a pedal away from the Lauritzen Gardens allowing people to relish in the beautiful floral displays.
More so, this pathway crosses the Missouri River providing an on foot tour of Omaha’s beautiful skyline. The 3-acre plaza offers a whole range of entertainment; from an interactive water fountain to the River Critters Environmental play area. Linking over 150 miles of outdoor trails and walks, the Bob Kerry Bridge offers a wide variety of activities, whether you visit by bike or on foot. Be assured of having a great day.
If you are visiting in May or June, why not pop down on a Friday and catch some live music in the Plaza area which is surrounded by an amphitheater-style grassy meadow. Do not forget to carry a few blankets and chairs for a great day of music and adventure!
The Joslyn Castle
The castle is located on 3902 Davenport Street and proudly opens its doors to the public in the form of tours every first and third Sunday every month. Choose a time between 1, 2 and 3.
George and Sarah Joslyn were among the noble in Nebraska,generating their wealth in the ready-print news industry. They built a home which mirrored their success in the business world. The grounds on which their home is built are abundant with a rare and exotic botanical collection from all over the globe. The plan for the property was designed by John McDonald and involved a carriage house, large greenhouse, lily pond and more.
Freedom Park is an outdoor museum better suited to warm dry days located on the banks of the Missouri River. You will find a whole host of exciting historical military artifacts and many more interesting things, including the thrilling cold war era training submarine. The submarine is the only target training USN submarine still around today.
Freedom Park is home to a large collection of aircraft including a helicopter, jets, a captain’s gig, lots of rocket launchers and more. Guided tours are available at 10-3 during the weekends, although special tours can be arranged by calling in advance. Furthermore, all tours are free!
Explore Boys Town
Boy’s Town is the National Historic Landmark District home to the Hall of History and Father Flanagan House. Yearly, over 100,000 visitors from around the world visit the town where Father Flanagan’s vision for a better America was founded. In this establishment, children are saved from lives of misery in the village and they begin new lives with better opportunities and hope. It is truly an unforgettable place to get hope and inspiration to make the world a better place.
Hosting a wide range of specialty shops and numerous tourist attractions, Omaha is a great place to visit. From shopping for quirky gifts to going for concerts in the North Downtown area of Omaha to seeing the iconic water fountain at the Heartland of America Park, there are plenty of things to do in Omaha, Nebraska. Therefore, why not depart on a safari and pamper yourself and your loved ones while relishing on some old-school railroad fun in Omaha. What are you waiting for?! Start planning your trip and tick off your list of things to do in Omaha, Nebraska immediately!