Omaha is more than just the largest city within Nebraska. This city has 400,000 people living within the metropolitan area and that large population means that there is no shortage of things to do, whether you are visiting for a day or planning on moving to the city. Visiting the city is simple as the most popular attractions have giant blue push pins by them, but you will still have to plan to make sure you visit the ones that are most important to you. Omaha is home to numerous museums, cultural performances, sports teams, and chances to shop. Adults will enjoy the nightlife while families can go to the zoo or head to recreation area for boating, fishing, biking, or hiking. Don't forget to visit the top attractions in the city.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a great place to bring the whole family. It has one of the biggest complexes for big cats like lions and tigers, as well as the biggest exhibits of nocturnal animals with its own indoor swamp, the biggest indoor rainforest and indoor desert. There are also exhibits with animals like bears, gorillas, a butterfly and insect pavilion and much more to see and do. More than 25 million people has come through the gates of the zoo since it opened more than 40 years ago.
If you love artwork, don't miss the Joslyn Art Museum, considered as Nebraska's principal fine arts museum. It opened in 1931 as a memorial to local businessman George A. Joslyn. The museum hold a permanent collection featuring works done by artists including Paolo Veronese, Titian, and El Greco, and more and also has artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries from both American and European artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir and William-Adolphe Bouguereau. There is also a sculpture garden with more than an acre of sculptures situated in a garden setting.
Heartland of America Park is 31 acres of public park property located in downtown Omaha on Douglas Street. Visitors can walk along the paved trail and see one of three beautiful fountains, including one that shoots water more than 300 feet and has its own show at night and a 1800s Waterworks Fountain. There is a lake where one can take a tour in the summer, and see swans that live on the lake. Other exhibits include a memorial to the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition, and it's also the site of the city's yearly Taste of Omaha festival.
Families with kids shouldn't miss the Omaha Children's Museum, which came about in 1976. The museum is a hands on facility where kids can learn about the world through dozens of exhibits, programs, workshops, and special events. If you are in the area for a longer period of time, there are also summer camps and other overnight museum adventures, as well as a chance for you to hold your child's birthday party at the museum. It's a fantastic place for parents and children to discover the world together.
The Durham Museum is located in downtown Omaha in the old Union Station building. The museum's focus is to preserve and display the US's western history. Its permanent exhibits include historical data and displays on the 10 passenger train depots that were in Omaha, as well as replicas of items from the Omaha Indian tribes such as an earth lodge and rawhide teepee, and worker's cottages from the mid-1880s where blue collar workers in the state lived, and more. Plus, there are ever-changing temporary galleries from other museums in the US.
Opened in 1959, the Strategic Air & Space Museum can be found in-between Lincoln and Omaha nearby Interstate 80. There are more than 300,000 square feet of exhibits, educational and event spaces to see and experience. Its mission is to commemorate the aircraft from the Strategic Air Command (SAC), as well as continue to honor and support the nearby Offutt AFB. There are aircraft, artifacts and programs to tech people about the SAC mission and history. Tours are often given to local school children and other parties.
Freedom Park is in East Omaha located at the Greater Omaha Marina. It's an outdoor park and museum where aircraft and artillery is displayed, as well as the WWII minesweeper, the USS Hazard (AM 240) and a submarine, the USS Marlin (SST-2). There is also an Anchor and Propeller Garden and shipboard rocket launchers on display. At the time of this writing, the park was closed indefinitely for flood cleanup. Admission is free and private tours are given by appointment.
Fun-Plex is another great place in Omaha to take the whole family. Located at 72nd and Q streets, Fun-Plex is an amusement ride and water park where visitors can ride a roller coaster, play miniature golf, ride go-karts, or have fun on the water slides. There is even a camp program for the kids where they can have fun, plus learn how to be park and ride attendants. Visitors under two are free with a paid adult and everyone else can buy either an old day ride pass or single tickets.
If you love shopping, checking out galleries, eating at restaurants or having a beer with a friend at a local tavern, then come to Old Market in Omaha. It's an area of the city dedicated to history and happenings. There are old-fashioned brick paved streets left from centuries past, as well as a chance to ride a horse drawn carriage, see street performers, or enjoy local events and displays.
If you are interested in learning more about US presidents, then come to the Gerald R. Ford Birthplace and Gardens in Omaha. The house is at 3203 Woolworth Ave, which was the house where his paternal grandparents, Mr. Charles Henry and his wife, Martha, lived and where Ford lived for a few weeks of his life as a baby. There is a memorial and conservation center dedicated to the former president of the US. The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center is next door, which was created by the Nebraska State Historical Society that has a display of Ford collectables.