On a recent press trip for my Omaha Steaks Ambassadorship, I was able to enjoy the town with my 11-year-old daughter. We found some amazing things to do in Omaha for families including fun museums, an amazing zoo, and the coolest candy store we’ve ever visited. Who knew the Cornhusker state had so much to offer? Here are some of the top things to do in Omaha with kids.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
If you ever tell someone who is from Nebraska that you went to Omaha, the first thing they will ask you is if you visited the Henry Doorly Zoo. Children of all ages love the Zoo! There’s hardly a kid out there that is not gung-ho about seeing animals. However, the Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the top Zoos around the world; they just keep making the displays more intriguing and adding new animals to keep visitors coming back for more. It is definitely one of the top things to do in Omaha with kids.
Even on their most busy weekends, the Zoo is both enjoyable and an interactive space. The train inside the Zoo is definitely one of its most popular attraction and kids love it!
*Pro Tip* You can take snacks and drinks inside with you and that’s a plus; refreshments are a bit pricey inside the zoo. For lunch, I suggest the Omaha Steaks burger available at the Omaha Steaks Grill & Patio. Its delicious and super filling too!
I can’t believe I am saying this about a zoo, but given the sheer number of activities and rides, it’s best to do a two-day visit to completely enjoy everything the Zoo has to offer. There is usually an offer of $20 for a wristband that gives you access to the Zoo without any ticket. Minus some of the special rides like the Skyfari and the railroad everything is open. This is an adventure that your kid will remember for years to come.
The zoo is ranked one of the best in the world. The unique design and fast displays kept us busy for hours. You get so close to the animals and everything is so well displayed. Mark this down as a must see with or without kids.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Game
While technically not in Omaha, a Nebraska Cornhuskers game is an absolute must see. Just a short 50-minute drive to Lincoln will have you in the middle of the grandeur of a Nebraska Cornhuskers game. The state of Nebraska takes a lot of pride in their football team. The stadium when at full capacity holds more people than the population of Omaha and Lincoln combined and it is pretty much packed every game.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are one of the few football teams that have won 800 or more games. From tailgating to welcoming the players and coaches from the east side of the Memorial stadium makes for some unforgettable memories.
There are plenty of fun-filled activities that are a part of the pre and post-game culture in the area and the weekend can be turned into something that you kid will cherish forever. This is something your kid will never forget and definitely one of the best things to do in Omaha with kids….(ok Lincoln, but you know what I mean) Grab Tickets Here!
Hollywood Candy Shop
Located in Old Market Entertainment District this sweets shop is the perfect afternoon treat. Kids will love the wide array of retro candy and the amazing collection of Pez dispensers.
Some of these Pez dispensers brought back memories for me. Do any of them look familiar to you?
Lauritzen Gardens Omaha’s Botanical Center
If your child is a fan of the great outdoors, the Lauritzen Gardens is the perfect spot. The gardens can be best described as a “living museum” of plants. The gardens are really well maintained and the display consists of four-season flora that makes for an educational and wonderful experience for you and your kids.
The aesthetics of the garden are the not the only attractive aspect, there is a children’s garden that offers educational insight and hands-on gardening experience to kids. Children learn to plant and sustain in a wonderfully interactive way, thus appreciating nature more.
This Urban Oasis is located at the center of the city and is easily accessible to other areas of the city. What makes the garden more appealing are the riverfront hills.
Throughout May till October tram tours of the garden can be taken along with a narrator. It’s an interesting and thorough way of covering the hundred acre site. The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12 years (exclusive of tax). For kids younger than six entry is free.
Omaha Children’s Museum
Maybe it’s the inner nerd in me, but I absolutely love the Science Museum. Although I really did not enjoy science in class, the way it comes to life in these museums makes it so much more fascinating. So, whether your kids love science or not the Omaha Children Museum is bound to get them excited about it! The museum has been an interactive and learning space ever since it’s opening in 1976.
The Museum offers many interactive display areas, hands-on exhibits and special events that get kids excited. The museum caters to guided tours, summer camps and even birthday parties for kids that truly love science. The educational environment comes in a package of fun, making the trip to the museum a treat to remember!
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Here are just some of the attractions that you can enjoy with your child,
- For younger kids, the museum has an “Imagination Playground”
- Kids can create their own experiments in the “Tinker Lab” (with supervision off course!)
- Kids can delve into science fiction in the “Fantastic Future Me” exhibit.
- In Art Smart Center your child can unleash their creativity, the experience here beats that of a classroom and a park.
Ted and Wally’s Ice Cream Shop
Another fun place kids will love is Ted and Wally’s. This ice cream shop has some of the most unique flavors of premium, hand-churned ice cream that you won’t find anywhere else!
FunPlex Amusement park
A water park on one side and rides on the other. What more could you want for a kid? Strictly speaking, the park is definitely more fun of kids than for adults. However, despite being an old park, it is the only one of its kind in Omaha. The lifeguards and park staff are very friendly, rates are acceptable and lots of discount and group offers available. The best thing about the park is perhaps the fact that it has a ride for kids of every age group. From the lazy river, waterslides, a wave pool for older kids to the recently added area for children aged 4-10, everything is perfect for a great family outing.
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
If you are in Omaha, visiting the great “bob” should be a top priority on your vacation to-do list! The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is at a height of 3000 feet and lies across the Missouri river. As you walk across the bridge you leave Nebraska and head into Iowa, which clearly leads to lots of fun photos and antics.
While the walking part gives you a great view and a memorable experience both ends of the bridge have interesting places like a museum at one end and a green park at the other. Visiting the bridge around sunset can really add magic to the trek. The lights are spectacular at night.
At the end of the day, whatever time you spend with your child is a moment to cherish. Activities and vacations have a lasting impact on children. Giving them fond memories is just one the many joys of a parenting journey.
Where to Stay in Omaha
Ella and I fell in love with the Hilton Omaha. Just minutes from the Eppley Airfield Airport (OMA) located in the awesome downtown area near the Old Market Entertainment District and TD Ameritrade Ballpark so there is no shortage of amazing places to eat and fun things to do.
The rooms were spacious and offered plenty of storage. We enjoyed the concierge level lounge amenities especially their tasty breakfast options. We find the concierge level rooms to be a great value if you take advantage of all of their offerings. Check Current Prices Here!
Take a look at Ella’s room tour below-
Of course, Ella also loved relaxing in the pool after a long day and the hot tub was complete serenity for me.
Map of Things to Do in Omaha with Kids
Why You Should Go
Omaha is a great place to visit for the whole family, we suggest visiting during the spring and summer seasons if you want to visit most of the places above, because it does get rather chilly in the winter. It is still just as enjoyable during the winter, just be prepared for snow and also some fun winter activities. The town is small and easy to navigate via walking or even a nice bike ride with nice views of the Missouri River, which separates Nebraska and Iowa.
Frequently Asked Questions about Things to do in Nebraska
What can you do in Omaha for free?
Joslyn Art Museum
Union Pacific Railroad Museum
Hot Shops Art Center
Do Space Technology Center
Indoor Children’s Play areas in the Oak View Mall
Stroll Lewis and Clark Landing along the Missouri River
Be in two states at once on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
Heartland of America Park
What is there to do in Omaha during the winter?
Sledding at Mahoney State Park
Indoor Mini Golf
Indoor Playgrounds and Activities
When is the best time to visit Omaha?
If you are looking for warmer weather, plan your trip between June and September.
If you are looking for colder weather (and we mean cold), plan your visit December through February.
Tell us your favorite spots for kids in the comments below.
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