Welcome to Omaha and the College World Series! We realize you’re here for some of the greatest college baseball you’ll ever see. But, what’s there to do in the Omaha area when your favorite team isn’t playing? There is a lot going on in the Big O that can help fill your down time. We’d like to share our version of “10 Things to do in Omaha during the CWS.”
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. It’s considered one of the top zoos in the world. It was even named as the best zoo in the world a couple of years ago by Trip Advisor fans. The zoo offers visitors an opportunity to travel around the world without leaving Omaha.
You can visit international deserts at the Desert Dome (one of the largest in the world) or walk through the world’s rain forests in the world’s largest indoor rainforest. The Scott Aquarium offers some great views of underwater life around the globe.
The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a world leader in the study of Africa’s lemur population. The African Grassland exhibit opened in 2016 and gives visitors a look at life on that continent. Kids will want to play at the Alaskan Adventure splashpark. The water park is popular with families.
The Omaha zoo offers much more for visitors to check out during down time.
How about taking a tour of Omaha or eastern Nebraska? Nebraska Tour Company is a new venture offering tours of the Old Market area. Tours are conducted by some of the best historians in the city. They’re eager to share their love and knowledge of the Omaha area.
Nebraska Wine Tours offers visitors an opportunity to visit some of Nebraska’s best vineyards and wineries. Their tours are typically about five hours long and include three stops with samples.
Hungry? Omaha Culinary Tours offer walking and shuttle tours of Omaha’s culinary history. Tours include samples at some of the city’s best and unique eateries.
The Durham Museum is located at Omaha’s former Union Station a few steps south of the Old Market. The museum offers a great look into the city’s history through exhibits and other attractions. The museum hosts special exhibits. The current exhibit is “Top Secret,” a look into the world of spying.
If you’re in the mood to stop and smell the flowers, then a visit to the Lauritzen Gardens botanical center and conservatory is a must. The 100-acre gardens are home to beautiful flowers, plants and sculptures. The conservatory offers a walk through tropical gardens, as well as temperate plants and vegetation.
If you’d like to venture outside Omaha’s downtown, we suggest a visit to Boys Town. Most people have heard of the home for wayward boys (and girls) founded by Father Flanagan. An Academy Award-winning movie was based on the story, and starred Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. Boys Town is celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2017.
Omaha is proud of its military history. The Strategic Air Museumm outside Omaha – near Ashland – shares the story about the strongest military command and its role during the Cold War that began shortly after World War II and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union-led eastern bloc in the late 1980s. The SAC and Aerospace Museum has one of the best collections of aircraft and space vehicles in the country.
A short drive south of the SAC Museum is the Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari. The wildlife refuge is a partner of the Omaha zoo. It is home to large herds of bison and elk, deer, wolves and bears. A stop near the pelicans is a must. They are fun to watch and you may see them marching down the road. The refuge has other attractions, including a petting farm for families.
If your group includes a foodie or two, Omaha has a diverse food scene. You can enjoy some of the best food in the country here. It goes beyond steak – which most people consider Omaha’s best food. If you have a TV food fan, check out Big Mama’s. If loose meat is your thing, check out B&G Tasty Foods. If you’re more interested in the Old Market, check out the food scene’s variety with some of our favorite places – Zio’s pizza, Upstream Brewery Company (great steaks, calamari and burgers) and Trini’s Mexican in the Passageway.
Omaha also has a vibrant microbrewery industry. Nebraska Brewing Company, Lucky Bucket, Brickway and Infusion are just a few of the local breweries you should check out while you’re in town. You’ll sample some of the best beer in the country here.
If you’re looking for something to do between the games, head over to the riverfront for a walk across “Bob.” The Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge connecting two states in the United States. The bridge walk is a little more than half a mile across. If you take a selfie on the bridge and take it to the visitors center at 10th and Farnam, they’ll give you a sticker for completing the “Bob Marathon.” It’s a parody of the 13.1 and 26.2 K marathon stickers runners get.
The Kerrey bridge anchors Omaha’s riverfront. The walking trail offers people an opportunity to check out the river, skyline views, as we well the Heartland of American park (home to one of the tallest water fountains west of the Mississippi River).
Regardless of how your team does (and we hope they win the national championship), have a great time visiting our city. Omaha welcomes you. And play ball!
For more information on Omaha attractions, please visit our city’s tourism bureau at www.visitomaha.com.