Over the past year, I’ve learned that one of bravest things you can do is travel with small children. On top of the standard travel headaches like the extra packing, the potential for a crying jab on the airplane and other minor catastropes, small children don’t always “fit in” at the standard tourist destinations. I’ve collected several child friendly destinations from my hometown of Omaha, NE in the hopes that parents planning a visit here can know they’re going somewhere that not only welcomes, but engages kids. Here are my top places to take the kiddos when in Omaha:
- Omaha Children’s Museum (www.ocm.org) is an entire space geared toward children. With a Wiggle Room geared just for children under 3 to the Little Market and Rainbow Farm for those under 5 – its easy to take kids and let them have fun. The museum has free parking, but if you’re a visitor to Omaha you may want to avoid Tuesday mornings, when museum members get the run of the museum from 9 to 10 am and parking is scarce!
- The Henry Doorly Zoo (www.omahazoo.com) is another great place to take the little guys. There’s a Desert Dome, where they can see meerkats up close and an aquarium, where penguins always seem to be doing something especially for the kids. The zoo is very easy to get around – both for those with strollers and those without – and there are many benches both inside the exhibits and outside for when little legs get tired. Our favorite time to go is in the fall and winter – the crowds are small and my son loves having the animals there just for him!
- The Durham Museum (www.durham.org) might seem like a weird fit for little kids – it is, after all, a history museum. However, if you’re like me, your child either has gone or is going through the “choo choo” phase. When they’re into trains, seeing them up close is cool, and the Durham has trains in spades! While younger kids might not be interested in many of the historical exhibits, they will love the trains. My son and I have literally spent hours in the Durham, just in the main hall looking at the trains. There are refurbished train cars that they can walk through (and occasionally meet a conductor), engines they can look in, model railroads they can watch and even a working train bell that they can ring. The Durham also has an old fashioned soda fountain – and we always end the day with a cookie (for my son) and a soda (for me).
- The Rose Theater (www.rosetheater.org) is a fabulous place to take the young ones if you want to show them a live theater show. The shows – such as Peter Pan, Go, Dog, Go! and The Fantastic Mr. Fox – tend to be geared toward ages four and up, but are great for all kids. To help parents decide if the show is the “fit” for their child, the website has a handy running time in addition to the rest of the show information – so if you know your kids can sit through an hour rather than two, you’ll know which show to go to.
If you’re looking for other places to take the little ones – or maybe looking for places to go with bigger kids – you can check out www.visitomaha.com, the website of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau, which will help you find and plan a whole trip of activities that work for the whole family! If you’ve been to Omaha and have somewhere you like to take the under 5 set that I haven’t mentioned, please leave a comment or let me know at email@example.com!