8 Ideas for Family Outings near Offutt AFB
Before your military association, you may not have been familiar with Omaha, Nebraska, let alone Offutt Air Force Base. But that’s ok! We’ve collected information about some of the top things to do in Omaha, so you can plan to explore as soon as you get settled. You’ll cultivate Nebraskan roots in no time.
One of the best ways to fall in love with your duty station is to explore the surrounding cities and their amenities. So, pick a few activities and events (time them carefully, so you don’t miss seasonal options like the College World Series) and get to know Omaha ASAP.
Photo from First National Bank
1) First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park
Created from one part sculpture garden and one part history lesson, the Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park sheds light on the American pioneers who built Omaha’s gateway to the West. The bronze and stainless steel sculpture garden is the largest in the country, and the designers intended for visitors to interact and examine the individual scenes. Locals consider the park a hidden gem where you’ll find likenesses of pioneer families, horses, covered wagons, and livestock like bison. Overall, the park is an homage to the pioneers’ bravery, entrepreneurship, and exploration.
2) Omaha Children's Museum
Regardless of the city, a children’s museum is a must-do. And Omaha’s Children’s Museum is no exception. The kids will find interactive and permanent exhibits like Imagination Playground, Zooland, Walker Tire and Auto Service Center, and Sandy’s Splish-Splash Garden. If you want to win the Parent of the Year Award, consider hosting your child’s birthday at the museum with a special package created just for them and their friends. Or, if you need a little distraction over the summer, sign the kids up for the museum’s version of summer camp.
PCS Orders to Nebraska? Quick! Get to Know Offutt Air Force Base with our handy guide.
3) Lauritzen Gardens
This 100-acre property is abundant in all things floral and green and is an excellent respite from the everyday stress of life. The gardens serve as a living museum of unique four-season plant displays. Good news! Sidewalk construction is complete, and the trams are back. Jump on for a 50-minute, narrated tour of the garden. When school is over, take advantage of the garden’s sought-after Summer Adventure Camps. They provide students with an exciting and educational environment to explore science, nature, and art, keeping kids off their screens for at least a little while.
Once finished touring the gardens, head over to adjacent Kenefick Park.
4) Kenefick Park
Calling all rail fans! Omaha is home to two large locomotives that previously ran on the Union Pacific Railroad. Today, they sit on the southwest point of the Lauritzen Gardens. For die-hard rail fans, here’s what you need to know: You’ll see the Centennial No. 6900, the largest and most powerful diesel-electric locomotive ever built, and Big Boy No. 4023, the world's largest steam locomotive. The trains are so expansive that you can see them from your car on nearby I-80.
Kenefick Park is a great way to spend an hour or two roaming and exploring plazas, seating areas, a grand staircase, and stone walls. The park is named after former Union Pacific Chairman and CEO John C. Kenefick and highlights how the railroad industry developed not only Omaha but the entire American West.
5) Old Market
Old Market is the perfect way to spend date night or a Sunday afternoon. You can stroll through the historic district on cobblestone streets and explore preserved buildings or spend your time shopping and dining. You’ll find hospitable eateries, fun stores like a holiday shop, and a spooky yet fascinating Museum of Shadows dedicated to all things haunted. Subscribe to Old Market’s newsletter so you can spend time at planned special events, enjoy live music, and shop and eat through fan-favorite, Holidays in the Market.
Photo from Charles Schwab Field Omaha
6) Charles Schwab Field Omaha
College baseball fans swarm Omaha each spring. Enthusiasts plan for months to participate in the College World Series experience and definitely aren’t disappointed by the location or facility. The city takes the games seriously and rolls out the red carpet for not only the winning teams but for fans from across the country. So splurge on club seat tickets and indulge in what, across the board, is known as the best food in college baseball. When the series is over, Charles Schwab Field is home to Division I Creighton University Bluejays, so if you can’t snag series tickets, you can still watch a home game played on the iconic diamond.
Photo from Heartland of America Park
7) Heartland of America Park
Although this beloved park known for its accessible sidewalk trail system is under construction as part of the RiverFront’s $325 million project, it’s slated to reopen in 2023. Before the closure, however, the park drew residents and tourists to the Heartland of America Park Fountain with an innovative water jet and light show. So, you can bet the show will return bigger and better in the new year. The 31-acre park runs through the heart of Omaha along the Missouri River, where a must-do stop is taking in the view from the Lewis & Clark Landing. You’ll also want to plan for a gondola ride. And, if you have time, walk through the nearby Old Market.
Photo from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
8) Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
The zoo and aquarium property is one of Omaha's largest attractions (160 acres of plants, animals, and habitats) and welcomes tens of thousands of guests each year. Your family will find plenty of entertainment in incredible exhibits like the Desert Dome, Stingray Beach, Alaskan Adventure, the Mahoney Kingdom of the Night, and special events like Ghouls & Glow and Howl-O-Ween Safari. Check out the zoo train and tram to complete a fun day in the sun.
Of course, we couldn't hit every area activity in one post. Justin Ogburn, featured Real Estate Agent near Offutt AFB, advises you add these to your must-do list:
"My favorite summer activity is watching a Storm Chasers baseball game at Werner Park. The fireworks at their Friday home games are great! If you are looking for something to do indoors during the winter, check out the Durham Museum.”
So, there you have it! So many ways to explore Omaha, take advantage of the city’s amenities, and enjoy the welcoming Midwestern smiles and attitudes we’ve all come to expect from Nebraskans.
Are you making a PCS move to Offutt AFB? Take a look at our constantly updated inventory of Offut AFB housing by clicking the image below!