I know Nebraska is probably one of the LAST places you think about when you imagine a vacation. I was pretty skeptical when I found out Seth would be living there at least 4 years for school! While living there we fell in love with Nebraska. We lived there 5 years before moving back to Washington to be closer to family! We went there this past weekend for a family reunion and we are hoping to go back soon for a true family vacation. Oliver was not able to come this time since he is not cleared to travel in a plane yet. Here is what we are looking forward to when we do a family vacation there!
Reasons Why You Should Vacation in Nebraska!
- The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo! It seems crazy, but the Omaha zoo is always competing for best zoo in the WORLD! In fact, a CNN article in 2014 listed the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE as the #1 zoo in the whole world. The zoo is incredible, adults and kids can spend hours there. They have added huge additions since Seth and I lived there and we had so much fun taking Eliza! Her favorite part was the man-made river, waterfall, and sandy beach in the new Adventure Trails area. They also have an IMAX theater, skyfari, two trains, a carousel, an aquarium with a touch-tank and so many other fun things! Best of all this zoo is relatively cheap to go to! An adult is $21.95 (during peak season), and a child is $15.95. Compare this to the San Diego Zoo where an adult is $56 and a child is $46! I’ve also been to the San Diego Zoo and the Henry Doorly Zoo blows it out of the water in my opinion! If we lived in Nebraska we would definitely have a family membership to the zoo!
We luckily brought a change of clothes to the zoo for Eliza!
2. Nebraska Football! This one took me a while to figure out since I knew literally nothing about football when Seth and I started dating. We got student season tickets to the football games while we lived there and I was hooked. A lot of Nebraskans are SUPER passionate about football (even though their team hasn’t won a National Championship in over 20 years). They are always hoping this will be the year they regain their glory (haha). Going to games was so much fun and there is such a sense of state camaraderie. Oliver’s transplant poster that the doctors and nurses signed even had a big Nebraska football symbol on it! The starting center on the Nebraska football team passed around a football last year for the players to sign and give to Oliver during his transplant. It was such an amazing gift! We went to the first home game while we were there this past weekend and it was so much fun! You bet we will be watching the games every Saturday this fall (win or lose)!
At the Nebraska game with 90,000 other fans!
3. Outdoor Adventures. Nebraska is also probably the last state you think of when brainstorming outdoor adventure ideas BUT we found so many great things while we were there! We camped at Mahoney State Park, which is phenomenal because it has stunning views perched over the Platte river, hiking trails, horseback riding, water park, camping, cabins, frisbee golf, and even outdoor ice skating in the winter. We took advantage of the 131 miles of paved and crushed gravel bike trails in Lincoln (most of them off the roads!). We went ice skating during the winter, horseback riding in the beautiful plains, and saw the unique beauty of the plains as we road-tripped to Colorado and Chicago.
Nebraska has gorgeous sunsets!
4. Entertainment! There are so many big-name performers that come to both Lincoln and Omaha since it is kind of an island of big cities in the Midwest. We regret not attending the Elton John/Billy Joel concert while we were there, but we were able to see Broadway shows like The Lion King, West Side Story, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat while we lived there. Hamilton is coming next year and I’m halfway tempted to make a trip out for that since parking and hotels are so much cheaper and more accessible than Seattle!
Nebraska is beautiful in winter too!
I know I’m biased because I have such fond memories of living in Nebraska, but you should definitely put it on your bucket list if you haven’t. It is such a fun place!