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Discover the top things to do in Omaha with kids like riverfront playgrounds, family-friendly eats, and fun-filled attractions!
Uniquely known for being home to one of the best zoos in the entire world, Omaha is also known for its hospitality, natural beauty, and historic charm.
It also happens to be one of the best travel spots for families!
With gorgeous parks, exciting sporting events, and themed museums, there are endless opportunities to explore and play.
In this post, we’ll show you how to find family fun in Omaha by sharing our favorite things to do in Omaha with kids!
Best Things to Do in Omaha With Kids
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Omaha with kids.
Use our list of top Omaha attractions to help plan your Nebraskan adventure!
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1. Visit the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
Nicknamed “Bob the Bridge”, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3,000-ft long cable-suspension bridge that stretches across the Missouri River.
It connects Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
One of the best things to do in Omaha with kids is to walk across “Bob the Bridge” and take photos midway.
Because halfway across, you can stand in two states at once – Nebraska and Omaha! In other words, you can plant your feet so that one foot is in Nebraska, and the other one is in Omaha.
The Nebraska/Iowa state borderline is clearly marked on the bridge’s walking path and straddling the state line while standing on this bridge is called Bobbing – trust me, it’s a thing.
In addition, the bridge has a mascot named Omar who resides on the Omaha side of the river!
Omar is a gigantic blue troll who lives under the bridge and visitors line up to take photos and selfies with him, as well as to rub his big toe for good luck.
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is:
- Located at 705 Riverfront Drive in Omaha
- Free to visit
- Open 24 hours a day
- .9 miles each way
- Popular with both walkers and cyclists
2. Meet the animals at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Visiting Omaha’s world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Omaha with kids.
Home to both the world’s largest indoor rainforest (Lied Jungle) and the world’s largest indoor desert (The Desert Dome), the Henry Doorly Zoo has been named the 3rd best zoo in America.
In addition, its Asian Highlands exhibit has been named the best zoo exhibit in North America.
On your visit to the Omaha Zoo, you’ll see animals including, elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, pygmy hippos, and red pandas.
In the Hubbard Gorilla Valley, you’ll see gorillas, monkeys, and bright-colored birds.
Finally, at the aquarium, you’ll love walking through the 70-foot shark tunnel as well as seeing fascinating marine life, including sea turtles and Antarctic penguins!
Our tips for visiting the Omaha Zoo include:
- Save time at the gate by purchasing your tickets ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased up to eight days in advance.
- There is plenty of free parking.
- Monday-Thursday are less busy days.
- This zoo is huge! You can easily spend up to 1 full day here.
- Have a plan and a meeting spot if someone gets separated from your group.
- Buy tickets for the IMAX. The movies are great and it is a perfect place to cool down on a hot day.
- Pack your own lunch. You CAN bring in food and beverages, as well as bags, coolers, wagons, and strollers (just no glass containers or alcohol).
Looking for even more wildlife? Journey to the Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, just 30 minutes southwest of Omaha.
This park offers a one-of-a-kind drive-through safari experience. You’ll traverse through several natural ecosystems, from the Bison Plains to the Wolf Canyon.
3. Eat & Plat at The Amazing Pizza Machine
If you’re looking for things to do in Omaha with kids when it’s raining or cold outside, head to The Amazing Pizza Machine!
The Amazing Pizza Machine is a restaurant PLUS a mini theme park and arcade in one!
Guests entering the facility must purchase the unlimited food buffet in order to have access to the rides and attractions at The Amazing Pizza Machine – which are then an additional cost.
The unlimited buffet includes pizza, pasta, salads, soups, bakery breads, baked potatoes, nachos and tacos, desserts, soft-serve ice cream, and beverages that can be enjoyed among 4 themed dining rooms.
In addition, you’ll find over 150 video and arcade games, Go Karts, Mission Vortex ride, Bumper Cars, Frog Hopper, Amazing Quest Laser Tag, and Hologate Virtual Reality.
Looking for the best place to stay in Omaha with kids? We love and highly recommend Embassy Suites by Hilton Omaha Downtown Old Market. Along with its pool, free made-to-order breakfast, and complimentary evening reception – its central location can’t be beaten!
Click here for more ideas and rates on where to stay in Omaha with kids.
4. Visit the Omaha Children’s Museum
Museums are one of our favorite rainy-day travel activities.
Not only do you get to escape the weather, but you also get to spend the day exploring fascinating exhibits while learning along the way.
Our top museum pick in Omaha is the Omaha Children’s Museum for its dozens of child-friendly activities and interactive fun!
While called a museum, this attraction resembles an enormous playground where kids can dress up, play pretend, and let their creativity shine.
Permanent exhibits include the Art Smart Center, Tinker Factory, and Imagination Playground.
There’s also a carousel, train ride, and an outdoor splash garden that is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Additional planning tip: Kids under 24 months receive free admission. Otherwise, admission is $16 per person.
5. Attend the College World Series
A huge draw to the area, the annual NCAA Men’s College World Series has been hosted in Omaha since 1950.
It has since become part of the identity of Omaha.
Every June, Omaha welcomes over 400,000 baseball fans to Charles Schwab Field over the course of this 16-game event.
Tickets can be purchased in advance starting in April, and hotels book up quickly, so do plan well in advance.
If you want to be within walking distance of Charles Schwab Field (which I highly recommend if attending the College World Series), check out Holiday Inn Omaha Downtown (a great hotel when traveling with kids!), Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Cambria Hotel Omaha Downtown, or Fairfield Inn & Suites Downtown.
6. Explore the Omaha Riverfront
Located in downtown Omaha is the Omaha Riverfront – a major gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
You can spend hours here simply relaxing, taking in the sights, and watching your kids play at Arches Playground.
Arches Playground is a modern playground that has three tall climbing arches, multiple slides, and toddler swings.
This Omaha Riverfront connects three major parks:
- Heartland of America Park – Rent paddle boats, picnic on the grass, and enjoy seasonal activities like ice skating and rollerblading.
- Gene Leahy Mall – Visit Arches Playground, relax by the lagoon and stop by the performance pavilion for some live music.
- Lewis and Clark Landing – View the outdoor sculptures and stroll along the riverfront walkway in this historic area.
The riverfront is the perfect place to spend the day exploring Omaha as it is in a central location and has a wide variety of activities.
Take a bike ride across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, embark on an exciting riverfront cruise, or visit the exciting Kiewit Luminarium.
7. Take a nature hike through Fontenelle Forest
For an activity that gets you away from the city, we highly recommend a trip to Fontenelle Forest.
Located just outside of Omaha in Bellevue, Nebraska, lies a 1500-acre forest and The Fontenell Forest Nature Center.
The forest itself is nothing short of magical, with creekside trails, woodland creatures, and picturesque natural beauty.
This beauty also transforms through the seasons, with brilliant fall foliage and spring-blooming wildflowers that give this forest a storybook appeal.
Gather your family and enjoy one of their recommended hikes that’ll take you through prairies, wetlands, and woodlands.
You can also visit the educational center to learn more about conservation, local wildlife, and the diverse ecosystems throughout the forest.
8. Visit the local arena
Formerly called the Ralston Arena, the Liberty First Credit Union Arena offers sporting events, live performances, and seasonal events to gather the community.
Catch an Omaha Lancers hockey game or burn off some excess energy at one of their public ice skating sessions.
Additional planning tip: Public skating is available at their community rink seasonally (typically from December through February).
9. Indulge in sweet treats at the Old Market Candy Shop
For a little something sweet, the Old Market Candy Shop is a must-visit.
Here, you’ll be transported by the shop’s vintage design, filled with retro favorites and nostalgic goodies.
You can create your own candy bag by shopping the bulk candy section or browsing modern selections.
For homemade goods, check out their artisanal chocolates, truffles, and drool-worthy fudge.
This shop is a great place to buy delicious souvenirs for loved ones at home.
10. Enjoy themed gardens at Lauritzen Gardens
Lauritzen Gardens, the Omaha Botanical Center, is home to acres of seasonal blooms and other gorgeous flora.
Visitors of all ages can appreciate these gardens for their natural beauty, tranquil walkways, and stunning vantage points.
Kids will love the Model Railroad Garden, watching the model trains maneuver through an intricate, miniature world.
Other must-see features of the gardens include:
- Rose Garden
- Children’s Garden
- Woodland Waterfall
- Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary
The gardens offer 50-minute guided tram tours for an additional $5 on top of admission.
They’re a great way to learn about the various gardens, their conservation efforts, and all of the surrounding flora.
11. Watch the Omaha Storm Chasers play a game
There’s nothing more family-friendly than an old-fashioned baseball game!
Just 20 minutes south of central Omaha, you’ll find Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Gather up the kids and take to the stands for a game of minor-league baseball held on various dates and time from April – September.
These games are affordable and make great family bonding opportunities.
Additional planning tip: Go for a Friday night game to experience Firework Fridays.
12. Enjoy family-friendly restaurants
Omaha serves up American-style comfort food like no other.
For families, there are tons of tasty eateries that both kids and adults will love.
Here are three of our favorite family-friendly Omaha restaurants:
- Spaghetti Works – Italian classics made with families in mind! Afterwards, head to nearby Hollywood Candy!
- Shirley’s Diner – Rock and roll-themed diner catered towards families.
- Upstream Brewing Company – a family-friendly brewery with great food!
13. Picnic and play at a local park
It’s pretty much a fact that food tastes better when eaten outside!
And it’s our opinion that a picnic in the park is one of the best things to do in Omaha with kids.
Luckily, Omaha has a ton of beautiful parks to spread out on and enjoy a delicious packed meal.
Kids can run around on the grass, enjoy the sunshine, and play on surrounding playgrounds.
There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy after your meal, from kayaking to hiking trails.
Some top picks for family-friendly parks in Omaha include:
- Elmwood Park – Complete with walking trails, tennis courts, a golf course, and gorgeous mature trees.
- Zorinsky Lake Park – Boarding Zorinsky Lake with kayaking, boating, trails, and a playground.
- Chalco Hills Recreation Area – You’ll find birdwatching, hiking trails, and a lake for fishing.
14. Visit Mahoney State Park in Ashland, NE
While there’s no shortage of natural beauty in Nebraska, Mahoney State Park stands out amongst the rest.
Located 30 miles southwest of Omaha, take a day trip to Ashland and enjoy the many fun (and free) activities that the park has to offer.
Experience exciting hiking trails, birdwatching, and other wildlife observation.
You can also get out on one of the many lakes or ponds, canoeing, kayaking, or fishing.
For thrill-seekers, there’s even a rock climbing wall located within the park.
Beyond the natural world, visit Eugene T. Mahoney Activity Center within the state park for its indoor swimming pool and playgrounds.
Other fun activities in Mahoney State Park include:
- Horseback riding
- Tree ropes course
- Artist workshops
Final thoughts: Things to do in Omaha with kids
That wraps up our recommendations on the best things to do in Omaha with kids.
Whether you spend your exploring nature, visiting themed museums, or soaking in the local history, a trip to Omaha is designed to make memories.
Let us know your favorite things to do in Omaha!
If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*