Historic Union Station opened its doors to the public on January 15, 1931 – one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States. This magnificent facility served millions of rail travelers and was world-renowned for its “modern” amenities and lavish style. Today, grand as ever, Union Station houses the wonderful Durham Museum, an institution dedicated to the preservation and display of important history of the American West, with permanent exhibits highlighting the history of Omaha and its surrounding regions, and impressive temporary exhibitions hosting collections of relevant and compelling subjects from partners such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Field Museum. See everything from numismatist Byron Reed’s massive coin collection, a replica storefront of a popular 1915 grocery, a fully-restored 1922 flatbed Mack moving truck, an 1890s Union Pacific 1243 Steam Locomotive and an authentic Omaha and Council Bluffs Railway and Bridge Company streetcar that actually taxied riders through the streets of Omaha more than 70 years ago to an array of fine antiques and a fantastic assemblage of souvenirs, photographs and other artifacts recalling the 1989 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. Be sure to stop by The Soda Fountain and Candy Shop for an old-fashioned taste treat, Omaha style!
Travelers to the Midwestern Mecca of Omaha will not want to miss an opportunity to explore this colorful and richly diverse historic downtown marketplace and entertainment center. Wandering minstrels and artists serve up eclectic entertainment as you and your group stroll the charming cobblestone streets; a pleasing visual feast of well-preserved and re-purposed Omaha architecture awash in inviting regional ambiance awaits! Meander through and enjoy the landmark neighborhood’s unique assemblage of fascinating museums, wonderful upscale boutiques and galleries, fabulous dining options, great pubs, delightful sweet shoppes and cozy coffee houses; a variety of carriage rides offer charming narrated tours-take in all the sights and sounds of one of Omaha’s most popular attractions from the open-air seat of a horse drawn vehicle! A stop by Old Market promises whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it well-served.
Groups exploring Omaha and the surrounding area will want to make time for a guided two-hour tour of the fascinating Strategic Air Space Museum in nearby Ashland, Nebraska – a 300,000 square foot institution featuring a 528 panel glass atrium, aircraft display hangars, a traveling exhibit area, 200 seat theater, an aircraft restoration gallery, interactive children’s gallery, planetarium, seven exhilarating motion simulator rides, a museum store – and snack bar- after all, this is exciting stuff, and you’re sure to work up an appetite exploring the Museum’s magnificent collections of historic aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and out-of-this-world artifacts. The Museum hosts popular annual events and special presentations such as Wings Under the Wings and the Family Fun Carnival, the Strategic Air & Space Museum Science Fair, Helicopter Day and the Indoor Air Show; be sure to check with your travel team to find out what will be happening when you’re in SASM’s neck of the woods. Conveniently situated near Platte River State Park, Mahoney State Park, Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari and several golf courses, there’s almost no reason to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience. The museum’s expansive collection includes examples of most aircraft operated by the Strategic Air Command and you and your travel partners are certain to come away with a new-found respect for our heroes of the sky – and beyond.
Groups on Omaha excursion will definitely want to spring for an enchanting and relaxing roll out on the wide Missouri aboard this 1940’s era, two-level 149 passenger excursion vessel – formerly a Las Vegas cruiser, now proud to call the Missouri River home. A variety of fantastic trips are offered on Omaha’s only riverboat – narrated sightseeing, lunch, dinner, holiday and themed cruises treat you to the glorious seasonal sights and sounds along the scenic riverfront, an array of wonderful live entertainment and full, cash-only bar; commemorative merchandise is also available – be sure to take home a little piece of your time aboard the River City Star, and don’t forget your cameras!
Groups exploring “the best of” Nebraska’s Gateway to the West will want to dedicate the better part of a day to visiting the fantastic Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, a world-class zoological park opened in 1894, nationally renowned for its leadership in animal conservation and research. The Zoo, home to more than 17,000 animals across nearly 1000 species features scores of remarkable exhibits, including the largest cat complex in North America, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp, one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests, the world’s largest indoor desert, and is home to the largest glazed geodesic dome on the planet! This magnificent 130-acre tribute to the animal kingdom is Nebraska’s number one attraction, having welcomed more than 25 million visitors over the past 40 years. An all-day rides pass gets you around the grounds in style: hop the Zoo train and ride the rails, grab a bird’s eye view on “Skyfari,” take a turn back in time with a spin on Sue’s old-fashioned Wildlife Carousel , or sit back and explore from your comfy seat on the Tram; if you’re feeling extra-brave and want to plunk down a five-spot, there’s even a camel with your name on it! The residents of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Pavilion, Kingdoms of the Night, Exhibition Madagascar, the Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, Hubbard Orangutan Forest, Durham Family Bear Canyon and the Lied Jungle await your rapt audience; if these don’t intrigue you, how about a close encounter at Stingray Beach, a prowl through Cat Complex, a trek through the unforgiving Desert Dome or a walk on the bottom of the ocean beneath a tunnel of ravenous, circling sharks at the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium? The Zoo hosts an array of special events throughout the year - check with your travel team to see what’s happening when you’re in town – and a variety of exciting, interactive daily animal encounters May through October get you “face time” with many of the creatures and their dedicated keepers; Short-tailed Fruit Bat Feeding, Komodo Dragon Training or Aardvark Dig, anyone?
Nebraska’s largest art museum was a generous gift to the people of Omaha from Sarah H. Joslyn in memory of her husband, George. Wanting to construct a memorial perpetuating their shared interest in music and art that would be beneficial to many, she built an extravagant concert hall surrounded by art galleries, which opened in September of 1931. This extraordinary Art Deco building, hailed as an important addition to the city of Omaha, constructed of the finest materials available, took nearly three years to build and in 1938 was listed among the finest 100 structures in the States. In 2006 a lavish and expansive sculpture garden replete with flowing reflective water features, landscaped green spaces and rich granite pathways was added to the Museum’s grounds, dramatically updating the face of the compound. While the museum itself is a work to behold, its impressive collections, both temporary and permanent, ranging in genre from Ancient, European, Latin American and Native Indian to Modern and Contemporary, showcase many important master works, including a major reinstallation of Joslyn Art Museum’s American and American Western galleries – “Art of the Americas,” the Maximilian Journals (The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied ,) touring exhibition, “The Maximillian-Bodmer Expedition: Travels in the Interior of North America,” and two recently acquired works by Rembrandt and Beirstadt.
Located on the west side of the Missouri River in Omaha, this museum houses many historic ships as well as aircraft. Travelers the world over would enjoy exhibits such as the USS Hazard, USS Marlin SST-2 Submarine, rocket launchers, and much more. The display of the USS Hazard allows adults alike to come aboard and take a closer look at this WW2 ship. See the 40mm guns aboard this unique attraction. While at the park don’t forget to step on in the USS Marlin Submarine. No hatches to climb down here, thankfully the sub has been modified allowing groups to enter through the side of the ship.