Located at 7300 Q Street in Ralston, just west of 72nd & Q, is the Ralston Arena. Opened in October 2012, it is the Omaha metro’s newest and most modern such facility. The arena is home of the UNO men’s basketball team, the Omaha Lancer’s hockey team, the Omaha Beef football team, as well as the Omaha Rollergirls. On the day of my visit, a high school basketball tournament was being held. Ralston mayor Don Groesser was also present and offered to give me a quick tour. Don said that the main arena will seat 3,500 people. The facility can also support two concurrent events. Adjoining the main arena is a second venue (presently an ice arena that is available to the public for “open” ice skating). Skate rental is available, and there is additional seating for for up to 500 at the rink. A bar and lounge area provides seating for about 80 people, and can be rented for special occasions. I was very impressed by the service and hospitality at the arena. There are many concession choices, including Maria’s Mexican food, Domino’s pizza, Famous Dave’s BBQ, International fare, and Omaha Steaks… which seemed to be the fan favorite. This is an awesome entertainment facility you will enjoy visiting again and again. Happy Motoring!
Every 4th of July, the city of Ralston and it’s Chamber of Commerce host the premiere, must-see, Independence Day Parade in Nebraska. The event starts near 84th and Q Streets in Ralston at 1:00 p.m. and winds through the lovely tree-lined streets of old Ralston, ending at 72nd and Main Street nearly 3 hours later. Our family tradition is to pack a cooler with lunch and refreshments and to drive/walk to Independence Avenue in old Ralston. We take our own lawn chairs and blankets and arrive a half hour before the parade starts. The parade is a blast. In addition to bands, clowns, and fire trucks, every prominent politician in the state attends and walks the parade route. Typical attenders include the Nebraska Governor, Nebraska’s U.S. Senate and House members, as well as the Omaha and Ralston mayors. The 2010 event has over 106 parade entries. The city of Ralston has dubbed itself “Independence City”, and for good reason. In addition to the annual parade, Ralston hosts a quilting and art show, a teen dance, a picnic in the park, a fun run-walk, fire department water fights and a fireworks display. Entertainment for the entire family. Check out the entertainment schedule, then drive to Ralston this year. Join in the celebration! Happy Motoring!
Located just off I-80 at the Harrison Street exit is Cabela’s, one of the country’s premier outdoor outfitter’s. From humble beginnings in Sydney, Nebraska, Cabela’s has grown into a nationally recognized chain. A massive store, Cabela’s sells everthing one needs for hunting, fishing, camping, boating or outdoor sports. The outdoor clothing selection at Cabela’s is extensive and reasonably priced. Denim Jeans, polo shirts, and sport caps have been among my favorite purchases. At its LaVista location, Cabela’s maintains an enormous wildlife display of animal species that are native to North America and the Midwest. The animals on display have been preserved through taxidermy, with extensive signage to enhance their educational value. Our family’s enjoy viewing and discussing these exhibits in the midst of the shopping experience. Visit Cabela’s when you are in West Omaha and Happy Motoring!
Located at 40th and Franklin Streets in the Orchard Hill neighborhood of North Omaha is a half-acre vegetable and herb garden plot called City Sprouts. Since 1995, City Sprouts has provided garden plots and education on gardening techniques to families living in the community that do not have their own garden plots, and that have a desire to grow their own food, form relationships with their neighbors, and enhance the beauty of the community. Two gazebos nestled amongst the garden plots, provide respites for those gardeners wishing to take a break from their labor of love, working the soil. City Sprouts hosts events through-out the year, but their primary fundraising event is their annual gala which will be held Sunday, August 22nd, 2010. Last year’s gala was held at Lauritzen Gardens. However, I’ll provide additional details as they become available. Get involved as a City Sprouts gardener or volunteer, and Happy Motoring!
Located at 14808 Echo Hills Drive, in Millard, is Dusek Photography. Dusek’s provides professional photography services for individuals and families, for special events such as graduations or weddings, for Little Leagues and sports teams, for childcare/preschools and more. My wife and I believe it is important to have family photos taken at least once a year, as a gift to friends and family. You should check out Dusek’s impressive photo portfolio. The Dusek professionals have several outdoor locations that they use for their photo shoots, or you can make an appointment for their in-home (basement) studio. Just call Kim to make an appointment, at 402-934-4397. Enjoy your photos and Happy Motoring!
Lauritzen Gardens, located at 100 Bancroft Street in South Omaha, is Omaha’s Botanical Center. With over 100 acres of outdoor garden attractions, and a 32,000 square foot visitor and education center (shown in the photo to the left), Lauritzen Gardens allows you to learn about horticulture, or to lose yourself in the natural beauty of the magnificently maintained gardens. On November 27, Lauritzen’s Holiday Poinsettia Show opens to the public. An annual tradition, the show includes of a massive poinsettia “tree”, a model train and miniature Omaha display. Young children love it, and visiting is a delightful way to get the entire family into the Christmas spirit. Annual membershipsto Lauritzen may be purchased, or individual event admission tickets – which are $6 for adults and $3 for children 6 – 12 years old. Lauritzen is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except holidays, with some extended hours during Summer and Fall months. Consider giving a membership as a Christmas gift – Happy Motoring!
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3,000 foot long landmark bridge spanning the Missouri River, between Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bridge supports pedestrian and bicycle traffic only, and is first such bridge to connect two states. The bridge is supported by two 200 foot towers, and is suspended approximately 55 feet above the water. Joggers, walkers, and bikers can enjoy the scenic natural beauty of the “Muddy Mo” River basin. There is parking on the Omaha side, near the entrance ramp to the bridge which is located at 705 Riverfront Drive, near Gallup University. Look for the big blue “Omaha” globe shown in the photo. The bridge is lighted at night, is free and open 24 hours a day. Happy Motoring and Happy Walking!!
The Lozier IMAX® Theater, located at the Henry Doorly Zoo, is a fun family entertainment destination year round. Just east of Rosenblatt Stadium, on 10th Street, the theater boasts a 61 x 84 foot big screen, surround sound, and 3D IMAX technology. Throughout 2009, two great shows are playing: “Under the Sea 3D and Wild Safari 3D.” Visitors may call (402) 330-IMAX for show times. Enjoy the show and Happy Motoring!
Located at 500 S. 20th Street, the Omaha Children’s Museum is a great place to take young children up to the age of 10. The museum is designed to permit small children to exercise their imagination and to become excited about learning. Permanent exhibits include a creative arts center, an imagination playground, and a science and technology center/lab. The ball factory, the dance room, grocery store and traveling exhibits are our family’s favorites. The museum’s winter hours are: Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. t0 5:00 p.m. Check out the museum’s calendar, and Happy Motoring!
Located at 3616 S. 132nd Street, between Center and L Streets, Skate Daze, is a good place to hold family or group outings, including birthday parties. Skate Daze fun activities include: roller skating, lazer tag, rock climbing, bumper cars, a roller coaster, and over 75 arcade games. Skate Daze has a snack bar that serves pizza, snacks and beverages. It is a great place for a high school “lock in”, with plenty of things to keep students entertained. Hours vary, but adult skating for the “retro” crowd is held Tuesday nights from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Happy Motoring!