Omaha with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

by Shanea Patterson, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 11th 2010 09:24 AM

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Omaha with Teens: A Family Vacation

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If you are planning a trip to Omaha with teens, you may wonder how you will keep them entertained in Nebraska. You may be surprised to find that Omaha is an open field of possibilities for all sorts of family fun. There is no shortage of things to do on an Omaha family vacation with teens, from Omaha's amusement parks and museums to its malls and gardens. Your agenda will be so full that you won't know where to begin!

Morning


Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast at Lisa's Radial Café, a local favorite. Indulge yourself with the Eggs Benedict and hollandaise sauce, made from freshly squeezed lemons from the restaurant's courtyard garden. Add on perfectly cooked hash browns and a side of biscuits and gravy for a breakfast you can't beat! The Country Club Omelet Skillet, which comes with hash browns and a side of toast, is a family favorite in my household. So, get on over to Lisa's for an amazing down-home, traditional diner breakfast.

Lisa's Radial Café, 817 N 40th St, Omaha, NE 68131; 402-551-2176

The next stop on the best family vacation in Omaha should be the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge to connect two states. The bridge's 15-foot walkway is perfect for walkers and bikers. Don't look down if you're afraid of heights because the bridge stands 60 feet above the river, which makes for spectacular views of the river below. At night there are lights that outline the deck. The 3,000-foot-long bridge connects to 150 miles of trails on each side, so if your teens are into hiking or biking, you'll have plenty of trails to occupy them. Regardless of whether you go at night or during the day, this is a must-see when in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, 705 Riverfront Dr, Omaha, NE 68102; 402-444-5900

If you have teenagers, especially girls, they probably like to shop and will be dying to check out the boutiques and shops in The Old Market, a historic downtown neighborhood. My family hit up a bookstore called Soul Desires on the way in and then headed to the clothing stores. Some of the featured stores in The Old Market include Nouvelle Eve, The Lotus, and Bellwether Boutique. The little marketplace has a few antique and gift shops that you should check out before leaving.

The Old Market, Harney to Jackson St and 10th to 13th St, Omaha, NE 68102

Afternoon


After spending all that time shopping, you and your teens will want a fabulous lunch! Hartland BBQ is the perfect experience for your trip to Omaha with teens. My teens love the barbeque sandwiches, while I sink my teeth into a rack of baby back ribs, seasoned with the restaurant's secret rub, cornbread, and side of coleslaw. Prices are a little higher here, but it's definitely worth the price for the best BBQ spot within 20 miles.

Hartland BBQ, 5402 NW Radial Hwy, Omaha, NE 68104; 402-397-5765; Mon-Sat 11AM-8PM

Omaha family vacations are not complete without a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo which has the world's largest indoor desert and nocturnal exhibits. My favorite thing about the zoo was the indoor rainforest. Have a blast discovering world-class exhibits like the Durham's Bear Canyon, the Gorilla Valley, and the Scott Aquarium. Watching all kinds of fish swim over your head is extraordinary! The Garden of Senses was another of my family's favorites. It's filled with over 250 species of herbs, perennials, and trees. Don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind zoo! You'll be glad you didn't!

Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68107; 402-733-8401; 9:30AM-5PM daily; Adults (ages 12 and over) $11.50, Seniors (62+) $10.00, Child (3-11) $7.75, Child (under 3) free

The Amazing Pizza Machine is a great stop for kids of all ages. My teens loved this place! The indoor amusement park has plenty of rides and attractions to keep you busy for hours. We spent our time here playing mini golf, bumper cars, and go-karts. The place is like a Chuck E Cheese for older kids and even adults. If you're a kid at heart (and who isn't?), this place is worth the trip. The Machine also has great deals on dinner food, but there's nothing better than a dinner cruise.

The Amazing Pizza Machine, 139th & "S" Plaza, Omaha, NE 68137; 402-829-1777, 888-641-4386; Sun-Thu 11AM-8PM, Fri 11AM-10PM, Sat 10AM-10PM

Evening


Close out your Omaha family vacation with teens by having dinner aboard the River City Star public tour boat, Omaha's only premier riverboat. The company offers an array of different cruises for an unforgettable and unique experience. The boat carries 149 passengers and sets sail both day and night. This was absolutely one of the best experiences my family has ever had. While relaxing on the boat, enjoy both entertainment and leisure activities while you sail across the Missouri River. The themes range from pirate cruises and happy hour cruises to dinner cruises, like the Irish Dinner Cruise and the Public Dinner Cruise. We had the divine pleasure of being on board for the Public Dinner Cruise which lasted roughly 2 hours.

River City Star, 151 Freedom Park Rd, Omaha, NE 68102; 402-342-7827, 866-227-7827; Offers lunch, brunch, and dinner cruises; Check website for dates and times; Adults $25-$40, Children (12 and under) $15-$20; Reservations required (at least 48 hours recommended)

After dinner and a cruise, stop by Cupcake Island for an exquisite collection of baked goods, including an assortment of cookies, cakes, tarts, pies, and pastries. The rich red velvet cake will send your taste buds over the edge for sure! Indulge in the sinfully delicious brownie cupcakes smothered in chocolate ganache or the chocolate frosted vanilla cupcakes. Don't miss this Omaha hidden treasure!

Cupcake Island, 1314 S 119th St, Omaha, NE 68144; 402-334-6800; Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM, Sat 8AM-4PM
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