We all know that Omaha is full of amazing things to do, but it’s also fun to get out of town to see new things! Day trips are an amazing way to see different sights and get out of town for a change of pace. Here are 4 spots great for day or weekend trips, and all are within a 4 hour drive of Omaha.
Ashland, NE | <30 Minute Drive
Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum has over 300,000 square feet of exhibit and educational space certain to impress your space, history, or airplane fanatic. It features authentic and restored aircraft such as the impressive SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest aircraft. The Children’s Learning Center allows children of all ages the opportunity for hands-on STEM-based play and discovery. Keep an eye out for themed day camps and special events such as Helicopter Day or Meet an Astronaut to maximize your visit.
Mahoney State Park is an incredible gem just outside of Omaha. Within the park, not only can you find excellent campgrounds, hiking, and natural vistas, but you also get the added benefit of many fun features like a family aquatic center, ropes course, and so much more! Visit outdoornebraska.gov to find an activity that your family would love for an incredible day trip!
The Wildlife Safari Park is a four mile, drive-thru adventure full of North American wildlife! The safari features elk, bison, pelicans, and more! There is also an area about half way through the drive where you can stretch your legs and take a hike to see wolves and bald eagles. This is a great way to spend a day that you want to get out of the house, but it’s too hot to do the zoo!
Lincoln, NE | <60 Minute Drive
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is a perfect day trip destination. The exhibits are close together and most of the walk is shaded and scenic! You can easily see the entire zoo in a few hours and it’s definitely worth the trip. If you are a member of Henry Doorly Zoo, you can receive half off your admission!
Morril Hall is the perfect destination for young museum lovers and will not disappoint even the littlest paleontologist! Packed with fossils, activities, and countless exhibits, you can spend as little or as long as you’d like. The Marx Discovery Center is a great hands-on experience, and you could also add the Mueller Planetarium to your adventure.
If you’re in Lincoln and need a quick treat, head on over to the Dairy Store on UNL’s East Campus. You can grab some of the best ice cream in the state, and there’s even a nice view outside as well. Plus, if you play it right, you can grab a bite at the Valentino’s on Holdrege first (or last.)
A visit to the Nebraska state capitol building is a great way to spend a day…especially if you’re trying to mix some education into your summer fun! The capitol is open seven days a week and there are tours available on the hour (except at noon). The tours generally last about 30-45 minutes. There are also grounds around the building for kiddos to run around and let off some steam!
Des Moines, IA | <2 Hour Drive
The Science Center of Iowa is worth the drive to Des Moines itself! My kids loved exploring all of the different exhibits and learning about everything from farm life to how clouds work! They also feature ever-changing traveling exhibits, so there’s something new to see. At last check, Omaha Children’s Museum members were able to get into SCI for free, but I’d call to verify before making the trip out there!
If you’re in DSM, you have to try Fong’s Pizza! They have a variety of specialty pizzas. My personal favorite is the Crab Rangoon Pizza! And don’t miss out on the pizza rolls either!
After a long year at school, are your thrill seekers ready for a day trip to Adventureland? Located just outside of Des Moines, Adventureland is 2 and half hours away from Omaha, making it just far enough away for a great escape! Check out the water park, the twisting rollercoasters, or even the arcade for when you need a break. Adventureland is awesome for all ages!
Blank Park Zoo is a great little zoo. It seems like they have a new baby animal every time we visit! They also have a wide variety of animals including wallabies! If you’re looking for a quick rest or a snack, the Safari Grill is the perfect spot. (The last time we visited, we were able to get in free with our Henry Doorly membership, but I always recommend verifying that information before planning on it!)
Kansas City | <3 Hour Drive
Kaleidoscope is a a free, hands-on art center for children located in the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City. Kids get to design, cut, and glue on their own and take home all of their special art work! This experience is completely free, but the 50 minute sessions can fill up fast!
My kids loved our surprise getaway to Great Wolf Lodge! This indoor water park/resort has everything you need to make sure you never need to stop out their front door once you enter. From the arcade to the pools to the Magiquest game, your kiddos will be entertained from the start of your stay!
Union Station in downtown Kansas City is also a great place to explore. It’s home to Science City (an interactive science center), a planetarium, and several dining experiences. My family has spent hours at the Union Station just wandering around and exploring all of the different nooks and crannies!
Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant is a must do if you have a little one that’s train obsessed! This burger and fry diner is train-car themed— the miniature trains bring your food right to your table for you!
The Nebraska Passport is a great way to discover our beautiful state! The passport features stops that offer a variety of adventures: museums, parks, wineries, and so much more. The program runs from May 1-September 30 and you receive a stamp (in your booklet that you can order online or in the passport app) you then turn in your stamps and receive prizes. This program is free to participate in!