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Nebraska’s Top 12 Family Attractions

Here's what you need to know...
Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1, 1867. This state saw a growth in population thanks to the California Gold Rush and continued to grow throughout the 1860s.

It is known for its abundantly rich ranchland and farmland. The first Arbor Day was conceived and celebrated here. Kool-Aid, which is the state’s official soft drink, was invented in the city of Hastings in 1927.

Commonly known as the “Cornhusker State,” Nebraska is a wonderful place for family vacations. Its location in the midwest makes it accessible to families coming from many different states.

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Nebraska sets the stage for a relaxing and fun vacation for families with children of various ages. While family-friendly vacation spots can be found all throughout Nebraska, many are centered around the state’s more-populated areas.

Top 12 Family Attractions in Nebraska

#12 – Edgarton Explorit Children’s Museum

Price: $8.25
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Located in Aurora, the Edgerton Explorit Center is a hands-on science center. Whether it’s attending an interactive presentation in the on-site theater or using the flight simulator there is something to spark the interest of nearly every age group here.

#11 – Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Price:$6 for residents of Nebraska; $8 for out of state
Hours: 24 hours

Offering year-round camping and recreational opportunities, the Eugene T. Mahoney State Park can be found near Ashland. It is a modern park located along the Platte River.

Cabins, lodge rooms, and pad sites are available here if your family desires some outdoor fun. Here you will find winery tours, a fish hatchery, shopping, bird watching, nature programs, an aquatic center and much more.

#10 – Sunken Gardens

Price: Free; donations are accepted
Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

The Sunken Gardens in Lincoln has more than 30,000 annual plants that feature a different theme each year. It is located on a 1.5-acre lot and was renovated in 2004. Families can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of this amazing park that also includes a serene healing garden.

#9 – Museum of American Speed

Price: $10 to $15
Hours: times are seasonal; closed major holidays

Since 1992, the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and displaying physical items significant in racing and automotive history.

With over 150,000 square feet on three levels in the city of Lincoln, your family will be amazed at the collection of items that represent this important part of American history.

#8 – Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

Price: $12.95 to 19.95; military discounts available
Hours: times are seasonal

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a fun and educational experience for members of the entire family. Here you can ride a camel, feed a stingray, or simply enjoy seeing all of the animals this zoo has on exhibit.

#7 – Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari

Price: $5.50 to $7.50, children under 2 are free
Hours: April through October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

If your family wants to see wildlife up close and personal, look no further than the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari located in Ashland.

The safari park is a 4-mile drive-through adventure where you can watch bison, wolves, cranes, deer, and many other animals in their natural habitat. There is also a walking portion complete with a petting zoo for younger children to enjoy.

#6 – Omaha Children’s Museum

Price: $12, free for children under 2
Hours: Varies by season, see website

The Omaha Children’s Museum has exhibits and activities geared toward children of all ages. Your kids will have fun while exploring in this eye-catching museum.

They can explore with art, water play, building their own creations, or even learn through interactive science exhibits.

#5 – Oregon Trail Wagon Trail

Price: Varies by options, see website
Hours: See website

If you desire a bit of Midwest history, go back in time with the Oregon Trail Wagon Trail.

Several different options are available to meet your time and budget needs such as group tours, chuck wagon suppers, and journeys between one and four days.

On this trail, you can almost feel what it was like to be a pioneer while seeing the same land and wildlife.

#4 – Joslyn Art Museum

Price: Free general admission
Hours: hours vary daily; closed Mondays and major holidays

The Joslyn Art Museum is conveniently located in Omaha. Their goal is to preserve and interpret the visual arts as well as foster appreciation and enjoyment of the arts for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Both you and your children will enjoy a relaxing visit to this art museum that also offers classes and programs for children and teens alike.

#3 – Fort Cody

Price: Free
Hours: Varies by season

For roadside Americana, be sure to stop at Fort Cody, a family favorite since 1963. Fort Cody is also home to the unique Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Miniature.

With over 20,000 hand-carved pieces and 12 years in the making, this narrated diorama is a must-see when visiting North Platte. It runs every half an hour making it easy for you to bring the family to see.

#2 – Historic Haymarket District

Price: Varies by shop, see website
Hours: Varies by shop, see website

The Historic Haymarket District can be found in downtown Lincoln. There is something for every member of the family here whether it be shopping for local produce, enjoying an ice cream cone on a summer day or finding that perfect gift for a friend.

#1 – Nebraska History Museum

Price: Suggested donation of $2
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Also located in Lincoln is the Nebraska History Museum. Here you will find 12,000 years of history including natural history and political history. You may also want to take part in a presentation or visit their online exhibits.

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Safety for Families while Traveling

For most parents, having children has increased their awareness of safety while traveling and caused them to make it their top priority.

While you want your family to have a fun and memorable time while out on the road, you also want everyone to be safe.

 Have the right coverage

AdobeStock_66413216-1600x1600Before heading out on your Nebraska family adventure, be sure that you have the right auto insurance coverage.

At the minimum, you need to have the legally mandated amounts of coverage for Nebraska or your own state of residence. However, for most families more coverage is necessary.

Most auto insurance policies run for a term of six months. This means that a good time to review your policy and your current insurance needs is when your policy is up for renewal.

When reviewing your auto insurance coverage, compare three to four policies. This can be done easily by using an online price comparison tool.

With such a tool, you can compare several policies at once to determine which best fits your insurance and financial needs.

– Get a Tune-Up Ahead of Time

Your pre-vacation to-do list may already be a mile long, however, do not skip taking your car for a tune-up before your travels. This can save you time, headaches, and even money while out on the road.

– Check All Car Seats and Booster Seats

If you have not recently done so, get your car and booster seats checked by a professional.

Most fire stations offer free child safety seat checks to ensure that your seats are properly installed and that your children are buckled in the right way. This simple step can increase the chances your child will walk away from an accident.

– Carry an Emergency Kit

Be prepared for any unplanned situations by packing an emergency kit. This kit should include extra water, non-perishable snacks, a first-aid kit, blankets, a flashlight, road flares, jumper cables, and a spare cell phone battery.

– Remember Sunscreen

Packing and using sunscreen will make for a more comfortable and safer vacation for everyone. You want to come back with memories, not with a sunburn which increases your chances of skin cancer later in life.

– Check the Backseat

Finally, go through the back seat like a detective before you leave. Ensure that your child safety door and window locks are in use and working properly.

Look for loose change, old pieces of food, small toys, hair clips, and anything else that can be a choking hazard. You should also remove or secure anything else that could become a projectile in an accident such as boxes of tissues or books.

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