Omaha: A Midwestern Gem

After departing the “Crossroads of America” that is Oklahoma City, our journey Northward to Omaha, Nebraska had began.  Around this time in our adventure, things have gotten a little more familiar.  Hitching up the trailer, doing our “pre-flight checks” (making sure everything is put up into travel mode)  has become more routine. Nicole and I each have our own checklist of jobs, and we trust each other to make sure everything is done.  Traveling across North America can be daunting, so having a copilot you love and trust is invaluable.

Now that we are all hitched up, lets head to Omaha, Nebraska!   You might not think of Omaha as a destination, and to be honest, I didn’t either at first; hopefully this post will change your mind, and you will take some time to visit on an off your beaten path adventure.

The drive from Oklahoma City to Omaha isn’t the most scenic and it may have been the most expensive considering the portion of I-35 from the Kansas state line to Wichita was a toll road. $21 later we blasted through Kansas and entered Nebraska.  We coasted into the “Pine Grove” RV park and got a solid nights sleep and prepared for a full day in Omaha.

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We woke up and headed for breakfast at Shirley’s Diner.   There was quite a long wait at Shirley’s, so we knew it must be good!  We filled up on hot cocoa and a delicious breakfast before we started off on our day of sightseeing.

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First stop – Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Apparently,  this is the place to be in Omaha on a Saturday. We go to a lot of zoos and this place was more packed that I am used to. From the “Desert Dome” featuring cacti and rattlesnakes to the “Jungle” with it’s pygmy hippos and otter, thousands of families packed the exhibits trying to get a glimpse of their favorite animals. We asked a zoo attendant if this was a typical day based on attendance.  She said there was 9,000 people at the zoo and their busiest days see upward of 37,000! Maybe we picked a good day after all!

After our morning at the zoo, we headed to a part of Omaha called the “Old Market”. This place was really a gem. It’s about a five square block area made up of quaint old brick warehouse style buildings that have been re-purposed over the years into an eclectic mix of locally owned boutiques, bars, and dining venues.

As lovers of antiques and vintage goods, we were especially impressed with a store called The Imaginarium. It was two full floors packed floor to ceiling with treasures!

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After shopping for treasures for a solid hour we were hungry and decided to have some Mexican food.  We originally wanted to eat at a place called Trini’s, but the nearly two hour wait wasn’t sitting well with my stomach.  Therefore, we walked a few blocks over to Michael’s. This wound up being a most excellent detour. Fried flour tortilla tacos, homemade taco sauce, gooey queso and a Kahlua Cream Soda to wash it all down made for a meal to remember and cure my taco cravings (at least until the next Taco Tuesday)!

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Dessert? Why not! Just one block over we found Ted and Wally’s ice cream shop.   Nicole had a sundae,  and I had two scoops of “Louder Than a Bomb” a chocolate,cayenne, and rainbow sprinkled concoction.  Wow, that left quite the ringing in my ears after that flavor explosion. Talk about a spicy aftertaste!  After a little more window shopping and photo stops we decided to call it a day and head back to Pine Grove.

Omaha has a little something for everyone. A little bit country a little bit hipster rock and roll. I encourage anybody passing through to give it a shot and discover this quaint slice of Nebraska.

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