At 9:26 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to shut down all American airspace after attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a third attack that was thwarted when passengers fought the terrorists and the plane went down in Pennsylvania.
Closing the airspace forced 4,000 flights to land at the nearest airport. Flights from Europe to the U.S. were diverted to Canada.
Thirty-eight of those international flights carrying more than 6,500 people landed in Gander, Newfoundland, a town with 10,000 residents.
After five hours on the ground, passengers were allowed to get off the planes. They were driven to churches, schools, community centers and other buildings in Gander and the surrounding area. All of them were in Canada for at least two days. Planes were grounded until Sept. 13. Some didn’t leave until Sept. 16.
What happened to the stranded people and their hosts over those days makes up the plot of “Come From Away,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that opens in Omaha on Wednesday. The city is the latest stop on a national tour that started last October.
With only 12 actors, the show by writers David Hein and Irene Sankoff tells more than 16,000 stories that happened over five days. Some of the actors met their real-life counterparts and became friends, much like many of the passengers have enduring relationships with the people of Gander.
“Come From Away” is about 90 minutes long with no intermission. It runs through March 31 at the Orpheum Theater.
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The Nebraska Humane Society will host Wildlife Wednesday: Baby Wildlife on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Come learn what you should do if you encounter wild babies. The topic is for all ages. More.
Celebrate music on Monday at 10:30 a.m. with the Omaha Symphony at the Abrahams Library, 5111 N. 90th St. The event will also take place Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Swanson Library, 9101 West Dodge Road. The storytimes will feature pirates, with a rhythmic reading using percussion instruments with an Omaha Symphony artist. The storytimes will also explore the early literacy skills of singing, playing, talking and reading. The program is recommended for children ages 3 to 7, but children of all ages are welcome. More.
The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium will host a Telescopes & Prairie Skies: Moon Gazing event Wednesday from 7 to 10 p.m. at Wildlife Safari Park, 16406 292nd St. in Ashland, Nebraska. Pre-registration and payment in advance is required. Cost is $10 per zoo member and $13 per non-member. The event is open to all ages but youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. People are welcome to bring their own binoculars and portable telescopes, but larger telescopes will be available. More.
Come to the South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., on Thursday to get crafty and make a duct tape magic wallet. The event, which is free, will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All supplies will be included. More.
The Gretna Public Library, 736 South St., will host a marble roll painting event Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. Create unique abstract artwork using marbles, paper, paint and a box. The event is for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. No registration is required. More.
The Millard Library, 13214 Westwood Lane, will host an “Elephant, Piggie and Pigeon” party Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. Hear popular Mo Willems stories, including “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” “Knuffle Bunny” and all of the “Elephant and Piggie” books. The event will include stories, playtime and crafts. The party is geared toward kids ages 3 to 10. Registration is required. More.
PJ Masks Live! Save the Day will be at the Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St., Monday at 6 p.m. Come watch Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, along with new friend PJ Robot, save the day from sneaky villains. Tickets start at $35. More.
Come to Marcus Theatres this Monday and Wednesday to see a showing of “The Sandlot” during their $1 Retro Series. Locations include Marcus Majestic Cinema of Omaha, 14304 West Maple Road, and Twin Creek Cinema, 3909 Raynor Parkway in Bellevue. For movie times and to purchase tickets, click here.
Come check out a life-sized adventure through the fauna and fearsome flora of Lauritzen Gardens. Dinosaur UpROAR is the newest indoor exhibit and will offer a realistic glimpse into the prehistoric world, allowing visitors to experience what life was like millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The exhibit will feature 20 life-sized dinosaurs ranging from a 14-inch Sordes to a 33-foot Daspletosaur. There will also be discovery stations, educational activities and special events throughout the exhibit. The fun is included with paid admission, which is $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 through 12. The garden is free to members and children 5 and younger. The exhibit will run through May 12. More.
Every Monday, Fontenelle Forest hosts a drop-in Mud Pies class for kids up to age 5. The class is a chance to connect kids to the natural world and includes hands-on learning and technology-free play both indoors and out. One adult is required per two children. The class will take place at 9:30 a.m. and is $3 per child for members or $5 per child with daily admission. Fontenelle Forest is at 1111 Bellevue Boulevard North. More.
Come to the Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., to check out the exhibit “Super Sports: Building Strength, Sportsmanship and Smarts.” Kids can test skills throwing footballs and baseballs; take aim on the mini soccer, hockey and basketball courts; attempt a CrossFit course; practice curling; and bump, set, spike on multilevel volleyball nets. There’s also a separate toddler area for the youngest athletes-in-training. The fun is included with regular museum admission. The exhibit will be open through April 14. More.
The Ralston Arena offers public ice skating for $5, with free ice skate rental. The Motto McLean Ice Arena inside Hitchcock Park near 45th and Q Streets offers Family Skate time Sunday from 4 to 6:15 p.m.
Come to Morrill Hall in the University of Nebraska State Museum to see a new temporary exhibit that explores the history of paleontology. Kids and families will learn why Nebraska has the best record of mammal evolution in the Great Plains. The museum is at 645 N. 14th St. in Lincoln. More.
Are your kids animal lovers? If so, there are several ways they can help the animals at the Nebraska Humane Society, including reading to them during adoption hours. Check out more fun ways here.