From great food to fun bars and coffee houses, from museums, theaters and a world-class zoo, the Omaha metro area has it all.

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Jonathan Gold, who died in July, was one of my absolute favorite food critics. His reviews for the Los Angeles Times focused, of course, on high-end food. But his real passion was finding the best hole-in-the-wall joints, the tastiest cuisine served in the city’s Thaitown, Koreatown and many other international neighborhoods, and the finest mom-and-pop, old-school spots. As a small tribute to his work, and all the experiences his writing provided me during trips to L.A., I present you a few local spots that I love, places I think he’d have loved, too.

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What is more fun than throwing axes? That’s what Flying Timber Axe Throwing owner Matt Wyant wanted to know. He had us stumped. “It’s a ton of fun,’’ he says. That got us wondering: What other bars and coffeehouses in the metro area offer something different to attract customers? We found everything from cuddly cats, to yoga, to build-your-own bloody marys. Enjoy!

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Revitalization is an ongoing theme for the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, as a decade-long master plan continues to come to life. This year, the zoo opened part of a new Asian-themed exhibit by debuting red pandas, Indian rhinos and a species of deer that has been extinct in the wild for nearly 100 years, among other species.

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