The Omaha Public Library and Lauritzen Gardens have announced that they will partner to offer free garden admission to library patrons.
All Omaha library branches will begin checking out memberships to library cardholders on Jan. 5.
“As Omaha’s public garden, we exist for the enjoyment and education of the entire community,” said John Newman, Lauritzen Gardens’ executive director. “We hope that this partnership will allow more families access to the garden, giving them the opportunity to experience the joys of nature year-round.”
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Each of the library’s 12 locations will have day passes available — one per location — for checkout year-round to adults who are Douglas County residents or have a nonresident paid membership to the library.
Passes are good for one-time admission. Each pass will admit two adults and children from their household. Only one pass may be issued per library card and customer.
Passes must be returned to any Omaha library location within five days of checkout. Unreturned or late passes will be subject to a $5 replacement fee.
To see which library locations have passes available, people will be able to visit omahalibrary.org and search for “Lauritzen Gardens” in the online catalog. People also may call any Omaha library branch to check availability.
Lauritzen Gardens joins Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Fontenelle Forest and the Omaha Children’s Museum as the fourth community organization to offer free admission through the Omaha Public Library. For more information, call or visit your neighborhood library branch or visit omahalibrary.org.
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Thousands of colorful poinsettias are on display at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can walk the garden and enjoy the holiday colors as they view model-garden trains and a poinsettia tree. The poinsettias will be on display through Sunday. More.
The Saddlebrook Library, 14850 Laurel Ave., will host a special storytime with the Omaha Symphony Friday at 9:30 a.m. The program will feature attendees acting out the story of Cinderella through ballet and movement with an Omaha Symphony artist. The workshop will explore early literacy skills, including singing, playing, talking and reading. The program is recommended for kids ages 3-7, but all ages are welcome. More.
Kids and teens are invited to the Sorensen Library, 4808 Cass St., on Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. to play video games that encourage movement. More.
On Thursday, come to the Sorensen Library, 4808 Cass St., to play robot tag with a variety of Sphero robots. The event, for kids and teens, will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. More. Later, kids are invited back to the Sorensen Library to play with robots, Legos and other STEM toys from 5 to 7 p.m. More.
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, 200 Pearl St. in Council Bluffs, will host a Pajama Jam Family Night on Friday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Families can enjoy crafts and activities in their pajamas. More.
Meet some feathered friends at the South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., on Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m. thanks to the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. Kids will learn about predator and prey relationships and animal adaptations. More.
On Saturday, kids are welcome to build an easel with a whiteboard for free at one of several Home Depot stores from 9 a.m. to noon. Once the project is complete, kids can paint their project to personalize it. All kids get to keep their project and will receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron and a commemorative pin, while supplies last. The workshop is for kids ages 5 to 12. More.
Elementary, middle and high school students are invited to the W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St., Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. to enjoy a special winter break food event. The fun will include video games, treats and a make-and-take craft. More.
Come to the Millard Library, 13214 Westwood Lane, Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. to try your luck at an escape room. Kids in second through sixth grade will be “locked” in a meeting room with puzzles, clues (and a few hints) to see if they can figure out how to get out before the time is up. Registration is required. More.
On Friday, the Abrahams Library, 5111 N. 90th St., will host an afternoon of read-aloud stories and treats. The program, which goes from 2 to 3 p.m., is geared toward children in first through fourth grades. More.
Teens ages 12-18 can come to the South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to make touchscreen gloves for their devices. Gloves and all other supplies will be provided. More.
Teens are invited to the Sorensen Library, 4808 Cass St., on Friday from 1 to 2 p.m. to compete in a Tetris tournament. Teens can test their puzzle skills with Puyo Puyo Tetris and regular Tetris on the library’s Nintendo Switch. More.
Kids 4 years old through sixth grade are invited to the Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Ave., on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. to make a popcorn ball to celebrate the new year. More.
The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum has a new exhibit: "Game On: The History and Science of Gaming." The interactive exhibit highlights the evolution of gaming technology and animation and includes interactive displays that span a 2,500-square-foot exhibit gallery. Guests can build their own game. The exhibit also includes giant video games, arcade games, animation stations and an 8-foot LED Pixel play illumination station. The exhibit is open through Sunday. More.
The Omaha metro area has several indoor play areas for families to enjoy. They include Pump It Up, Backyard Playworld and BounceU in Omaha, and Jumpin Jax in Papillion. Oak View Mall and Westroads Mall also have fun indoor play areas. Check out Approach Climbing Gym at 4923 S. 72nd St. It offers day passes, instructional classes, youth programs and more. Several local gymnastic places also have open gym time, including Metro Stars Gymnastics, Premier Gymnastics, Airborne Academy, Go! Kids Gym and Kid's Body Shop. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, 28500 W. Park Highway in Ashland, Nebraska, features an on-site indoor activity center.
Take an afternoon to go roller skating with your kids. You can laugh at each other while you fall down again and again. Check out Skate City, 1220 S. Fort Crook Road in Bellevue.
Do Space, Omaha's community tech space, is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Plus it's free. Check out five things to do at Do Space here.
There are tons of organizations that host weekday and weekend storytimes.
Join the Omaha Public Library at Lauritzen Gardens on Friday for stories that celebrate gardens, plants, insects and more. Kids will also discover the joys of nature, movement, music and literature. The event is geared toward preschool-aged kids, but all ages are welcome. The program is free. Lauritzen Gardens is at 100 Bancroft St. Register here. Other storytimes include Barnes and Noble (Oak View and Crossroads), Pottery Barn Kids, Leader Reader at the Omaha Children's Museum, the Omaha Public Library branches, the Gretna Public Library, the Bellevue Public Library, the La Vista Public Library, the Sump Memorial Library in Papillion, the Baright Public Library in Ralston and the Plattsmouth Public Library.
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.
The Omaha, Bellevue and Council Bluffs Public Libraries are currently offering free day passes to Fontenelle Forest. Each pass admits two adults and children from their household. More information can be found at each library.
Community centers offer something for every member of your family — from infants to senior citizens. For a full list of community centers, click here.
Several area organizations host craft time for children every weekend. Kids can create a free craft Saturday at Lakeshore Learning Store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Finally, kids 3 and older can make paper flowers for mom Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon with the Michaels Kids Club. Sign up online or drop in. The cost ranges from $2 to $5 per project, supplies included.
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.
We put together a list of must-see spots across the state. How many of these destinations can you cross off your Cornhusker bucket list?