Sunday, June 20, 2010

Omaha with Toddlers and Newborns - If it's good enough for Warren Buffett...

My wife is from Miami, went to school in Boston and now lives in SoCal. I grew up in Tulsa, travel frequently to New York, Dallas and have lived in Southern California since college. I was not sure what to expect from Omaha, Nebraska. Well, I could not have been more wrong. I'll admit my view may be slightly tainted by the fact that I was visiting my new 3 week old niece - and what is more perfect that a cute and cuddly new little one (especially one you can hold and play with but not have to worry about changing!). My sister-in-law and her husband moved to Omaha about a year ago when he was transferred by his company, Yahoo! , which was looking to open a new branch in the area. Omaha is a small city - you can probably drive the entire city from east to west in about 30 minutes tops and there is almost no traffic. Being from L.A. where traffic is a nightmare, it was such an awakening to see that there are towns where traffic is not even an issue - yes, a place where your day doesn't begin and end with road rage. My sister in law stayed home to take care of the littlest edition to our family, but my mother-in-law was able to take us around town. We were surprised by how much there was to do for kids. The first day we took our three year old to the Omaha Children's Museum. Being a "big city snobs" we expected it to be a small museum without too much to do. We were so wrong. It was huge with tons of fun stuff to do - water play, instruments galore, and an entire second floor made over like Bridwell Island from the Clifford series, complete with visit from Clifford himself. The second floor also offered a carousel which the kids loved. We then went to Omaha's Old Town section, which is designed to reflect what the town must have looked like in the 1800's (enough to place yourself back in the day) but made over to reflect a cute shopping and dining area full of art galleries, boutique stores and great restaurants. Truly adorable.

The next day we visited the Durham Museum, which has more trains (Union Pacific was created an continues to be headquartered in Nebraska), and offers an overview of Omaha's history - including famous Omahans like Tom Brokaw, Abbott & Costello, Johnny Carson and of course, Warren Buffett. Speaking of Warren Buffett, we drove by his house. You would miss it if you didn't know better. Apparently one of the world's richest men lives in the same house he's lived in for over 35 years. It's a nice size, but not more than an acre and a half of land. A FAR cry from the mansions of Bel Air, Pasadena or Greenwich, CT. Without a gate protecting the house, I actually worried about the Buffett family's safety. When it comes to dining, we ate as well in Omaha as we would have in any major city. We ate a fabulous mushroom truffle pizza at Pitch, in the adorable town of Dundee. We had an amazing ice cream for desert at eCreamery, which allows you to personalize logos - the perfect gift for anyone. In fact, the town was hosting the College World Series and had created special ice cream flavors for each of the teams in town. One place we did not make it to was the Henry Doorley Zoo, which is considered one of the top zoos in the country behind the San Diego Zoo and National Zoo, which my sister in law said kids just love. Anyway, the list goes on and on, and I won't lie, there were some 70's parts of town - many 70's parts of town, but needless to say, it was a lovely town and a lovely time. I'd suggest checking in with the Omaha Visitor's Bureau before going, though, to make sure you hit these hidden gems.

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