Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Omaha | Midwest Living

Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Omaha

Jog across a pedestrian bridge, float down the Elkhorn River, hike or bike along trails—the Omaha area offers plenty of recreational choices for active travelers.

1) Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Named for a former Nebraska senator, this curved cable bridge connects Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Walkers, runners and bikers get stunning views of the downtown skyline and the Missouri River that flows 60 feet beneath (bring your camera for a photo op). If the 3,000 feet across aren’t enough for you, the bridge also links to 150 miles of trails on dry land.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.  Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.  Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

2) Heartland of America Park The walking path, pretty lagoon, and World War II and Heartland Memorial monuments at this city park are fine to visit any time of year, but the showstopper is the fountain, which puts on flashy water and light shows several times a day between May and October. Gondola rides around the 15-acre lake are an added draw during summer visits.

Heartland of America Park. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Heartland of America Park. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

3) Tank down the Elkhorn You’ve been tubing, kayaking and canoeing, but chances are you’ve never been “tanking.” These round floats are 8 feet in diameter and equipped with small tables for leisurely journeys down the Elkhorn River—no paddling required. Each tank accommodates up to four people; trips last four to five hours. Available Memorial Day through Labor Day; reservations required.

4) Zorinsky Lake Park This West Omaha green space has tree-lined, paved walking-biking trails, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and a lake begging for boating and fishing. Admission’s free to this year-round park. In the summer, splash in the aquatic center's spray features, water slide and large public pool.

Zorinsky Lake.  Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Zorinsky Lake.  Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

5) Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium You'll get plenty of walking in at this 160-acre top-rated zoo, home to the world’s largest indoor desert and nocturnal exhibits, plus the country’s largest indoor rainforest. The $73 million African Grasslands exhibit minimizes barriers so visitors feel immersed in that habitat.

6) Schramm Park State Recreation Area Come to enjoy the Platte River views and 3-mile nature trail at this day-use park 30 miles southwest of downtown. The Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium pays tribute to the site’s life as an 1880s fish hatchery with short films, a terrarium, and 12 viewing tanks stocked with native and introduced species of fish.

7) Driftwood Paddle Adventures Glide along Zorinksy or Standing Bear lake on a stand-up paddleboard excursion. Guides make even first-time paddleboarders feel at ease. Look for wildlife, such as ducks, cranes and muskrats, in the grass-lined channels.

8) Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Just southwest of Omaha in Ashland, these 690 acres of fun outdoor recreation are open all year. In summer, swim, golf, play tennis, fish, hike or boat. In winter, check out the cross-country skiing trails and toboggan runs, or whirl around the ice skating rink. Camping facilities and a motel-style lodge provide overnight options.

9) Lauritzen Gardens Two miles of paths wind through gardens along the Missouri River; tropical and temperate plants thrive in the 17,500-square-foot conservatory.

10) Brysons Airboat Tours Zip up the Platte River at up to 40 mph, stopping to watch eaglets on nests or to explore a sandbar. In Fremont, 30 miles northwest of Omaha.

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