Omaha Children`s Museum

Omaha Children`s Museum


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Omaha Children’s Museum is located on 20th and Howard streets in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.Starting its operations in 1976, out of the back of a station wagon, Omaha Children’s Museum delivered workshops and programs to thousands of area children.In 1977, the articles of incorporation were filed and, shortly thereafter, the museum found its first home in the City/County connector building.The museum was later moved to the corner of 18th and St Mary's, and finally to its permanent home in the present location - the former McFayden Ford building - in 1989.A series of renovations took place in the years 1993 and 2002, which made this facility one of the largest children's museums in the country.The permanent exhibits in the museum are housed in the Toddler Exploration Center, Charlie Campbell Science and Technology Center, and Creative Center. The museum’s Baker's Store encourages children’s decision making and problem solving skills.The museum also offers a Kids Construction Company where children can build to their hearts content with materials varying from colorful Giant Lego blocks and builder boards, to giant Popsicle sticks. The Rainbow Farm is another point of interest in the museum.Since its inception, Omaha Children's Museum has been a special place where children can challenge themselves, discover how the world works and learn through play. The museum now boasts traveling exhibits and conducts various programs, as well.It also organizes group activities such as birthday parties, camps, clubs, field trips, museum rentals, outreach programs, overnights, and workshops.


Omaha Children`s Museum - History

12,000 years of history!

Many people and cultures have made Nebraska their home. Come see fascinating artifacts and hear amazing stories from our rich past.

Get to know the Exhibits at the Nebraska History Museum.

Click Here for information on upcoming Brown Bag History Lectures at the Nebraska History Museum.

The Job of an Archivist:
Meeting a Fascinating Nebraskan, Frank Shoemaker

Opening Weekend Events

Check out our highlights here

Nebraska History Museum
131 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Exit I-80 onto I-180.
Proceed south into Lincoln.
Pass the Nebraska football stadium on your left, then turn left on P or O Street.
Proceed six blocks to Centennial Mall.

9:00 a.m.- 4:30, Monday-Friday
1:00-4:30, Saturday and Sunday

Shop for products related to Nebraska history at the Nebraska History Landmark Store.

Nebraska History Museum
PO Box 82554
Lincoln, NE 68501-2554

The Museum is also home to the offices of:

Do you have an idea for an exhibit? Word form (pdf form)

Visit the Nebraska Department of Travel and Tourism page for your FREE Travel Guide!


Play and discovery plays a vital role in the development of children. LaunchPAD is committed to providing access to all, but we need the help of the community in order to continue to provide these opportunities. LaunchPAD relies on generous donors who support the mission of providing educational play and discovery for all children and caregivers. If you believe in the development of children, please consider giving to LaunchPAD.


Nebraska History Museum Experiences

Museum Exhibits

A list of exhibits currently on display at the Museum, as well as a selection of fascinating online-only exhibits to explore.

Education Division

Learn more through firsthand experiences with Nebraska objects, people, and places! Engaging programs for all ages, innovative exhibits, and docent-led tours help our shared history unfold.

School Tour Information

We hope to resume in-person tours of the Nebraska History Museum in the 2020-2021 school year. Please email our staff to let us know the time and date you hope to visit and we will save it for your group.

We are currently developing the year's tour options and will have a good idea of what they will look like by mid-August. Regardless of what the finished tours look like, they will be based around students having the chance to see cool objects from the past and to explore stories from Nebraska's history from multiple perspectives in a safe and interactive way.


Special Events At Shoal Creek

On a given day, there isn&rsquot programming in place, and you can only see the buildings from the outside.

Re-enactors are at special events throughout the year at Shoal Creek Living History Museum, helping bring history to life for visiting families.

But there are special events throughout the year where you may find re-enactors and perhaps enter some of the buildings.

2018 Events

* Always check ahead of your visit to make sure an event is still happening. Things can be rescheduled!

First Saturdays &ndash June 2, July 7, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. FREE family fun event with re-enactors bring the village to life with skits and shootouts throughout the day, food and craft vendors, family activities and demonstrations, and shop at the mercantile. Some activities may charge for their services, cash only.

14 Annual Harvest Festival &ndash October 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5 per person, FREE for ages 5 and younger. Old-fashioned county fair with a puppet show, historical games, re-enactors, pony rides and more. $1 horse-drawn wagon rides from noon to 4 p.m.

Kids Safe Halloween &ndash October 27, noon to 3 p.m. FREE with donations accepted. Trick or treat event is for infants and elementary aged children.

Wilderness Run &ndash Nov. 3, 9 a.m. Choose between a 5-mile or 2-mile trail run.

An American Girl Doll Tea &ndash TBD

22nd Annual Visit From St. Nicholas &ndash Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5 per person, FREE for ages 5 and younger. Homes will be decorated and e-enactors will bring 19th century Christmas to life. Take a brief horse drawn sleigh ride through the countryside from noon to 4 p.m.


Between 1854 and 1929 more than 200,000 children rode "orphan trains" from Eastern cities to the Midwest and West to be placed in foster homes. The Children's Aid Society in New York City initiated the program in an attempt to provide wholesome homes for orphaned children who might otherwise face a life of poverty and crime. In fact, many of these children were not orphans at all, but had parents who were unable to care for them.

Some orphan train riders found loving families and were adopted others were regarded as cheap labor and worked long hours at home or in the fields. Changing attitudes toward keeping families together, new state and local laws funding foster care and prohibiting out-of-state placement, and child labor legislation brought about the end of the orphan trains in 1929.

To preserve and document the history of orphan train riders, Mary Ellen Johnson founded the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America in 1986. The society sponsors reunions and publications, offers a website, and maintains a research center in Springdale, Arkansas.


Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, praised the "placing-out system" of the Children's Aid Society in New York as "an ingenious effort for the benefit of the destitute children of the city."


This ad appeared in the Tecumseh Chieftain, July 8, 1893. Many different child-welfare organizations placed out children in foster homes across the Midwest. An estimated six to seven thousand youngsters rode orphan trains to Nebraska.


Nemaha County Herald, February 5, 1915

In 1962 Nebraska Orphan Train Riders held their first annual reunion in Grand Island. Two nuns and a priest from the New York Foundling Hospital attended. In 1875 the New York Foundling Hospital began placing out orphans to the Midwest. Unlike the Children's Aid Society, the Foundling Hospital assigned children to specific homes before they left New York.
RG1649.AM, S.3, F.4


Toni Weiler shortly after she arrived in McCook in 1913
RG0839.AM, Box 1


Albert Sommer wore these socks on the train ride from New York to Nebraska in 1912.
NSHS Museum 11534-1


The Panzer Brothers posed for a photo in Nebraska in 1930
RG2346.PH-6


See the Orphan Train Collection for more information about orphan train riders who came to Nebraska.


Frequently Asked Questions

To view more frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 please visit our information page. Have your own question? Ask it here.

Which Omaha attractions are open?

Omaha attractions are open. Visit the Omaha attractions page for updates on individual attractions. View updates from the top attractions below:

Lauritzen Gardens is open with restrictions.

Fontenelle Forest and TreeRush Adventures at Fontenelle Forestਊre open with restrictions.


Traditional Textiles


El Museo Latino is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Omaha, Nebraska. Our mission is to collect, exhibit and interpret Latino arts of the Americas. El Museo Latino is committed to strengthening the artistic and creative culture of the Greater Omaha Area through the presentation of Latino arts, by providing direct support to local artists, by increasing the visibility of Latino art forms, and by fostering an appreciation of art for the benefit of a diverse audience.


7. What to Do in Nebraska: Joslyn Art Museum

Located in the beautiful marble Art Deco building in downtown Omaha, the Joslyn Art Museum is Nebraska’s main fine arts museum. It was completed in 1931 in honor of businessman George A. Joslyn. Its permanent collection of artwork focuses on nineteenth and twentieth centuries American and European artists such as Renoir and Bouguereau.

It also contains major works of Veronese, El Greco and Titian as well as collections of Greek pottery and American Western art. The museum’s Joslyn Sculpture Garden, which opened in 2009, features artwork from local and national artists. The garden, which features a beautiful reflecting pool and waterfall, hosts the annual Jazz on the Green festival.

2200 Dodge St, Omaha, Nebraska 68102, Phone: 402-342-3300

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The Best Children's Museums in the Midwest

27. Discovery Center Museum –– Rockford, Illinois

Highlights: Planetarium, Rock River Discovery Park, Ag-Zibit
There are more than 300 hands-on science and art activities spanning the Discovery Center, with the outdoor Rock River Park being a big fan favorite. There, kids can find their way out of a two-story maze, search for dinosaur fossils, or get wet and wild with water play. Inside, a planetarium shows multimedia astronomy presentations three times a day. This museum is an easy day trip from Chicago.

Kids get active at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the world's largest museum for kids!

28. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis –– Indianapolis, Indiana

Highlights: Dinosphere, Beyond Spaceship Earth, Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience
Welcome to the world’s largest children’s museum! The giant dinosaurs trying to break in and out of this complex won’t scare brave kids who are ready for the ultimate combination of learning and fun at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Five floors of exhibit halls and more than 120,000 cool artifacts hold something for everyone. Recurring traveling exhibits like those featuring DC superheroes and the Paw Patrol add excitement to the bevy of permanent exhibits. Take a spin on the historic carousel before you leave.

29. Launchpad Children’s Museum –– Sioux City, Iowa

Highlights: Flex Space, Build Zone, Cafe
Play and discovery blast off from the Launchpad, a parent-tested, kid-approved children’s museum in Iowa. We love children’s museums that pay tribute to local culture, and Launchpad has a super cool grain bin, a hog pen, and farm exhibits that honor the Midwest’s agricultural roots. Kids won’t want to miss the Flex Space, an area decorated like the bedroom from the book Goodnight Moon, where they’re encouraged to let their imaginations run free.

30. Kansas Children’s Discovery Center –– Topeka, Kansas

Highlights: Illumination Station, Ropes Course, Epic Sandbox
The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is a truly unique place for kids, with 15,000 square feet of indoor space to build, play games, or run a lemonade stand. Outside, adventures really bloom in a 4.5 acre certified Nature Explore Classroom. Rummage through the treehouse, grab a net for the pond, or visit with pollinators in the butterfly garden.

31. Sandcastles Children’s Museum –– Ludington, Michigan

Highlights: Ludrock’s Sound Stage, Bubbles Galore, Creation Station
Located in Ludington right on Lake Michigan, Sandcastles emphasizes water safety through playful and fun exhibits, while also giving kids the chance to explore art, music, and technology. The event calendar here is packed with special programming, so be sure to check it out before you go.

Paging Dr. Child, you're wanted in Dino surgery stat at the Minnesota Children's Museum.

32. Minnesota Children’s Museum –– St. Paul, Minnesota

Highlights: Imaginopolis, The Scramble, Tip Top Scramble
Three floors of fun keeps kids occupied for the day here, engaging the brain and body through numerous hands-on experiences. Head to the roof to take in the sights and sounds of the city at Tip Top Terrace. The Sprouts gallery is specially designed for toddlers to explore at their own pace. There's even more to do here than there is at the Mall of America!

33. The Magic House –– St. Louis, Missouri

Highlights: Waterfall Patio, Children’s Village, Traveling Exhibits
The Magic House is a fitting moniker for this St. Louis gem that Missouri parents rave about. Touching the electrically charged orb, spinning the kaleidoscope wheel, and gliding down the three-story slide are just some of the activities that children will want to do over and over. Traveling exhibits periodically bring sandcastles, dinosaurs, and more to town.

34. Omaha Children’s Museum –– Omaha, Nebraska

Highlights: Splish-Splash Garden, Carousel, Science and Technology Center
A national award winner from the Association of Science and Technology Museums, the Omaha Children’s Museum is certain to get kids excited about learning in a fun atmosphere. Create something cool in the tinker studio, ride a few laps on the Bay Family carousel, or go outside during warmer weather and enjoy the splash pad.

Gateway to Science is filled with tricky brain teasers.

35. Gateway to Science –– Bismarck, North Dakota

Highlights: Brainteasers, Robotic Arm, Air Cannons
The hands-on science activities here are hands-down the best option for a children’s museum in North Dakota. Kids can stretch intellectual limits with tricky brain teasers, shoot an air cannon, or explore a robotic arm.

36. The Children’s Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center –– Cincinnati, Ohio

Highlights: The Woods, Kids' Town, Energy Zone
At this Cincinnati museum, youngsters are welcome to feel, crawl, and climb their way through a variety of educational activities, discovering more about themselves and the world around them in the process. The Woods is a wilderness adventure, Kids' Town is a mini neighborhood, and the Energy Zone allows them to become one with simple machines.

37. Children's Museum of South Dakota –– Brookings, South Dakota

Highlights: Post Office, Tangle Town, Airway Adventure
The most educational fun on the prairie can be found here. There’s tons of cool stuff to see and do, but we love the attention given to types of human habitats across different cultures. Kids can investigate what it would be like to live in a Dakota tipi, a concrete home in Guatemala, or a mud and thatch dwelling in Mozambique. All this culture alongside more traditional kids museum staples like a market, post office, and water tables make for a day of well-rounded entertainment.

38. Madison Children’s Museum –– Madison, Wisconsin

Highlights: Trash Lab, Possible-opolis, Stair-Trek
Even the stairwells are interactive at this Wisconsin Mecca of kid-friendly learning experiences. Stair-Trek is one of the many places around the Madison Children’s Museum that promotes the power of repurposing. Trash Lab is another, with fun activities highlighting why we should reduce, reuse, and recycle. We love the focus on sustainability interwoven with the activities, making this museum a must-do for local families and out-of-towners.


Learn More About The Omahas

Omaha Indian Tribe An overview of the Omaha people, their language and history.

Omaha Language Resources Omaha language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Omaha Culture and History Directory Related links about the Omaha tribe past and present.

Omaha Words Omaha Indian vocabulary lists.

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Watch the video: Werner Day Celebration at the Omaha Childrens Museum