I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when Jamie mentioned wanting to get out of town for Memorial Day weekend; I had assumed he’d want to stay home and relax after just getting home from his training rotation. He wanted to go somewhere close and have fun with the kids, and he suggested either Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City or the Omaha Zoo. We both were leaning toward Omaha, so we decided to check off another state on our “to visit” lists and head on up to Nebraska.
My mom’s first cousin Paul and his family live in Omaha, so I got in touch and they invited us to come visit with them and have dinner Saturday night. We left around lunchtime and made the three hour trip north while listening to the first three episodes of S-Town (thankfully the girls slept most of the time because, language!)
I hadn’t seen Paul since I was 15 months old, so it was great to spend time with a relative that I’ve heard so much about growing up.
Paul’s dad is my grandmother’s brother, so he has plenty of memories of my grandparents (my mom’s parents). They both passed before I was born, so hearing Paul share stories about them from his perspective as their nephew was really heartwarming.
Paul’s wife and three kids (my second cousins! So cool.) were incredible and made the whole night so enjoyable. His kids entertained the girls from the second we walked in the door, and Hadley hasn’t stopped asking to go back. Jamie and I kept telling each other to look over at the girls at how happy they were. It means so much to see people actively engaged with our girls and loving them so well. We even got to eat our dinner in peace while they held them, fed them, etc.!
3.5 hours went by in a flash, and before we knew it we were hugging goodbye. We headed off to our hotel that we’d booked via Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” tool, which was halfway between Paul’s house and the zoo. Hadley loves staying at hotels, so she was pretty wired. Sadie was too!
We’ve traveled enough in hotels to know that the kids aren’t going to fall asleep until we’re all settled in bed and the room is pitch black. This meant that the girls didn’t fall asleep until around 10:30 (after Sadie hollered for 30 minutes and the people around us surely wanted to kill us), so our 6 a.m. wakeup call was an early one!
Thankfully everyone woke up in great moods, so we threw some clothes on, re-packed our bags, and headed out for the day! We grabbed breakfast at a place we found highly recommended on TripAdvisor (the 11-Worth Cafe), and it did not disappoint! We were glad we got there by 7:45 because by the time we left at 8:30 it was beyond packed. This picture leaves much to be desired, but we would recommend grabbing breakfast here if you’re ever in the area.
Our main event for the weekend was visiting what is widely known as the country’s greatest zoo!
Things we did right: arriving before it opened, packing plenty of snacks, and wearing tennis shoes.
Things we did wrong: coming on a holiday weekend and not giving ourselves two days to see it all.
We really had the very best morning running around the zoo seeing as much as we could, but by lunchtime the crowds were getting pretty tough to maneuver around (and this is coming from a family who did Disney during Spring Break without a single crowd complaint). There really wasn’t anywhere to sit down and recharge, so around 1 p.m. we decided to call it a day and accept that we probably didn’t even see half of the zoo. Hadley was so exhausted and Sadie’s poor teeth were giving her heck. (She’s had five – yes, five! – new teeth break through her gums in 10 days, and since they always come in twos, we know there is one more about to burst through.)
We thoroughly enjoyed what we did see and would absolutely love to come back to this zoo again before we move. So worth every second of the three hour trip to get there.
Both girls slept for the first two hours of the trip home, but Sadie had herself a nice little fit the last 45 minutes. She’s at the age where she knows if she throws a big enough fit that we’ll probably respond and get her what she wants, so she never let up. I sat between the girls in the back seat and tried to entertain her, but she wasn’t having it. She wanted out!
But by 4 p.m. we were happily home, Teddy was back from his overnight stay at the kennel, and the girls were totally content quietly playing in the living room with their own toys. We love going away and escaping the constant demands around the house, but I also love going away because it teaches me how sweet it is to return home. We love settling back in and seeing the girls in their most comfortable environment.
Have you been to Omaha? What else do you enjoy doing in this neat city? We feel like we didn’t have a chance to even scratch the surface!