Tag Archives: Henry Doorly Zoo

2018 January/February Family and More

December 27, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

Holiday Lights Festival NRG Ice Rink
Through Feb. 14 at 10th St. and Capitol Ave. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, which supports the Food Bank for the Heartland. Bring the whole family and create memories while supporting the community. Admission: $8 (includes skate rental). 402-650-4813.
holidaylightsfestival.com

The Rooftop Rink
Through Feb. 25 at Midtown Crossing, between 31st-33rd streets and Farnam to Dodge streets. The elevated location is innovative—so is the rink—an all-weather “synthetic ice” surface. Hours of operation to be announced. Admission is a minimum donation of $5 benefiting The Salvation Army. 402-934-9275.
midtowncrossing.com

Joslyn Castle

Joslyn Castle Public Tours
Recurring at the Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St. Tour historic Joslyn Castle each Monday and the first and third Sundays of every month. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors (60+), students and military. 402-595-2199.
joslyncastle.com

Millard Branch Escape Room
Jan. 3-5 at Millard Branch Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Once guests are locked in the room, they will go through a series of puzzles in order to get out. There will be an escape room for kids grades 2-4 and 4-6 every hour. Guests should register on the library website. 402-996-8037.
omahalibrary.org

Music & Movement Storytime
Jan. 3 at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 Dodge St. This event allows active toddlers (up to age 5) to explore literacy through song, dance, and play with their caregivers. 402-444-4852.
omahalibrary.org

Benson First Friday
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 in Benson (Maple and 59th to 63rd streets). Art galleries, bars, music venues, and cultural institutions of Benson collaborate on the first Friday of every month with a showcase of local arts and culture.
bensonfirstfriday.com

First Friday Old Market
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 at the Old Market. Walk the distinctive brick streets of the Old Market to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art at this free event. Recurring the first Friday of each month.
firstfridayoldmarket.com

The Great Train Show
Jan 6-7 at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of miniature railroading at the train show, featuring hundreds of tables of trains, accessories, scale models, collectible toys for sale, activities for kids, and seminars. 10 a.m. Tickets: $10-$11, kids are free. 712-323-0536.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

Teen Poetry Workshop
Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 at Omaha Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Join Nebraska Writers Collective’s Louder Than a Bomb coaches and visiting artists to learn from the experts. Recommended ages 8-12 years old. 1:30 p.m. 402-444-4848.
omahalibrary.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Jan. 13 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Come hike in the woods and share nature stories while sipping on hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal to help make up a nature story. Admission: free. 10-11:30 a.m. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

Midlands International Auto Show

Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 18-21 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. See, touch, and experience the automotive industry’s latest and greatest. Tickets: $9 adults:. $7 seniors (65+), children (7-12), and military with ID; free to children under 7. 402-341-1500.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

River City Hunting, Fishing, Boat, & RV Expo
Jan. 19-21 at Mid-America Center, One Arena Way, Council Bluffs. View more than 100 exhibitors; attend seminars on topics such as ultimate fishing in Canada, mushroom hunting, fly fishing, and dog training; and try out the indoor BB gun and archery ranges, interactive games, and turkey call-in teepee. Times vary. Tickets: $9 adults, $3 kids ages 4-15, and free to ages 3 and under. 712-326-2295.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

The Price is Right Live
Feb. 7 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Come on down! This interactive stage show gives eligible individuals the chance to play classic games from television’s longest-running game show. Favorites such as Plinko, Cliffhangers, The Big Wheel, and the Showcase will be at this event. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$150. 800-440-3741.
ralstonarena.com

Lawn, Flower, & Patio Show/Omaha Home & Garden Expo
Feb 8-11 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Gardeners who are ready for the spring planting season will enjoy this event. Over 600 exhibits for the home inside and out. Kids activities include exotic animals to view and games to play. Tickets: $9 adults, $4.50 ages 12-5, free to children 4 and under.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

FIsh Fries

Lenten Fish Fries
Fridays, Feb. 9 through March 30. Feb. 14 this year not only signifies Valentine’s Day, it is also the start of Lent—the season of repentance for many Christians in which they are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Numerous Catholic churches in the area will hold fry-days on Fridays in February and March. The three voted for “Best Fish Fry” in “Best of Omaha” 2018 were: Holy Name, Mary Our Queen, and St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn. Visit archomaha.org for more info on Catholic fish fries. Other popular fish fries can be found at All Holy Spirit and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox churches, Disabled American Veterans, American Legions, many Protestant churches, and community organizations.

Love at the Zoo

Love at the Zoo
Feb. 9-10 at Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S. 10th St. Listen to a lighthearted presentation about dating and mating in the animal kingdom. The event includes a champagne welcome, dinner, and special animal encounters. Ages 21+ only. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets: $75. 402-733-8401.
omahazoo.com

KanPai! Con
Feb 9-11 at Hotel RL, 3321 S. 72nd St. Kanpai! Con is an annual cultural appreciation convention that focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese video gaming. Come dressed as a favorite character and enjoy the family-friendly convention setting. Times vary. Admission: $30 weekend pass or $20 one-day pass.
kanpaicon.com

Fasching
Feb. 10 at German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St. Start celebrating Mardi Gras the Saturday before with Germany’s version of this feast day. Eat jagerschnitzel or herbed fish while listening to music. And don’t forget the bier! 5 p.m. Reservations required by Feb. 6: $19 for members, $22 per guest, $25 for non-members, $9 for children 12 and under. 402-333-6615.
germanamericansociety.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Feb. 10 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Watch an educational slide show about the animals at Heron Haven filled with photos from photographer Nanette Williams. This free event is the perfect way to teach children how animals survive in the winter. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

12th Annual Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards
Feb. 18 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This is Omaha’s own version of the red carpet. Hundreds of musicians, visual artists, and performing artists have been nominated. Find out who won at the event. 6-10 p.m. Tickets: $30.
oea-awards.org

Kids Rule Fashion Show
Feb. 24 and 25 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This kids fashion show is open to both girls and boys ages 5 to 12. There will be a modeling workshop and a time for garment selection. Register online before the event. 2 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: TBA. 402-819-8792.
kidsruleomaha.com

Omaha Fashion Week
Feb. 27-March 4 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. One of the nation’s largest fashion weeks, Omaha Fashion Week holds fall and spring events. Special guest Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, will judge during the VIP Runway Finale. Tickets: prices vary.
omahafashionweek.com

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This article appears as part of the calendar of events in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

2018 January/February Calendar of Events

Photography by Contributed

Museums and Exhibits

Lines Forming
Through Jan. 7 at Darger HQ, 1804 Vinton St. Featuring artists Angie Seykora (of Omaha) and Ying Zhu (a China-Midwest transplant), this exhibit is part of a series of collaborative and experimental projects facilitated by Darger HQ. Admission: free. 402-209-5554.
dargerhq.org

Zoom into Nano at The Durham Museum

Zoom Into Nano
Through Jan. 7 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This interactive exhibit allows people to see things magnified 100 million times their actual size. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Reconnect: A Juried Alumni Exhibition
Through Feb. 15 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Art Gallery, 6001 Dodge St. Alumni of UNO will come together for this show at the campus art gallery. Former and current faculty and students will show a broad range of works. The curator is Teliza V. Rodriguez from the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.
unomaha.edu

The Art of the Brick
Through Feb. 19 at 225 N. 12th St., Suite 120. The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as a “Must-See Exhibition,” the first art exhibition to focus exclusively on the use of Legos as an art medium. Award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya transforms countless Lego pieces into whimsical and awe-inspiring creations. Admission: $20 adults, $18.50 seniors and military, $17.50 children. 402-933-1293.
artofthebrickomaha.com

Monarchs at the Bemis Center

Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly
Through Feb. 24 at Bemis Center, 724 S. 12th St. This exhibit takes the yearly migration path of the Monarch butterfly as a metaphor for considering themes of place, home, migration, immigration, diaspora across the Americas, transnationalism, land rights, and sovereignty. The exhibition considers aesthetic forms through mediums such as basket weaving, ceramics, dressmaking and plaster. Admission: free. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

Pushing Boundaries: HDR at 100
Through Feb. 25 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This exhibit is an homage to HDR founders and their innovations in engineering. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children (ages 3-12), free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

photo by Lola Alvarez Bravo

Three Generations of Women Photographers
Through March 10 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This exhibit features Lola Álvarez Bravo, her student Mariana Yampolsky, and photographer Cristina Kahlo. All three have ties to Frida Kahlo. Admission: $5 general, $4 students, $3.50 seniors and children K-12, and free to members. 402-731-1137.
elmuseolatino.org

Light
Through March 31 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Visual art, performances, lectures, youth education, and hands-on creative experiences will empower visitors to see the world in a whole new light. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Forever Forest at Omaha Children’s Museum

Forever Forest
Through April 15 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This national exhibit explores sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the everyday products that are made from trees. Admission: $12 adults and children over 2, $11 seniors, free to members and children under 24 months. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

High School Artist Show
Jan. 5-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Over 15 schools from across Nebraska and Iowa will showcase their students’ best work. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Jennifer Homan
Jan. 5-26 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This local artist often uses pastels to depict breathtaking sky scenes. She is a member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez
Jan. 12-March 8 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St., lower level. Friedemann-Sanchez describes her art as “a bicultural and transcultural experience” as it focuses on her migration from Colombia to the United States. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

2018 OEAA Visual Artists Nominee Showcase
Jan. 13-27 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. Works by nominees from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards will be shown in this exhibit. Expect to see a variety of mediums including painting, print, installation, and more. 4 p.m. Admission: free.
oea-awards.org

Metamorphosis at Lauritzen Gardens

Metamorphosis: Works by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. From birds to aquatic creatures to a massive vortex, Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson’s sculptures promote environmental stewardship while showing the potential beauty of reclaimed (once-discarded) plastic objects. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Persistence: Branches, Barks & Berries by Margaret Berry
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibition explores the theme of persistence in nature through the winter months. Look for the sculptural beauty of bare branches, the brightness of berries, and the mesmerizing texture of barks. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

I See That Fable Differently at Joslyn

I See That Fable Differently: Selections from Creighton University’s Carlson Fable Collection
Jan. 27-April 29 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. This exhibition will examine a dozen Aesop fables with a variety of objects from printed materials to ceramic dishware, assemblage sculpture, and a set of nesting dolls. A companion exhibition will be on view at Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery. Admission: free. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Walk With Me
Feb. 1-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Judith Anthony Johnston presents her first solo show at the co-op in 40 years. The show depicts one woman’s journey walking the Caminos in Spain and Portugal through the use of gold leaf, oils, and wire sculpture. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Brian Gennardo
Feb. 2-23 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This abstract expressionist uses bold lines and vivid colors in his modern art. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Ed Ruscha at Joslyn.

Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha
Feb. 3 through May 6 at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. The first major exhibition featuring Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska, Word/Play brings together prints, photographs, and artist books, complemented by a selection of major paintings. At turns poignant, provocative, and confounding, Ruscha’s use of the written word is a signature element of his work. Several of his images contain palindromes inscribed over mirror-image landscapes, such as Lion in Oil. Admission: $10 general, $5 students with valid ID, free to members and youth (17 and under). 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Women in Omaha: A Biographical Sketch of Persistence through History
Feb. 3-July 29 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum partners with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s History Department and Service Learning Academy to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience focused on the experience of Nebraska women. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children ( 3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Fighting for the Right to Fight at The Durham

Fighting for the Right to Fight: African-American Experiences in World War II
Feb. 17-July 15 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. What do Alex Haley, Sammy Davis Jr., Benjamin Davis Jr., and Medgar Evers have in common? They were four of the thousands of African-Americans who served in World War II. This exhibit highlights some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African-Americans during World War II, including an eight-minute video about the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors ( 62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Performing Arts

Spectrum Dance Theater at the Orpheum

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race
Jan. 9 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Based on the 1970 conversation between James Baldwin and Margaret Mead, this production enlivens the conversation on race using dance and theater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Tammy Pescatelli
Jan. 11-14 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St., Suite 201. Currently on the “Dirty, Sexy, Funny Tour” with Jenny McCarthy, Pescatelli is a two-time finalist on Last Comic Standing and winner of Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Showdown. Times vary. Tickets: $16-$18. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Tim Allen
Jan. 12 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Expect lively and outlandish stand-up comedy from funny man, TV personality, and movie icon Tim Allen. 8 p.m. Tickets: $59-$119. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue”
Jan. 12-13 at Orpheum Theater, 409. S. 16th St. This production shows that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” while sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills, and problem-solving. Times vary. Tickets: $23.25-$124.25. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

The King and I at Orpheum Theater

The King and I
Jan. 16-21 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. An English governess travels to Siam to teach the king’s English (among other subjects) to the king of Siam’s children. This show features such classic tunes as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Something Wonderful.” Times vary. Tickets: $35-$99. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Feedback Reading and Workshop
Jan. 18 and 20 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Poets Nate Marshall, Ben Wenzl, and Gina Keplinger discuss their creative process (Jan. 18, 7-9 p.m.), followed by a writing workshop (Jan. 20, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) presented by KANEKO and the Nebraska Writers Collective. RSVP to attend either event. Tickets: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Ripcord
Jan. 19-Feb. 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. Times vary. Tickets: $24+ adults, $16+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

Appalachian Spring & West Side Story
Jan. 26-27 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Originally titled Ballet for Martha, this Omaha Symphony performance combines Copland, Ellington, and Bernstein on one stage for a majestic performance. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Meaning of Maggie
Jan. 26-Feb. 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Full of relatable characters, this production is a story about how growing up is an adventure that lets us strengthen the best parts of ourselves and reaffirms the importance of family. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Across Rhodes
Jan. 26-Feb. 18 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. Rhodes Bar is the only place with live music for miles. Young musician Joss is haunted by both past experiences at Rhodes and a girl named Sarah. Tickets: $20 general, $15 students, seniors (65+), and TAG members. 402-341-2757.
shelterbelt.org

Cinderella at Orpheum Theater

Moscow Festival Ballet Presents Cinderella
Jan. 27 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Omaha to perform another fairytale classic. Tickets: $20-$45. 8 p.m. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Venus in Fur
Feb. 1-25 at BlueBarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. Inspired by the 1870 erotic novel, this production follows a playwright and a young actress as they blur lines between fantasy and reality, entering an increasingly serious game of submission and domination only one of them can win. Times vary. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 seniors and students. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

Andrea Gibson
Feb. 2 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. One of the world’s most celebrated LGBTQ poets, Gibson emerged at the forefront of the national spoken-word poetry scene in 2008 (winning the first-ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam). Gibson combines poetry and music in performances. 9 p.m. Tickets: $21. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

John Caparulo
Feb. 9-10 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St. Perhaps best known as “the under-dressed everyman” on Chelsea Lately, Caparulo has since been featured on many comedy specials, and released a few of his own, along with becoming a Sirius XM fan favorite with his show The Mad Cap Hour. Times vary. Tickets: $22. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Parade
Feb. 9-March 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the trial of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia, in 1913. Times vary. Tickets: $42+ adults, $25+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

My Funny Valentine
Feb. 10 at IWCC, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs. Date night just got funnier! Join comedians Pat Hazell, one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld and a veteran of The Tonight Show, and Dena Blizzard, featured comic at The Laugh Factory and Gotham Comedy Club and creator of the viral video “Chardonnay, Go!” as they join forces for an evening of hilarious and heartwarming stand-up comedy. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35. 712-388-7140.
artscenter.iwcc.edu

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Feb. 10-March 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Performed by The Rose Theater and told through non-verbal, creative movement and the words of Eugene Field’s poem, these children sail through the stars while on a fishing trip. Times vary. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

An American in Paris at Orpheum Theater

An American in Paris
Feb. 13-18 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This Tony Award-winning musical follows an American soldier and a French girl yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

YAMATO Drummers of Japan
Feb. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Celebrate the ancient art of Japanese taiko drumming in this spectacular display of physical strength as performers leap from drum to drum to create exhilarating music. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$32. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Emotional Creature
Feb. 14 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This production is a collection of original monologues and irresistible songs performed by a group of young women about, and for, young girls. It is a call to action, to empowering and illuminating issues women and girls face. Contains adult content. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

She Kills Monsters
Feb. 14-18 at Lied Education Center for the Arts Studio Theatre, 2500 California Plaza. This play is a comedic journey exploring the role of fantasy role-playing games. Laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, the young playwright Qui Nguyen delivers an action-packed story that speaks to everyone’s inner geek. Times vary. Tickets: $5-$15. 402-280-2509.
creighton.edu

Murder in a Jerkwater Town
Feb. 15-24 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. The year is 1873, eight years after the end of the Civil War. The tensions between the citizens have not settled, and the Ozarks are rife with poverty and banditry. Water stops—or jerkwater towns—along the rail are frequent targets. Your train has broken down in one such town. When a fellow passenger turns up dead, everybody becomes a suspect and no one is leaving until the murder is solved. 7 p.m. Tickets: $25 (dinner included). 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Feb. 19 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a show performed by a single actor who has never read the script before and has no idea what it’s about. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-533-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions
Feb. 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale has lived in war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit to keep true to her philosophy of “living the story.” Witness the world’s surreal beauty through Vitale’s lens. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $11-$26. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Revolutionists
Feb. 21-March 3 at UNO Theatre, 6001 Dodge St. Weber Fine Arts. Go inside the mind of a feminist during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This “testament to solidarity” is a girl-powered comedy that explores what could happen if four powerful women got together to oust a tyrant. Times vary. Tickets: $6-$16. 402-554-2406.
unomaha.edu

Seedfoliks at Orpheum Theater

Seedfolks
Feb. 23-March 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This production features a community brought together by the work of one girl as she tries to turn the lot next to her house into a garden. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Back to the Future
Feb. 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the adventure again, or for the first time, as Alan Silvestri’s score is played live as the film is screened in its entirety. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

La Bohème
Feb. 24, 28 at Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The most performed opera in Met history is the story of young Bohemians in 19th-century Paris who are willing to starve—and die—for each other. Times vary. Tickets: $24 general admission, $20 Opera Omaha, Film Streams, or Met Opera members; and $10 students. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

CONCERTS

Black Label Society
Jan. 2 at Sokol Underground, 2234 S. 13th St. In concert with Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod, this Los Angeles-based heavy-metal band formed back in 1998 and is on tour leading up to the release of their newest album, Grimmest Hits. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $34 in advance. 402-346-9802.
facebook.com/sokolauditoriumandunderground

The Prince Experience
Jan. 6 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This performance is a tribute to Prince and will include all of his hits, including the Purple Rain era. 9 p.m. Tickets: $17 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Schumann’s 3rd Symphony
Jan. 7 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish,” recalls a visit to the Rhineland. Listen to the sorrowful yet beautiful paean to lost love. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Tennis at the Waiting Room

Tennis
Jan. 10 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Tennis continues their extensive North American Tour in celebration of their fourth full-length album, Yours Conditionally. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Jan. 11 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Big Head Todd has brought their blues-rock sound, with the same core lineup, to the world for 30 years. They are coming to Omaha to promote their 11th studio album. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

St. Vincent
Jan. 13 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Musician and songwriter Annie Clark—aka St. Vincent—is one of the most distinctive artistic voices and original guitarists of her generation. Her recent self-titled album, St. Vincent, won her “album of the year” designations from NME, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$169. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Broken Skulls
Jan. 13 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This Lincoln-based hard rock/metal group has blended many different genres with influences ranging from blues, death metal, hard rock, and punk. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

Bernstein Grooves
Jan. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Join conductor Thomas Wilkins to discover what makes music groove, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and other composers. 2 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Green
Jan. 14 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This group of musicians from O‘ahu, Hawaii, have become self-titled ambassadors of Aloha, as they spread happiness through their reggae-infused rock. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

John Maus
Jan. 17 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Maus’ music is a highly mutable affair, often described as retro-futurist on behalf of the ’80s drum machines and synth sounds employed, John’s music is more personal than the nostalgic retread implied. 9 p.m. Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

The Texas Tenors
Jan. 20-21 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Audiences are treated to a unique blend of country, classical, Broadway, and pop. With breathtaking vocals and a touch of cowboy charm, the boys create an unforgettable live show. Times vary. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Banditos
Jan. 21 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Banditos’ music appropriates elements of ’60s blues-fused acid rock, boogie, garage punk, and folksy tunes. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 advanced, $12 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

UNO Faculty Showcase
Jan. 26 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance is composed of renowned teachers and performers committed to the academic and artistic development of students throughout the United States and globally. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 regular admission, $8 student, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Billy Childs Quartet
Jan. 26 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Emerging as one of the foremost composers of his era, the four-time Grammy winner and his quartet seamlessly blend elements of jazz and classical music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Curly Martin and Friends at Holland Performing Arts

Curly Martin and Friends
Feb. 2 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This world-class drummer and Omaha native brings together musician friends and family to celebrate their Nebraska roots and lifelong love of jazz. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Destroyer with Mega Bog
Feb. 3 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The Canadian rock band Destroyer, fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Bejar, formed in 1995. Destroyer songs are characterized by abstract, poetic lyrics and idiosyncratic vocals. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

The Music of ABBA
Feb. 10 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Direct from Sweden, the world’s foremost ABBA tribute band, Arrival, looks, sounds, and dresses like the supergroup. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October
Feb. 5 at Scottish Rite Hall, 202 S. 20th St. The frontman of the chart-topping band Blue October brings his emotionally charged and magnetic music to Omaha. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$45. 402-884-5353.
onepercentproductions.com

ZZ Ward with Black Pistol Fire
Feb. 5 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce, this Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist’s new sound takes a deeper look at some of the artist’s earliest inspirations—including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall. 9 p.m. Tickets: $25-$99. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Bob Marley Birthday Bash
Feb. 10 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Rhythm Collective, The Bishops, and DJ Stryker will satiate your thirst for some island reggae and calypso music—the perfect way to celebrate Bob’s B-day. 9 p.m. Tickets: $6-$8. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Nebraska Wind Symphony Winter Concert
Feb. 11 at Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7023 Case St. The Winter Into Spring concert will feature the Nebraska Wind Symphony Middle School All-Star Flutes. 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students and seniors, ages 12 or younger free. 402-932-4978.
nebraskawindsymphony.com

She-e Wu at the Holland Center

She-e Wu
Feb. 15 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance features the head of Northwestern University’s percussion program playing on a majestic concert marimba. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 adults, $8 students, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Jeremy McComb with Kimberly Dunn and Sack of Lions
Feb. 16 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. McComb is an American country music artist and former tour manager for comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Tickets: $12-$15. 9 p.m. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

“I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” featuring Lauv with Jeremy Zucker
Feb. 18 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. In his early teens, Ari Staprans Leff (aka Lauv) picked up a guitar and started writing songs of heartbreak before ever having had a romantic relationship. Now 23, the acclaimed L.A.-based singer/songwriter/producer will musically pull your heartstrings. 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Haydn’s The Hunt Symphony
Feb. 18 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Adventurous rhythms and harmonies cascade through this piece. Insane energy in the finale captures the intensity of the hunt. Tartini’s concerto suggests the splendors of 18th-century Venice. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Pop Evil with Black Map and Palaye Royale
Feb. 20 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The post-grunge/alt-metal band from Michigan, Pop Evil, has a new album out in February. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$25. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Here Come the Mummies
Feb. 22 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This eight-piece funk-rock band has a one-track mind. Their Terrifying Funk from Beyond the Grave is sure to get you into them (and possibly vice versa). 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Chris Potter at Holland Center

Chris Potter
Feb. 23 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. A world-class soloist, composer, and bandleader, this saxophonist has emerged as a leader in his generation in music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Donavon Frankenreiter
Feb. 26 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This surfer/rocker brings his cool singer-songwriter honesty to the stage. Tickets: $17-$20. 8 p.m. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Family & More

Holiday Lights Festival NRG Ice Rink
Through Feb. 14 at 10th St. and Capitol Ave. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, which supports the Food Bank for the Heartland. Bring the whole family and create memories while supporting the community. Admission: $8 (includes skate rental). 402-650-4813.
holidaylightsfestival.com

The Rooftop Rink
Through Feb. 25 at Midtown Crossing, between 31st-33rd streets and Farnam to Dodge streets. The elevated location is innovative—so is the rink—an all-weather “synthetic ice” surface. Hours of operation to be announced. Admission is a minimum donation of $5 benefiting The Salvation Army. 402-934-9275.
midtowncrossing.com

Joslyn Castle Public Tours
Recurring at the Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St. Tour historic Joslyn Castle each Monday and the first and third Sundays of every month. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors (60+), students and military. 402-595-2199.
joslyncastle.com

Millard Branch Escape Room
Jan. 3-5 at Millard Branch Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Once guests are locked in the room, they will go through a series of puzzles in order to get out. There will be an escape room for kids grades 2-4 and 4-6 every hour. Guests should register on the library website. 402-996-8037.
omahalibrary.org

Music & Movement Storytime
Jan. 3 at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 Dodge St. This event allows active toddlers (up to age 5) to explore literacy through song, dance, and play with their caregivers. 402-444-4852.
omahalibrary.org

Benson First Friday
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 in Benson (Maple and 59th to 63rd streets). Art galleries, bars, music venues, and cultural institutions of Benson collaborate on the first Friday of every month with a showcase of local arts and culture.
bensonfirstfriday.com

First Friday Old Market
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 at the Old Market. Walk the distinctive brick streets of the Old Market to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art at this free event. Recurring the first Friday of each month.
firstfridayoldmarket.com

The Great Train Show
Jan 6-7 at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of miniature railroading at the train show, featuring hundreds of tables of trains, accessories, scale models, collectible toys for sale, activities for kids, and seminars. 10 a.m. Tickets: $10-$11, kids are free. 712-323-0536.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

Teen Poetry Workshop
Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 at Omaha Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Join Nebraska Writers Collective’s Louder Than a Bomb coaches and visiting artists to learn from the experts. Recommended ages 8-12 years old. 1:30 p.m. 402-444-4848.
omahalibrary.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Jan. 13 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Come hike in the woods and share nature stories while sipping on hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal to help make up a nature story. Admission: free. 10-11:30 a.m. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

Midlands International Auto Show

Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 18-21 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. See, touch, and experience the automotive industry’s latest and greatest. Tickets: $9 adults:. $7 seniors (65+), children (7-12), and military with ID; free to children under 7. 402-341-1500.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

River City Hunting, Fishing, Boat, & RV Expo
Jan. 19-21 at Mid-America Center, One Arena Way, Council Bluffs. View more than 100 exhibitors; attend seminars on topics such as ultimate fishing in Canada, mushroom hunting, fly fishing, and dog training; and try out the indoor BB gun and archery ranges, interactive games, and turkey call-in teepee. Times vary. Tickets: $9 adults, $3 kids ages 4-15, and free to ages 3 and under. 712-326-2295.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

The Price is Right Live
Feb. 7 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Come on down! This interactive stage show gives eligible individuals the chance to play classic games from television’s longest-running game show. Favorites such as Plinko, Cliffhangers, The Big Wheel, and the Showcase will be at this event. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$150. 800-440-3741.
ralstonarena.com

Lawn, Flower, & Patio Show/Omaha Home & Garden Expo
Feb 8-11 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Gardeners who are ready for the spring planting season will enjoy this event. Over 600 exhibits for the home inside and out. Kids activities include exotic animals to view and games to play. Tickets: $9 adults, $4.50 ages 12-5, free to children 4 and under.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

FIsh Fries, Fry-days starting Feb. 9

Lenten Fish Fries
Fridays, Feb. 9 through March 30. Feb. 14 this year not only signifies Valentine’s Day, it is also the start of Lent—the season of repentance for many Christians in which they are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Numerous Catholic churches in the area will hold fry-days on Fridays in February and March. The three voted for “Best Fish Fry” in “Best of Omaha” 2018 were: Holy Name, Mary Our Queen, and St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn. Visit archomaha.org for more info on Catholic fish fries. Other popular fish fries can be found at All Holy Spirit and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox churches, Disabled American Veterans, American Legions, many Protestant churches, and community organizations.

Love at the Zoo.

Love at the Zoo
Feb. 9-10 at Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S. 10th St. Listen to a lighthearted presentation about dating and mating in the animal kingdom. The event includes a champagne welcome, dinner, and special animal encounters. Ages 21+ only. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets: $75. 402-733-8401.
omahazoo.com

KanPai! Con
Feb 9-11 at Hotel RL, 3321 S. 72nd St. Kanpai! Con is an annual cultural appreciation convention that focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese video gaming. Come dressed as a favorite character and enjoy the family-friendly convention setting. Times vary. Admission: $30 weekend pass or $20 one-day pass.
kanpaicon.com

Fasching
Feb. 10 at German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St. Start celebrating Mardi Gras the Saturday before with Germany’s version of this feast day. Eat jagerschnitzel or herbed fish while listening to music. And don’t forget the bier! 5 p.m. Reservations required by Feb. 6: $19 for members, $22 per guest, $25 for non-members, $9 for children 12 and under. 402-333-6615.
germanamericansociety.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Feb. 10 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Watch an educational slide show about the animals at Heron Haven filled with photos from photographer Nanette Williams. This free event is the perfect way to teach children how animals survive in the winter. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

12th Annual Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards
Feb. 18 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This is Omaha’s own version of the red carpet. Hundreds of musicians, visual artists, and performing artists have been nominated. Find out who won at the event. 6-10 p.m. Tickets: $30.
oea-awards.org

Kids Rule Fashion Show
Feb. 24 and 25 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This kids fashion show is open to both girls and boys ages 5 to 12. There will be a modeling workshop and a time for garment selection. Register online before the event. 2 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: TBA. 402-819-8792.
kidsruleomaha.com

Omaha Fashion Week
Feb. 27-March 4 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. One of the nation’s largest fashion weeks, Omaha Fashion Week holds fall and spring events. Special guest Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, will judge during the VIP Runway Finale. Tickets: prices vary.
omahafashionweek.com

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This article appears in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo

November 20, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

Like most teenagers, Ellie Morrison has made many new friends during her high school career. But what makes her experience unique is that, in addition to classmates and teachers, some of Ellie’s friends include emperor scorpions, African penguins, gibbons, lions, and other resident creatures of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

The 17-year-old Papillion-La Vista High School senior is enrolled in her second year of Zoo Academy, a partnership between Henry Doorly Zoo and several local school districts, through which more than 90 high school juniors and seniors during the 2017/2018 academic year will study advanced zoology classes at the zoo, complete high school, receive college credit, and explore animal-related career paths. The program launched in 1995.

“My favorite part of Zoo Academy is— surprisingly enough—not the animals, but the people,” Morrison says. “The teachers especially are amazing and always do whatever they can to help you.”

Morrison starts her days at her home high school with band, choir, and chemistry classes. After third hour, she heads to the zoo, has lunch with friends, then resumes classes there at 11:45 a.m. Zoo Academy offers typical core classes—such as English and sociology—alongside zoo research, vet science, anatomy, and zoology, all taught by school district instructors. Some students attend all day, others part of the day, like Morrison.

Morrison has also volunteered at Henry Doorly Zoo for the past eight years, beginning with the XYZ (eXplore Your Zoo) volunteer program for grades 4-6, continuing into Junior Crew for junior high school volunteers, and culminating in Zoo Crew, the volunteer program for grades 9-12.

Zoo Crew volunteers do guest education and interaction throughout the zoo, help with special events, animal enrichment, outreach programs, and (in some cases) work with keepers. While she’s a lifelong animal lover, Morrison says she was a bit shy and not a total people person when she began volunteering. Her experiences at the zoo helped her gain confidence, people skills, and knowledge, which she now fosters in younger volunteers.

“The best part is knowing that I made the same transition myself, and that I’ve helped them become the people that I now know them to be,” she says.

Morrison also enjoys educating zoo-goers about conservation and the animal kingdom.

“Sometimes, the best part of my week is watching children and adults alike learn something new about the world,” Morrison says. “It’s always really nice to be able to teach something and have them walk away with a little bit more than they came in with.”

The animal interaction is a definite perk of the program. In her junior year zoology class, she helped clean, feed, and care for a trio of emperor scorpions, affectionately called “Larry, Moe, and Curly” after The Three Stooges.

“I’ve never been that close to a scorpion before, and it’s a little terrifying at first. But getting to know them, they all had different personalities. Like, one of them always ate all the food,” Morrison says.

She’s come to know many of the animals’ unique personalities and idiosyncrasies. For example, a certain roar from Mr. Big—a beloved lion who passed away in 2015—meant that someone was in his favorite spot. Morrison also came to learn that happy chatter from the gibbons in the morning could set a pleasant tone throughout the zoo for the day.

“I like the African penguins a lot,” Morrison says. “They’re super funny and always come up to say hello. There’s a penguin named Lucius who will follow you around and sit on your feet if he likes you.”

Before Zoo Academy, Morrison considered a veterinary career, but through her work and education at the zoo, she’s now leaning toward a more research-based wildlife career.

“I love going out into the field and doing research, observing and recording what’s happening,” Morrison says. “It’s really cool discovering things [beyond] what’s already known.”

From volunteer work to academics, Morrison says her time with the zoo has been a “game-changer on so many levels,” and it will be a part of her life forever.

“It’s a completely unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else,” Morrison says. “At a top-rated zoo in the world, there are definitely some things that are one of a kind: the keepers, the animals, just the atmosphere itself is completely unique.”

Visit omahazoo.com/education/volunteer/ youth to learn more about youth volunteer and educational opportunities at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

This article was printed in the November/December 2017 issue of Omaha Magazine.

2017 July/August Family & More

Farmers Markets

Gardening season is open in Omaha, and those desiring to eat fresh produce without digging in the dirt themselves will find plenty of options around the area. Along with produce, shoppers will find artisan cheeses, farm-raised meats, freshly baked breads, assorted treats, and even craft items.

  • Aksarben Village (67th and Center streets): 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays.
  • Benson (4343 N. 52nd St.): 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
  • Council Bluffs (Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs): 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursdays.
  • Gifford Park (33rd and California streets): 5-8 p.m. Fridays.
  • Florence Mill (9102 N. 30th St.): 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.
  • Old Market (11th and Jackson streets): 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays.
  • Papillion (Washington Street and Lincoln Road): 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesdays.
  • Rockbrook Village (2800 S. 110th Court): 4-7 p.m. Thursdays.
  • Village Pointe (168th and Dodge streets): 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Free Movies

Get out of the living room and into the fresh summer air to watch popular movies. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, sit back, and relax. All movies start at dusk.

  • Flix at the Chef (Behind Dairy Chef in Elkhorn, 3223 N. 204th St.): Saturdays July 8 and Aug. 12 Popcorn provided, other snacks can be purchased.
  • Midtown Crossing (Turner Park, 3110 Farnam St.): Mondays through July 31. Popcorn available.
  • Movies in the Park (Bayliss Park, 100 Pearl St., Council Bluffs): Fridays through Aug. 4.  Pack your own snacks.
  • SumTur Amphitheater (11691 S. 108th St.): Saturdays through Aug. 11. Concessions can be bought.

Patio Pup Crawl: Second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at Midtown Crossing at Turner Park, 3333 Farnam St. Bring your dog and hop around the patios of Cantina Laredo, Crave, and Black Oak Grill. Each night will be hosted by a different dog-centric organization in Omaha. Win prizes, enjoy drink and food specials, and more. 6-9 p.m. 402-598-9676.
midtowncrossing.com

Red, White, and Zoo! July 1-4 at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St. Celebrate Independence Day with the red, white, and blue creatures of Omaha’s zoo. Throughout the holiday weekend, visitors can “parade” through the zoo on a self-guided tour in search of red, white, and blue animals. There will be entertainment, including bounce houses, music, and special animal encounters for all ages. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $19.95 adults, $18.95 seniors (65+), $13.95 children (3-11), free to age 2 and under. $1 discount for military with valid ID. 402-773-8401.
omahazoo.com

Summer Splash: July 1 at ESU No. 3 Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road. Bring a picnic lunch, visit with farm animals, learn, explore, and splash into the summer season in the farm-made splash area. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Admission: $5 per person (ages 2+), military, fire and rescue, and health professionals are half price with work I.D. 402-597-4920.
esu3.org

Ralston Fourth of July Festival: July 4 at Independence Square, 77th and Main streets. One of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the metro area features a run/walk, quilt show, children’s parade, live music, a full-scale parade, fire department water fights, and much more. Admission: free, but entry fees required for some activities. Fun run: 7:50 a.m., kids parade: 10 a.m., full scale parade: 1 p.m. 402-339-7737.
ralstonareachamber.org

Brew at the Zoo: July 15 at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St. Guests aged 21 and over can stroll through the zoo and sample unique brews from dozens of local breweries, as well as a selection of locally produced wines. Spend your night with live music, food, and games as well as seeing the animals. 8-11 p.m. Reservations required. $65 general admission, $55 for members. 402-773-8401.
omahazoo.com

The Color Run Omaha: July 15 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The “Happiest 5K on the Planet” is an un-timed race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, and individuality. The Color 2017 Dream World Tour features an all-new cloud foam zone, inspirational dream wall, and giant unicorns. 8 a.m.-noon. Registration: $40 per person for teams, $45 for individual runners, $15 for participants ages 5 and under, free entry for non-participants ages 5 and under.
thecolorrun.com 

Railroad Days: July 15-16 at various locations. This hands-on, family-friendly celebration of trains will take place at Lauritzen Gardens, The Durham Museum, RailsWest Railroad Museum, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and the Historic General Dodge House. Transportation between the venues included with admission, which is $15 for a family pass (limit 2 adults). 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 402-444-5071.
omaharailroaddays.com

RiverFest: July 21-22 at Haworth Park, 2502 Payne Drive, Bellevue. This regional festival that attracts over 30,000 attendees involves live music, a beer garden, kids zone, fireworks, helicopter rides, a state champion barbecue competition, and more. Admission: $1. 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. 402-898-3000.
bellevuenebraska.com

Victory Fighting Championship 58: July 22 at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St. VFC is back at Baxter Arena with 15 pro and amateur mixed martial arts fights. The event is also live-streamed on UFC Fight Pass. 7 p.m. Tickets: $30-$75. 800-745-3000.
victoryfighter.com

Nebraska Highway 66 Concourse Classic: July 22-23 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. Vintage and collectible cars, hot rods, and motorcycles from the 1930s on will be displayed among the historic aircraft. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $12 adults; $11 senior citizens, active military, and veterans; $6 children (4-12); free for children (3 and under). 402-944-3100.
sacmuseum.org

Harry Potter Drive-in Movie Night: July 23 at Falconwood Park, Bellevue. The adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s novel will be open to families and will feature food trucks and a concession stand. Movie starts at dusk. Admission per vehicle: $7 (one person), $14 (two people), $20 (three+ people). 402-210-4747.
eventbrite.com

Night Market Pop-up Festival: July 28 at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St. Midtown Crossing is excited to bring this first-of-its-kind event to Omaha. Highlights include a mini food festival, giant outdoor games, moonlight yoga, live music from local musicians, and 20-plus local vendors. Free to the public and dog-friendly. 6-10 p.m.
midtowncrossing.com

FishFest Omaha: July 28-30 at Falconwood Park, 905 Allied Road, Bellevue. Aside from the national artists’ performances, Nebraska’s largest Christian music festival will feature a bonfire worship service; drive-in movie; camping for tents, RVs, and glampers; 11 large inflatables; a variety of recreational activities (badminton and volleyball courts); and more. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$169. 402-422-1600.
fishfestomaha.com

Benson Days 130: July 29 in Benson, 5916 Maple St. This one-day, family friendly festival will commemorate Benson’s 130th anniversary and its creative culture. Activities include a pancake breakfast, parade, street festival featuring dozens of vendors, live music, children’s activities, and more. Pancake breakfast at 8 a.m., parade and street festival at 10 a.m. Admission: free.
bensondays.com

Native Omaha Days: July 31-Aug. 7 at various locations on 24th Street from Fort to Burdette streets. People from around the country will gather in North Omaha for this 21st biennial celebration. Enjoy traditional events, such as gospel night, along with new events: a food, arts, and culture expo and a community line dance. Times vary. Admission: free. 402-346-2300.
oedc.info

New American Arts Festival: Aug. 4 in Benson, Military Ave at Maple Street. Celebrating the arts, ideas, and cultures of Omaha’s refugee and immigrant communities. Workshops, performances, art displays, artist vendors, food vendors, music, interaction, and more will be provided. Workshops 4-7 p.m., artist’s market 5-10 p.m., stage performances 7-11 p.m. Free. 402-203-5488.
bensonfirstfriday.com

Family Fun Carnival: Aug. 5 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. The carnival will feature make-and-take activities, games, a science demonstration from the Mad Scientist, a spacewalk, face-painting, and balloon animals. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: $12 adults; $11 senior citizens, active/retired/veteran military; $6 children (4-12); free for children (3 and under). 402-944-3100.
sacmuseum.org

Root Beer Float Day: Aug. 5 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. Celebrate this national day with a free 8-ounce root beer float while learning about the history of soda jerks and experiencing how travelers enjoyed the soda fountain, which dates back to 1931, while passing through Union Station. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission to the museum: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 3. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival: Aug. 11-12 at Coventry Campus, south of 204th and Q streets. Watch hot air balloon launches and glows. Enjoy Nebraska wines, Midwest food, area musicians, shopping, crafts, pony rides, and more. Friday 5-11 p.m., Saturday 3-11 p.m. $10 general admission, $7 for children under 12, free for children 5 and under. 402-346-8003.
showofficeonline.com

Sweet Corn Festival: Aug. 12-13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This annual festival celebrates Nebraska’s agricultural jewel through a variety of food, activities, and entertainment, including: sweet corn ice cream samples from Ted and Wally’s, a hayrack ride, live music, cooking demonstrations, corny children’s crafts, and more. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Greek Festival: Aug. 18-20 at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 602 Park Ave. Taste homemade Greek cuisine, experience authentic Greek music and culture with folk dancing in full Greek dress, and more family fun. Children can enjoy face painting, balloons, and more. Friday 5-11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. General admission: $3. 402-345-7103.
stjohnsgreekorthodox.org

Yoga in the Aquarium: Aug. 19, 20, 26, 27 at Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S. 10th St. Bring your own yoga mat, water bottle, and other necessary equipment for the yoga class inside the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium. 9-10 a.m. Pre-registration is required. Admission, which includes the class and zoo entrance, is $20 for members, $22 for non-members. 402-733-8400.
omahazoo.com

Omaha Fashion Week: Aug. 21-26 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. The nation’s fifth largest fashion event supports more independent fashion designers than any other organization in the region. Omaha Fashion Week nurtures the youngest of fashion designers by providing mentoring, educational opportunities, and a professional platform for designers to showcase and sell their work. 6-10 p.m. Tickets: $40-$80. 402-937-1061.
omahafashionweek.com

Millard Days: Aug. 22-27 at Andersen Park, 136th and Q streets. What started as a barbecue in the park in 1964 is now a week full of activities, including a parade, carnival, beer garden, live music, horse shows, and more. Times vary. General admission: free. Carnival admission: $25. 402-679-5258.
millarddays.com

Runway Wrap Up: Aug. 25 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This unique fashion show features bold and daring designs that incorporate condoms to increase community awareness of HIV. A benefit for the Nebraska Aids Project. 10:30 p.m. Admission: $20 adults, $15 students, and $50 for VIP tickets. 402-552-9260.
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Dundee Day: Aug. 26 at the Dundee neighborhood, 50th Street and Underwood Avenue. The day includes the Rundee 5K through the Memorial Park neighborhood, a pancake tent, a parade, live music from local bands, and a beer garden in Memorial Park. Local vendors and a farmers market will be open all day. Free. 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. 678-873-4591.
dundee-memorialpark.org

The Great Nebraska Beer Fest: Aug. 26 at Werner Park, 128th St. and Highway 370, Papillion. The Great Nebraska Beer Fest has a premise of education and brand awareness. It encourages attendees to interact with brewers and reps while tasting to learn about their brands and stories. This festival is a celebration of American Craft Beer with a spotlight on Nebraska and regional breweries. 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Admission: $40 advanced, $50 day of, $10 for designated drivers, free for kids under 16. 402-934-7100.
greatnebraskabeerfest.com

Hanuman High Vibe Festival: Aug. 26 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St. A celebration of high vibrational living, this event will be Nebraska’s first yoga, music, and plant-based food festival. The day will begin with a 5K run, followed by yoga classes, meditation sessions, Warrior Wheels rides, Ayurveda workshops, juicing seminars, and mindful living talks. 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Check website for admission. 402-496-1616.
aksarbenvillage.com


This calendar is published as shown in the print edition

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com


*Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

High on Jesus

October 12, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Getting high on Jesus in the Rocky Mountains, however, is always 100 percent legal.

The Front Range looms overhead as Dan and Dawne Broadfield sip their morning coffee. Towering at a height of 14,259 feet, the snow-capped Longs Peak is the highest point in the adjacent Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Residing at an elevation of nearly 1.5 miles above sea level, the Broadfields live on the forested grounds of Covenant Heights. The year-round Christian camp is located nine miles south of Estes Park, on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, near the base of Longs Peak.

estespark6The parents are career missionaries and together have visited Haiti, Mexico, Canada, England, France, Belgium, and Holland, among others. As assistant director of facilities, Dan helps to maintain the 65-acre Covenant Heights, while Dawne home-schools their three children: 18-year-old Darby, 14-year-old Dakota, and 11-year-old Max.

Their days are filled with hiking, fishing, backpacking, paddleboarding, archery, and kayaking. They have unfettered access to high ropes, zip lines, and a climbing wall—perks of living at a wilderness retreat. The same activities draw campers from across the country.

If the weather is nice, Dan and Dawne say they might go six to eight hours without seeing their offspring, and that’s fine for both parents and frolicking children alike.

In summer, nighttime unveils an infinite heaven of twinkling stars, with the Milky Way shining down on three hammocks arranged in a triangular formation in the trees. Each hammock cradles a Broadfield child, peacefully sleeping.

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Once the weather turns chilly, they gather firewood for campfires. The winter season also brings snow-shoeing, ice hockey, and cross-country skiing.

Wildlife is an integral part of living at the campground, where animals also make their home. Coyotes, moose, and deer frequently wander through Covenant Heights. Herds of elk are common visitors; during the fall rut, the bulls’ high-pitched bugling will echo for miles.

“The other day, an elk walked through the middle of (the triangle of hammocks),” Dawne says. “Our youngest woke up and thought, ‘Uh, oh. This isn’t good.’ But the elk eventually moved along.”

estespark5The free-spirited mother of three does have one rule about sleeping outdoors. Her kids can’t have lipgloss, sunscreen, or other scented items in their pockets. Bears live in the neighborhood, and scented items or food will attract them. Dawne even brings her bird feeders inside at night so as not to attract unwelcome scavengers.

She loves life amongst the animals. In fact, her animal-watching pastime vaguely reminds her of childhood years spent in Omaha. “We went to the Henry Doorly Zoo about every two weeks,” says the one-time Omahan. Dawne’s father served in the Air Force at Offutt Air Force Base for three years, when she was in fifth through eighth grades.

Her adult life unfolded away from Omaha. Before relocating to Colorado in 2015, Dawne and Dan were living in San Antonio, Texas, where they ran an art gallery and online networking platform for artists called ArtLife.

“Here we are now in Estes Park because we felt like we ran out of space in San Antonio. We wanted to become more of a starving artists community,” says Dan. “We want to develop an artists community up here. I want to create a safe space for people to come and hone their skills. It’s the idea of not being in their normal circumstances.”

estespark4Surrounded by natural abundance, the family feels rich. Not so when it comes to the latest technological amenities. They have a satellite television, the only reliable phone is a landline, and mobile internet service is patchy from camp.

Dawne says “there’s a 20-minute window about twice a day” for internet access. An avid photographer, she posts almost daily on Instagram from her smartphone during those limited windows of online accessibility.

Her photo stream documents their neighbors, mostly the wildlife (@adeltadawne). “We have lots of moose that hang out,” she says. “The elk, the deer, the eagles, and then I sprinkle in family stuff.” If it is necessary to check something online, they head to a coffeeshop or the library in town. Dan and Dawne enjoy their wireless existence. “I kind of like the idea of being disconnected,” Dan says.

Christian wilderness retreats have a rich history on the Front Range near Covenant Heights. Even before Colorado was a state, missionaries were spreading the gospel across the landscape.

estespark3Summer encampments for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) date back to the 1890s. The YMCA summer campsite from 1908 remains the site of the modern-day YMCA of the Rockies. Today, the organization hosts Christian gap-year programs for 18-to-24 year olds “seeking personal and spiritual growth while working in a seasonal job at Snow Mountain Ranch.”

On January 26, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park into existence, and the nationwide National Park Service came into being the following year (celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016).

Covenant Heights arrived on the scene in the early 1930s through the fellowship of the Covenant Young Peoples and Sunday School Conference of Colorado and Wyoming. The coalition of Rocky Mountain churches sought to give “a concerted effort to provide inspiration, Christian fellowship, and evangelism for the young people of the churches in Colorado and Wyoming,” according to its website. Covenant Heights’ current permanent campsite became operational in 1948.

Separate from the YMCA or Covenant Heights, the nonprofit Wind River Ministries also runs the ongoing Wind River Ranch, a “Christian Family Guest Ranch Resort”complete with dude ranch.

Regardless of one’s spiritual inclination, the sweeping mountain vistas are inspiring throughout the vicinity of Estes Park.

In the wake of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, residents of Estes Park voted to block the opening of recreational and medicinal dispensaries within the limits of town and Larimer County. It was a strategic move to preserve the region’s wholesome reputation as a family destination. Meanwhile, federal marijuana laws reign supreme over Rocky Mountain National Park and other federally owned lands.

Getting high on Jesus in the Rocky Mountains, however, is always 100 percent legal.

Visit covenantheights.org for more information.

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Monkeying Around

July 6, 2016 by
Photography by Contributed by Douglas County HIstorical Society

You would think Omaha, safely ensconced in the Midwest, where no monkeys come from, wouldn’t have much of a monkey problem. But Omaha history is surprisingly full of problematic monkeys and apes—here are just a few:

Our first was a female baboon who appeared at the Creighton theater downtown in 1899. The ape was trained, and was part of an animal act by Professor Fred Macart. The baboon acted as a sort of animal stagehand, cleaning up after other acts.

But on this night, the baboon went wild, attacking a stage manager and then running rampant through the theater. The baboon then charged into an attached bar and stole a bottle of whiskey and two bottles of beer, drinking them and then flinging the bottles through mirrors. The whole ordeal ended when Macart calmed the animal, putting her to sleep with a towel around her head, as you would with anyone suffering from a hangover.

Then there was Diavolo, whom the World-Herald declared an “outlaw” in 1901. He had been a pet monkey to an organ grinder in Little Italy, but escaped and terrorized the neighborhood for several weeks. Diavolo bit a child, which monkeys will do once in a while, then attempted to steal money from the boy.

Diavolo made a habit of breaking into neighbors’ houses while they were sleeping and waking them by smashing their possessions against the ground. He became especially notorious for murdering the neighborhood’s canary birds. Neighbors eventually rallied to bring the monkey to justice—if need be, to execute him—and called on Officer Sam Riegelman, one of the city’s first bicycle cops, to find or kill the creature.

The newspaper never followed up on the story, so perhaps they are out there still, Riegelman on his bicycle, chasing the chattering figure of a tiny monkey through the Omaha nights.

We should also mention Monkey Island, which was a bit of design disaster, built in Elmwood Park in 1933. The plan was simple: The city would build a little island in the park, fill it with monkeys, and then put a fence around the monkeys. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten that monkeys can climb fences, and so the opening of Monkey Island was soon followed by a mass jailbreak. Monkeys were found miles away, and some were never recovered.

Finally, we come to the greatest escape artist in the history of apedom. His name was Fu Manchu, and he was an orangutan at the Henry Doorly Zoo in the late 1960s. Fu Manchu had a bizarre talent for escaping his enclosure, often accompanied by
other orangutans.

At first, this was chalked up to human error, as a connecting door from the enclosure to the furnace room was found opened. But it continued to happen, and nobody could be found who might be responsible for leaving the door open.

One day, the head keeper caught Fu Manchu headed down toward the door, and noticed he had a piece of wire in his mouth. The ape kept the wire hidden during the day and used it to pick the door lock when unobserved. Without his trusty lock pick, however, Fu Manchu was trapped, and so faded from the news, as all apes eventually do.

More recently, the Henry Doorly Zoo’s silverback gorilla—Kijito—made international headlines with his glass-pounding displays of dominance. In 2015, Kijito broke his enclosure’s safety glass. His antics went viral online after terrifying a visiting family.

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Steady As She Goes

September 30, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

He’s part man, part machine, and all Steadicam operator. And he’s cleaning up on the screens and streets of New York.

This summer (or any season for that matter), just when you thought it was safe to shoot with a handheld camera, Omaha expatriate Kyle Wullschleger is waging an all-out war on shaky video footage with an iso-elastic arm and inner geekness. And he’s doing it for productions such as Saturday Night Live, Project Runway: All Stars, and Chopped, to name a few.

Not bad for a Heartland kid who originally wanted to be a zookeeper.

“Coming from a wildlife background, I never really was a filmophile,” Wullschleger, 28, says about his recently budding film career from his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn apartment. “It was more about the nerdiness of using a camera and just sort of dorking out about it.”

Before the technophile discovered the power of filmic gadgetry, Wullschleger says he developed a fascination for nature while growing up on his family’s former Christmas tree farm. It was there where the self-described animal lover says he would watch beavers build dams at the edge of his parents’ property and monarch butterflies migrate through the mulberry grove in his backyard.

And it was there where he says he also developed his work ethic.

“Not only did I learn to stop and smell the roses, so to speak,” Wullschleger writes about his childhood on his work-related website, Tree Farm Cinema, “but since trees don’t completely grow themselves, I learned the importance of working hard to create something you’re passionate about.”

While Wullschleger spent the rest of his salad days glued to Marty Stouffer’s PBS animal-documentary series, Wild America, it wasn’t until he says he got a job at Henry Doorly Zoo right out of high school that it occurred to him he could observe animal behavior in a different light.

“While I was at the zoo, I had access to all these amazing animals and that’s when I actually started to pick up a camera,” he says. “The wheels were definitely turning then.”

One thing led to another and Wullschleger suddenly found himself in New York shooting a dystopian spoof about an Andrew Garfield-played character being pursued by government agents for badmouthing a Beyoncé Knowles song and a satirical ad for testicles cologne with Andy Samberg for SNL. It hasn’t been quite the sort of animal behavior that Wullschleger originally had in mind, but it’s afforded him the chance to pursue what he says has probably always been his calling: animal documentaries.

“The hope is to take my experience and connections and decent living and start creating some of my own projects that are more nature-based, because that’s what I really want to be doing,” he says, citing work he’s done with great white sharks and sandhill crane migrations. “To get something started that shows what I’m capable of and what I could do if someone gave me a budget—that’s…well, that’s the big dream.”

KyleWullschleger

Move Along

August 24, 2015 by

This article appears in August 2015 Her Family.

The forbidden occupies a special place in the imaginations of young children, so it’s no surprise that a vital role in parenting (and grandparenting) resides in the task of setting clear boundaries—that process of delineating what is and isn’t allowed. That stove is hot. That knife is sharp. That street isn’t to be crossed.

But curiosity is the fuel that stokes childhood development, and the desire to explore and understand the unknown is at the very heart of learning. I was reminded of this fact on a recent outing to the zoo with my 4-year-old grandson, Barrett.

Like many frequent visitors, we have a specific circuit for navigating the sprawling zoo, one that invariably begins in the Lied Jungle. It’s a place of great adventure for Barrett, but perhaps not for the reason that one might expect.

The attention span of a 4-year-old is about as fleeting as the fame of most reality TV “stars” (Snooki, anyone?), and the trickiest part of any zoo excursion is to get my grandson to focus on the featured attractions—the animals.

Tapirs? Meh. Monkeys of every stripe? Ho hum. Exotic birds in a rainbow of colors? Save it for a box of Froot Loops.

No, what really turns him on are those emergency exits, utility closets, and entrances to hidden passageways situated along the path that wends its way through the dank environs of the jungle. You know the ones, those doors whose cleverly crafted facades are designed to blend seamlessly into the craggy, vine-draped space. They have the power to send Barrett into a frenzy of unquenchable, just-gotta-know-what’s-behind-there curiosity.

“Secret door!” he squeals with every new (and frequent) encounter with these camouflaged barriers. The magnificence of a planet’s flora and fauna is at his feet, but all Barrett seems to care about is imagining what double-super-secret wonders must lie just beyond those doors— those portals to the mysterious and the unknowable.

The same rang true in both “The Spooky Place” (Barrett’s name for the moonlit swamps of the Kingdom of the Night exhibit) and the shark-infested waters of what he calls “The Fishy Place.”

I’m glad that Barrett is curious. I’m happy that he has the ability to conjure visions of some alternate reality lurking just beyond his comprehension. Such inquisitiveness is a great asset and bodes well for a growing mind. And I also take comfort in knowing that the time will soon come when the zoo’s critters will take their rightful place as the center of his attention.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is on every list of the nation’s best zoos, and deservedly so. But I feel that the place is ready for a minor makeover, one where every door is…well, just a door. Remove those faux finishes. Paint them a boring green or black or beige. And please don’t stop there. Install one of those audio box thingies at every door to play a recorded message.

“Move along,” the gentle voice should drone in a continuous loop. “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

Grandpas everywhere will be grateful.

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Alexis Shorb

May 20, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appeared in the May/June 2015 edition of Omaha Magazine.

You could almost call her the mother of the aquarium. She nourishes the animals. She cleans up after their messes. She keeps them safe, all the while with eyes in the back of her head.

Lead aquarium keeper Alexis Shorb of the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium’s Scott Aquarium graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a degree in marine science. She cares primarily for the sharks and stingrays, a duty close to her heart.

“I like animals that could potentially hurt me, I guess,” Shorb quips. “I remember when I was a kid and I was first allowed to watch Jaws. It actually made me want to go to the ocean. I guess I was one of those
weird children.”

Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, Shorb grew up spending summers at the shore. She began working in landlocked Omaha more than three years ago at the beginning of the aquarium’s $6.5 million renovation. She helped built the eel tank from the ground up. “Being part of the renovation and wearing that hard hat has been another lesson that I never thought I was going to be able to do.”

Her past jobs, which include Disney’s Epcot Center and SeaWorld, have led her to hand-feed leopard sharks, bonnetheads, and stingrays. And yes, she did get bit.

“When you’re feeding anything with a mouth, it’s only natural that sometimes they will get you.” She dismisses the experience as a “glorified paper cut.”

Twice a week at feeding time, Shorb and crew raise the side curtains in the shark reef. “It makes a physical cue for the animals that they are about to get fed,” she says. The sharks politely line up in conveyer belt fashion to enjoy a selection of blue runner, bonito, mackerel, salmon, or squid.

“We use long tongs to hand-feed,” Shorb explains. “We’re actually able to distinguish which shark is which by individual birthmarks,” which allows the zoo to monitor keep accurate records on food intake.

For reasons other than what one might expect, she loves tank-cleaning time. “My favorite part is just being in the water and having a zebra shark swim by me and having the kids just watch with those big eyes. I like showing people that sharks aren’t man-eaters.”

Shorb’s broad duties include being responsible for one million gallons of fresh sea water (mixed on site) and over 1,000 sea creatures. “Pipes break. Floods happen. Nothing like getting a radio call saying there’s water dripping into the gift shop,” she says.

She also plays Cupid with a pair of tasseled wobbegongs, a species of carpet shark. “I’m kind of like Match.com. I want to put him in with her and hopefully we’ll have some babies.”

Shorb finds early mornings at the aquarium magical. “Everything’s peaceful and all of the lights are just coming on. All of the animals are waking up and are just starting to get active.”

Just like a mother relishes her cup of coffee before the kids awaken, Shorb begins another day with her beloved sharks and stingrays.

AlexisShorb

Nostalgia: Ain’t What it Used to Be

April 17, 2015 by

Originally published in May/June 2015 edition of 60-Plus in Omaha.

Peony Park was where you danced indoors in the Royal Terrace Ballroom and under the stars in the Royal Grove.

Remember meeting the amusement park’s mascot, Peony the Skunk? (Some people called her “Stinky.”) Or playing Dodgem? Or KOIL Radio’s dance party in the Royal Grove? Or splashing in the Peony Park swimming pool?

You have been around at least 50 years if you remember never seeing women on the Omaha City Council. Betty Abbott blazed the way in 1965. Of course, Omaha finally has its first woman mayor. And it only took 160 years after the city’s founding.

Your first escalator ride was at the downtown Brandeis store on what was the city’s first escalator.

Come to think of it, you remember when there was an actual Brandeis store, a place where shopping became a social event.

Younkers’ stores were called Kilpatrick’s.

Your “health club” was a YWCA or YMCA.

And the YWCA was actually called the YWCA, not the Women’s Center for Advancement.

Horses, not college students, were housed in the Ak-Sar-Ben area. The college students are only slightly less messy than the horses were.

Ak-Sar-Ben horse racing was a live video game you played before there were video games.

Warren Buffett was yet to make his first billion. Remember when you could afford to buy a share of Berkshire Hathaway?

The idea of “Omaha” extended only about as far as 90th Street. Today, that’s more like midtown.

The Henry Doorly Zoo was called Riverview Park. There was a lone, forlorn bear and two moose.

The sprawling University of Nebraska-Omaha was then the smaller University of Omaha, called disparagingly by some “West Dodge High.”

Remember when Elkhorn was a city? Oh, wait…that wasn’t so very long ago!

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