Lincoln’s culinary scene rivals that of any big city. The capital of Nebraska is proud of their football team and their beef, but the classic Midwest steakhouse isn’t the only choice in town. Visitors can expect an array of international specialties as well. There are over 100 restaurants in the city’s historic Haymarket District alone, so visitors have a plethora of choices. From Asian Fusion and Blue Sushi Sake Grill to Vincenzo’s Ristorante and Parthenon Restaurant you can experience the scope of Lincoln’s culinary scene. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Screamers Dining and Cabaret
© Screamers Dining and Cabaret
Talented singing staff serve great food at Screamers Dining & Cabaret, so much so that it has become a hit in Lincoln and the Midwest. The restaurant concept is a play on words for “The Scarlet and Cream Singers,” which is a former UNL show choir. Owner and once show choir member, Kevin Witcher came up with the restaurant idea. Guests can expect high-quality, upscale fare from steaks to pasta to seafood, plus vegetarian and vegan options. Witcher’s vision is to provide a place for Lincoln’s most talented music theater artists to perform, while providing the community with great food and entertainment. This is a fun date night destination.
803 Q Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-500-2550
2.Stur 22 Lounge
© Stur 22 Lounge
Stur 22 Lounge is a West African and Caribbean-inspired restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska. The delicious menu offers traditional dishes like jerk chicken wings, plantain slices, and African fish stew followed by a generous portion of coconut cheesecake. Dinner is served in a colorful island-inspired décor with bright paintings, lime green furnishings, and a bamboo wall dividing the restaurant in the front from bar in the back. A mellow background of Caribbean, African, and jazz music, as well as some 80s and 90s tunes creates a warm and inviting ambience. Diners can pair meals with Caribbean-inspired specialty cocktails. This is a great choice for couples looking to add a little flavor to their romance.
2110 Winthrop Road, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-805-4579
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3.The Green Gateau
© The Green Gateau
For 25 years The Green Gateau has been an up-scale neighborhood staple of fine dining. Located in downtown Lincoln, this restaurant was inspired by the great inns across Europe. The walls in the Green Gateau are adorned with paintings from France, Germany, Italy, and England. The atmosphere is combined with contemporary American and French-influenced cuisine to create an inviting, cozy feeling paired with scrumptious flavors. The ambience is pure romance. Along with vegetarian and gluten-free options, The Green Gateau’s menu is teeming with delights like coconut shrimp lollipops, baked brie en croute, and flash fried calamari.
330 South Tenth Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-477-0330
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© Asian Fusion
At Asian Fusion, the décor sets the ambience inside and out. The roof of the restaurant is adorned with trees. Inside, colorful soft lighting gives Asian Fusion the feel of dining inside a Royal Palace, setting the tone for a romantic dinner for two. There is plenty of space for large groups to dine as well. The restaurant also gives new meaning to food presentation with culinary details like a butterfly carved from a carrot. Asian Fusion prides itself on its fresh seafood, which makes its many premier sushi rolls the talk of Lincoln.
2840 Jamie Lane, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-423-8889
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For three decades Billy’s Restaurant has been a staple of upscale casual dining in Lincoln. Located near the State Capitol Building, it was built in 1887. Billy’s is named after William Jennings Bryan, a former politician from Nebraska. Dining inside transports patrons to an earlier time US history with its interesting décor. It’s a great setting for a special night out for two. Billy’s places a premium on using the finest ingredients in entrées, so local farms are the main source for their ingredients. House specialties include lamb, steak, veal, seafood, duck, and delicious vegetarian dishes.
1301 H Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-474-0084
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© Blue Orchid
Blue Orchid is all about serving unique Thai food that is not only flavorful, but also has a delightful presentation. They start with local ingredients sourced from area growers daily. Blue Orchid uses the freshest of produce and a wide variety of spices combined with fresh noodles and quality meats that enhance both the flavor and aroma of their dishes. Diners can expect vegetarian options like their Thai Basil mushroom dish or spring rolls, as well as classic eats like chicken satay or their signature lamb massaman. Soft green walls, bamboo, Asian art, and soft lighting make Blue Orchid a great place for a romantic dinner.
129 North 10th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-742-7250
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7.Blue Sushi Sake Grill
© Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Blue Sushi Sake Grill is situated inside the Downtown Courtyard Marriott. This restaurant is the premier hot spot for sushi in Lincoln. Blue Sushi’s interior is adorned in Japanese art like Samurai swords, banzai trees and traditional oil paintings. The lighting is soft and the vibe is tranquil for the couple looking for a quiet dinner out. The restaurant relies on fresh, local produce and ingredients to prepare dishes from fish and seafood that are brought in fresh daily. This is one reason the restaurant has the reputation as one of the best in Lincoln. The other, of course, is their creative culinary expertise.
808 R Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-805-4232
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8.Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar
© Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar
From first-timers to experienced guests, everyone raves about Carmela’s Bistro & Wine Bar. Carmela’s has the perfect mixture of fine service, affordable pricing, and exquisite food complemented by a well-stocked wine bar. With the feel of home library, the ambience is always inviting and cozy, which makes it an ideal place for a romantic evening. There is also outdoor seating for up to 30 guests. Carmela’s ingredients are farm fresh daily, which helps bring out the succulent aromas and tastes in each menu item. Diners can expect offerings like poblano salmon, walleye picatta, and lump crab mac ‘n’ cheese. Don’t miss First Thursday wine-tastings or Sunday brunches.
4141 Pioneer Woods Drive, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-489-0005
Downtown, in the heart of Lincoln, visitors will find the upscale restaurant, Dish. This New American restaurant strives to provide an unmatched dining experience. The menu features small plates with an international flair like ginger-sesame chicken meatballs or spring tabbouleh. Diners can expect elevated fine dining entrées like ancho-coffee rubbed filet, Alaskan halibut, and duck duo, or order a dinner to share. The restaurant caters to couples on romantic date nights, and the dedicated staff makes the experience complete. Guests can pair their meal with handcrafted cocktails or a glass of fine wine.
1100 O Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-475-9475
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© FireWorks Restaurant
Cooking done the old-fashioned way is the culinary philosophy at FireWorks Restaurant. Enjoy a mouthwatering meal at intimate tables for two, or join a lively setting meant to celebrate with a large group of family, friends, or business associates. FireWorks has ample room to accommodate any occasion. The restaurant’s unique open kitchen concept that allows patrons to observe their meals being prepared fresh on the grill is a big draw. Cooking from scratch with a contemporary flair is a time-honored tradition at FireWorks. Here, chefs have discovered that grilling over a hickory flame is the best way to ensure its prime rib is voted the best in Lincoln.
5750 South 86th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-434-5644
11.Florio's Italian Restaurant & Grille
© Florio's Italian Restaurant & Grille
Restaurants that last 20 years or more usually have something in common – great service and great food. Florio’s Italian Restaurant & Grille has stood the test of time by doing just that, providing exceptional cuisine with friendly service. Restaurateur Florio has a passion for pleasing customers with the complete dining experience, not just fabulous food. Guests can expect soothing music and a low key atmosphere, which makes it a prime choice for a romantic night out. Seafood, pasta, chops and steaks are all on the menu, paired with global and Italian wines and signature cocktails.
7300 South 13th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-423-5576
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12.Momo Pizzeria and Ristorante
© Momo Pizzeria and Ristorante
Visitors to Lincoln, Nebraska, don’t need to bother with a trip to Italy with Momo Pizzeria & Ristorante in the city. Nearly all of the ingredients used at Momo’s comes directly from Italy. The pizzas at Momo’s are made with Farina “00” Italian flour and wheat. They are hand tossed, then baked in a wood-fired hearth oven. When ingredients cannot be purchased in Italy, they are selected from locally sourced farms to ensure the integrity of both aroma and taste. Momo’s Pizzeria & Ristorante has everything a couple needs for a successful date night – low lighting, linen table cloths, soft music, and wine selection that is one of the best in Lincoln.
7701 Pioneers Boulevard, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-261-5966
© Hiro 88
Hiro 88 offers a Pan-Asian fusion of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine with a modern twist. Their award-winning menu of premium-grade sashimi, sushi, 40+ makimono rolls, and nigiri has made Hiro 88 the talk of Lincoln. The restaurant is the brainchild of chef and owner Milton Yin who brings this delightful Pan-Asian fusion to Lincoln. Milton is a regular among the best chefs in America by the publication Best Chefs America. Couples can choose a private booth for a romantic meal, or a seat in the open and airy restaurant. Hiro 88 has that special place for everyone. Hiro 88 has a wide assortment of Sake, wine, imported and domestic beer, and hand crafted specialty cocktails.
601 R Street Suite 100, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-261-9388
14.Issara Modern Asian Cuisine
© Issara Modern Asian Cuisine
Freedom – the Thai word for that is Issara. Issara Modern Asian Cuisine expresses freedom through its Asian fusion restaurant. With a menu that mixes Asian flavors from Korea, Japan, and China to its overarching Thai influence, Issara Modern Asian Cuisine brings all Asian food lovers under one roof. The interior of Issara is a testament to Asia with cozy tables for two for those looking for an intimate dining experience to larger tables for communal gatherings. Issara sources its produce from local farmers to ensure the freshest dining experience. Issara’s general manager is also a certified sommelier who can advise on the perfect wine pairing for each meal.
1701 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-261-5594
15.JTK Cuisine & Cocktails
© JTK Cuisine & Cocktails
Visitors will find JTK Cuisine & Cocktails in the train station of Lincoln’s historic Haymarket District. Pairing award-winning wines and contemporary New American cuisine is a sure-fire way to ensure patrons have a dining experience they will never forget. JTK’s ambience rises to the level of their culinary prowess. Professional and knowledgeable wait staff, soft lighting, and tables with flowers add a touch of romantic elegance that couples will appreciate. With local farm fresh produce and grass-fed beef, this restaurant delivers their Date Night” fare with a thoughtful three-course meal for two. Couples will also want to check out their Wine Dinners.
201 North 7th Street, Suite 107, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-435-0161
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16.Misty's Steakhouse & Lounge
In 1963 Misty’s Steakhouse & Lounge was known as Club 63, owned by Bob and Grace Milton. Back then, it was a “bottle club,” a kind of BYOB social gathering. In 1965 liquor laws changed to allow restaurants to sell liquor by the glass, and Milton’s added a grill. The rest, as they say, is history. They made up their own seasoning recipe that made their prime rib, steaks, and burgers famous. They’re perennial winners of best steaks, best prime rib, and best place for dinner in Lincoln’s “Best of” awards. Misty’s is a solid option for dinner for two.
6235 Havelock Avenue, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-466-8424
17.Misty's Steakhouse and Brewery
Misty’s Steakhouse and Brewery has insisted on quality fresh ingredients from the beginning. Sourcing local farms for produce, beef, and other ingredients keeps menus fresh at Misty’s. The restaurant is modern with beamed ceilings and track lighting, bistro tables, private booths, and large windows. There is a sidewalk patio out front for al fresco dining. It’s a good choice for a special dinner or first date. The restaurant serves the same famous seasoned prime rib, steaks, and burgers as the original Misty’s Steakhouse & Lounge. Guests will also find seafood selections from grilled Atlantic salmon to Alaskan king crab to Misty’s breaded shrimp, plus everything you’d expect from a brewery.
200 North 11th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-476-7766
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© Nebraska Club
The Nebraska Club, located on the 20th floor of the US Bank Building is Lincoln’s premier private social and dining club. Membership in The Club, which was founded in 1954, is required to dine here unless renting the facility for an event. It serves world-class cuisine in a glamorous and exclusive environment with craft cocktails and entertainment. The 20th-floor restaurant features panoramic views, linen table cloths, and wait staff that is professional and knowledgeable. The view alone makes this a top choice for couples celebrating their time together. The executive chef’s innovative menu uses only the choicest USDA meats, and sources local farms for the freshest produce.
233 South 13th Street, Suite 2000, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-476-3228
© Parthenon Restaurant
Since 2002, The Parthenon Restaurant has been serving authentic Greek cuisine. The menu at Parthenon includes traditional Greek salads, appetizers, daily specials, and full course meals. In the summertime, diners can enjoy a meal on the patio surrounded by lush green foliage and blooming flowers, a magical setting for a romantic dinner. Conveniently situated in the Edgewood Shopping Center, for those who love Greek food, this restaurant serves it all. Guests will find gyros, soulvlaki entrées, soups, sandwiches, salads, Greek pizzas and wraps for lunch. Dinner adds seafood, lamb, steak entrées, and specialty pasta dishes. Sunday brunch brings Greek-inspired omelets, breakfast platters, and skillets, and pancakes. And, of course, there’s traditional baklava.
5500 South 56th Street Suite 8, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-423-2222
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© Rodizio Grill
Rodizio Grill is a Brazilian steakhouse located in Lincoln’s historic Haystack District. With this unique concept Gauchos serve rotisserie meats to guests tableside, carving from oversized skewers. Grilled skewered pineapple is carved tableside too. An extravaganza of Brazilian sides and salads are available buffet-style. Menus are set prices with unlimited meat, sides, and salads at one price, unlimited sides and salads another price, and kids age seven to 12 at another price. All options are a good value. The modern restaurant has an industrial-chic urban vibe with contemporary bistro-style seating, soft yellow walls, large windows, and vibrant artwork. This is a good choice for couples looking for a unique dining experience.
737 P Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-480-7475
© The Normandy
The Normandy is a quaint French fine dining restaurant with a relaxed ambience. The walls are adorned with photos enlarged to poster size that the owners took themselves on a trip to France lending an air of authenticity to the atmosphere. White table cloths and professionally attired wait staff add a chic sensibility. A small menu features traditional French fare like rack of lamb, braised beef, and duck à l’orange, and meals begin with fresh baked bread while waiting. The Normandy has a wine list that includes numerous French vintages among others. This is an ideal choice for a romantic dinner for two.
2785 South 17th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-476-0606
© The Oven
In India, traditional cooking is done in a Tandoor, which is exactly how the food is prepared at The Oven in Lincoln. The restaurant specializes in cuisine from Northern India, cooking it in the traditional clay oven. The meat at The Oven is marinated for several hours, mixing spices and yogurt together. While the meat is marinating on skewers, other chefs are making handmade breads. The breads and skewers are placed inside the tandoor oven to help seal the rich flavors of the meat and ensure its tenderness. The Oven is also a great place for a romantic dinner. The aroma coming from the tandoor helps create that special ambience.
201 North 8th Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-475-6118
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23.Venue Restaurant & Lounge
© Venue Restaurant & Lounge
Venue Restaurant & Lounge provides what almost every Nebraskan craves – award-winning cuisine. Add in the stylish ambience of the dining room and the friendly wait staff, and it’s no wonder Venue has received so many awards. The New American cuisine at Venue relies on handmade and from scratch approaches to cuisine. Products come from local farms to add that farm-to-table freshness to their meals, plus exclusive gourmet ingredients from across the globe. The restaurant serves handcrafted cocktails, and also has an extensive wine list. Besides being a good choice for a romantic dinner, Venue provides five private dining rooms for intimate events.
4111 Pioneer Woods Drive Suite 100, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-488-8368
© Vincenzo’s Ristorante
Cuisine that is reasonably priced and delicious is only the beginning at Vincenzo’s Ristorante. This family-owned-and-operated restaurant is in the historic Haymarket District of Lincoln. With a commitment to fresh foods, Vincenzo’s sources their products from local farms. Customer favorites like their chicken picatta or the eight-ounce grilled tenderloin in Gorgonzola cream sauce are crowd pleasers. Exposed brick, mood lighting, and crisp linen table cloths set the tone for a romantic ambience. An extensive list of wines complements their authentic Italian menu. This is the perfect choice for a romantic night out with that special someone.
808 P Street, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-435-3889
© Wilderness Ridge
Wilderness Ridge restaurant is a gorgeous rustic-chic lodge style restaurant on Wilderness Ridge public golf course. The dining room features carved front doors, high beamed ceilings, a massive stone fireplace, giant paned windows overlooking the outdoor wraparound deck and beautifully manicured golf course, and heavy wood and leather furniture. It’s elegant with a romantic ambience. The upscale casual menu features fresh seafood, sizzling skillets, homemade pasta, juicy burgers, and fresh salads. Dinner can finish with one of the restaurant’s signature desserts like the triple chocolate mousse. Couples will find their just right romantic spot near the fireplace in the main dining room, on the deck at sunset.
1800 Wilderness Woods Place, Lincoln, NE, Phone: 402-434-5118
25 Best Restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska
- Screamers Dining and Cabaret, Photo: Screamers Dining and Cabaret
- Stur 22 Lounge, Photo: Stur 22 Lounge
- The Green Gateau, Photo: The Green Gateau
- Asian Fusion, Photo: Asian Fusion
- Billy's, Photo: Billy's
- Blue Orchid, Photo: Blue Orchid
- Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Photo: Blue Sushi Sake Grill
- Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar, Photo: Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar
- Dish, Photo: Dish
- FireWorks Restaurant, Photo: FireWorks Restaurant
- Florio's Italian Restaurant & Grille, Photo: Florio's Italian Restaurant & Grille
- Momo Pizzeria and Ristorante, Photo: Momo Pizzeria and Ristorante
- Hiro 88, Photo: Hiro 88
- Issara Modern Asian Cuisine, Photo: Issara Modern Asian Cuisine
- JTK Cuisine & Cocktails, Photo: JTK Cuisine & Cocktails
- Misty's Steakhouse & Lounge, Photo: mikhail_kayl/stock.adobe.com
- Misty's Steakhouse and Brewery, Photo: karepa/stock.adobe.com
- Nebraska Club, Photo: Nebraska Club
- Parthenon Restaurant, Photo: Parthenon Restaurant
- Rodizio Grill, Photo: Rodizio Grill
- The Normandy, Photo: The Normandy
- The Oven, Photo: The Oven
- Venue Restaurant & Lounge, Photo: Venue Restaurant & Lounge
- Vincenzo’s Ristorante, Photo: Vincenzo’s Ristorante
- Wilderness Ridge, Photo: Wilderness Ridge
- Cover Photo: alfa27/stock.adobe.com
More Ideas: University of Nebraska State Museum
The University of Nebraska State Museum is the largest museum dedicated to natural history in the state of Nebraska. The museum is home to the world’s leading collection of fossil elephants. There are also several interactive exhibits about paleontology, as well as Native American exhibits, a planetarium, an interactive discovery room, wildlife exhibits, and more throughout the museum.
The Tree of Life exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum aims allows visitors to explore the answers to questions like how humans are related to other forms of life, what traits bats and bananas have in common, and if beetles and fish share a common ancestry. The exhibit explores the complex relationships between more than seventy thousand different species with simply a touch of one finger on the interactive Tree of Life, the newest installation in the State Museum’s Explore Evolution exhibit gallery.
The engaging Tree of Life provides a visual look at evolutionary history that spans 3.5 billion years. Visitors can just swipe their finger across the touchscreen table to zoom in and out through the DeepTree, the phylogenetic tree, to discover how the countless species of life on this planet are related through shared ancestry. Visitors can explore how bananas share traits with different species of animals, how bald eagles are related to giraffes, and so many more unexpected relationships. This exhibit is incorporated into the education programs offered by the State Museum for both the public and schools.
The First Peoples of the Great Plains exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum shares the story of how the First Peoples who inhabited the Great Plains area of the country lived and moved across this area known as the “land beneath the sky.” The Native Americans transformed the this diverse region’s natural products into shelter, clothing, food, and tools. These solutions to the many challenges they faced living within the expansive grasslands turned into cultural traditions, which also in turn shaped religion, artistic expression, marriage, and language. This fascinating exhibit that celebrates the cultures of these Native Americans allows visitors to broaden their understanding of the enduring traditions of the FIrst Peoples of the Great Plains.
One of the State Museum’s newer exhibits, Bizarre Beasts explores more about several of the planet’s strangest creatures to have inhabited it, both in the past and today.
Bizarre Beats. This exhibit guides guests on an adventure to the past as they encounter some of nature’s most interesting animals, and explore how the environments in which these creatures live have shaped their curious features. Educational and interactive displays within the exhibit feature life-size replicas of natural oddities and cast skeletons.
The Weapons Throughout Time exhibit showcases a wide variety of weapons that span a historical time period of more than nine thousand years. Located in the Cooper Gallery, the exhibit displays various weapons once used for ceremonies, survival, and defense. Weapons in the exhibit include Samurai swords dating back to the thirteenth century to the automatic weapons of World War I.
645 North 14th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, Phone: 402-472-2642
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More Ideas: Lincoln Children’s Museum
Located in Lincoln, NE, the Lincoln Children’s Museum is a 23,000-square-foot space encouraging children’s learning exploration and creativity, featuring three floors of hands-on exhibits focused on STEM and arts principles. The Lincoln Children’s Museum was the vision of a citizen group of area parents and educators who formed a nonprofit organization in 1987 dedicated to providing out-of-classroom educational opportunities for Nebraska students.
In August of 1988, the organization presented a mobile museum exhibit, entitled “Sights and Sounds,” at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds, which was presented for 10 days and attracted more than 10,000 participants. Utilizing grant funds secured from local educational foundations, the organization opened a permanent museum location in December of the following year, showcasing a dozen handcrafted exhibits within 7,500 square feet inside downtown Lincoln’s Atrium building. More than 15,000 visitors attended the museum in its inaugural year, prompting expansions and renovations of exhibits and a move to a larger facility in 1991. In 1998, $6 million in funds were raised for a complete overhaul of the museum’s former department store facility, which transformed the property into a LEED-certified green building utilizing waste minimizing, energy, and water conservation techniques.
Today, the Lincoln Children’s Museum is operated as a private nonprofit organization, overseen by a board of directors, and is a member of the Association of Children’s Museums. Three floors of gallery space feature exhibits for infants, toddlers, and elementary school children, utilizing interactive features and focusing on STEM, arts, creativity, and innovation principles. The museum’s Twinkle’s Toy Store offers toys, games, and educational gifts, and designated picnic areas allow families to bring prepared lunches to the facility.
A Performing Arts Center anchors the museum’s lower level, featuring a miniature stage with customizable lighting, backdrops, and costumes and a television monitor for viewing children’s performances. A Puppet Theater area also allows children to perform improvisational puppet shows, and a Flo-Graphix glow room provides creative opportunities in a glow-in-the-dark environment. A Water Exhibit area allows for free play and dam building, and prairie dog tunnels offer exploration within the museum’s Apple Tree playspace, which expands throughout the center of the museum and provide climbing opportunities reaching up to the museum’s top floor.
On the museum’s main level, a Tiny Town area provides educational opportunities within a variety of miniature reconstructed civic buildings, teaching children about adult careers and healthy lifestyle choices. Farm-to-table agriculture and healthy eating concepts are emphasized at the Farm and Kimmel Family Apple Orchard and Hy-Vee Grocery Store buildings, and a Pizzeria exhibit uses pizza pie slices to reinforce math concepts such as fractions.Tracy’s Collision Center utilizes touchscreen technology to allow children to renovate and repair automobiles, and the Johnny Carson Theater and 10/11 TV Studio areas offer on-screen news anchor reenactment experiences. Other exhibit areas include a recreated Union Bank facility with vacuum tubes and teller counters, a Post Office, a Husker Sports Area, and a replica of Bryan Health Center. Children can also climb behind the wheel of a refurbished Harley-Davidson Police Motorcycle and a Lincoln Fire and Rescue Truck for play and photo opportunities.
STEM principles and transportation technologies are highlighted on the museum’s upper level, including space travel technologies showcased within the Lunar Lander and Lunar Rover exhibits. A Sky High Airport exhibit features a real Cessna aircraft, along with a child-sized traffic control station and luggage shuttle. A Cuckoo Construction clock tower extends through all three of the museum’s floors, emphasizing engineering creativity and innovation. A BNSF Train exhibit also allows children to climb behind the wheel of a historic locomotive replica. For young visitors under the age of three, a Grow Zone features activities such as a noodle forest and a ball sorter to introduce cause-and-effect and fine motor skill principles.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Daily programming is offered throughout the museum at select times, including science demonstrations, art activities, and storytime opportunities. Field trip opportunities are offered for public and private schools, homeschool groups, and day care centers, incorporating Nebraska curriculum requirements into hands-on learning experiences. Day camp programming is offered in the museum’s educational center, including weeklong summer camp opportunities for elementary school students. Regular public special event programming includes First Friday Family Nights, which offer themed monthly activities geared toward working families who cannot attend the museum during daytime operation hours. The museum is also available for private special event rentals, including complete birthday party packages for children.
1420 P St, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-477-4000
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More Ideas: Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo is an interactive wildlife habitat designed specifically for young visitors, offering safe up-close encounters with more than 400 animals, including endangered species such as the Matschie’s tree kangaroo and the Amur leopard. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo was the vision of Arnott Folsom, who proposed the idea for an interactive children’s zoo funded by personal contributions in 1959.
Construction began on the zoo in 1983, with operations of a miniature railroad on the property, named the “Iron Horse,” beginning the following year to supplement funding from ride fees. More than 150,000 ride tickets were sold in 1964, enough to permit the zoo’s public opening in 1965. At its opening, the zoo encompasses three acres of land owned by the city of Lincoln and featured more than 120 animals. The zoo’s animals were seasonal until 1973, when permanent zoo staff was hired to allow for year-round operations. Expansions of the zoo followed throughout the following decades included an all-weather Animal Kingdom habitat, a Butterfly Pavilion, and habitat areas for river otters, Humboldt penguins, gelada baboons, and Bactrian camels.
Today, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo is home to more than 400 animals and is a privately-funded zoo, located on a 10-acre campus. As the third-most attended cultural attraction in the state of Nebraska, the zoo is host to more than 200,000 annual visitors and is open to the public between April and October, although research and conservation efforts continue year-round. As an accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums facility, the zoo is the largest attended zoo per acre in the United States and has been ranked by Parent Magazine as one of the country’s best family zoo facilities.
Among the zoo’s animals are more than 40 endangered animals, including Amur leopards, Matschie’s tree kangaroos, and Humboldt penguins. Notable mammal holdings include dromedary camels, llamas, Nubian and pygmy goats, and pygmy marmosets, the smallest monkey species in the world. Bird species showcased include the bald eagle, macaw, Indian blue peafowl, Caribbean flamingo, and East African crowned crane, while reptile and aquatic animals include the North American river otter, the Galapagos tortoise, and the West African dwarf crocodile.
Exhibit areas include the all-weather Animal Kingdom habitat, the Critter Outpost, which offers interactive experiences with small animals such as guinea pigs and doves, and the Hive, which showcases amphibians and arthropods such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, scorpions, and tarantulas.Laura’s Butterfly Pavilion, open at its permanent location since 2008, offers visitors a chance to observe butterflies in flight in a natural recreated habitat. Other exhibits include a Tortoise Trek area and a Wrangler Roundup, offering horse rides for an additional fee.
The zoo’s Iron Horse Train departs throughout the day from a train depot within the main admission building, offering rides around the zoo’s property for an additional fee. At the Animal Encounter Stage, opened in 2014, daily demonstrations offer children opportunities to interact with animals such as bobcats, fennic foxes, and baby alligators. Several children’s play areas are located throughout the park, including a Natural Play Area. A Safari Cafe restaurant offers light American fare such as pizza, and picnic areas are located throughout the zoo for use by families and tour groups. Animal-themed toys, gifts, and souvenirs are sold at the zoo’s Treetop Toys gift shop, located within the main admission building.
Ongoing Programming and Education
Field trip opportunities are offered for children’s groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated tours for elementary school groups. Advance reservations of at least five business days ahead of tour date for field trips are required, with special rates for groups of 30 or more visitors. Bus parking is offered at a designated bus lane outside the facility, and use of picnic areas within the facility is encouraged, though no outside catering may be brought into the zoo.
Birthday party packages are available for rental for up to 14 guests, including zoo admission, one hour for party time within a temperature-controlled facility, and a choice of animal visit. Summer camp programs are held weekly during the summer months for participants aged 3-12, and educational travel opportunities are offered periodically for high school students. Breakfast with the Penguins events allow children to feed the zoo’s penguins and meet-and-greet with mascot penguin Topper, and Wild Wednesday events throughout the summer months offer evening programming, including animal demonstrations and family-friendly activities. Other public special events include the Boo at the Zoo trick-or-treat event, the Brews at the Zoo beer tasting event, offering live music in an adults-only environment. Throughout the winter holiday season, the zoo’s train operates as the North Pole Express, offering winter-themed train rides “en route” to the North Pole.
1222 S 27th St, Lincoln, NE 68502, Phone: 402-475-6741
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