• Jessica Stough

Adventuring Close to Home - Omaha, Nebraska, Things to Explore, and Dog-Friendly Things to Do

“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” – Hodding Carter


The last two weeks have flown by in an absolute flash. March 24th, we received notification that we were officially licensed with the state to foster and adopt. We started receiving phone calls that next day, and by April 1st, we had added a new member to our household. As Drake likes to say, “We go 0 to 100, real quick.” Zac and I always like to say go big or go home. That mindset is not limited, apparently, to just travel.


This past week, we have been navigating having another member in the household, adjusting schedules, and falling into new routines. Months ago, I had signed Buzz and I up for a race in Omaha, and it finally came around this weekend. I wasn’t sure, with our new routines, if I should even go or not. However, I decided, what better reason than to make a fun day trip out of the event?

To get to the Tails 'n Trails race in time, we had to leave the house before 5 AM. A huge shoutout goes to my only friend that would ever wake up before 5 AM on a Saturday just to ride along with me for 2.5 hours in a car to see Buzz and I off for a race (seriously, thank you, Mischa – my BRFF!). The trip wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without having someone to joke, laugh, and talk with the entire way there and back.


We arrived at Chalco Hills Recreation Area just before 7:30 for the 8 AM race. I was immediately in love with the event. As soon as I got out of the Jeep to get my race packet, I was greeted with more dogs walking around than I could count. There were dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds – I even met a dog in a wheelchair (he was not letting it slow him down in the slightest!) and another dog who was celebrating his 11th birthday.


We had set out to run the half marathon, but I decided as we neared the end of our first loop that I would call it a day with a 10K instead. I had a minor headache come along part way through the run (my body’s way of telling me I’m somewhat dehydrated), my ankle was twinging along with some slight pain in my knee, and Buzz was slowing down more and more on each incline later in the course. Since he can’t tell me what he wants or needs, I took that as a cue that he also thought we should cut the run shorter than originally planned.

The course itself was beautiful, and Buzz and I had a great time running along with other trail runners and dogs. Overall, it was a great race, and the day really warmed up while we were on the course. The weather ended up being absolutely beautiful too, making for an all-around great day.

Buzz and I even got matching race medals for finishing the Tails N Trails run (the 1st place medal is his from his first Buzz Run).


After the race, we checked out the booths for the multiple rescues the event benefited, along with a few booths for sponsors of the event:

We even got to meet some of the pugs with Pug Partners, and also got to say hello to a sweet dog named Charlie Brown who had recently been rescued through Bailing Out Benji. The dog who turned 11 brought doggie cupcakes, and Buzz and Charlie Brown became fast friends when they shared a cupcake together.

Once we were done checking out all the event had to offer, we were ready to go explore more of Omaha. Since we had Buzz with us, our exploring was limited to either places we could stop in very quickly or places we could bring him. Again, we always make sure the vehicle is on and temperature-controlled if we leave him in the vehicle alone. After a race, he prefers to curl up in a blanket and nap, so when the temperature is doggie appropriate, he truly loves being in the car.


Our first stop was to the Omaha Fleet Feet. When the Des Moines Fleet Feet is such a big part of our lives, it only seemed fitting to check out another location while we could. The staff was extremely nice, the location was great, and they had some amazing deals. We walked out with a few new running items, and I got suckered into buying a new coffee much (no one made me do it – it just kept staring back at me as I waited in line at the checkout counter, and I eventually decided I had to have it).

Next, we made our way to the Oak View Mall because no girls’ trip is ever complete without a little shopping. We strategically chose just one storefront to visit to keep our time in the mall short, and picked out some new pairs of shoes.


After Fleet Feet and the mall, we were ready to grab some food. BringFido has a list of multiple places to visit in Omaha that advertise as dog-friendly. We also found a few other food locations, including Omaha Dog Bar and Brewsky’s. We ended up choosing Brewsky’s for the menu (I really wanted to visit the Omaha Dog Bar, but for awareness, it is 21+ only – and will not allow children inside even if accompanied by their parents).


By the time we had finished up at the race, shopped for shoes, and gotten some food for lunch, we were ready to head back home. Of course, I had other ideas planned out for things to do while we were there – and had found some other fun things to do if we had been traveling without a dog – so I decided to share those as well.

 

Things to Do:

Museums to Visit:

Dog-Friendly Things to Do:

 

Honestly, with our trip only planned for one day, and 2+ hours of that planned out to be time for the race, I didn’t plan for many other things for us to do. What I did have on the list that we decided not to do, though, was the Operation City Quest. It is a city-wide app-led scavenger hunt (similar to the one I found for Minneapolis).


The scavenger hunt is said to take roughly 2 hours, and have participants explore roughly 2 miles by foot while sleuthing with the clues provided in the app. I was kind of excited to do that, but by the time we had eaten lunch, no one was really feeling a 2 mile, 2+ hour adventure walking around downtown.


Much like with our adventure to Kansas City, I definitely believe we will be back. The more I research for the blog, the more I realize how much fun we can have just 2-3 hours from home (or less!). There are just too many things to do and too many places to go to see everything in one day or less.


Now, we will just have to wait and see what is in store for us for our next adventures. Perhaps it will be more exploring the state parks in Iowa, maybe it will be a trip to Minneapolis. Whatever the case, I know we will continue to find new and fun things to do. Until then, though, a Sunday with very little planned has the couch and some Netflix binge-watching calling my name.


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