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Lincoln, Nebraska has both outdoor and indoor spaces that will appeal to visitors of all stripes. Adults and children alike can enjoy many great things to do in Lincoln. Star City Shores, Laser Quest, the Children’s Museum, Folsom Children’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Historic Hay Market are just some of Lincoln’s excellent attractions.
Pioneers Park has many interesting statues such as one of Chief Red Cloud that is on top of Dakota Sandstone. The Park is a popular place for things to do in Lincoln such as picnicking in the summer and sledding in the winter. There are golf courses as well as trails for cycling and hiking. The Nature Center offers free admission and has collections of displays that relate to animals and plants native to Nebraska. The hiking trails are scenic and there are woodland and wetland areas with butterflies, birds, elk, bison and deer.
Historic Hay Market dates back to 1867 and was an area made up of stores as well as homes. In the 1880s, many manufacturing companies set up shop here and now the old buildings have been made into art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and dinner theaters. Eating and browsing the shops and antique stores in Hay Market are some of the most popular things to do in Lincoln. Both office and living spaces are also located in Historic Hay Market and the original 1886 City Hall still remains.
Folsom Children's Zoo and Botanical Gardens offers great things to do in Lincoln with kids. The Zoo and Gardens have 300 animals of 95 species as well as over 400 plant species. The Gardens include cacti and have more than 50 kinds of trees as well as perennials, annuals and herbs. The Zoo features many species that are threatened or endangered and offers educational programs. Folsom Children's Zoo also has pony and train rides and animals such as camels, eagles and reindeer.
The Children's Museum offers kids many educational and fun things to do in Lincoln. It has over 50 interactive exhibits. There is a genuine fire truck, a theater stage, a spaceship and a water play area. Lincoln's Children's Museum is considered great for kids of all ages.
Star City Shores is one of the biggest swimming pools in Nebraska. It's a very popular water park for children and has climbing, swimming and a sandy play area too. For sci-fi and laser tag lovers, one of the best things to do in Lincoln may be a visit to Laser Quest. Laser Quest offers many different types of laser tag games from individual, or solo, missions to team tag games.
I grew up in Lincoln. I now live in Omaha. When people ask me what they should do when they visit Lincoln here is the list I give them.
Things to do in Lincoln:
1. Nebraska State Capitol
The capitol building is very unique. Take the time to take the tour. My grandma Norma Faden used to work there so I am a little biased. I always loved going there as a child. Pay attention to the murals and the statues. This building is the tallest state capitol building and houses the country's only unicameral legislature.
The capitol was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and was the result of a nationwide design contest among not only Nebraska architects, but also included some of the most prominent architects of the day. Bertram Goodhue was a pioneer of modern architecture, and included painters, mosaicists and his chief sculptor to beautify the building. His chief architectural sculptor was Lee Lawrie, who worked with Goodhue on all of his buildings after they began working together in 1895 in Boston, and up until Goodhue died in 1924, four years after ground was broken for the building.
The building is 400 feet tall and has a statue created by Lawrie called “The Sower.” He stands 19 feet tall on top of a thirteen foot pedestal and faces northwest, where most of the land in the state lies.
2. Morrill Hall (University of Nebraska State Museum). I always tell people to visit Morrill Hall. The museum has the world's best collection of fossil mammoths. And are they big! The museum is very well done. A must see part is the Discovery Center. The hands on activities allow students to have the full experience.
3. Stay at the Atwood House, a bed and breakfast in Lincoln.
4. Eat in the Haymarket. Go to the Haymarket on the east edge of downtown. There are a bunch of great restaurants there. I highly recommend Lazlo's.
My favorite things to order at Lazlos are: Lazlo's Original Lahvosh: A sweet cracker bread topped with melted Havarti cheese, baked with any three toppings of choice: tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, bacon bits, turkey, ham, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, or jalapenos. Additional toppings extra.
Kiki’s Favorite: (I have tried and love all of their salads). If I want a little more sustenance then I get their Albacore Tuna Melt: Homemade tuna salad, served open-faced on English muffin, with tomato and melted cheddar. I love, love, love their fries and I always ask for honey mustard to dip them in. They have the best honey mustard.
Chris’ Favorite: Prime Rib: Rubbed with Lazlo’s special seasoning, slow-roasted for eight hours and served with au jus.
Dessert: Chocolate Excess: Triple fudge brownie, adorned with walnuts and shards of chocolate. Served warm with French vanilla ice cream, ribbons of hot fudge, and a splash of Kahlua.
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Lincoln also offers family fun with the Lincoln Zoo, which is located by the Botanical Gardens. Though it is not a large zoo, it does offer some unique animals and fun activities for the whole family.
After completing a tour of the Zoo, jump in the Botanical Gardens for a beautiful display of flowers unlike anything you have seen. This area is frequently used to host events, including weddings, fundraisers and photo sessions for seniors and families.
Then head to the Haymarket to tour over the 200 vendors located there and partake in some fabulous food, no matter where your taste buds may lead you!
Lincoln also offers the Nebraska Cornhusker football and volleyball teams. If a visitor is able to attend either of these sporting events, they will be in for a great experience.
Cornhusker football dominates the lives of Nebraskans every fall and winter.
The ‘Sea of Red’ is well known throughout college football as die hard Husker fans that support their team with pride. Go Big Red!