BY SAMMY BANNISTER
While getting out of school for the summer is an exciting time for most students, you may be at a loss as to what to do to fill all of your time. Here are some ideas of things to do unique to the Omaha area.
GO TO THE ZOO
The Omaha area has access to one of the top zoos in America, if not the world. The African Grassland exhibit is set to open this summer with the African Lodge, Elephant Family Quarters, and the Giraffe Herd Room open now. Other zoo attractions include the Red Barn Park, the Lied Jungle, the Desert Dome, the Kingdoms of the Night, and many more. There’s also a Skyfari and train for fun transportation. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and the admission price for one adult is $18.95.
GO TO A DRIVE-IN MOVIE
Sokol Park in Bellevue is bringing drive-in movies back for the summer. The titles have a wide range including but not limited to: “Finding Nemo” (June 2), “Zootopia” (June 12), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (June 16) and “Jurassic Park” (July 14). Prices range from $5 to $10 depending on the car and the movie. The movies start at dusk and the gates open at 7 p.m.
GO TO A CARNIVAL
One perk of living in a smaller city is the seemingly endless number of local parades and carnivals. In La Vista, the Salute to Summer Festival will be May 26-29 with a parade, carnival, cookout, fireworks, concerts, a family pool party, and many other attractions. Papillion Days will be June 15-19, with the Papillion Days Parade at 2 p.m. that Saturday, June 18. Other celebrations include Elkhorn, Springfield, and Gretna Days and many others in the Omaha area.
One of the best things to do to cool off during summer is to jump in the water for a bit. Maybe you have a friend or relative with a pool or lake in their back yard, but if not, the Papillion-La Vista area has great options. There are multiple membership-based pools, but if you just want to go a few times, Papio Bay offers daily admission up to $5.50 for adults during day hours. The pool opens May 28 and closes Sept. 5 so you have plenty of time to go make a splash.
GO TO A PARK
If you don’t want to spend money or don’t have transportation, there’s a good chance there is a public park somewhere near you. Right across from PLSHS is Walnut Creek Recreation Area, which has a 105-acre reservoir, picnic areas, a playground, equestrian and dog areas and a 3.5-mile walking trail. Another option is City Park, which has a playground with a merry-go-round, restrooms, and a spot for a band. Schwer Park has a unique attraction: a splash pad, or a water playground. Other parks include Hickory Estates, Hickory Hill Tara Hills, Overland Hills, Monarch Place, Veterans and Halleck parks, and many more.
Another idea for a free and easy thing to do is to go geocaching. If you’ve never heard of that, it’s an international exploring activity in which geocaches of different sizes are hidden in millions of different places. There are more than 4,000 near the Omaha area alone. The app, called Geocaching, is free at App Store and gives the locations of most of the geocaches, so go start exploring.