We left the Prairie Band Casino RV Park about mid morning and drove 141 miles north to the Walnut Creek Recreation Area. This park has 44 electric sites (30 or 50 amp), no sewer, city water available (not at site), and huge sites with concrete pads. These sites are first come first serve and are only $16.00 per night. There is a small 105 acre reservoir nearby with a 3 mile trail which connects to a larger trail system.
It took a bit longer to get all set up since we didn’t know the sites had no water and we would need to fill our tank for the 5 day stay. Thankfully we used our long hoses strung together so as to acccess a water pump near to our site. We originally planned to stay 3 days but there is a huge heat dome in the area until Sunday and since we snagged a 50 amp site we will stay longer running two A/C’s at once to keep our rig (and us!) cool.
Our first day wasn’t too hot so we walked the nearby trail. It is a large concrete trail snaking its way along a mostly flat terrain with some rolling topography. Lots of geese and duck with babies were on the lake and lots of walkers and bicyclists were enjoying the trail. After the hike we checked out the Nebraska Brewing Company and since it was Tuesday and they were running a special on growler fills we had one filled with a nice Nebraska IPA.
Wednesday we headed into town to check out Omaha. I had planned a little over a four mile walk through town starting at Creighton University. It is a a private, coeducational, Jesuit, Roman Catholic university with about 8000 students enrolled and was founded in 1878. We enjoyed walking around the nice campus with scattered art throughout its green space.
From Creighton we walked past College World Series Avenue on our way to the TD Ameritrade Stadium, home of the baseball College World Series! We just had to see where our fighting Texas A&M Aggies will be in a few weeks (assuming they take care of TCU in the super regionals). What a fantastic facility it was and even though we couldn’t get inside we could see workers getting the field ready for the big show.
Just across the street from the TD Ameritrade Stadium is a huge mural called Fertile Ground by Meg Saligman. This mural depicts her personal impressions about Omaha and is the third largest mural in the United States at 70’ tall and 328’ long. Interesting is that all the paint was donated by Sherwin-Williams and helping on the mural were professional painters, students from Bellevue University and bartenders from the nearby Old Mattress Factory!
Next up for us was stroll across the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge or as it is called locally, "the Bob”. It is a 3,000’ footbridge across the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska. The Bob even has its own twitter page, @BobTBridge. Of course we had to walk halfway across the Bob so one of us could be in Nebraska and the other in Iowa.
From the Bob we strolled past the TD Ameritrade Convention Center a really cool looking building with lots of whimsical sculptures out in front of it. The neatest series of sculptures were at its entrance, called Illumina by Matthew Placzek. Here there are six bronze statues portraying carnival performers and they are interspersed around a 35’ stainless steel clock. If we had more time we would try to see all the art in Omaha by taking the Downtown Omaha Art Walk.
As we continued through downtown we walked through the Pioneer Courage Park. There are more than 100 individual bronze pieces representing pioneer families taking part in our nation’s historic westward expansion. The bronze sculptures are 1.25 times life size and are set amongst 2,500 tons of limestone which were quarried in Wisconsin. There are some really cool sculptures in this park.
Before completing our city loop we had one last stop at the Josyln Art Museum. Along the way we came across a building we thought may have been a government building at one time only to discover it was the Central High School. Built between 1900 and 1912 it is the oldest active high school building in the city and certainly one of the most impressive high schools in the USA!
The Josyln Art Museum is housed in a stunning 1931 Art Deco building. Entry into the permanent collections is free and there are some rotating collections that require a fee to see as well. We arrived at the museum an hour before it closed so focused primarily on the permanent collections. Highlights for us were the ancient Greek pottery; the Impressionist masterpieces by El Greco, Degas, Rembrandt, Renoir, and Claude Monet. We ran out of time before seeing the more modern collections.
After completing our long stroll through town we stopped in at one more of Omaha’s craft breweries, this time at the Upstream Brewing Company. Again really good crafts were made here and the place seemed energetic and active with a great outside patio for people watching. If it hadn’t been so hot that is where we would have been…
NOTE: We are still in Omaha Nebraska until Sunday. Our next stop will be in Iowa the COE Bob Shelter campground north of Des Moines Iowa.