Despite its name, the Great Plains Black History Museum doesn't strictly pay homage to African-Americans of the Great Plains; it honors notable persons scattered all across the globe. That aim has been at the heart of the museum since it opened three decades ago. Though its exhibits do immortalize the accomplishments of African-Americans in settling the Great Plains, they also speak to the struggles of social injustice across the country. For example, a past exhibit paid tribute to early African-American baseball leagues.
When Joslyn Art Museum opened in 1931, more than 25,000 people lined up to see the exhibits. It had taken three years of construction and $3 million to create the splendid art-deco building, which was inlaid with more than 38 types of marble imported from around the world. The force behind this enormous effort was philanthropist Sarah Joslyn, who had the building built in honor of her late husband. But instead of standing front and center, Sarah quietly mixed in with the crowd. "I am just one of the public," she said to people who recognized her.
Sarah truly viewed the museum as a gift to the people of Omaha. With the 58,000-square-foot addition of the Walter & Suzanne Scott Pavilion, a sculpture garden, and other enhancements, the museum has grown with time. Visitors today find more than 11,000 works of art inside, with collections and exhibitions that include pieces of ancient Greek pottery, Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Titian and El Greco, and Impressionist works by Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet.
After admiring the peasant portraiture of 19th-century French realist Jules Breton, guests can cartwheel over to a collection of 18th- and 19th-century American artwork, which includes portraits by James Peale and landscape images by Thomas Cole. Pieces from the 20th century from artists such as Grant Wood transition visitors into viewings of more contemporary works or attempts to find a 3-D Magic Eye picture in Jackson Pollock's Galaxy.
When was the last time you performed a walking lunge with a pumpkin instead of a medicine ball? Or took a cycling class with an '80s-era pop star? On Halloween of 2012, Pinnacle Fitness Club was filled with unusual props and colorful characters—and not just the typical athletic equipment or energetic personal trainers. The gym encouraged members to wear costumes to their workouts, resulting in classes filled with faux surgeons and familiar Dr. Seuss figures.
It may only happen once a year, but the lighthearted spirit of the club’s October 31st festivities embodies its continually down-to-earth, friendly environment. It offers amenities such as new cardio and weight-training equipment and a 25-yard lap pool to encourage patrons on their journies toward better health. After their workout, guests can head to the jacuzzi to unwind.
Looking for a fun time kids will love (and even grownups too)? Omaha Children's Museum is where it's at. Since the nation bi-centennial (1976 for those who forgot), this mecca has provided a wealth of entertaining and educational delights. Patrons can engage in a multitude of hands-on exhibits, programs, workshops, presentations and special events. Children can find out how the world works through both traveling exhibits and permanent ones, like the Creative Arts Center, Fantastic Future Me or Sandy's Splish Splash Garden (during summer months). Leave those tedious science lectures behind and jump into the fun at Omaha Children's Museum.
If only children were easily amused, they’d find a snobby sommelier's discourse about pairing vintage wines as thrilling as pairing juice boxes with stomping feet. Today’s Groupon to The Rose Theater will exceed even their lofty entertainment standards with an evening of powerful theatrics. For half off the ticket price, adults, kids, and unusually large leprechauns can score a ticket to The Bridge to Terabithia, an absorbing tale about the wonders of imagination. Use today's Groupon to pick up tickets during box-office hours (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 45 minutes prior to show time on performance weekends; call ahead to reserve your ticket).
During its annual art auction, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts fills its underground gallery and first-floor gala space with 444 creative projects from more than 250 local, national, and international artists. On both days, guests can bid live, silently, or telepathically for artwork, which includes everything from stark landscape photos taken by Omaha-based Robert N. Gilmer to bead-adorned Third Eye Dolls from Oakland, California native Flo Oy Wong to frenetic oil paintings from German-born Wolfgang Faller. All funds raised during the auction will go to the Bemis Center, supporting the organization's artist-in-residence, exhibitions and community arts programs.