Lincoln, Nebraska makes a charming winter vacation destination. You can visit the observation decks on the domed Capitol building, enjoy the themed gardens of Sunken Gardens, visit the animals at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo or stroll through the Sheldon Museum of Art.
You can bet these attractions will be lit up with Christmas cheer, and there will be plenty of other things to do as well. Here are some suggestions.
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Children’s Zoo
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is a terrific place to visit at Christmas time. It is all dressed up with holiday cheer with lights throughout the zoo, a 40-foot dancing tree, a hot cocoa and smores station, walk through light tunnels, train rides, visits with Santa and more. Guests are given a pair of 3D glasses that they can wear to enjoy the effects of some of the light displays.
Homes to Check Out
The residents of Lincoln go all out when it comes to decorating their houses. Instead of driving around trying to find the best-looking homes, here are a few you will want to visit.
· 98th and Old Cheney: This house has lit up trees and festive wooden signs providing a great vintage flair.
· 88th and Old Cheney: Head down the block to check out a Nightmare Before Christmas themed house with music playing.
· 7300 Carson Rd: This house is sure to put a smile on your face. It’s a Griswold scene complete with quotes from Clark.
· 6234 Franciscan: This one looks a bit like a gingerbread house. It has Charlie Brown cut outs in the yard and if you look up in the window, you’ll see Santa putting away presents.
· 8001 17th St.: This home’s yard is full of inflatables that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
· 6431 S. 32nd St.: This house has its own radio channel that plays a wide variety of songs. It features a singing Christmas tree and Santa is in the front yard on the weekends.
The Sunken Gardens
The Nebraska Sunken Gardens was listed as one of the 300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada by National Geographic. It was first developed in 1930 and it is open to the public. It has three main gardens; The Healing Gardens, the Perennial Garden and the Annual Garden.
The Annual Garden’s 30,000 plants are used to create new designs and themes. It is lit up for the holiday season with an array of lights you can walk through or view from your car. They also sell natural décor items that include instructions for creating a finished holiday piece.
Walk Through Downtown Lincoln
The downtown area will be lit up for the holiday season. To make things extra special, the city ‘hides’; displays throughout the area that represent the twelve days of Christmas including Seven Swans a Swimming, Eleven Ladies Dancing and, of course, Five Golden Rings. See if you can find them all.
Christmas at the Capitol Building
The Capitol Building is a sight to see. It is clad with Indiana limestone and has four interior courtyards. The dome’s tower is crowned with a 19-foot-tall bronze figure of “The Sower”. It also features ornamentation, exterior stone carvings and an interior with marble columned chambers, vaulted tiles ceilings, marble mosaic floors and murals.
The building is available for tours most days and is worth checking out.
It’s especially lovely around Christmas time. There is a Christmas tree lighting hosted by the governor and his wife. After the lighting, guests are welcome to come to the Governor’s Mansion for an open house.
The Capitol Building’s exterior is beautifully decked out for the season. There are also performances in the rotunda such as carolers, high school bands and more.
Another special holiday feature is a manger scene in the rotunda. The manger is provided by Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit law firm and seeks to send a message of hope and unity.
The Christmas Tree Raffle at the Sheldon Museum of Art
The Sheldon Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Nebraska Lincoln and it is free and open to the public. It features a variety of 19th و 20th century artwork including over 30 sculptures and 12,000 pieces of art.
Be sure to check out the big head sculpture that stands on its front steps. You can’t miss it.
The museum is a stop you will want to make during your holiday visit.
Christmas Party at Lincoln’s Children Museum
This museum has a creative learning environment and will provide children with hours of entertainment. Their holiday party takes place in mid-December and caters to families and individuals with special needs. It features a Sensory Friendly Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children are free to walk around the separate room to get acclimated before their visit.
The National Roller-Skating Museum
This free museum is fun for visitors of all ages. It includes a wide range of roller skates and other memorabilia. It focuses on different types of roller fun including inline skating, artistic skating, roller hockey, speed skating and roller derby. Self-guided tours are available and staff members are on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Highlights include powered skates, elevator skates and a pair of skates dating back to 1814.
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Also located on the University of Nebraska Campus, this museum showcases 400 years of quilting with 3500 items representing over 30 countries. It is great for quilting afficionados, but anyone who stops by will appreciate the vibrant colors and patterns of the quilts.
The center also hosts a variety of traveling exhibits and diverse educational programs activities. Find out what they have planned for the holiday season.
If you are thinking of traveling for your holiday break, Lincoln is the place to go. It’s full of culture and good old-fashioned fun. What will you be doing on your trip?
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