We LOVE going to the Holiday Lights Festival. Every year they have combination of free events lined up for the kids. This year included: Omaha Public Library, Omaha Police Horse Barn, Joslyn Art Museum, Durham Heritage Museum, and Children’s Museum. We were only able to hit three locations this year.
Omaha Police Horse Barn
This is my favorite! You get to meet police officers and pat their horses. My kids ask all sorts of questions about them. They typically have pony rides but this year due to an unforeseen storm the day before the ponies stayed home. They had free face painting, balloons and cowboy hat decorations. The kids really enjoyed putting stickers and feathers on their own personal cowboy hat. Santa was there and the kids were able to describe in extreme detail what they wanted for Christmas. They also had $1
I highly recommend going to Union Station during Christmas time. They have the tallest decorated tree that’s great for family holiday photos. I always forget to dress my kids in their holiday best for photo opportunities. The holiday cultural tree exhibit has many trees decorated in ornaments from different parts of the world. The kids favorite part was the Reindeer Scavenger Hunt. They had a blast trying all 9 of them. This also made them explore the museum and see the sights without proclaiming, “I’m bored.” As always, my sons favorite part of the museum was going through the trains.
Joslyn Art Museum
This was the first time we went to Joslyn (read my previous review here) as part of the Holiday Lights Festival. We spent at least an hour “creating.” Since there was a snow storm the night before very few people came out for this event. We had a whole art room to ourselves. The kids each made 2 snowflakes with stamps they created. (See above.) They then went to a second area to create cardboard patches for a quilt. We also visited our favorite playroom, where they made videos and more art projects. It was extra fun for me to see my husband get to create with the kids, he is usually at work when we go out and about.
All in all, it was a fabulous day for $5 (5 hot dogs), plus the cup of coffee I bought. We had planned on taking one of my child’s friends out for their birthday adventure afterwards but instead we gave them the option to join us. They asked if they could bring a guest (their sister) and we said, “Absolutely, more the merrier!” So again, instead of buying a $25 toy that the child will eventually break or become tired of, we gave them an experience. They said they wanted to this exact outing next year for their birthday too! We sent multiple group photos to their parents, so they will remember that some of the best gifts in life aren’t things.