Get away with a staycation

Winter staycation ideas in and around Nebraska.

If winter has you feeling stir crazy, you might be in need of a staycation. What exactly is a staycation? It’s a simple getaway—maybe for just a weekend—that’s just far enough from home to feel like an adventure. We have a list of fun-filled destinations that the whole family can enjoy:

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Any time of year is a great time to visit Mahoney State Park, but winter offers extra fun like skiing, ice skating, and sledding. The park itself is gorgeous for sightseeing, but you can warm up inside too. Mahoney has its own restaurant, cozy lodging, and indoor play area. You can also enjoy their theater productions and arts and crafts center.

Omaha

Omaha is the perfect staycation destination for anyone in Southeast Nebraska (even if you already live in Omaha). The Ramada Plaza is a lovely hotel that houses the Coco Key Water Resort. It’s a booming indoor water park with lazy river tubing, plenty of slides, and a separate pool for the smaller kiddos. Plus your room fee includes entrance to the park. But while you’re in Omaha, make time for some great restaurants, like Joe’s Crab Shack, and the Henry Doorly Zoo, which is open every day except Christmas Day.

Lied Lodge

The Lied Lodge in Nebraska City is perfect for holiday get-togethers and family reunions. And they’re particularly festive during December. Head down now through December 30th and enjoy a holiday mansion tour with an array of vintage Christmas décor. You can also enjoy concerts, trolley car light tours, or a brunch meet-and-greet with Santa himself. Take a look at the dates and details.

Kansas City

Kansas City is the place to be, especially if you have little ones. The Great Wolf Lodge has adorable camping themed rooms, an indoor water park, arcades, and games. But when you’re read to dry off, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in the city. From shopping, to museums, LegoLand, and aquariums, Kansas City has it all, even the Federal Reserve Bank. Enjoy a refreshing vacation with memories that can’t be beat.

7 tips to survive holiday travel with kids

Holiday travel with kids“Are we there yet?”
“No.”
“Are we there yet?”
“No.”
“Are we there yet?”
“NO!”

From the moment the driveway is out of sight that age old question repeats like an old broken record, the same phrase again, and again, and again.

It will test your patience under normal circumstances, but if you’re traveling for the holidays, that magical time when everything is supposed to be joyous, and dare I say magical, that old familiar question can be especially grating on your on tired parent ears.

If you just can’t play the license play game one more time, and you’ve already run through the gauntlet of every “I spy” in your packed-to-the-brim minivan, enjoy some deep breaths of peace and joy with these holiday travel tips.

  1. DVD: We know; you’re already trying your hardest to limit screen time. But in the name of Christmas and sanity consider limiting screen time after you’ve reached your destination. Portable DVD players can be handheld, or handily attached to the back of seats for easy viewing. Choose a few family favorites and rest your head into that travel pillow for a few moments of solace.
  2. Snacks: The trick here is limiting the mess factor. Anything that creates mountains of microscopic crumbs is out. And a sugar buzz is definitely not going to be your friend on a road trip. If your kids are the health nuts that you dream of them being, raisins (the ones in individual tiny boxes) are a lifesaver. Healthy, low on the mess scale, and time consuming as those chunky hands reach in only able to pull out a couple at a time. Fruity snacks, string cheese (bring a cooler for safe storage,) yogurt bites, and even pepperoni slices are a win.
  3. Lunch: Fast food is tempting, so, so tempting. But the health factor is daunting. Pack some PB&J, reward the good behavior with a bag of favorite chips, and find a truck stop with indoor (read: warm) seating area and have fun with an impromptu picnic that’s healthier than restaurant eating.
  4. A simple lap board with paper and a few crayons will go a long way. Make up games such as “draw the first cow you see,” or “draw a map of where you think Santa is right now.” Siblings can play tic-tac-toe, or a few new coloring books are perfect.
  5. The Dollar Store is your best friend. Pick up a few inexpensive toys, but the real trick is not letting the kids see them beforehand. Every couple of hours pull out a new toy. The excitement of something new never fails. Cheap, easy, and failproof. Better yet, use them as a reward for good behavior.
  6. Remember driving by semis on the highway as a kid and using the universal symbol for “blow your horn!” Have a contest to see who gets the most honks, and keep tally. And admit it, this game is fun for adults, too.
  7. Lastly, keep your eye on the prize. Instead of answering “are we there yet” at every unreasonable interval, set a timer, let the kids follow along on a GPS or map (Don’t let map reading become a lost art!) and you can sanely count down to grandma’s house.
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