Summer must go on

Summer must go on

With schools coming to an end, this summer isn’t going to be the drastic transition from school to home that it normally is. That happened back in March when we got the news with a moment's notice that students would not be permitted to return to their classrooms.  Instead, the only change we will be seeing over the next few weeks is our children losing a source of regular daily activities and lesson plans designed to keep them engaged while social distancing at home. 

Each summer, many parents face the challenge of balancing working lives amongst the daily recess that is often summer vacation. But this year is so vastly different from years past.   It’s likely this summer will be void of summer camps, frequent pool days, and bonding daily with friends.  For many of us, our days will continue to be filled with limited connection to social activities. 

But not all hope is lost.  In the midst of all of these new challenges, hundreds of organizations throughout the community are stepping up to provide whatever resources they can to families during these uncertain times.  

Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska. Despite many family-friendly organizations having to close their doors, even projecting into the summer months, this 440-acre drive-through park opened early this year to help families combat boredom and allow them to visit beloved animals.  This four-mile drive, perfect for social distancing, includes elk, white-tailed deer, bison, waterfowl and many more North American animals and plants.   Expect wait times, but it’s certainly worth it.  

Heartland B-Cycles occupy various places throughout the Omaha Metro Area. For an hourly, monthly, or annual rate, anyone can grab a bicycle and go, allowing them to park at any B-Cycle location when the duration of their ride has concluded. With adjustable sizes and baskets built for support, anyone can hop on as long as they know how to petal. To help keep riders safe during COVID-19, the company is enacting several protocols for technician staff and participants to follow. 

After making its premiere on the streets of Omaha last summer, Scooters will be returning in June and remaining until November. Two companies, Spin and Bird have signed up for the second year of the city’s pilot program. Both organizations are taking numerous precautions to disinfect scooters and keep this form of transportation alive and well during the pandemic. 

Camp Rivercrest in Fremont, Nebraska may not be able to offer camp this year but will continue to give families the ability to enjoy their beautiful campsite through scheduled visits. Families are invited to go for a hike, play some frisbee golf, take a prayer walk or go on our scavenger hunt.  Visitors are welcome to stay for a while, as long as they are following social distancing rules.

Omaha Public Library is offering curbside pickup!  Members can place a hold on items online or call one of the designated branches to make an appointment for pickup. Locations offering this service are Milton R. Abrahams Branch, Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch, Millard Branch, Charles B. Washington Branch and Willa Cather Branch. For individuals who would feel more comfortable waiting, the library is offering eBooks to be checked out online and holds to be placed for books you are craving to read in person.

While we may not get to visit our amazing zoo anytime soon, care for more than 35,000 continues!   Did you know, the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has created a Zoo from Home? Viewers have 24/7 access to a series of Zoocams to catch a glimpse inside the Scott Aquarium.  You can still see the incredible penguins, jellyfish and the indo-pacific reef habitat (home to some of the world’s most colorful aquatic life). To bring the zoo to you, animal care staff are posting daily interactive videos and online activities that can be done from the comfort of your home.  

As the school year comes to a close, the Durham Museum is offering virtual field trips over Zoom for students who may have missed an opportunity to see the history this museum has to offer. Hosted by the museum’s educators, each interactive class follows National and State Social Studies Standards as they explore artifacts, videos and photographs from the halls of the museum. These online topics are covering subjects ranging from history and culture to science, industry and more. 

KANKEO located in the Old Market is sticking to its mission of exploring the creative process — how a new idea is born into the arts, sciences, and philosophy even through this troubling time. The gallery may be closed to the public, but through the Tessellation Project, our community can come together to create massive communal work of art curated and installed at the KANEKO.  This will be made from thousands of pieces of art, created by you in your own home. The hope is to create something worthwhile to show for our latest challenge of isolation. 

There is nothing some of us miss more than sitting down with a buttery bowl of popcorn and catching the latest film. Although our favorite movie theatre experience may have temporarily gone away, Film Streams in Dundee is offering virtual releases and viewing parties to experience in your home. With a variety of choices, there are movies made for kids and movies made for when they go to sleep. Partnering with a streaming service the indie movie is available at your fingertips within a click and a small rental fee. 

The Omaha Symphony is offering music lovers ways to connect with the music they miss at any time. Online users can stream concerts from their archives available for on-demand listening on their website. Musicians are submitting digital tutorials on various topics to help budding musicians be the best they can be, no matter their age or ability. 

Known as the heart and soul of kids theater in Omaha, the Rose Theater is bringing some of that magic to your children through their Youtube channel. With regularly posted videos, offering lessons in topics like costume design and playwriting.  Students are given the opportunity to discover lessons not taught in school about theater and they have the opportunity to see behind the scenes of their favorite shows. 

Ever dream of being a dancer? Or have a child with a special talent of standing on their tippy-toes? The American Midwest Ballet Association is providing lessons that are free and open to the public on YouTube.  These include a variety of styles:  ballet, jazz, and tap, as well as classes in fitness and movement.  

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancellation and postponement of Omaha area concerts since mid-March but Falconwood Park is bringing those back. Beginning in the middle of May, concerts will begin to show at a drive-up style theater, providing these luxuries we’ve all missed in a safe and social distancing friendly way.

This list is compiled of SGS favorites, and we will continue to compile additional activities for your families.  Please feel free to share other activities with us that you have come across - or ways you are keeping your children entertained during this challenging time!