If you haven’t already registered to attend the CSTA Annual Conference on July 7-10, I hope you are planning to do so soon. CLICK TO REGISTER This is the first time the conference has been held in Omaha, which is hard to imagine given that the city’s nickname is “The Big O.” You would think every CS-related conference would want to be here. If this will be your first visit to Omaha, prepare to be impressed with a modern, friendly Midwestern city. I’ve lived in Omaha (technically, in the suburbs) for 18 years now, and will be happy to serve as your tour guide. Here is my top 5 list of things you need to see when you come to Omaha this summer:
- Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium: If you have any flexibility in your schedule, you absolutely have to go to the Henry Doorly Zoo. Rated the world’s best zoo by TripAdvisor, it has something that will appeal to everyone. It houses one of the largest indoor rain forests, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and swamp, one of the world’s largest indoor deserts (inside the world’s largest geodesic dome), the largest cat complex in North America, a walk-through aquarium, and a penguin house that is wonderfully cool in the summer. Unfortunately, it closes at 6pm, so try to come a day early or stay a day late to visit the best zoo in the world!
- Old Market: This historic district is only a 4-5 block walk from the conference hotels, so it will be an easy destination throughout the week. The four square-block district contains a wide variety of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and upscale shops, while still maintaining the feel of Omaha’s past as a frontier city and trade center. Some of my favorite destinations are Blue Sushi, which has a great happy hour (and awesome vegetarian sushi), Wheatfield’s Eatery and Bakery, which is famous for its breakfasts and desserts, and Hollywood Candy, which has every kind of candy there ever was.
- Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: The conference site, the CenturyLink Center, and the conference hotels are right on the Missouri River. There are walkways and parks on both sides of the river and a 3,000-foot pedestrian bridge that connects the Nebraska and Iowa sides. Be sure to take time to stroll across the award-winning bridge and visit another state!
- Durham Museum: Located on the far side of the Old Market, only 0.7 miles from the conference site, is the Durham Museum. The region’s premier history museum is housed in Union Station, an art deco train station built in 1898. If you don’t have time to take in the exhibits, at least pop into the lobby and enjoy the architecture.
- Road to Omaha Statue: Right next to the conference center and hotels is TD Ameritrade Park, which is home to the College World Series every June. This is my favorite time of the year, when fans from the eight best college baseball teams take over Omaha for two weeks. Obviously, you will not be there for this event (maybe next year?), but you can get your picture taken with the famous Road to Omaha statue outside the stadium.
So, register now and I’ll see you in July.
Past Chair, CSTA Board of Directors