Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Heartland of America Park

Downtown Omaha is the central business, government and social core of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, and is located in Omaha, Nebraska. The boundaries are 20th Street on the west to the Missouri River on the east and the centerline of Leavenworth Street on the south to the centerline of Chicago Street on the north, also including the Qwest Center. Downtown sits on the Missouri River, with commanding views from the tallest skyscrapers.

Dating almost to the city's inception, downtown has been a popular location for the headquarters of a variety of companies. The Union Pacific Railroad has been headquartered in Omaha since its establishment in 1862. Once the location of 24 historical warehouses, Jobbers Canyon Historic District was the site of many import and export businesses necessary for the settlement and development of the American West. Today, downtown boasts national and regional headquarters for dozens of companies.

The area is home to more than 30 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with two historic districts. Downtown Omaha was also the site of the Jobbers Canyon Historic District, all 24 buildings of which were demolished in 1989, representing the largest single loss of buildings to date from the National Register.

Omaha is home to dozens of public parks, several with highlights for tourists. The Heartland of America Park is a Downtown Omaha feature that includes a fountain and gondola rides on a lake with two fountains, with one that shoots water 300 feet (91 m) into the air during a colorful nighttime light show. Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens is a 100-acre (0.40 km2) botanical garden features a holiday poinsettia show in December. Other popular parks in the city include Dodge Park, Glenn Cunningham Lake, the Gene Leahy Mall, and the lakes in the Lower Papio Valley. The city also has more than 80 miles (130 km) of recreational trails for biking, running, hiking and strolling, and the soon-to-be-completed Missouri River Pedestrian Bridge, which will be the crown jewel of the city's trail system.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is nationally renowned for its leadership in animal conservation and research. Evolving from the public Riverview Park Zoo established in 1894, today the Zoo includes several notable exhibits. They include a new "Butterfly and Insect Pavilion," Scott Aquarium, "Orangutan Forest" and "Hubbard Gorilla Valley." "Kingdoms of the Night" is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit. The Lied Jungle is the world's largest indoor rain forest, and the "Desert Dome" is the world's largest indoor desert. There is also 350-seat cafeteria style restaurant, concessions, gift shops, a tram and live steam train.

1 comment:

locomo said...

nice post - Omaha has a lot of amazing public spaces. If you liked the Heartland of America Park you should also check out Freedom Park as well!