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A Taste of Europe

Heartland Park Gondola Ride

Traditional gondolas, one of Omaha’s treasured attractions, are available for hire for $15 per couple.

Omaha’s heritage is a rich mixture of cultures and ethnicities. During the 1800s, Lewis and Clark explored and mapped the part of Nebraska that would later become downtown Omaha. During the U.S. immigration boom, Europeans settled the city, with a large number of Scandinavians moving to north Omaha. Staying true to the diversity of the city’s heritage, Omaha offers several European inspired attractions and restaurants. Delta Sky editors highlight some of Omaha’s best European features.

Joslyn Castle 
From the indoor conservatory to its sprawling gardens, Joslyn Castle is a unique attraction. Built by George and Sarah Joslyn in 1903, the impressive home came from the successes of George’s Western Newspaper Union fortune. A prominent family in Omaha, it was Sarah Joslyn who donated the money in George’s memory to start Joslyn Art Museum. Their home has been preserved and is open for the public to enjoy. Built in the Scottish Baronial-style, the limestone Joslyn Castle features turrets and curved ironwork.

Today, the castle is the ideal place to tour with your family. Visitors can arrange a private tour by appointment, or join monthly group tours. If you’d like even more of an immersion experience, traditional Scottish dinners and dancing can be arranged for your private tour. Both public and private tours tell the story of the Joslyn family, the materials and goods that went into the castle’s construction and its Scottish heritage.

One of the most famous events at Joslyn Castle is the Castle Classic Weekend, held every June over Father’s Day weekend. a classic car show on Father’s Day weekend in June. The festivities include a fashion show and luncheon, a “Jazz and Gin” gala, family activities and a fantastic classic car show. Check Joslyn Castle’s website for prices and information.

Group tours are offered on the first and third Sunday of every month and also by appointment. Admission: Adults $6, Students & Seniors $5, Children under 12 are free. For more information call 402-595-2199

Dario’s Brasserie 
Diners will feel as though they’ve stepped into a Parisian café when dining at Dario’s Brasserie. This Omaha local favorite creates dishes in the French culinary style– steamed muscles, pot frites, and croque monsieur are menu staples. Dario’s is known for its sousvide, or under vacuum, style of cooking, in which bagged dishes are prepared in a warm water bath. The result is a truly succulent and evenly cooked meal that is prepared to perfection that varies from traditional convection cooking. For the beer connoisseur, Dario’s also offers a full Belgian beer list with 80 choices.

Hours: M-Sa. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Su. 10 a.m.-2p.m. and 5-9 p.m. 4920 Underwood Ave, 402-933-0799

Heartland Gondolas 
Imagine floating around a lagoon on a Venetian-style gondola and taking in views of downtown Omaha and the Heartland of America Park. Sound ideal? Traditional gondolas, one of Omaha’s treasured attractions, are available for hire for $15 per couple. If you’re part of a larger group, embark on a private boat tour, in the Italian-inspired Caorlina. The cost is only $3, or charter the boat for a private cruise for $100. Gondolas and the Caorlina run May-September and depart from the Heartland of America Park.

Hours: Th.-Su. 7-10 p.m., weather permitting, north end of Heartland of America Park, 402-884-5677

All European Car and Motorcycle Expo 
Every September, local residents bring their collections of BMWs and Audis to Lauritzen Gardens for the All European Car and Motorcycle Expo. Not just automobiles, the car expo also includes European motorcycles, scooters and bikes. Previous favorites include a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud from 1956 and a 1965 British Austin-Healey. Peruse cars and enjoy a taste of automotive life across the pond while in Omaha.

Lauritzen Gardens, $7 per person, 402-346-4002

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