Thanks to all who responded to our earlier questions--time to pay back now.
We booked via Priceline, and got a 3 star for $50--Marriott Courtyard Aksarben Village for Saturday night. This property is one year old and still sparkling. Comfortable bed, nice front desk, huge shower, plus a fridge in the room. Only downside for us was the indoor pool and jacuzzi--completely jammed with shrieking kids, which kept us from a relaxing dip after dinner.
**Tip: Since you will probably have a car in Omaha, don't worry about your hotel location--it's easy to get around town.
We got to the Old Market section of town around 5:00, and went to our chosen venue, M's Pub. We scored an outdoor table, but could only have it for one hour--which was fine with us. Excellent server Scott helped us choose from their very interesting dishes--he was spot on in his recommendations. Extensive wine list available. Reasonable prices. Go to their website for the menu. After dinner we walked around and visited some of the shops, bought a cool pillow at NICHE--be sure to stop there, lots of one of a kind treasures there.
**Tip: Parking at the meters is free on weekends, vs parking for $8 (approx) at the lots. Go early and save the $$$.
Saturday morning we were at the zoo when it opened--got first row free parking, and COOLER TEMPERATURES. The zoo is terrific, esp for small kids, because they can get very close up to the animals--thick glass and multiple levels in many of the big exhibits allow you to view the animals from different vantage points. **Tip: find and talk with the Keepers who are at the scheduled 'feedings'--they were ALL very friendly and willing to talk and teach you about their animals.
The other nice thing about this zoo is that it offers lots of interactive educational exhibits for kids. They have an excellent desert dome, a penguin exhibit, a budgie enclosure, and lots of beautifully landscaped grounds.
**Tip: Lots of walking--bring comfortable shoes and a hat if it's sunny.
**Another Tip: There are soda machines that sell 20 oz bottles--easy to reseal as you travel through the zoo.
We loved the zoo, and highly recommend it--and we're two late fifty-somethings!