As the three-day Memorial Day weekend nears, thousands of people across Nebraska and Iowa are making plans to skip town, kick back, cool off and honor those who have served our country.
Click on the links below to read more about what's happening this weekend and where to go.
Video: What are Midlanders doing for the holiday weekend? Click here to find out
Government offices, courts and public libraries are closed in observance of Memorial Day. Here is the schedule for some other services:
Mail: No delivery.
Parking meters: Coins not required in Omaha or Council Bluffs.
Garbage collection: No collection of garbage, recyclables or yard waste in Omaha; all collections delayed one day for the week.
Omaha Metro: Buses don’t run.
Utilities: MUD, OPPD and MidAmerican offices closed; emergency numbers answered.
Newspaper: All World-Herald subscribers receive a morning newspaper. Customer service department open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday; phone 402-346-3363 or 1-800-234-6942 or email CirculationCustomerService@owh.com.
Memorial Day ceremonies, events
Gov. Dave Heineman has ordered that U.S. and Nebraska flags be flown at half-staff until noon Monday in observance of Memorial Day.
Observances are planned throughout the area to mark the holiday and honor the nation's war dead. Note that not all activities are on Monday, which is the official federal holiday. The public is welcome at these events unless otherwise noted. Here is a sampling:
» Heartland Airborne Memorial at Heartland of America Park, 800 Douglas St.; 1 p.m. Adrian Whitsett of KETV will speak. Joe Fuchs will provide bugle and bagpipe music.
» Prospect Hill Cemetery, near 220th Street and West Maple Road in the Elkhorn area; 1:30 p.m. dedication of Douglas County Korean War Memorial. Eagle Scout-candidate Ethan Copple, 14, of Boy Scout Troop 357 will be master of ceremonies. Numerous veterans groups will participate. Raising the money for the monument, getting it built and dedicating it comprise Ethan's Eagle Scout project.
» Bellevue Cemetery, on Franklin Street about one mile north of Mission Avenue in Olde Towne; 11 a.m. The City of Bellevue's official Memorial Day ceremony led by Bellevue Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10785. Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Alston, the senior enlisted leader at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, will speak.
» Calvary Cemetery, 7710 West Center Road; 10 a.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas and co-celebrated by the Rev. Michael Grewe.
» Cass County Courthouse, 346 Main St. in Plattsmouth; 9 a.m. Presentation at the Memorial Wall by Plattsmouth American Legion 56.
» Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home, 12505 S. 40th St. in Bellevue; 2 p.m. service.
» Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, 2300 S. 78th St.; 9:30 a.m. in Section D. A few folding chairs will be provided, but you may want to bring a lawn chair.
» Fairview Cemetery, near 87th Street and Fairview Road in Papillion; 10 a.m. Memorial Day service by American Legion Post 32. Coffee and cookies will be provided by Post 32 Auxiliary at the Legion hall, 230 W. Lincoln St. in Papillion, after the ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the service will be at the Legion Hall.
» Forest Lawn Cemetery, 56th Street north of Sorensen Parkway; 10 a.m. Annual Memorial Day ceremony put on by American Legion Post 1.
» Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 4912 Leavenworth St.; 10 a.m. Mass with the Rev. John Pietramale.
» Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, on Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston, Iowa; 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Memorial Day observance and open house. A complimentary breakfast will be served from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. or until supplies run out. Admission is free.
» Lewis & Clark Landing along the river in downtown Omaha; 10:30 a.m. Ceremony presented by the Omaha Council Branch of the Fleet Reserve Association.
» Memorial Park, 56th Street and Underwood Avenue; 11 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony presented by Heroes of the Heartland.
» Mount Hope Cemetery, 78th Street and Military Avenue; 11 a.m. veterans ceremony. VFW 2503 and Benson American Legion Post 112 will hold the service.
» Offutt Air Force Base cemetery; 9 a.m. Annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by Brig. Gen. Don Bacon, 55th Wing commander. Guest speaker will be Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler, deputy director of Nuclear Operations for U.S. Strategic Command. The event is open to persons with base access.
» Petersen Park, West Angus Road and Pontiac Drive in Gretna; 10 a.m. annual Memorial Day event. A free lunch at the Gretna American Legion Hall will be served to veterans and their immediate families after the ceremony.
» Prospect Hill Cemetery, 32nd and Parker Streets; 11 a.m. “Old-Fashioned Memorial Day Observance.” Program on 150th anniversary of War of 1812 by Harl Dalstrom, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Music by Prospect Hill Preservation Brass Band. Flyover by P-51 Mustang. Annual tribute to Anna Wilson, Omaha businesswoman and cemetery benefactor. Brownies and lemonade will be available for purchase.
» Resurrection Cemetery, 7800 West Center Road; 10 a.m. Mass with Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss.
» St. John Cemetery, 7506 S. 36th St.; 10 a.m. Mass. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 5912 S. 36th St.
» St. Mary Cemetery, 3553 Q St.; 10 a.m. Mass with the Rev. Dennis Stolinski.
» St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery, 5226 S. 46th St.; 10 a.m. Mass with the Rev. Joseph Taphorn.
» Springfield Cemetery; 10:30 a.m. service hosted by Springfield American Legion Post 143 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9558. In case of inclement weather, the service will be in the Springfield Legion Hall.
» Springwell Danish Cemetery, 6326 Hartman Ave.; noon service. The Rev. Mark Seam of the Pella Lutheran Church will speak. Military honors conducted by Benson VFW Post 2503.
» Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2543 and American Legion Post 56, both of Plattsmouth, will co-host a number of events. Activities at Oak Hill Cemetery in Plattsmouth are a 9:30 a.m. flag raising at the GAR section, 9:45 a.m. presentation at the VFW section, 10 a.m. presentation at American Legion section with music by the Cass County Community Band. The VFW and Legion will make presentations at 10:45 a.m. at the Plattsmouth Toll Bridge, 11 a.m. at the Legion post, noon at Horning Cemetery in Plattsmouth and noon at La Platte Cemetery in La Platte. Also planned are a 1 p.m. flag raising at the end of Main Street in Plattsmouth and a 1:15 p.m. flag raising at the VFW.
» Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will offer special activities Saturday through Monday. Expect face painting, a bounce house, wild musical entertainment and special animal presentations for all ages from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All activities and presentations are free for members or with regular paid admission. Also look for the interactive Prehistoric Play Park and Fossil Dig Site in the Children's Area. The park and dig site will open at 10:30 a.m. Friday. The new exhibit, done in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a replica of Nebraska 12 million years ago, when it was a savannah, similar to present day Africa. Kids are able to dig and uncover fossils from Nebraska using paleontologist tools just like a real fossil dig site.
» All 10 locations of the YMCA of Greater Omaha will host a free community day Monday in celebration of Memorial Day. Everyone is welcome. All locations will have a variety of activities, including fitness classes, family swims, gym time and more. Each location sets its own hours and activities.
» Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft Streets, will offer a weekend of music from the Mobile Millennium Carillon, which brings the carillon down to ground level. The carilloneur will play at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Performances are free with membership or regular paid admission.
-- Sue Story Truax and Kevin Brabec
Nebraska and Iowa state parks officials also are expecting the warm weather and lower gas prices to bring people to state parks.
In Nebraska, Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the busiest for the state's 78 parks.
And, this will be the first Memorial Day weekend for the Lake Wanahoo Recreational Area near Wahoo that opened late last month. Located roughly 30 minutes from both Omaha and Lincoln, it is expected to be the premier angling destination in eastern Nebraska.
Public Missouri River boat ramps
N.P. Dodge Park, 11001 John J Pershing Drive, Omaha, (402) 444-5955
Narrows River Park, 2500 N. 25th St., Council Bluffs, (712) 323-1342
Lake Manawa State Park, 1100 South Shore Drive, Council Bluffs, (712) 366-0220
Optimists River Park, north of U.S. Highway 30 on Dixon Road, Blair, Neb., no phone
State park entrance fees
Annual duplicate (for another vehicle): $12.50
No entrance fees
Looking for a place in town to cool off? Click on the tabs below for a list of area public pools and the dates they open.
All pools open Friday through mid-August. Cascio had been scheduled to open later.
Dowding Pool, 1400 Washington St.
Jerry Gilbert Pool, 29th Avenue and Jackson Street
Sorensen Pool, 10th and Sidney Streets
Sun Valley Pool (in Aspen Park), 53rd and Arrow Rock Road
Cascio Pool, 1500 Lawrence Lane
Open Saturday through at least mid-August
Katelman Water Park, 1230 16th Ave.
Pirate Cove Water Park, 915 N. 21st St.
Gretna Municipal Pool, 300 Angus St.: Opened Monday; open through Aug. 12
La Vista Municipal Pool, 7529 S. 85th St.: Open Saturday through Labor Day
(Traditional pool unless otherwise noted)
Camelot Pool, 9270 Cady Ave.: Open June 9 through Aug. 5
Cryer Pool, 11783 Cryer Ave.: June 9 through Aug. 5
Deer Ridge Leisure Pool, 585 S. 126th St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Elkhorn Pool, 3200 N. 207th Plaza: June 2 through Aug. 12
Elmwood Leisure Pool, 606 S. Happy Hollow Blvd.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Gallagher Leisure Pool, 2936 N. 52nd St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Hanscom Leisure Pool, 3110 Ed Creighton Blvd.: June 9 through Aug. 5
Hitchcock Traditional Pool, 5025 S. 45th St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Karen Pool, 6288 H St.: June 9 through Aug. 5
Lee Valley Pool, 10605 Charles St.: June 9 through Aug. 5
Miller Water Park, 6275 N. 30th St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Oak Heights Leisure Pool, 10205 U St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Roanoke Pool, 4747 N. 113th St.: June 2 through Aug. 12
Spring Lake Pool, 4020 Hoctor Blvd.: June 9 through Aug. 5
Zorinsky Aquatic Center, 3808 S. 156th St.: June 2 through Aug 12
Spraygrounds, also called splash pads
All, except Fontenelle Park, open Monday through Labor Day
Fontenelle Park, 4405 Fontenelle Blvd. (closed for repairs)
Kountze, 1920 Pinkney St.
Orchard Park, North 66th Street and Hartman Avenue
Upland, 3104 Jefferson St.
Westwood Heights, 12334 Seldin Drive
Papio Bay Aquatic Park, 815 E. Halleck St.: open Saturday through Labor Day
Blair Swimming Pool, 1601 Butler St.: open Tuesday through Aug. 10
Fremont Splash Station, a full aquatic park at 3809 E. Fremont Drive: open Monday through Aug. 12
Ronin Swimming Pool, 1703 N. Somers Ave.: Monday through Aug. 12
Splash pads: Open Monday through Labor Day
Memorial Park, at North Lincoln and East Military Avenues
Miller Park on South M Street at West Jackson Street
Ronin Park, 1703 N. Somers Ave.
Missouri Valley, Iowa
Missouri Valley Swimming Pool, 700 W. Huron St.: open Sunday through Aug. 19
Twin Rivers Water Park, 414 S. 18th St.: open Saturday through mid-August
Platte River State Park, Louisville, Neb.
Swimming pool: Open Saturday through mid-August for full hours; limited hours through Labor Day
Mahoney State Park, Ashland, Neb.
Family Aquatic Center: Open today through mid-August; limited hours through Labor Day
— Kirby Kaufman
Gas prices falling
Earlier this year, the talk was about gas prices hitting $5 a gallon this summer. But after peaking nationally near $4 a gallon in early April, they've moved in the opposite direction
How much have gas prices improved?
» Nationally, regular unleaded gasoline now averages $3.68 per gallon, down 26 cents from an April high of $3.94.
» Nebraska's average price this week was $3.57, down 30 cents from its April high of about $3.87.
» Iowa is seeing prices around $3.48, down 36 cents from an April high of $3.84.
What are Midlanders doing for the holiday weekend?
Correction: A previous version of this story contained an incorrect time for the Sunday ceremony at Heartland of America Park.