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Our trip to Sunset, Utah - 2011

Today was a short day for travel, we wanted to stop in Omaha to see Sandy's cousin Deb. We left North Platte and were in Omaha by noon. Our first stop was the Lauritzen Gardens - Omaha Botanical Center. This is an outstanding place to visit, it is billed as an "Escape to an urban oasis" and it is indeed. The main building provides an entrance to the outdoor gardens but also featured a wonderful fall display of mums.

Mum display

Outdoors we found black top and concrete walkways that led to a wide variety of theme gardens. The fall colors were still on many of the trees, which added to the beauty of what is normally a poor season for visiting a botanical center.

Fall color along the pathway

Although most of the flowers have long since seen their season, there were still plenty examples of fall flowers. Here a butterfly enjoys the flowers as much as we did.

Butterfly on flower

It is quite a hike to see all the theme gardens but along the way are a lot of water features as well as benches to rest on. This was the Glen Garden with the water feature still moving water along the small stream.

Glen Garden

One very unique feature of this center is the model railroad garden. Unfortunately the model train portion was shut down yesterday (October 31st) so we will be back next year to see it in action. There are lots of trestles and bridges for the larger sized model trains and is certainly a favorite of the kids that come to see it.

Model Train Covered Bridge

We plan to publish a page dedicated to this garden to show more of the great theme gardens. This flower made its home outside the front door of the main building.

Main entrance flower display

We nearly missed the opportunity of enjoying an extraordinary display outside of the botanical center. 61 stair steps above the parking lot level is a display of two large railroad engines that are part of a "Welcome to Omaha" sign overlooking I-80. The oldest of the two, Number X4023, built in November of 1944, is over 70' long and holds 25,000 gallons of water for the boiler.

Steam Engine X4023

The second is a recent vintage locomotive known as the Centennial series. This one, Locomotive 6900, made its first run in May 1969 on a trip to Ogden, Utah to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Golden Spike. It was retired after logging 2-million operating miles! And your question, "How did they get them on top of this bluff?" We don't know! If we find out we'll let you know.

Centennial Locomotive

Tomorrow we head for home, a 4-hour drive. We hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.

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