Email hidden gems to email@example.com, or mail them to Hidden Gems, Omaha World-Herald Building, Suite 700, 1314 Douglas St., Omaha, NE 68102-1811.
* * *
Standing Bear Lake Park in far north Omaha has two vocal fans.
Omahans Vicki Krecek and Mary Beth Kriskey nominated the City of Omaha park at 6404 N. 132nd St. as a hidden gem.
Kriskey emailed that she likes the cool metal buffalo sculpture (“Bull Bison” by Lyndon Fayne Pomeroy), interesting historical marker about Standing Bear and the radio-controlled airplane field.
Krecek emailed about the wind sculpture (“Wind Organ” by Douglas Hollis) on the north side of Standing Bear Lake.
“It is just a bunch of large pipes sticking out of the ground. They have holes at various levels to make the tone, like blowing across a flute,” she wrote. “In the summer, its series of wind pipes make wonderful sounds with the south breeze. Go stand in the middle of the pipes and experience the magic.”
The 685-acre park has more to offer than statues, though.
It has three playgrounds, walking and mountain biking trails, picnic areas, a shelter, plenty of green space, restrooms and a lake. The latter, used for fishing and kayaking, has a marina.
During our recent Sunday afternoon visit, we saw lots of people fishing, bicycling, walking and picnicking. Children were on the playgrounds, too.
Omahawks Radio Controlled Airplane Club has its airfield at the park. We joined the people watching from picnic tables, bleachers and cars as these scaled-down planes took off, landed and did aerobatics.
Kriskey became acquainted with Standing Bear Lake Park through her job at Home Instead Senior Care.
“I had a client who enjoyed walking there,” she said in an interview. “It was a nice place we could walk that was safe and had lots of things to stimulate her mind.”
One of those things was the Standing Bear historical monument, which tells about the importance of the park's namesake. He was a Ponca chief who successfully argued in 1879 in U.S. District Court in Omaha that Native Americans are “persons within the meaning of the law.”
To learn more about the park's “Bull Bison,” “Wind Organ” or other public art in the city, consider an app.
Public Art Omaha has an app available for iPhone and Android devices. You can use the app to identify art by taking a picture of it, navigate Omaha's public art using a map view on your phone and search the Public Art Omaha database of art from your mobile device.
You will need access to mobile data or Wi-Fi, and a location service enabled on your phone. The apps are designed to work in the greater Omaha area, and will show only art that is in Public Art Omaha's databases.