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Western Alliance Conference 2019

Omaha, Nebraska


Conference Dates
July 31 – Aug 3, 2019

Host Information:
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Mallory Kountze Planetarium, Omaha NE
The Mallory Kountze Planetarium, located in the heart of the Durham Science Center on the UNO campus, was constructed in 1988, primarily as a teaching aide to instruct astronomy.  Over the years it has grown into an outreach facility for the general public.

The Mallory Kountze Planetarium is a 30 ft dome with 83 seats.


The conference hotel will be the Red Roof - CoCo Key Conference Center. Just 3 miles from the Mallory Kountze Planetarium.

Their address is Coco Key Resort Hotel 
3321 South 72nd Street
, Omaha, NE

Conference Code: Omaha Planetarium Conference

That is $84+tax

It is easier to make your reservations by phone at 402-393-3950

The conference block will expire on 7/15/19.

Travel Information:

Airport: OMA Omaha Eppley Airfield

*The hotel has a free airport shuttle.

Driving: Omaha is at the intersection of interstate I-80 and I-29.

From the host:

University of Nebraska Omaha Mallory Kountze Planetarium is excited for WAC 2019, and you should be too. Omaha is a great place for the whole family to visit. Starting with the conference hotel, conference guests can get an add-on for the Coco Keys Waterpark located within the hotel; fun for kids of all ages. Then our banquet, Thursday night, will be at the Henry Doorly Zoo’s new African Lodge overlooking the elephant exhibit.


Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is consistently ranked as one of the "world's best" zoos. Last time we dined overlooking North America’s largest indoor rainforest, one of my fondest memories of my first conference. The indoor desert is located under the world’s largest glazed geodesic dome, which has become a landmark for the city of Omaha. This is like no other dome you have been under. There have been lots of changes and updates in the last decade, so if you haven’t been to a zoo lately this is a must see.


On the other side of the highway from the zoo is the beautiful and tranquil Lauritzen Gardens. The Lauritzen Gardens includes a rose garden, Victorian garden, children's garden, and arboretum. In and around the Lauritzen Gardens trains can be found, from the small G-scale train winding through replicas of Omaha’s favorite landmarks in the model railroad garden, to the full-sized ones in Keneflick Park just across the parking lot. There are other trains to be found all around the Omaha area. The Durham Museum is a preserved Art Deco train station with a history rail development in the region. Go early to catch the exhibit “After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading” which ends July 28th. If you miss it there are still permanent exhibits to explore like the passenger train cars and models. You can also grab a soda at the old-fashioned phosphate bar. On the other side of the river in Council Bluffs, IA there is the Rails West Railroad Museum, the free Union Pacific Museum, or the Historic General Dodge House. General Grenville M. Dodge has been called “the greatest railroad builder of all time”. All aboard for a train adventure.


For those art lovers, we have several options. Love's Jazz and Arts Center was built in memory of the renowned sax player Preston Love, is committed to the preservation and advancement of African American art. Film Streams offers an intimate art house cinema experience at two locations seven days a week. The free Joslyn Art Museum has rare works from Monet, Chihuly, Rembrandt and more. This vibrant museum features European collections, two outdoor sculpture gardens, and special exhibitions. Little artists enjoy getting creative in the ART WORKS area. Another free one is Hot Shops Art Center “Home of all that is molten”. A thriving, ultra-hip art scene where countless metal sculptures are forged, and more than 80 studio artists are housed. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts offers works by new and seasoned artists in an artist-in-residence atmosphere. KANEKO features a variety of exhibits, including work by renowned artist Jun Kaneko. Those are just a few of the few indoor locations. The Gene Leahy Mall and other location in the Omaha downtown area have many sculptures on display outside along the streets, sidewalks, and parks.


Heartland of America Park is a 31-acre park to stroll through and catch the spectacular Heartland of America Fountain with its 300 ft. high water jet and light show. Follow the path north to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. Take a stroll on Bob, the 3,000 ft. long pedestrian bridge, and stand in two states at the same time. This spectacular view of Omaha's skyline connects more than 150 miles of trails. Speaking of trails, The Mormon Trail Center at historic winter quarters in Historic Florence is a way to experience some of the great Mormon Migration of 1846-47 of the pioneering era. Just over 70 years after the Mormon Migration, Father Flanagan founded Boys Town. This landmark district is a national treasure, featuring an expansive campus with a museum, historic chapel and a world-renown youth care program that touches millions of lives each year. My daughter was excited to see the Leon Myers Stamp Center at Boys Town, home to the world’s largest stamp ball containing 4,655,000 postage stamps.


For those of us that have to “work”, we will be visiting three mid-sized planetariums, each one unique. Omaha Public Schools has two planetariums. One at the middle school, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planetarium, but WAC were there last decade. So, we will be visiting the Thomas P. Gehringer Planetarium which is located at Omaha's Harry A. Burke High School. This 24-foot diameter dome seats 55 and uses its Spitz A3P star projector and its spherical mirror system. The planetarium is used as a teaching tool in the astronomy classes, for providing special programs for other science classes and enrichment opportunities for many non-science classes. Less than 50 miles down the road in Nebraska's state capital city Lincoln is another “must see” spot for the whole family. Ralph Mueller Planetarium at Morrill Hall University of Nebraska State Museum is Nebraska’s first planetarium opening in 1958 when the Space Race was just getting underway. The planetarium seats 60 guests under a 30-foot dome. Today, it uses a customized fisheye lens projector for immersive fulldome presentations. It has come a long way since its first star projector a Spitz A-2. The museum’s fourth-floor exhibit hall is just opening now. Come tour the museum and planetarium. Finally, there is the Mallory Kountze Planetarium, who quietly celebrated its 30th year at the University of Nebraska Omaha last year. Not to be outdone by Lincoln, Omaha constructed its 33-foot dome to seat 83 in 1987 which at the time was three more seats than Mueller. We still use our Spitz 512 and in the last few years have added a custom mirror system. Our philosophy here is to try to present the most informative and entertaining programs that our budget will allow. Generally, we succeed and continually strive to expand and do better. Come check out a few colleges, tour the museums, and visit the Zoo. From the historian or train enthusiast to the nature lover, from relaxing by the poolside to checking out the nightlife there is guaranteed to be something for the whole family. The Mallory Kountze Planetarium is looking forward to hosting you and your families at WAC 2019 this summer.

Looking forward to seeing you in Omaha,

Krista Testin

Events and activities while you are in Omaha.

Henry Doorly Zoo

Joslyn Art Gallery

Lauritzen Gardens/Kenefick Park

Omaha Children's Museum

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

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