For families staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha, Nebraska, sometimes for extended periods, it quickly became obvious that the urban location of the facility did not provide an opportunity for the child requiring care or their siblings to have an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities. 

To address this problem, an initiative was started to create an outdoor experience that would be accessible not only by the RMHC families, but also Omaha residents of all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Heartland DSC worked in partnership with RMHC through sponsorship and provided input on ways in which to include appreciation and education about wildlife and nature as part of the project.

The solution was an outdoor path around the exterior of the building referred to as The Trail, which is a 0.25-mile path featuring an array of engaging amenities, including a reflexology path, family swings, water features, an area for musical play, and an awe-inspiring 3-story bubble mural, among other delightful surprises. 

As part of the experience children are provided the opportunity to go on the Heartland DSC Wildlife Safari. They are furnished a list of animals and challenged to find  replicas of them along the path, introducing them to a wide range of wildlife from hippos and giraffes in the grass to a monkey hanging in a tree. Their are also local wildlife footprints in sections of the path concrete for the children to identify.

Published September 2023