A Guide to Central Nebraska

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(click map for larger version)

We welcome you to the Great Central Nebraska Flyway! While you are in central Nebraska for the Sandhill crane migration, consider selecting from the events, attractions and businesses listed here to enrich your experience. For more detailed information about items on this list, go to http://nebraskanature.org. In the top banner, click on “Plan Your Visit”, then click on “Enrich your experience” (at the left). You’ll find a pdf document that can be downloaded and/or printed.

Nebraska history/historical sites

1. Dowse Sod House – located southwest of Comstock on Highway 183 between Ansley and Sargent. Turn east onto 21-C at the Comstock sign and continue six miles to the Dowse Sod House sign. Go south on Oak Grove Road 3 1/2 miles to the home. FREE. To arrange a tour, call 308-628-4370 or 308-215-0076. Also see the historic Wescott Baptist Church at the same location.

2. Fort Kearny State Historical Park – 1020 V Road, south of Kearney, 308-865-5305 - http://www.stateparks.com/fort_kearney.html

3. Frank House – 2010 University Drive Circle, Kearney, 308-865-8284 http://www.unk.edu/offices/frankhouse/Frank_ House/
• Museum hours: M–F, 2–5 p.m., Sat, noon–5
• Saturdays at the Frank House – 1:30 p.m. (Various activities.) 

4. Grand Theatre – 316 W 3rd St, Grand Island, 308-381-2667. “The last surviving movie palace in Grand Island.” For information about tours or current shows, visit http://www.grandmovietheatre.com/

5. Kearney County self-guided tour – available at the Kearney County Historical Society Museum, 530 North Nebraska Ave, Minden, 308- 832-1789

6. Martin Brothers marker – Located 3 miles south of the Alda exit 305 on I-80, this marker commemorates “the Martin Brothers incident of August 1864.”

7. Oregon Trail Historical Marker/Susan O. Hail Grave – Take Shelton/Kenesaw exit 291 on I-80. Travel south 1 ½ miles to a STOP sign (Shelton Road & 24th Road). Turn left (east). Follow the road which curves to the right (south) for 3 ½ miles. There is a historical marker on the left (east) side of the road just before the intersection. Turn left (east) and travel ½ mile on gravel road to grave site.

8. Shelton Historical Interpretive Center & Lincoln Highway Visitor Center – Highway 30 & C Street, Shelton. Open by appointment. Call 308-390-4123

9. Starke Round Barn – 1643 Highway 136, Red Cloud - This National Register property is the largest true round barn in the world. Barn tours are available by appointment. For information on pricing and to schedule a tour please call 402-746-4165 and leave a message. Bus tours are welcome, plenty of room for parking.

10. Wagon ruts from the Oregon/California Trail and the Mormon Trail.
Oregon/California Trail wagon ruts: A swale or depression left from the passage of hundreds of wagons is visible on the east edge of the sandhill just west of the Susan O. Hail gravesite (see above). Look for the vertical “Oregon/California Trail” marker in the fence row. Look to the north-northwest to see the ruts. This is private land, do not trespass.
Morman Trail ruts: At the Alda exit 305, travel 4 miles north on Alda Road. Guenther Road is at the top of a ridge. Turn left (west) and park along the edge of the road. Public access is allowed. Interpretive markers tell the story.

11. Willa Cather Historic Tours – 413 N Webster, Red Cloud, 866-731-7304 – http://www.willacather.org/cather-tours/ . Tours of the Cather historic sites are offered daily M–F at 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 & 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 9:00 & 11:00 a.m. Tours depart from the Red Cloud Opera House.

12. Willa Cather Memorial Prairie – 5 miles south of Red Cloud on Highway 281

13. Wright Morris Boyhood Home and walking tour – Central City – Call 308-384-8679 to schedule a tour of the home. http://www.wrightmorris.org/home.htm

14. WWII Naval Ammunition Depot – Hastings – For information, contact the Adams County Convention and Visitor Bureau, 800-967-2189 - http://www.visithastingsnebraska.com/. A self-guided tour map is available at the visitor center, 100 North Shore Drive, Hastings.

Museums

15. Dawson County Historical Museum – 805 N. Taft, Lexington, 308-324-5340 – http://www.dchsmuseum.com/

16. Gibbon Heritage Center – 2nd & Court St., Gibbon - The museum is housed in the oldest standing church in Buffalo County. It contains a library of photographs dating back to 1871. Open by appointment. Call 308-568-5509

17. Great Platte River Road Archway – One Archway Parkway, Kearney, 308-237-1000 - http://www.archway.org/

18. Hastings Museum/Lied Super Screen Theatre/J. M. McDonald Planetarium - 1330 North Burlington, Hastings, 402-461-2399 – http://www.hastingsmuseum.org/

19. Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles – 606 Heartland Road, Lexington, 308-324-6329 – http://www.heartlandmuseum.com/

20. Kearney County Historical Museum – 530 North Nebraska Avenue, Minden, 308-832-1789

21. Merrick County Historical Museum – 211 E Street, Central City, 308-946-2867

22. Museum of Nebraska Major League Baseball – 619 Howard Ave, St. Paul, 308-754-5558 – http://www.nebraskabaseballmuseum.com/

23. Nebraska Firefighters Museum – 2434 E. 1st, Kearney, 308-338-3473 – http://www.nebraskafirefightersmuseum.com/

24. Nebraska Prairie Museum – north Highway 183, Holdrege, 308-995-5015 – http://www.nebraskaprairie.org/

25. Pioneer Village - 138 E. Highway 6, Minden, 308-832-1181 – http://www.pioneervillage.org/

26. Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer – 3133 W. Highway 34, Grand Island, 308-385-5316 – http://www.stuhrmuseum.org/

27. Trails & Rails Museum – 710 W. 11th St, Kearney, 308-234-3041 – http://www.bchs.us/museum.html

28. Webster County Historical Museum – 721 W. 4th St, Red Cloud, 402-746-2444

Art galleries

29. Graham Gallery – 617 W. 2nd, Hastings, 402-463-2555 – http://www.graham-gallery.com/

30. Jorn Olsen Photography Gallery – 726 W. 2nd, Hastings - http://www.jornolsen.com/

31. Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) – 2401 Central Avenue, Kearney, 308-865-8559 – http://monet.unk.edu/mona/

32. Prairie Winds Art Center – 112 W 3rd, Grand Island, 308-381-4001 – http://www.prairiewindsart.com/

33. Wild Rose Gallery – 932 S. E St. # 5 Broken Bow, 308-872-6345 – http://wildrose-gallery.com/

Entertainment

34. Merryman Performing Arts Center – 310 W. 24th St, Kearney, 308-698-8297 – http://merryman.kearneypublicschools.org/
• Tuesday, March 22nd, 7 p.m., “The Aluminum Show,” Israel’s Hottest Dance Theatre Creation! Inanimate objects come to life through a luminous and reflective world.
• Thursday, April 7th, 7 p.m., “A Second Helping” (The Church Basement Ladies sequel). Laugh until your side dish hurts at this musical comedy!
• Box Office is open from 9–4 weekdays.
Call 308-698-8297. 20% discounts for groups of 12 or more.

35. Minden Opera House - 322 East 5th, Minden, 308-832-0588 – http://mindenoperahouse.com/
• Saturday, March 5, 7:30 p.m. – “Miles From Dublin”  Tickets $15
• March 17–20; 24–27; 31–April 3 – Minden Community Players’ production of “Cinderella” Thursday/Friday shows – 7:30 p.m., Sunday – 2:30 p.m. Tickets $15

36. Red Cloud Opera House – 411 N. Webster, Red Cloud, 402-746-2641 – http://www.willacather.org/opera-house
• Saturday, April 2 – Ezinma Piano Trio concert. FREE. Call for performance time.

37. Tassel Performing Arts Center – 1324 Tilden St., Holdrege, 308-995-2717 – http://www.thetassel.org/
• Monday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. - Ilya Yakushev, classical pianist. Yakushev is a Gold Medal winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition.
• Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. – Quartetto Gelato. Virtuosic showpieces, romantic tenor arias, gypsy pyrotechnics and a World Accordion Champion; this is Quartetto Gelato.  Where music meets theatre and audiences are taken on an unforgettable journey. 

Wineries/microbreweries

38. Cedar Hills Vineyard and Gardens – 48970 375th Road, Ravenna, 308-452-3181 – http://www.cedarhillsvineyard.com/

39. Mac’s Creek Vineyard – 43315 Road 757, Lexington, 308-324-0440 – http://www.macscreekvineyards.com/

40. Miletta Vista Winery – 1732 Highway 281, St. Paul, 308-754-4416 – http://www.milettavistawinery.com/ mail[at]milettavistawinery[dot]com

41. Moonlight Ridge Vineyard – 8150 N. U.S. Highway 281, Grand Island, 308-381-2337 – http://www.moonlightridgevineyard.com/

42. Platte Valley Brewery – 14 East Railroad St., Kearney, 308-237-0751

43. Superior Estates Winery – 200 West 15th St., Superior, 402-879-3001 – http://www.superiorestateswinery.com/

44. Thunderhead Brewing Company – 18 East 21st St., Kearney, 308-237-1558 – http://www.thunderheadbrewing.com/

Other wildlife viewing

45. Chicken Dance Trail – Rainwater Basin and/or Republican River Adventure – http://chickendancetrail.com/

46. Harlan County pelican viewing – For information: Harlan County Tourism Office, 311 Main Street, Alma; harlancountytourism[at]yahoo[dot]com ; 800-762-5498 or 308-928-2992.
• White Pelican Homecoming Celebration – March 20–26, 2011; Spring Fling March 25.

Other

47. Burchell’s Whitehill Farmhouse Inn – 1578 30th Road, Minden, 308-832-1323 – http://www.burchellfarmhouseinn.com/

48. Minden Cranefest – March 19–26 – Visit http://www.mindenne.org for more details.

49. Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center – 9325 South Alda Rd, Alda, 308-382-1820 – http://nebraskanature.org

50. Rowe Sanctuary – 44450 Elm Island Rd., Gibbon, 308-468-5282 – http://rowesanctuary.org

51. Two-Day Photography Symposium – February 25 & 26 – Lochland Country Club, Hastings. For information call 800-967-2189 or visit www.PhotographNebraska.com.

Walking/hiking

53. Bader Park – 898 Bader Park Road, Chapman – 3 miles south of Chapman (east of Grand Island on Highway 30). Admission $3 per day per car.

54. Bassway Strip Wildlife Management Area – southeast corner of Minden interchange, I-80 (Exit 279)

55. Cheyenne State Recreation Area – northeast corner of Wood River interchange, I-80 (Exit 300)

56. Fort Kearny State Recreation Area – 1020 V Road, south of Kearney – 1.8-mile Fort Kearny Hike/Bike Trail (permit required) – http://www.stateparks.com/fort_kearney.html

57. Gasteyer Nature Sanctuary – just south of Loup City along the Loup River on Highway 10 (45 miles north of Kearney)

58. Kearney Hike/Bike Trail – 17+ miles of 8-feet-wide concrete paths located throughout Kearney. (Trails map at http://www.cityofkearney.org/)

59. Pioneer Spirit Hike/Bike Trail, Hastings – 5.5 continuous miles starting or ending at Libs Park, near 14th Street and Burlington Avenue. (For a downloadable map, go to http://visithastingsnebraska.com, click on Sports and scroll down to the Pioneer Spirit Hike/Bike Trail.)

60. War Axe State Recreation Area – northeast corner of Shelton interchange, I-80 (Exit 291)

61. Windmill State Recreation Area – northeast corner of Gibbon interchange, I-80 (Exit 285)

 

Comments

Submitted by Victoria (not verified) on

I read about this list today in the Lincoln Journal Star. Good job, PrairieFire, and thanks for helping to answer the question of "what now?" by our birding visitors. This list can only add to the enjoyment and, hopefully, increased numbers of tourists here.

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