A Guide to Central Nebraska

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Welcome to the Great Central Nebraska Flyway! While you are in the area for the Sandhill crane migration, we hope you’ll select from the attractions and businesses listed here, a sampling of the many opportunities available to enrich your experience while in central Nebraska. For more detailed information about items on this list, go to redcarpetservice.nebraska.edu. You’ll find a link to a document that can be downloaded and/or printed.

Nebraska history/historic sites

1. Dowse Sod House – Built in 1901 and located southwest of Comstock between Ansley and Sargent, this original “soddy” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – FREE – to arrange a tour, call (308) 628-4370 or (308) 215-0076

2. Fort Kearny State Historical Park – 1020 V Rd., south of Kearney, (308) 865-5305

3. Frank House – 2010 University Drive Circle, Kearney, (308) 865-8284 – www.unk.edu/offices/frankhouse/Frank_House

4. Historic Dawson County self-guided tour – maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 302 E. 6th St., Suite 2, Lexington, (308) 324-5504

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

6. Martin Brothers marker – located three 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 one and one-half miles to a STOP sign (Shelton Rd. and 24th Rd.), turn left (east), follow the road which curves to the right (south) for three and one-half miles; there is a historical marker on the left (east) side of the road just before the intersection; turn left (east) and travel one-half mile on gravel road to gravesite

8. Starke Round Barn – 1643 Hwy. 136, Red Cloud – www.starkeroundbarn.com – this National Register property is the largest true round barn in the world – barn tours are available by appointment – for information, call (402) 746-4165 and leave a message  

9. Wagon ruts from the Oregon/California Trail – a swale 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 #6 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

Wagon ruts from the Morman Trail – at  the Alda Exit 305 on I-80, travel four miles north on Alda Rd. – Guenther Rd. 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

10. Willa Cather historic sites – Red Cloud, (866) 731-7304 – www.willacather.org – guided tours of the Cather historic sites are offered daily; self-guided tour information is also available on the website

11. Willa Cather Memorial Prairie – five miles south of Red Cloud on Hwy. 281

12. Wright Morris historic sites – Central City – www.wrightmorris.org

13. World War II Naval Ammunition Depot – Hastings – for information, contact the Adams County Convention and Visitor Bureau, (800) 967-2189 – www.visithastingsnebraska.com

Museums

14. Classic Car Collection – 3600 E. Hwy. 30 (next to Cabela’s), Kearney, (308) 234-1964 – open Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 12 noon–5 p.m.

15. Dawson County Historical Museum – 805 N. Taft, Lexington, (308) 324-5340 – www.dchsmuseum.com – open Tues.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

16. Gibbon Heritage Center – 2nd and Court St., Gibbon – the museum is housed in the oldest standing church in Buffalo County – open by appointment, call (308) 468-6109 or

(308) 468-5608

17. Great Platte River Road Archway – 1 Archway Pkwy., Kearney, (308) 237-1000 – www.archway.org – open 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily

18. Hastings Museum/Lied Super Screen Theatre/ J. M. McDonald Planetarium – 1330 N. Burlington, Hastings, (402) 461-2399 – www.hastingsmuseum.org, open Sun. 12 noon–6 p.m., Tues.–Thurs. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

19. Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles – 606 Heartland Rd., Lexington, (308) 324-6329 – www.heartlandmuseum.com – open 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., Sun. 1-5 p.m.

20. Kearney County Historical Museum – 530 N. Nebraska Ave., Minden, (308) 832-1789

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

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

23. Nebraska Firefighters Museum – 2434 E. 1st, Kearney, (308) 338-3473 – www.nebraskafirefightersmuseum.com – open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily

24. Nebraska Prairie Museum – north Hwy. 183, Holdrege, (308) 995-5015 – www.nebraskaprairie.org, open Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1–4 p.m.

25. Pioneer Village – 138 E. Hwy. 6, Minden, (308) 832-1181 – www.pioneervillage.org – open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily

26. Shelton Historical Interpretive Center & Lincoln Highway Visitor Center – Hwy. 30 and C St., Shelton – open by appointment, call (308) 390-4123

27. Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer – 3133 W. Hwy. 34, Grand Island, (308) 385-5316  – www.stuhrmuseum.org – open Tues.–Sat. 9–5, Sun. 12–5, closed Mon.

28. Trails & Rails Museum – 710 W. 11th St., Kearney, (308) 234-3041 – www.bchs.us/museum.html – open Mon.-Fri. 1–5 p.m.

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

Art galleries/artists

30. Graham Gallery – 617 W. 2nd, Hastings, (402) 463-2555 – www.graham-gallery.com – open Mon.-Fri. 9:30–5:30, Sat. 9:30–4

31. Jorn Olsen Photography Gallery – 726 W. 2nd, Hastings – www.jornolsen.com – open Thurs. 1–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

32. Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) – 2401 Central Ave., Kearney, (308) 865-8559 – monet.unk.edu/mona – open Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m., closed Mon.

33. Prairie Winds Art Center – 112 W. 3rd, Grand Island, (308) 381-4001 – www.prairiewindsart.com – open Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

34. Sculptures by Sally – 1388 41 Rd., Heartwell, (308) 830-0489 – www.sculpturesbysally.com – open by appointment

35. Wild Rose Gallery, 932 S E St. #5, Broken Bow, (308) 872-6345 – wildrose-gallery.com – open Thurs.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12 noon–5 p.m.

Wineries/microbreweries

36. Cedar Hills Vineyard and Gardens – 48970 375th Rd., Ravenna, (308) 452-3181 – www.cedarhillsvineyard.com

37. Mac’s Creek Vineyard – 43315 Rd. 757, Lexington, (308) 324-0440 – www.macscreekvineyards.com

38. Miletta Vista Winery – 1732 Hwy. 281, St. Paul, (308) 754-4416 – www.milettavistawinery.com

39. Moonlight Ridge Vineyard – 8150 N. U.S. Hwy. 281, Grand Island, (308) 381-2337 – www.moonlightridgevineyard.com

40. Thunderhead Brewing Company –18 E. 21st St., Kearney, (308) 237-1558 – www.thunderheadbrewing.com

Other wildlife viewing

41. Chicken Dance Trail – chickendancetrail.com, scroll down to Adventures – the Rainwater Basin and Republican River Adventure are in the Central Nebraska Flyway region.

42. Harlan County pelican viewing – thousands of American white pelicans arrive at the Harlan County Reservoir during March and early April, along with migrating ducks, geese and other shorebirds – for more information, Harlan County Tourism Office, 311 Main St., Alma, (800) 762-5498 or (308) 928-2992

43. Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center – 9325 S. Alda Rd., Alda, (308) 382-1820 – www.nebraskanature.org

44. Rowe Sanctuary – 44450 Elm Island Rd., Gibbon, (308) 468-5282 – www.rowesanctuary.org

Other

45. Burchell’s Whitehill Farmhouse Inn – 1578 30th Rd., Minden, (308) 832-1323 – www.burchellfarmhouseinn.com

46. Dowse Riverview Homestead – Comstock, (308) 215-0365 – sleeps 11 – see thousands of ducks and geese, as well as deer, turkeys and pheasants right outside the door

47. Minden Cranefest – March 19–26 – visit www.mindenne.org for details

Walking/hiking

• Bader Park, 898 Bader Park Rd., Chapman – three miles south of Chapman (east of Grand Island on Hwy. 30) – admission $3 per day per car

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

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

• Fort Kearny State Historical Park (see #2 above)

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

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

• Kearney Hike/Bike Trail – 17-plus miles of 8-ft.-wide concrete paths located throughout Kearney – trails map at www.cityofkearney.org, then go to Departments, Park & Recreation, Parks, Hike/Bike Trail

• Pioneer Spirit Hike/Bike Trail, Hastings – 5.5 continuous miles starting or ending at Libs Park, near 14th St. and Burlington Ave. – for a downloadable map, go to www.visithastingsnebraska.com, click on Sports and scroll down to the Pioneer Spirit Hike/Bike Trail

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

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

 

List compiled by Connie Francis, University of Nebraska Rural Initiative, cfrancis1[at]unl[dot]edu

 

Immigration in Nebraska