Fun things to do in Nebraska

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    Old Market
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Nebraska

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    Scottsbluff National Monument

    by Florida999 Written May 2, 2006

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    Scottsbluff is one of the monuments the pioneers that settled the American West used as a point of direction. There are some more in the area. The wagon trails went through here. There are still some ruts of the wagon wheels on the Oregon Trail visible.
    It took us a day to drive through Nebraska, doing mostly about 75 mph, I can't imagine doing this on a wagon at probably 3 mph! It is very hot and dusty in Nebraska and there is not much to see outside of the far western part that has the monuments. Most of Nebraska is flat, but then these strange looking rock formations appear.

    View From Top

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    Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

    by Basaic Written Oct 11, 2013

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    Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is concentrated around two small hills (University and Carnegie) protruding from a grassy plain. It is here that an abundance of fossils from the Miocene Epoch (23 Million to 5 million years ago) were found. The fossils are predominantly Miocene Epoch mammals from about 20 million years ago and are amongst the best fossils of these animals ever found. Also found here are the "Daemonelix" a corkscrew shaped burrow made by a beaver-like animal. The museum inside the visitors center also houses a large collection of artifacts from the Plains Indians.

    The Bone Cabin Complex (AKA the Harold J. Cook Homestead) is also on the grounds of the monument. The Cook's were friends with area Indian Tribes and collected the artifacts and items on display in the museum. There is a trail out to their cabin, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    There are three main hiking trails in the park: The Fossil Hill Trail; the Daemonelix Trail and the short trail leading to the cabin.

    Agate Fossil Beds Visitors Center Main Fossil Quarries Plains Indian Display Fossil Hill Trail Bone Cabin
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    Chimney Rock National Historic Site

    by Basaic Written Oct 11, 2013

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    Chimney Rock rises 300 feet above the surrounding plains, which made it a prominent landmark as settlers made the long, hard trek west along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. The site is a National Historic Site but is run by the Nebraska State Historical Society. There is a visitors center here with some nice displays about the history of the westward movement and the formation of the rock. There are also a couple of hands-on things for the kids. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM daily and admission is $3 for adults and free for kids with an adult ticket purchase.

    Chimney Rock Visitors Center Museum Displays
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    Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge

    by Basaic Written Oct 11, 2013

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    The Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge preserves over 19,000 acres of prime wetland and prairie located along the Niobrara National Scenic River. The refuge got its name from the Fort Niobrara Military Reservation that occupied the land from 1879 to 1906. The river, and the limestone cliffs eroded by it, provide a home habitat for a number of species of wildlife and plants. There are several very nice viewpoints of the river, hiking trails, all kinds of water related activities and of course watching the animal life. There are even prarie dog towns, bison (buffalo) and a small herd of elk here.

    Fort Niobrara NWR Visitors Center Fort Falls Hiking Trail Prairie Dog Yellow Finch
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    • Birdwatching
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    Fort Kearny State Park

    by Basaic Written Oct 18, 2013

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    Fort Kearny was established as a military outpost along the Oregon Trail in 1848 to protect pioneers making the trip west, and was named for General Stephen W. Kearny. It also served as a stop for the stage coach, a pony express station, the headquarters for the Pawnee Scouts, and a supply depot/outfitter during the Indian Wars, along with providing supplies for settlers/pioneers. The post remained active until 1871 just after the railroad came to the town of Kearney. Today you can explore the recreated stockade, parade grounds and blacksmith shop. There are ample interpretive signs to educate you about the fort and its functions. Camping, fishing and other recreational facilities are available next door at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM daily from mid-May to Labor Day. Admission is $2 per adult and $1 for kids 3 to 12. You will also need a park permit $5 a day or $35 for a year.

    Stockade Visitors Center Museum Displays Canon Blacksmith Shop
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    Carhenge

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Dec 4, 2006

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    Created in 1987, Carhenge is made of 38 American cars painted gray and aligned to resemble the ancient Stonehenge monument in England. Farmer Jim Reinders created the monument for his father. Though the townspeople originally wanted to tear it down, it is now advertised around the town, it has grown to include new art, and a visitors' center is under construction.

    In 2006, Carhenge was included in a Nissan Pathfinder commercial.

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    Wildlife Safari

    by sunchasers Written Sep 16, 2006

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    Just south of Omaha, there is a small wildlife safari (4-miles) that has a variety of animals (bobcats, bears, deer, wolves, eagles, buffalo etc.). There are bear and wolf feedings on the weekend. Admission $5 Adults $3 Kids

    Open in the from April - October only.

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    • Zoo

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    Omaha Zoo

    by Florida999 Updated Oct 2, 2006

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    This was the largest zoo we have ever visited and well worth the little detour. We spent 5 hours there, and still did not see everything. We skipped the aquarium stuff, since we have plenty of that at home. I was amazed at the amount of tigers and leopards they had! I counted at least 20. Most zoos only have one or two. I have never seen a Rhino before in a zoo, and there were a few rather odd looking creatures, one of them very disgusting : Hissing cockroach, yikes! Don't want that running around in my house...
    The kids loved it and we had to practically drag them out.
    I ran out of photos in my camera before we got to the tigers.

    polar bears spider monkeys train petting zoo
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    Chimney Rock

    by Tom_Fields Written Sep 13, 2005

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    Like Scott's Bluff, this was an important landmark to the pioneers, who headed west across the Great Plains. This indicated that they were near the western end of the Plains. Beyond that lie the Rocky Mountains.

    Chimney Rock Chimney Rock, seen from the highway
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    Boot Hill Cemetery, Ogallala, Nebraska

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Aug 2, 2004

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    Boot Hill Cemetery was the final resting place for many early Westerners who helped make Ogallala a booming cowtown in the 1870's and 1880's. These people - cowboys, settlers, drifters - made their way to Ogallala when the Railroad and the Texas Trail opened a new market for the Texas Longhorn.

    Although one of the first burials here was a mother and child, many others were killed while running afoul of the law, some for horse stealing, others for refighting the Civil War. In July 1873, three cowhands were laid to rest in a single day, victims of the local sheriff's guns. Most were buried with their boots on, hence the name of the cemetery. The wooden headboards say little: "Pauper, 1887," reads one; "Pedro, Sept. 11, 1876" is another. Some bodies which were originally buried here have been removed. Only the unclaimed and unknown remain.

    The sculpture in the center of the cemetery was placed by the local Lions Club in honor of Samuel David "Lep" Sanders, who was one of the first settlers of the area in 1869.

    Boot Hill Cemetery
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    Homestead National Monument

    by Basaic Written Oct 16, 2013

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    Homestead National Monument was established to commemorate the Homestead Act that opened the way for free land and the expansion west. It is located in Nebraska because it is believed the homestead on this spot, applied for by Daniel Freeman, was one of the first, and possibly THE first homestead granted under the Homestead Act.

    The visitor's center has some interesting display and informative signs about the homstead and the Homestead Act and there is an Education Center with an extensive collection of information about the homesteads and the people who attempted this method of earning land.

    A small town grew around the area of the Freeman Homestead. In order to educate the growing population of area children the Homestead School was built.

    There are some hiking trails to see some of the sights but this park is much more about history than sports and recreation.

    Visitor's Center/Heritage Center Education Center Freeman School/Homestead School Palmer Epard Cabin Hiking Trail
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    Niobrara Scenic River

    by Basaic Written Oct 16, 2013

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    The previous tip was about a predominately historical site, now this one is more geared toward sports and recreation. There are 76 miles (120 kilometers) of the river set aside as the "Niobrara National Scenic River" and for good reasons. The river has cut through some rocky cliffs allowing the rivers and stream that feed into the Niobrara to from some very pretty waterfalls. The region is home to a wide range of plant and animal life and has good fishing. There are Class I and Class II rapids and long stretches of the river are nice for a relaxing ride on an intertube. There are places along the river for renting the intertubes, kayaks and canoes or to launch your own. There are a number of good scenic overlooks and hiking trails too.

    Niobrara River Runoff Feeding the River Canoeing on the River Rentals Viewpoint of the River Valley
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    Scotts Bluff National Monument

    by Basaic Written Oct 16, 2013

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    Scotts Bluff was a landmark along the Oregon and California Trails. Between 1841 and 1869 some 350,000 pioneers headed west in the shadow of Scotts Bluff. This is about 1/3 of the way along the trail. Settlers did not stay here long to celebrate, however, because they had to get through the mountain passes in the Rockys before winter or they could well die.

    The visitors center has some nice displays about the history of the trails west, the people that took them and the local area.

    There is a trail to the top of Scotts Bluff. I think it is paved all the way but as you reach the bluff it gets steep. I wimped out and drove to the top. I have now walked much of the trail and all I have seen is paved.

    A portion of the Old Oregon Trail goes right by the entrance to the park.

    Scotts Bluff Visitors Center Oregon Trail Ruts Saddle Rock Trail (to summit) Eagle Rock
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    Valentine National Wildlife Refuge

    by Basaic Written Oct 16, 2013

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    Not far from the town of Valentine, in Northern Nebraska, and not far from Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge is another refuge called Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge is about 72,000 acres of the Nebraska sandhills studded with shallow lakes and marshes. The refuge is home to a different variety of plant and animal life than some of the surrounding sandhills. Hunting, fishing and a few hiking trails are the main recreational opportunities here. The refuge is open during daylight hours year-round and admission is free.

    Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
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    • Birdwatching

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    Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historic Park

    by Basaic Written Oct 16, 2013

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    This state park preserves a turn of the century cattle ranch displaying artifacts and memorabilia about the ranch and its owners Arthur and Eve Bowring. Arthur was a state legislator and Eve was the first Nebraska woman elected to the US Congress. Hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 9 AM to sunset the rest of the year.
    Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for kids 4-16, and children under 4 are free. You will also need a Nebraska Parks Permit (to park) which costs $5 per vehicle. The park is located three miles north and east of Merriman off Highway 20.

    Visitors Center Bowring Ranch Bowring Ranch
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Nebraska Things to Do

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