Nebraska

Nebraska is next on our list of explorations. Since the weather is turning cooler, you might want to grab a jacket and a hot cup of coffee from the pot before you pull up a log here by the fire. I have my travel guide and computer links and various other materials. I believe we're ready to plan a trip. 

Nebraska became the 37th state soon after the Civil War. The state bird is the Western 
Meadowlark. The state soft drink is Kool-Aid. A few interesting facts about Nebraska are: Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha has the world's largest indoor rainforest, indoor desert, and nocturnal exhibit, the world's largest porch swing that holds 18 adults is located in Hebron, fossil bones of the largest mammoth in the world were found in Lincoln County, the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest has the world's largest hand-planted forest, the world's largest ball of stamps is located in Boys Town, the world's largest railroad classification yard is Bailey Railroad Yard, and The Sandhills is the largest grass-stabilized dune region in the western hemisphere. (Big breath!) Besides Kool-Aid, some things that got their beginnings in Nebraska are: center pivot irrigation, Arbor Day, and Cliff's Notes. 


Nebraska has more than 400 public waterways. Water sports like swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, wind boating, and jet skiing are encouraged. However there is an unusual way of enjoying water. You can float along in a floating livestock tank. A livestock tank is found on farms filled with water for the animals. The tank you ride in has plenty of seating room as well as room for food and drinks so you can make a day of it.

Bird watching is a favorite pasttime in Nebraska. Annual migration of sandhill cranes draws birders from all over the world. Nearly half a million of these cranes stop here before continuing on their way. Prairie chicken booming is the annual courtship ritual where the males gather in open fields to compete for the affections of their females. They flip their tails, stomp their feet, and jump around. As they are doing this booming noises come from inflated yellow-orange air sacs on their necks.


There are several wildlife refuges. They were established to help conserve the natural flora and fauna of Nebraska. Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest such areas in the state. Twenty-one lakes, numerous ponds, and densely vegetated meadows support wildlife in the sandhills area. There are more than 275 species of birds, deer. coyotes, jackrabbits, and a large variety of fish are here. Nesting bald eagles are a major attraction.


Chimney Rock is one of the most well known natural rock formations. Travelers going west along the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails knew they were headed the right way when Chimney Rock came into view. The Rock Creek Station near Fairbury served as a Pony Express station. It was the place where Wild Bill Hickok began his gunfighting career by shooting David McCanles.


Let me tell you, I found so much about Nebraska to excite me. I was surprised because I thought of it as a flat, boring place full of dust and prairie dogs. As with every other state I've written about, I have had to leave out so much fun stuff. And I didn't even mention trails or horseback riding or many of the other things we look to explore in a state. And I didn't mention Boys Town at all! I guess you'll just have to do some exploring on your own. Let me know what fun things you find. I'm going to take a look at Carhenge and then look at the fossil digs at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. Maybe I'll take a look at a sod house while I'm at it.

Copas

Official State Site
Travel Guide
Nebraska Forest Service
Nebraska National Forests And Grasslands
State Parks
National Parks
Offbeat Tourist Attractions

Comments

  1. My family homesteaded this state.Where I go in the Sandhills we eat Chicken Fried Steak, the state food, and drink Sandstorms instead of the Dairy Queen Blizzard.

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  2. I, too, am from Nebraska. There is so much to see and do. At the same time, we are laid back and calm. One thing that always amuses me is when the media wants to demonstrate a long dry spell that could "affect the whole country", they invariably show scenes of the Platte River. There are sand bars all through the river and it looks as if it is almost a dry river bed. The thing is, it always looks like that! Everyone, come visit. It is truly a wonderful place to be.

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  3. thank you for all the links, I will check them out

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