Nebraska: Its More Than You Think

It might just surprise you to know that in addition to its deep-rooted Western heritage, Nebraska also features a host of top-rated attractions including a world-class zoo, aquarium and tropical rain forest all in one location.

If your kids are into old bones, then you’ve got to take them to see some of the largest animals of the Pleistocene from giant mammoths and mastodons to a recently unearthed herd of ancient rhinos.

Or if your bent is more towards aviation and military history, then you’ll want to see the brand new SAC Museum between Omaha and Lincoln, and restored Army posts from the Indian Wars at Ft. Hartstuff and Ft. Robinson.

There are I-MAX theaters, wildlife parks, scenic rivers, history and art museums galore, vineyards, guest ranches and lots, lots more.

Fact is, you’ll be downright surprised at how much there is to see and do when you explore Genuine Nebraska. Ranging from the rugged Pine Ridge, through the hand-planted Nebraska National Forest, to the serene Missouri River bluffs, three great hikes highlight the best of Nebraska’s scenic outdoors.

Trout grow fast in the cold, nutrient-rich water flowing from Lake Ogallala into the Sutherland Supply Canal, and anglers fishing from the canal’s banks regularly catch healthy, high-quality fish ? and sometimes, a memorable trophy.

A delight to the palate, no mushroom is more sought after than the morel. Unwilling to submit to garden life, the elusive, sponge-like fungas draws stalkers into the woodlands every spring.

Hundreds of mallards pack the wintering area, a grassy slough winding through prairie until it meets the wooded north channel of the Platt River in a place called the Narrows. Here, strong springs assure open water and a place for courtship — the beginning of a new life cycle.

Buffalo, a symbol of the American West once hunted to near extinction, are making a comeback on the Great Plains. Ranchers are turning to buffalo for their hardiness, ease of management and profitability in a time of low cattle prices. Conservation organizations are using buffalo as a tool to manage native grasslands. On reservations, Native Americans are building herds to restore their spiritual, cultural and economic ties to the animal.

The flurry of recreational development in the lower Platte River valley — two major state parks, four state recreation areas and several private developments — are the most recent steps in a pattern that began more than 100 years ago with the purchase of the state of Nebraska’s first plot of recreational land on the Platte River near Gretna.

Canoeing the Republican River: This quiet, gentle river running through a lush valley is endearing and often overlooked. The Republican valley is rich with wildlife, offers some of the best quail hunting and fishing in the state, and carries some of the magic that makes canoeists long to return and lazily float downriver on a hot mid-summer?s day.

Bighorns: Reintroduced at Fort Robinson State Park in the Pine Ridge in 1981, a herd of nearly 70 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep now lives in the rugged Red Cloud and Cheyenne buttes.


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