Nebraska Bucket List ~ Northeast Region

Today we hit on the final region of the Nebraska Bucket List series. This will be my final post of 2020 as I will then take some time off for the holidays! Starting Jan 4th, I’ll be back with the bucket list posts, with our current state of South Dakota, followed closely by North Dakota. Be on the look out then!

Macy

  • Blackbird Scenic Overlook: View a modern model of an earth lodge and enjoy the views of the Missouri River.

Niobrara

  • Niobrara State Park: Located on the river bluffs of the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.

Ponca

  • Ponca State Park: Offers picturesque views of the Missouri River.

Royal

  • Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park: Site of historic fossil bed and ancient watering hole.

All attractions found on visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~ Metro Region

Today’s bucket list encompasses the largest city in the state, Omaha, and its surrounding area.

Bellevue

  • Fontenelle Forest: Beautiful area to hike and explore nature.

Gretna

  • Holy Family Shrine: A unique glass walled church.

Omaha

  • Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge: This bridge spans the Missouri River and allows you to straddle the boarder of Nebraska and Iowa. It connects Council Bluffs, IA to Omaha, NE.
  • Boystown: Visit the historic location where Father Flannagan established a village to care for young boys and girls in need of help.
  • Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens: These simple gardens mark the site of the first home of former President Ford.
  • Great Plains Black History Museum: Tells history through the lens of the African American.
  • Heartland of America Park: While currently closed for construction, this beautiful park is located right downtown by the river.
  • Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: One of the nation’s top zoos to visit!
  • Heron Haven Nature Center: Explore the beautiful wetland sanctuary.
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center: Located near the pedestrian bridge, this is your go to center for learning about the Lewis and Clark trail.

Venice

  • Two Rivers State Recreation Area: Great spot for camping and contains 10 restored cabooses that can be rental to sleep in!

All attractions found in on visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~ Southeast Region

Today we move to the Southeast corner of Nebraska, which contains the state capitol of Lincoln. There is a fair amount of things that sound interesting to me in this region!

Ashland

  • Eugene T. Mahony State Park: Great place to hike just outside the Omaha metro area.

Beatrice

  • Homestead National Monument: National Park site that commemorates the Homestead Act.

Brownville

  • Meriwether Lewis Dredge and Missouri River History Museum: One of a few left of it’s kind of a an example built to improve flooding conditions along the river.

Lincoln

  • Nebraska State Capitol: One of the top three tallest capitol buildings in the United States.
  • Pioneer Park Nature Center: Contains 8 miles of trains through woodland, prairies, and wetlands.

Louisville

  • Platte River State Park: Forested park located between Lincoln and Omaha. This park is located near the river and has some unique water features.

Nebraska City

  • Arbor Lodge State Historical Park: Former estate of the founder of Arbor Day.
  • Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trail and Visitor Center: Contains exhibits on the plants, animals, and other scientific discoveries made during the expedition.

Schubert

  • Indian Cave State Park: Provides exceptional hiking and also camping.

All attractions found on visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~ South Central Region

Moving further east into the state, today we focus on the South Central region of Nebraska.

Hastings

  • Hastings Museum: The largest municipal museum between Chicago and Denver, this museum has three levels of fun exhibits, including a special Kool Aid exhibit since Hastings was the birth place of that favorite drink!
  • Nebraska Bigfoot Crossroads of America: Museum dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend: Bigfoot.

Gothenburg

  • Pony Express Station: Compact cabin formerly used as a station for the Pony Express.

Grand Island

  • Raising Nebraska: An interactive center that helps visitors understand the food and agriculture Nebraska provides!

Kearney

  • The Archway: Spans over I-80 and tells the history of Nebraska and the Platte River Valley.
  • Fort Kearney State Park: Former United States Army Outpost located along the Oregon Trail.

All attractions found on visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~Southwest Region

We’ve got another short and sweet list today as we move into the Southwest region of the state!

McCook

  • Museum of the High Plains: Lots of fun exhibits here: from the WWII air base, to the POW camp, to the inventor of Kool Aid, there’s a little something for everyone!
  • Senator George Norris State Historic Park: Home of the politician who championed the 1930 New Deal.

North Platte

  • Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and State Recreation Area: Home to the famed showman scout, Buffalo Bill Cody.
  • Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center: Tower with observation areas of the railyard below!

All attractions found on visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~ Sandhills Region

Today we have a slightly smaller list as we look into the Sandhills region, located in the north central part of the state.

Burwell

  • Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park: Preserves a 19th century U.S. Army cavalry outpost.

Valentine

  • Niobrara National Scenic River: The visitor center for this scenic river is located in Valentine but there are many areas of the river that can be explored!
  • Smith Falls State Park: Home to Nebraska’s highest waterfall!
  • Snake River Falls: Wide waterfall that plunges into a canyon.
  • Valentine National Wildlife Refuge: Great place to view common sandhill wildlife.

All attractions found at visitnebraska.com

Nebraska Bucket List ~ Northwest Region

Today we move into my southern neighbor state, Nebraska. We had big plans to see most of Nebraska this past year, but of course 2020 had other plans! However that did make my research time a little shorter since I’d already done a lot of research prior to this year!

Today we focus on that “panhandle” region. Nebraska is a state that is often discounted and considered a flyover state, but the western portion in particular has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to state parks and sites run by the National Park Service. This makes it an area we really want to see in particular as we love our outdoor and historic sites.

Alliance

  • Carhenge: Carhenge is a quirky replica of England’s Stonehenge, but of course with cars.

Chadron

  • Chadron State Park: This park is a great place for camping and allows you to hike 6 miles of trails in an area that mimics some of the geology of the Black Hills area.

Crawford

  • Fort Robinson State Park: Fort Robinson was the site of a former U.S. Army fort and also the site of the Cheyenne Outbreak that saw the death of famed Crazy Horse.
  • Toadstool Geologic Park: Known for its famed geologic features that resemble toadstools, this badlands area is sure to be in interesting place to visit.

Gering

  • Legacy of the Plains Museum: Located along the Oregon Trail, this museum contains many artifacts from the pioneers and farming in the area.
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument: Preserves remnants of the Oregon Trail and was a landmark along the trail.
  • Robidoux Pass and Trading Post: Reconstructed trading post that also includes a maker for a blacksmith shop and pioneer graves along the trail.

Harrison

  • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument: Huge destination for paleontologists and great way to learn about the prehistoric history of the area.

Kimball

  • Panorama Point and the Three State Marker: Nebraska’s highest point. View Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Lewellen

  • Ash Hollow State Historical Park: A major stopover on the Oregon and California trails. You can now explore Ash Hollow Cave and Windlass Hill.

Scottsbluff

  • Chimney Rock National Historic Site: Another famed landmark along the Oregon Trail.
  • Lake Minatare Lighthouse: Mock lighthouse located along Lake Minatare.

All attractions found on visitnebraska.com

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge ~ Council Bluffs, IA/Omaha, NE

Before making our official move to South Dakota, Andrew and I spent two days driving both our cars up to our new home to leave one there before driving back to St. Louis to load all our belongings unto our U-haul. This allowed us to not have to pull one of the cars behind the U-haul.

The trip up along I-70 and I-29 was fairly uneventful minus the fact that it was July and my car had no AC, so I was stopping every hour just to cool down and unstick myself from the driver’s seat! While traveling up, I realized just how close we came to entering Nebraska, a state I had never visited.

Knowing Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, NE share a pedestrian bridge over the river, on our way back to St. Louis, we opted to stop by and cross the bridge, to say in we had now made Nebraska another official state visited in our book. We thought we were going to be thwarted by the weather for a bit, but we got lucky and had a break in the storms right about the time we reached Council Bluffs.

Due to recent flooding during our visit we weren’t able to access the bridge via the way Google Maps advised. We wound up having to park in a newer apartment complex area near Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. To me, this actually seemed more ideal as the other location by the casino that Google wanted us to use would have been a much longer walk to the bridge.

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At 3000 ft long, the bridge is quite impressive. It doesn’t take long to reach the Iowa/Nebraska border over the Missouri River.

On our way back off the bridge on the Nebraska side, I discovered this fun little sign about how the bridge really is named “Bob.”

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While on the Nebraska side, we spent a little time exploring the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters and Visitor Center. We’ve visited several places along the Lewis and Clark Trail before, so it was fun to see it’s headquarters.

Back on the Iowa Side, we spent a bit more time exploring the River’s Edge Park to the best of our ability given the flooding. One neat thing we were able to check out was the River’s Edge Pavilion and Rooftop Deck. You get a great view of the Omaha skyline from there.

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The park is also supposed to have several water features, including a splash pad, and a light show that is performed every half hour after dusk on the green space. We already have plans to visit Omaha for a longer amount of time this coming March and hope to check out the light show then!

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