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Best things to do in Nebraska
Top 15 things to do in Nebraska
1. Lauritzen Gardens Omaha's Botanical Center, Omaha
Stroll through the Victorian garden, English border garden, rose garden, and bird sanctuary on your visit to Lauritzen Gardens Omaha's Botanical Center. This 40 hectare (100 acre) property is home to more than a dozen types of landscaped gardens. The Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory encapsulates plants from tropical and temperate regions under glass. Watch for a model train running through the models of the city's landmarks. You can view the sculptures, waterfalls, and plant life via a self-guided tour, or take a narrated tram tour of the gardens, which are available seasonally.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Lauritzen Gardens Omaha's Botanical Center
2. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Henry Doorly Zoo
3. The Durham Museum, Omaha
Learn about the history of the region with a trip to The Durham Museum. Through partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, National Archives, and Field Museum, this museum covers a range of subjects, such as history, culture, science, and industry. You'll learn a great deal about the city of Omaha as you view exhibits about the different neighborhoods, well-known citizens, and important landmarks. Your hands-on learning experience includes trains you can walk through, a large coin collection, and Native American artifacts. Housed in the impressive Art Deco building of Union Station, the museum's architecture alone is worth a visit.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about The Durham Museum
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4. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Joslyn Art Museum
Tours including Joslyn Art Museum:
5. Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Omaha
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge stretches 910 m (3,000 ft) across the Missouri River and features a 4.6 m (15 ft) wide walkway, two 61 m (200 ft) towers, and programmable lights with different colors. Standing 16 m (52 ft) above the river, the bridge offers a new perspective for photography and boat-watching, as well as views of Omaha's skyline. Take a leisurely walk or cycle along this curvy walkway, and rest on one of the benches. The Iowa side connects you to a large park with fountains.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
6. Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon
Located along the Platte River south of Gibbon, Nebraska, Rowe Sanctuary is open year-round and features hand-on nature education programs for children and adults.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 minLearn more about Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary
7. Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln
Admire the architecture and artwork at Nebraska State Capitol. Both the inside and the outside of the 120 m (400 ft) capitol are adorned with symbolic friezes, mosaics, and murals that depict both the world and the Nebraskan heritage. The tower provides excellent views of Lincoln and is capped by a reflective, golden dome that features a 5.8 m (19 ft) sculpture of the Sower. The building offers many amenities, including a cafeteria, gift shop with Nebraska-related books and memorabilia, restrooms, and a private room for mothers with children. Free guided tours of the capitol are readily available.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Nebraska State Capitol
Tours including Nebraska State Capitol:
8. Sunken Gardens, Lincoln
The Sunken Gardens was constructed during the winter of 1930-31 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
It is the only garden in Nebraska listed in the National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens 300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Sunken Gardens
9. Old Market, Omaha
The brick-paved streets of Old Market neighborhood are home to a number of historical buildings, galleries, and museums, as well as stores and restaurants. Get acquainted with the neighborhood via walking tour or a horse-and-carriage ride. To learn more about Omaha's history, visit the Durham Western Heritage Museum. Pop into some of the area's stores to browse antiques, clothes, records, fine art, candy, books, and more. Top your visit off with some classic American comfort food with a "cowboy twist" at the Twisted Fork Grill & Bar. Those who prefer international cuisine can find sushi, Mexican, and Italian restaurants.
Suggested duration: 2 hoursLearn more about Old Market
Tours including Old Market:
10. Room Escape Games, Omaha
Suggested duration: 1h 30 minLearn more about Room Escape Games
11. Museum of American Speed, Lincoln
Founded in 1992 by “Speedy” Bill and Joyce Smith, the Museum of American Speed is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and displaying physical items significant in racing and automotive history. The vast collection resulted from the Smiths’ personal involvement in racing and hot rodding for more than six decades, and their lifelong passion for collecting and preserving historic automotive artifacts. The museum is a federally recognized 501(c)3 Private Foundation and currently encompasses more than 150,000 sq. ft. over three levels.
Located in Lincoln Nebraska on the Speedway Motors campus, the Museum of American Speed is one of Nebraska's best kept secrets and has a large collection of unique, one of a kind racing engines, automobilia, pedal cars, and toys.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 minLearn more about Museum of American Speed
12. Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, Kearney
Stretching for more than 91 m (300 ft) across Nebraska's section of Interstate 80, Great Platte River Road Archway Monument uses its position to document the history of the westward expansion of the United States and its people. Designed to recall the external appearance of a classic covered bridge, the museum also comprises two towers that anchor the structure. Wander the complex on a self-guided tour, and you'll be transported back to the Oregon Trail and the pioneers of the Old West, many of whom passed through nearby Kearney. Moving forward, you'll experience the trials, tribulations, and successes of technology, infrastructure, and development during America's move west, including the advent of modern-day transportation.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 minLearn more about Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
Tours including Great Platte River Road Archway Monument:
13. Omaha Children's Museum, Omaha
Suggested duration: 4 hoursLearn more about Omaha Children's Museum
Tours including Omaha Children's Museum:
14. Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland
The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum is a museum focusing on aircraft and nuclear missiles of the United States Air Force during the Cold War. It is located near Ashland, Nebraska, along Interstate 80 southwest of Omaha. The objective of the museum is to preserve and display historic aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles, and provide educational resources.
Suggested duration: 4 hoursLearn more about Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
15. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering
Scotts Bluff National Monument is located west of the City of Gering in western Nebraska, United States. This National Park Service site protects over 3,000 acres of historic overland trail remnants, mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, towering bluffs and riparian area along the North Platte River. The park boasts over 100,000 annual visitors.
The monument's north bluff is named after Hiram Scott, who was a clerk for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and died near the bluff in 1828. The bluff served as an important landmark on the Oregon Trail, California Trail and Pony Express Trail, and was visible at a distance from the Mormon Trail. Over 250,000 westward emigrants passed by Scotts Bluff between 1843 and 1869. It was the second-most referred to landmark on the Emigrant Trails in pioneer journals and diaries.
Scotts Bluff County and the city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, were named after the landmark.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 minLearn more about Scotts Bluff National Monument
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