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Find Adventure Across Nebraska
Follow the Platte River and Interstate 80 for Nebraska’s major cities and Old West heritage. You’ll encounter museums, memorials, zoos, art, and some quirky roadside attractions – all in the southern Cornhusker State.
Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha is known as the Gateway to the West, and is surrounded by suburbs like Bellevue and West Omaha. O-town is home to University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, plus plenty of attractions.
Spotted by the famed Desert Dome, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is home to over 17,000 animas across nearly 1,000 species – and is known as one of the better zoos in the world. Established in 1894, Henry Doorly Zoo yields exhibits like the Hubbard Gorilla Valley, Cat Complex, and Durham Family Bear Canyon.
Omaha is also a cultural hub of eastern Nebraska. Check out Old Market district, the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Community Playhouse, the Orpheum Theater, the Durham Museum, and the Omaha Children's Museum.
Former stomping grounds of Lewis & Clark, Dodge Park is located in northern Omaha on the Missouri River. N.P. Dodge Memorial Park covers 45 acres, and features hiking, ball fields, fishing, boating, and water skiing.
Along the Way: Lincoln
About an hour southwest of Omaha on I-80 – passing and maybe stopping at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland – the capital city of Lincoln features a slew of attractions for first-time and seasoned travelers of Nebraska.
Home to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln offers the Lincoln Children's Museum, Nebraska History Museum, and the Nebraska State Capitol.
Staying on I-80, Grand Island is approximately 100 miles west of Lincoln – passing the hot-air-balloon replica water tower in York.
For a real Old West vibe, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is a living history museum featuring the Farm Machinery Building, Railroad Town, and special events like Wings Over the Platte Exhibit & Sale.
For a quirky stop along your Nebraska road trip, check out the Birthplace of Kool-Aid just south of Grand Island in Hastings. Found in the Hastings Museum of Natural & Cultural History, the Kool-Aid Birthplace features vintage Kool-Aid merchandise, a replica Kool-Aid stand, and the original Kool-Aid Man suit.
Open throughout the year, the Nebraska Nature Center is set just south of Grand Island on the Platte River. Also known as the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, the site features annual Crane Migration Tours, nature walks, and the Crimson Crown Gift Shop.
The city of Kearney is set 50 miles west of Grand Island – still along I-80 and the Platte River and home to the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument is a combination museum and monument situated over I-80. The Kearney Arch exhibits Nebraska’s history all the way back to 1840, and offers the Platte River Trader Gift Shop.
Kearney also features Nebraska’s official art collection, housed in the Museum of Nebraska Art. MONA also yields the Anne Thorne Weaver Museum Shop.
The 80-acre Yanney Heritage Park features fishing, boating, playgrounds, and nature walks through the Kellaway Garden. Rent a kayak or water bike at the Swan Shoppe Marina, check out the John & Carmen Gottschalk Tower, or let the kids loose at the Margres Splashground.
On your way to Sidney, about 220 miles west still on I-80, stop in Lexington for the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles, and the Old West town of Ogallala for a visit to Front Street & Cowboy Museum.
Now in Sidney, be sure to see the original Cabela's World's Foremost Outfitters – ideal for the outdoor inclined. The 85,000-square-foot store houses the Cabela's Travel Center, the Cabela's Wildlife Display, and of course, the world corporate headquarters.
A historic town ideal for Western buffs, check out Sidney’s local flair with visits to the Sidney Boot Hill Cemetery and the Fort Sidney Complex – consisting of the Powder House, Post Commander's Home, and the Cheyenne County Museum.
Head to Legion Park and explore the Living Memorial Gardens – repurposed from the town’s municipal swimming pool from the 1940s. Legion Park is also home to the 140-foot War Memorial flagpole.
Nebraska travelers may continue west on I-80 until they reach Wyoming for the full experience, or head back to Omaha – about six hours east. Or, you can head north on the Western Territory Landmarks Tour!