Situated right in the middle of Nebraska, along the Platte River and I80 sits the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center. The existence of the center is to maintain and protect the physical, hydrological, and biological integrity of the Big Bend area for the continual support of Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes and many other migratory birds on the river.
The trust currently owns and manages approximately 10,000 acres, open to the public year round. This center is at the heart of Spring Migration for Sandhills Cranes, and offers public tours during this migration for a close up experience. The center manages several blinds and a few of these are reserved for overnight viewing, if you want to stay longer.
Take the walking path from the visitor center and you will find a viewing tower, and several viewing bridges along the way. Oh ya . . . The even have a herd of bison here!
This is an unexpected surprise right along the interstate, that many people may overlook.
Open 9 – 5 Monday thru Saturday (except holidays)
For migration season the hours differ. Please look online for their schedule.
Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center
Summer is a great time of year in Nebraska. The corn is growing, everything is green and amazing Thunderstorms roll across the plains.
The result of these storms are some the best sunsets you’ll find anywhere. This was near Twin Lakes, west of Lincoln.
Nestled along Interstate 80 in western Nebraska is a pleasant restaurant waiting for you to stop off at after a long (or short day) of driving. Buffalo Point Steakhouse and Grill. Even though part of the neon sign is burnt out, don’t be fooled. The interior of this steakhouse is very spacious and includes a life size Buffalo as a center piece, surrounded by Buffalo, Elk, & Pronghorn heads on the walls. The attached bar also provides ample space for a refreshing beverage.
Prices are reasonable and service is very friendly. You can get a good ribeye, sirloin, or even a buffalo steak here.
A stones throw to the west is Sidney’s pride & joy. . . Cabela’s. This is the flagship store of this now famous outdoors outfitter. It all started here.
A great place to eat, with live entertainment on the weekends. This Bar & Grill is located south of Johnson Lake, and 8 miles east of Elwood in the small town of Smithfield.
The atmosphere is warm and the people very friendly here. This is a great stop if you’re visiting the lake.
Duncan is a village in Platte County, Nebraska located 8 miles west of Columbus on US Highway 30. The population is approximately 350. Duncan is home to the Tasty Toppings Manufacturing Plant which produces Dorothy Lynch Salad Dressings.
Duncan lies between the Loup River and Platte River in Platte County, Nebraska. Several miles south is the Great Platte River Road (the Oregon Trail). To the north of town is the site of a Pawnee village as well as the site of the Mormon Trail, the route that Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers used to travel to Utah. Duncan was settled by Swiss and Polish immigrants, whose enterprising and proud spirit live on through their descendants who still live here today.
Duncan websites to visit:
Certainly worth the 1 – 2 hr drive from Lincoln or Omaha, there exists a unique oasis in east central Nebraska. Duster’s Restaurant & The Gottberg Brew Pub offers a refreshing appeal to locals and visitors alike in the city of Columbus. Very cool to find a microbrewery in a midwest city with a population just under 25,000.
The unique design of the Gottberg Brew Pub reflects the areas agricultural background, with its tractor seat bar stools and grain bin ceiling. The Brewery offers fresh Lagers and Ales on tap, as well as Dusters’ own hand-crafted Root Beer and Creme Soda.
They focus on brewing quality not quantity, small batches of hand-crafted beers. Their dedication to excellence is the number one reason why their beers have become a Nebraska favorite!
The Nebraska National Forest is a United States National Forest located in the U.S. state of Nebraska. The total area of the national forest is 141,864 acres (574 km2).
The national forest comprises two ranger districts. The 90,000-acre (364 km2) Bessey Ranger District is located in the Sandhills of central Nebraska. Encompassing about 63.9% of the forest’s total area, it lies in parts of Thomas and Blaine counties. It was established in 1902 by Charles E. Bessey because he believed forests could be recreated in treeless areas of the Great Plains for use as a national timber reserve. This resulted in a 20,000-acre forest, the largest human-planted forest in the United States. The Bessey Nursery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the nursery supplies upto 3 million seedlings per year.
Great camping, atv, horseback riding, hiking and biking. This park offers a variety of activities for young and old. A climb up the firetower offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
Headed to Snake Falls, or Niobrara River? Valentine hosts a very nice Steakhouse downtown, located on Main Street. The business includes an outdoor Beer Garden and large Banquet area. If you are looking for a good steak, burger or a beer, this is a great place to go. A nice atomosphere to accompany good food.
Cedar Canyon Steakhouse
112 North Main Street
Valentine, NE 69201