Imagine living on the prairie, traveling in a covered wagon across, and then
seeing a stream train for the first time. These are the tales you can discover
in Nebraska, where people's dreams and hopes were tested as they made their way
across the state. There are places like the Railroad Town at the Stuhr Museum of
the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island that celebrate the courage of these early
settlers. The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is one of the nation's Top Ten
Living History Museums. Praised as "one of the top '10' places to relive
America's past" by Good Housekeeping magazine, Railroad Town offers a hands-on
living history experience that tells the story of town buildings of days long
ago in Nebraska.
At the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney you'll discover a gallery of interactive exhibits. These exhibits depict the Platte River Valley's westward expansion from the early 1800's to the present. As you pass through the museum, bison charge, riders gallop, a racing steam engine casts sparks, and Model T's rumble.
Ash Hollow State Historical Park near Lewellen has served as a haven for weary travelers since the dawn of man. Modern visitors can still see ruts etched by westbound wagons on the bluffs at Windlass Hill and a large cave used by prehistoric peoples of the region. The unique history, archaeology and paleontology of the area are on exhibit at the visitor's center.
When we head out on vacation with directions I ask for any landmarks to help us along our way. Back when pioneers crossed Nebraska landmarks were just that; distinct rock formations, a single tree in the middle of nowhere, or unusual geological wonders which stood out on the vast landscape, such as Court House Rock, Jail Rock, and Scotts Bluff National Monument. These nature wonders all served as guides for the early pioneers traveling through western Nebraska.
Feel the awe and curiosity that the pioneers experienced when they saw the most famous landmark on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails, Chimney Rock. The Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitors Center houses museum exhibits, a hands-on opportunity to "pack your wagon," and a video presentation that tells the story of the great migration West.
Grand Island is great place to explore pioneer heritage, find fun things to do with the family, hike along beautiful trails, enjoy old fashioned concerts or lively country western entertainment!
By Melody Schubert
Explore local attractions, events, and plan your trip to the Grand Island area visit the Grand Island /Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitgrandisland.com.