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Nebraska: Honestly, it’s not for everyone!
It’s Sandhill Cranes, Prairie Chickens and Kool-Aid
Fly into Nebraska, landing in Kearney, along the Platte River in time for a late lunch/early dinner. After a quick check-in to the hotel, drive out to Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at the Rowe Sanctuary for the evening fly-in as over 250,000 cranes settle in for the night on the river. They stop to rest as they feed and travel north to their nesting grounds.
You are up early this morning to head back out to the blinds for the morning lift-off. You have never heard such raucous noise! Even as we travel to the Crane Trust Nature Visitor Center, you will see hundreds of cranes eating in the fields. A local crane guide will join us for a quick spin around the area for more viewing before we head to lunch in Hastings and a quick visit to the Hastings Museum for a little fun. Remember that little Kool-Aid guy? The story behind this “fruit drink” is pretty interesting; and Hastings is a quaint Midwestern town. And who knows, we might just find Bigfoot’s prairie cousin in the area! Kearney Best Western Plus – 3 nights (2B,2L,D)
Red Cloud was the childhood home of Willa Cather, award winning author of American classics such as O’Pioneers!, My Antonia, and The Song of the Lark. Known for her poignant portrayal of European immigrants and their role in the settlement of the prairies, Cather has also become beloved for her sense of place and descriptions of the prairie. In Red Cloud, visit her childhood home and memorial foundation. In McCook, dinner is included at one of the local eateries… I hope it isn’t chicken! Cobblestone Hotel (B,L,D)
Rise and shine! Need to be up before the chickens this morning as we will head out into the prairie to one of the leks. It is absolutely amazing to watch the sunrise over the prairie as the prairie chickens just seem to magically appear out of nowhere. Once the females arrive, the males put on quite the show… dancing, stomping, and making their distinctive mating call. Who knew a little chicken could be so loud?! One final stop at the Golden Spike Tower overlooking the expansive rail yard completes our time in Nebraska as we depart from North Platte. (B,L)
|B||Generally a limited buffet or menu|
|FB||Full buffet or choice of menu|
|BR||Brunch, often buffet-style|
|L||Lunch, often several menu options|
|HT or AT||High or Afternoon Tea|
|D||Dinner, often several menu options|