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Discovering Nebraska: A Journey Through America's Heartland

submitted on 21 January 2024 by

Land of Corn and Cows

Nebraska. The word itself evokes images of endless cornfields, cows as far as the eye can see, and the constant struggle to keep one's sanity intact in the face of such agricultural monotony. But fear not, intrepid travelers! There is more to Nebraska than meets the easily disinterested eye.
  • Ever heard of Carhenge? That's right: Nebraska has its very own version of Stonehenge, built entirely of old cars. How's that for a roadside attraction?
  • Or perhaps you're more interested in the birthplace of Kool-Aid? Yes, the sugary drink that has caused countless children to bounce off the walls was invented right here in Hastings, Nebraska.
  • And let's not forget the world's largest porch swing in Hebron. Because who wouldn't want to see that?

Chimney Rock: A Towering Symbol of Pioneering Spirit

While the aforementioned attractions are all well and good, no trip to Nebraska would be complete without a visit to the famous Chimney Rock. This geological oddity has become one of the state's most enduring symbols and comes with its very own fascinating history. As you approach this tower of sandstone, you can practically feel the pioneering spirit of the brave souls who traversed the Oregon Trail in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families. Seriously, it's like manifest destiny is oozing out of the rock itself.At the visitor center, you'll find an array of informative displays and exhibits detailing the history of Chimney Rock and its significance to westward expansion. There's even a film that provides a brief overview of the area's history – a perfect opportunity for a mid-road-trip nap. Once you've had your fill of history, be sure to snap a few photos of yourself in front of the rock to prove to the folks back home that you did, in fact, visit Nebraska.

Henry Doorly Zoo: Wildlife in the Heartland

If you're craving a dose of nature that doesn't involve corn, look no further than Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. This world-class facility is home to an impressive array of animals, including elephants, giraffes, and even a white rhinoceros. But wait, there's more! Henry Doorly Zoo also boasts the largest indoor desert in the world, the Desert Dome, which houses an assortment of creatures native to the world's driest regions.After exploring the arid landscapes of the Desert Dome, cool off in the neighboring Lied Jungle, the largest indoor rainforest in America. Here, you'll find a veritable menagerie of exotic animals, including monkeys, sloths, and a variety of colorful birds. With so much to see and do, you might just forget you're in Nebraska!

The Great Platte River Road Archway

As you continue your journey through Nebraska, be on the lookout for a massive arch spanning across Interstate 80 near Kearney. No, your eyes do not deceive you – that is indeed a museum suspended above a busy highway. Welcome to the Great Platte River Road Archway, a tribute to the historic trails and routes that once crisscrossed the state.Inside the Archway, you'll be treated to a series of interactive exhibits that tell the story of Nebraska's role in westward expansion. From the Oregon Trail to the Pony Express, this museum brings history to life in a way that's actually entertaining. And let's face it: anything is more entertaining than staring at cornfields for hours on end.

Nebraska, We Hardly Knew Ye

As you prepare to depart from this bastion of Midwestern charm, take a moment to reflect on the many wonders you've encountered during your visit. From Carhenge to Chimney Rock, Nebraska has proven itself to be a land of surprises and delight – if you know where to look. So, as you head back out onto the open road, bid a fond farewell to the Cornhusker State and the memories you've made within its borders. Until we meet again, Nebraska.
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