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Where can you view more than 80% of the world’s sandhill crane population at once? Right here in the heart of Buffalo County. Tucked away in the Platte River Valley, easygoing Kearney hosts one of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders every spring. Come watch the crane migration and stay a little longer for the cultural museums, fascinating historical sites and family-friendly activities.

Witness the sandhill crane migration

One of nature’s most dazzling spectacles takes place along the Platte River Valley. From late February to early April, more than 600,000 sandhill cranes gather here before continuing their northward migration. You can see these majestic birds at Rowe Sanctuary. Grab a seat in the indoor viewing area or reserve a blind for an up-close viewing experience. Guided tours are available too if you want to learn more about sandhill cranes and their spring migration.

Native American man made structure

Don Graham

Lazy lake days

Fort Kearny State Recreation Area invites you to take life at a slower pace. Flick your rod from its wheelchair-accessible fishing pier and dip your paddle in sandpit lakes. Less than 20 miles away is War Axe State Recreation Area. The park is home to a 16-acre lake making it a good destination for boating and fishing. More lakes await in nearby Windmill State Recreation Area. Get on the water and spot the restored windmills that used to pump water for steam locomotives.

Outdoor fun for the whole family

Outdoor activities are aplenty in Fort Kearny State Recreation Area. Take a guided horseback ride, relax at the beach or enjoy a leisurely stroll on the 13-mile trail connecting the area to Cottonmill Park. There are also six golf courses in town. Set up a tee time at Buffalo Ridge, Kearney Country Club or Meadowlark Hills. You can also perfect your swing at Awarii Dunes Golf Course’s driving range.

A figure of a man on a stagecoach in the museum

Chris Light

Cultural attractions

Kearney’s rich heritage can be discovered in its museums and historical sites. Learn about the Western settlers who traversed this area at the Archway Museum, which spans Interstate 80 in a stunning feat of engineering. Inside, explore a reconstructed blacksmith shop at Fort Kearny State Historical Park, the first fort dedicated to protecting Oregon Trail pioneers. Round out your experience by tracing the evolution of the automobile at the Classic Car Collection and viewing works by regional artists at the Museum of Nebraska Art.

For More Information

Kearney Visitors Bureau



Nebraska Dept. of Economic Development