Nebraska’s natural landscapes, boundless farmlands and undivided devotion to rural life make this quaint state a perfect destination for student group travelers. Whether it’s the story of Lewis and Clark or the role of the railroad in the Industrial Revolution, Nebraska’s history provides enlightening experiences for students.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum
Regarded as one of the top collections of strategic aircrafts, the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland provides student groups with a variety of educational opportunities. The museum focuses on aircraft and nuclear missiles of the United States Air Force while providing students hands-on exhibits, presentations and workshops. Some of their unique educational experiences include field trips, science fairs, overnight stays and camps.
Cody Park Railroad Museum
North Platte was established when the Union Pacific was vying to complete the first transcontinental railroad. Because of this, the town became a hub for railroad technology and was deemed a “railroad division point.” The Cody Park Railroad Museum exemplifies its past, inviting students and any railroad enthusiast to a firsthand learning experience. The museum holds the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive and one of the largest diesel locomotives ever made. With indoor and outdoor attractions, the museum offers students the opportunity to take a look inside and explore these rare models.
Museum of American Speed
The Museum of American Speed in Lincoln contains a huge selection of one-of-a-kind cars, engines and memorabilia representing America’s fascination with racing. Founder and president “Speedy” Bill Smith transformed the collection he built over a lifetime into a historical museum ideal for student travel groups. Dedicated to preserving and displaying pieces significant to racing and automotive history in the U.S., the museum includes chronological photographs of various Soap Box Derby races, old-fashioned car accessories, engines and vehicles, pedal cars, gas-powered cars and model engines. Students can take a historical look into the world of racing.
Cowboys, Explorers & Pioneers
Tri-State Old-Time Cowboys Memorial Museum
Explore what it was like to live in the Wild West during rugged times at the Tri-State Old-Time Cowboys Memorial Museum in Gordon. To better understand how cowboys lived in the rustic countryside of Nebraska, students can explore exhibits displaying old saddles, tools, spurs, chaps and gear used from early ranches in the late 1880s. The museum even has an old dentist’s chair, complete with pulled teeth! Students are sure to be intrigued by this pre-modern way-of-life.
Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trail
The Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trail in Nebraska City highlights the journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their expedition to find a water route across the western half of the continent. Students can choose from five different trails and walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, observing some of the same plants and animals the explorers came across in the early 1800s. Demonstrations involving leather preparation, tomahawk throwing, hunting and blacksmithing also contribute to the magnifying educational experience.
Knight Museum and Sandhills Center
Students can take a look into the small town of Alliance’s captivating past at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center. The museum focuses on five areas of local history: life in the Sandhills, in the country, in the town, the railroad and Native American life. These collections include pioneer memorabilia, Native American artifacts and railroad history. The 19,000-square-foot historical museum also houses a classroom and orientation room with a complete audio and visual system perfect for hosting presentations to student groups.
Just for Fun
National Museum of Roller Skating
Although some may consider roller skating to be a forgotten sport, the National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln strives to share the history and uphold the importance of roller skating. As the only devoted roller skating museum in the world, it holds the world’s largest collection of roller skates dating back to 1819. It also holds medals, trophies, costumes, roller skating memorabilia and a complete collection of photographs illustrating two centuries of roller skating history. Students can view an assortment of nineteenth-century roller skate patents or watch highlights of roller skating competitions.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is the perfect place for students to learn a great deal about animals and their environments, all while having fun and participating in educational opportunities. The zoo offers student groups a variety of guided tours, including “Wildlife Safari Park,” where North American native wildlife, prairies, wetlands and Nebraska history are explained, or “Desert Discovery,” where students learn about reptiles, birds and mammals and how they adapt to life in the desert. Throughout the year, the zoo also hosts workshops, presentations, day camps and classes for all ages.
Take a break from visiting historical sites and museums and enjoy a relaxing day at Antelope Park in Lincoln. Equipped with basketball courts, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, hiking trails, picnic tables and flower gardens, the park gives students the chance to unwind and partake in these different recreational activities and explore the wildlife and great outdoors that Lincoln has to offer. Nearby, students will find the beautiful Sunken Gardens, listed in the National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens as one of the “300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada.”
By Ally Mahoney