Silhouettes of sandhill cranes against the sky as they migrate across the plains
Goat peering out of the enclosure at the Nebraska State Fair
Vintage car parked at a historic gas station off the Lincoln Highway
The Sky Lift carrying passengers above the crowds at the Nebraska State Fair
Sunset over the tranquil landscape surrounding the Platte River
Flock of birds flying near the Platte River
Bird-watching, a favorite pastime in the 'Nebraska Flyway'
Natural landscape along the Platte River
A historic prairie railroad city teems with fresh energy
In Grand Island, if you’re headed to “Railside,” you’re going downtown, where the old Union Pacific railroad tracks run right through the historic area. It may seem like time has stopped in the best possible way: The restored 1930s Grand Theatre, with its retro light-up marquee, shows movies on Friday nights, and steam engine Union Pacific No. 844 still passes through town. A 1911 railroad station sits on one street, and Antiques Avenue on the next features nearly a dozen shops. Downtown art galleries, boutiques and south-of-the-border markets inject the area with fresh energy.
In March and April, birding enthusiasts will be thrilled at the chance to see sandhill cranes migrate over the plains, a territory known as the “Nebraska Flyway.” One of the largest such wildlife migrations in the USA, an estimated 500,000 cranes settle onto a sandbar near Grand Island. Walk a birding trail, bike the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway for bird-watching or visit the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center to learn more about the many birds that call Grand Island home, even temporarily.
Explore Old, New and Outdoors
To really get into the story of Grand Island, visit Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, an aptly named attraction that features a recreated 1890s railroad town. Once you’ve immersed yourself in the prairie pioneer history, turn to Cairo Roots Research Museum to learn about the Pawnee Indian Nation through exhibits and artifacts. Explore the Platte River by canoe or hit the links at one of five local golf courses.