Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Sights & Sites
Fossil Freeway – or; 1-of-kind highway corridor between Nebraska’s Panhandle and South Dakota’s Black Hills; begins in South Dakota with perhaps North America’s most fascinating Ice Age treasures at Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota (605-745-6017); at Toadstool Geologic Park’s moonland outside Chadron, Nebraska, extinct animals discovered include oreodonts, which were sheep-like creatures with fierce canine choppers & brontotheres, built like 8'-tall rhino (308-432-0300); 3 miles down Sioux County trail, Oglala National Grassland & Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center (308-665-3900); 25 miles south at Fort Robinson State Park, Trailside Museum of Natural History displays include skull of 40'-long mosasaur, as well as bone from triceratops (308-665-2929); west, near Harrison, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument has mini-rhino called menoceras, dinohyus & amazing long-necked moropus (seemingly part bear, horse & sloth (308-668-2211); south toward Gering is Scotts Bluff National Monument (308-436-9700); south of Gering, Wildcat Hills Visitor’s Center opens southern gateway to Fossil Freeway & nearby nature center includes 2 saber-toothed cats locked in fatal battle 25 million years ago (308-436-3777).

Sights & Sites
Oglala National Grasslands – 125 North Main Street; 308-432-0300;; 94K acres of mixed grass prairies; home to some of most striking badlands formations (in Toadstool Geologic Park) & Hudson-Meng Bison Kill; Agate, Bordgate & Rock Bass reservoirs; prairie dog colonies & pronghorn antelope.

Sights & Sites
Fort Robinson State Park – 3200 US Route 20 (Soldier Creek Road, 2 miles west of Crawford, in Pine Ridge region); 308-665-2900;; where Crazy Horse surrendered; former U.S. Army fort; stunning, comprising more than 22K acres exquisite Pine Ridge scenery, compelling Old West history, exceptional lodging, scenic camping & park’s own buffalo & longhorn herds; 60 miles of hiking trails & 20 miles mountain biking trails (mountain bike rental at Activity Center); indoor, Olympic-size Lindeken Pool, complete with outdoor wading pool & sun deck, open Memorial through Labor Day; among more unique features are stately buildings that once served as housing for US officers & soldiers stationed at fort, now converted to lodging options that can sleep 2-20 people; another historic option for overnight visitors is reserving 1 of 22 rooms in historic lodge; also, where Crazy Horse is buried (?).
Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research & Visitor Center – 1811 Meng Drive; 308-665-3900 or 308-432-0392 (Ryan Means, to schedule private tour);; fossil site located in Oglala National Grassland; contains 10K year-old remains of up to 600 bison.
Toadstool Geologic Park – 4 miles north of Crawford on State Highway 2 & 71, then 15 miles northwest on Toadstool Road; 308-432-0300 (Chadron US Forest Service Office);; spectacular rock formations & unusual examples of effects of water & wind over Ms years; Interpretive Toadstool Trail is very well-marked & has spectacular views; bring water.
Trailside Museum of Natural History – 3200 US Route 20 (Soldier Creek Road, at Fort Robinson State Park); 308-665-2929;; fossil & geology museum; “Clash of Mammoths” exhibit features 2 mammoths, tusks locked together during Ice Age battle for dominance, that died in position - unlike any other fossil find in world.

Sights & Sites
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument – 301 River Road; 308-668-2211 or 308-436-9760;; internationally recognized fossil site; visitor center features exhibits & movie about Miocene & James Cook Gallery highlights American Indian artifacts given to James Cook by Oglala Lakota Red Cloud & others; 4 miles of walking trails through mixed grass prairie to historic excavation sites.

Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Blue Line Coffee – 749 North 14th Street; 402-932-4463;; city’s finest fair trade espresso.
Goodnights Pizza Bar & Patio – 1302 Mike Fahey Street; 402-502-2151;; sports lovers and families flock here for wood-fired slices; patio overlooks new stadium.
Grey Plume – 220 South 31st Avenue, #3101; 402-763-4447;; seasonally driven, contemporary cuisine.
Birdhouse Collectible – 1111 North 13th Street; 402-577-0711;; showroom-cum-gallery; creative campus for art-centric businesses.
Sights & Sites
Durham Museum – 801 South 10th Street; 402-444-5071;; Western history museum in former Union Station.
Joslyn Art Museum – 2200 Dodge Street; 402-342-3300;; museum was gift to Omaha from Joslyn family, who were small-town newspaper magnates; extraordinary Art Deco building (in 1938 listed among US’ 100 finest buildings); 3-level interior comprised of 38 marbles from around world; Native American themes throughout museum interior and on east entrance columns; Moravian floor tiles used in colorful Storz Fountain Court include symbols for literature, music, architecture, and painting; children’s Discovery Garden; in addition to works by Karl Bodmer and George Catlin, important works include Jules Breton’s, Two Women Picking Grapes (1862) and Vintage at Château Lagrange (1864), and Weeders (1860); see also Thomas Moran’s In Teton Range (1899).
Ruth Sokolof Theater – 1340 Mike Fahey Street; 402-933-0259;; member-supported arthouse; films.
Slowdown – 729 North 14th Street; 402-345-7569;; music space.

Sights & Sites
Homestead National Monument of America – 24405 Southwest 75th Road or 8523 West State Highway 4; 402-223-3514;; Homestead Act of 1862 brought about significant and enduring changes to US; discover how this law invited diverse people to have their own piece of growing nation; tallgrass prairie.

Danish Baker – 114 South Mill Street; 308-226-2208; on Thursday nights, stays open late to serve great, homemade pizza.
Pawnee Arts Center – 106 South Mill Street; 308-226-8286;

Sights & Sites
Sheldon Museum of Art – 12th & R Streets (on University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus); 402-472-2461;; more than 12K objects, including works by Ralph Albert Blakelock, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.

Stella’s Bar & Grill – 106 Galvin Road South; 406-291-6088;; hamburgers.

Sights & Sites
Oregon Trail Library, Museum & Visitor Center – 190276 Old Oregon Trail (at Scotts Bluff National Monument); 308-436-9700;
Scotts Bluff National Monument – 190276 Old Oregon Trail; 308-436-9700;; includes important 19th Century landmark on Oregon & Mormon Trails; contains multiple bluffs (steep hills) located on south side of North Platte River; composed of 5 rock formations (Crown, Dome, Eagle, Saddle & Sentinel Rocks); North Overlook Trail is .5-mile paved trail that leaves from summit parking lot & overlooks North Platte River Valley, where visitors can reach highest point on bluff; South Overlook Trail is .4-mile paved trail that leaves from summit parking lot towards south & where, from overlook, visitors can see Mitchell Pass; Saddle Rock Trail begins at Visitor Center, climbing 435'; Oregon Trail Pathway is short trail ascending 85' in .5 miles, ending in Mitchell Pass; Oregon Trail Museum & Visitor Center.

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