Kearney Nebraska’s Sandhill Cranes & History

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Sandhill Crane Migration in Nebraska
0-Dark-30 on the Platte River. Sunset return of Sandhill Cranes to roost on river’s sandbars. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Come along and join Roger Jasnoch, a State of Nebraska Tourism Commissioner, and Director of the Kearney Visitors Bureau. It’s springtime, and this is when 80 percent of the world’s Sandhill Cranes descend on the Platte River Valley for a refueling stop before continuing their annual northward migration to Canada and the Arctic.

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Visitors also descend on the Kearney region to experience the cranes up close and personal. Jasnoch shares his passion for springtime crane watching, along with Whooping Cranes, eagles, ducks, geese, shorebirds and other wildlife that make their annual migrations through Nebraska. But, there’s also lots to see and do in the vibrant town of Kearney. Jasnoch talks about a mandatory stop along Interstate 80, and that’s the Great Platte River Road Archway that free spans the interstate. It’s a futuristic, multi-colored, steel-girdered structure that’s reminiscent of a traditional covered bridge. Inside the archway is a Disneyesque experience that’s a hit with kids and parents alike. The Archway chronicles 150 years of transportation through the Platte River Valley. History is brought to life through engaging, bigger than life three-dimensional interpretive displays, from buffalo migrations, to the era of the covered wagons, and the advent of the Lincoln Highway—America’s first transcontinental highway that opened in 1913.

Great Platte River Archway
The Great Platte River Archway spanning Intersate 80 in Kearney, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer
History comes alive at Great Platte River Road Archway
Great Platte River Road Archway interior diorama. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer


Crane Interection
Sandhill Crane Intersection in Nebraska. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer