Christopher Amundson

Oregon Trail pioneers likely gazed with wonder at the massive flocks of sandhill cranes using the Platte River near Kearney in Buffalo County. Those spring flocks still descend on Kearney and so do flocks of visitors coming in on Interstate 80.

Kearney is known as the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World. More than 600,000 of the three- to four-foot-tall birds fill the Platte River from Kearney to Grand Island each March and April. Along with them come wildlife enthusiasts from around the world to visit places such as Audobon’s Rowe Sanctuary.

Travelers have long taken planes, trains and automobiles to Kearney. Airborne travelers (not those sandhill cranes) cruise into the Kearney Regional Airport. Four lengthy runways, each more than 2,100 feet long, can accommodate a variety of aircraft.

The strange-looking “bridge” east of Kearney is known as The Archway. An escalator ride begins the tour for visitors. A different one ends the trip through the past. In between they see interactive and entertaining exhibits chronicling the history of pioneer trails and modern thoroughfares along what is known as the Great Platte River Road.

Learn more about Kearney by contacting the Kearney Visitors Bureau at visitkearney.org or (308) 237-3178.

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