Located north of I-80 between Grand Island and York, Aurora and neighboring towns in Hamilton County mix history, art and agriculture to provide a unique travel experience.
The Plainsman Museum in Aurora, pop. 4,500, has an authentic log cabin originally built north of Aurora along the Mormon Trail. There is an authentic sod home and an indoor boardwalk of historic shops and homes. The museum preserves a blacksmith shop, the historic home of Civil War commander Gen. Delevan Bates, a large agriculture building, railroad caboose and the one-room Dist. 66 Fairview School. 210 16th St. (402) 694-6531.
Aurora native Dr. Harold Edgerton pioneered high-speed photography techniques and was a known tinkerer. “If you don’t wake up at 3 a.m. to start testing your ideas then you are wasting time,” Edgerton was known to say. The Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora doesn’t open that early but opens its doors seven days a week for exciting hands-on scientific learning. “Fun little explosions” involving electricity, ice and sound waves are regular occurrences here. 208 16th St. (402) 694-4032.
Summer is a splash at the Aurora Aquatic Facility. Corkscrew and speed slides, walkable lily pads, diving boards and a giant bucket dump are cool ways to beat summer heat. 1225 Q St. (402) 694-2992.
Aurora’s Town Square is punctuated with the historic Hamilton County Courthouse and Veterans Memorial Park in the center, and with a vibrant shopping district surrounding it.
Visitors will find the Prairie Plains Resource Institute on the southeast corner of the square. The organization has been protecting and restoring native prairie in Nebraska since 1981. The 16-acre Lincoln Prairie in Aurora was the group’s first parcel. Visitors can enjoy it at the intersection of N Street and McCullough Lane in Aurora. The PPRI office is at 1307 L St. (402) 694-5535.
Specialty coffees, loose leaf teas and wireless internet attract residents and visitors to Espressions. A small art gallery in the back features local artists and a diverse menu of lunch items and pastries. Visitors are likely to see people playing a board game in one corner while businesspeople meet in another. 1117 M St. (402) 694-3214.
The Renaissance Studio is a photography studio and fine art gallery on the south side of the square. Owner Jana Van Housen’s oil paintings on linen capture images unique to this central Nebraska artist. 1210 L St. (402) 694-6210.
Up to two dozen painters, sculptors, potters and other artists in as many locations will share their talents and
sell their creations on Sept. 15, 2018 during the Art Walk. Maps of all the stops will be available at each location.
Shakespeare on the Square, located in Arden Hall, includes actors ages 11 to 70 in its theatrical productions. The intimate venue seats 50. 911 L St.
Learn more about Aurora and Hamilton County by contacting the Aurora Area Chamber of Commerce at (402) 694-6911 or auroranebraska.com.