If you’re looking for a Nebraska adventure but you want to get off of the beaten path a bit, you’ll be interested to know that our state has plenty of unusual attractions. These aren’t the locations that everyone knows about and makes a point to visit; these are true Nebraska originals that are a little less known.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. 100th Meridian Museum, Cozad
The little town of Cozad has the honor of lying right at the 100th meridian. This small but entertaining museum tells all about the town's history and its unique location. It's only open Memorial Day through Labor Day, so mark your calendar for next summer.
2. Happy Jack Chalk Mine, Scotia
What used to be one of only two known underground diatomite mines in the world is now the only one open for tours. It was closed to the public for quite some time but is now back and open for business.
3. Homestead National Monument, Beatrice
Hordes of pioneers flooded the plains with the passage of the Homestead Act and the promise of 160 acres of free land. This monument commemorates their contributions and bravery.
4. Lee's Legendary Marble Museum, York
Lee's Legendary Marble Museum houses more than a million antique marbles, both German hand-made and American machine-made. Besides enjoying the display, you can also buy, sell, and trade marbles and other collectibles here.
5. Mayhew Cabin and John Brown's Cave, Nebraska City
This is the only verified Underground Railroad stop in Nebraska, and it's definitely worth a visit or two. The above-ground cabin shows what life was like in Nebraska's early days. The underground portion (most of which is currently closed for renovation) shows what it may have felt like to be an escaped slave on the run to freedom.
6. Museum of American Speed, Lincoln
This is THE place for all gear heads and racing enthusiasts. The huge three-level facility houses all kinds of vehicles, engines, toys, and memorabilia - enough to keep you occupied all day.
7. Museum of the Fur Trade, Chadron
The only museum in the world dedicated to the subject of the American fur trade, this Chadron museum is a fascinating taste of the area's history. On site is also the reconstructed Bordeaux trading post (pictured).
8. National Roller Skating Museum, Lincoln
You probably never would have believed there was a museum dedicated just to roller skating, would you? This place houses some truly interesting artifacts, including early roller skates and all kinds of roller skating memorabilia.
9. Nebraska Prairie Museum, Holdrege
There are plenty of museums in Nebraska that tell about the area's history, but this one seems to get less attention than some others. It's made up of more than an acre of indoor displays, including some fascinating information on Nebraska's role in WWII.
10. Panorama Point, Kimball County
Technically the highest point in Nebraska at 5,424 feet, this spot is very distinctly Nebraskan. There's no dramatic cliff or hard-to-reach peak...it's actually a very gentle drive with an almost imperceptible incline that will bring to you the state's summit.
11. Petrified Wood Gallery, Ogallala
This fascinating place contains a collection that it took two brothers more than 50 years to accumulate. It includes petrified wood, fossils, and artifacts from around the world. While it may sound odd, trust us - it's absolutely worth a visit.
12. Robert Henri Museum, Cozad
What, the tiny town of Cozad has TWO unique attractions? Yep, right next door to the 100th Meridian Museum is the Robert Henri Museum, housed in the influential American artist's childhood home. Besides admiring the art on the walls, you can learn about the fascinating history of the artist's family, who founded the town and were later forced to flee.
13. Rowse's 1 + 1 Ranch, Burwell
This is more of a destination than an attraction, meaning that you'll want to plan to spend plenty of time here. The ranch gives you the unique opportunity to be a real cowboy for the duration of your stay. The experience comes complete with a horse that will be yours for your whole stay, days full of chores from sunrise to sunset, and evenings spent eating delicious home-cooked meals and sharing ranching stories.
14. SAC Museum, Ashland
The SAC Museum (now known as the SAS Museum, but old habits die hard) is a truly impressive place, whether it's your first visit or your 50th. You'll see massive aircraft - some suspended from the ceiling, some sitting on the ground, and some that you can actually climb into. Educational exhibits abound as well.
15. Toadstool Geologic Park, Crawford
So named because some of the rock formations look like big stone toadstools, this park looks like it's on another planet. You can walk through the otherworldly landscape on the one-mile loop trail that runs through it.
16. U.S. Indian School Museum, Genoa
Once the state's only Indian Boarding School, this building now houses the U.S. Indian School Museum. The museum preserves the legacy of the Native Americans who once lived and learned on the grounds.
What do you have to say, Nebraska? Have you visited all of these unique places? What’s your favorite unique Nebraska attraction?