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Kearney is a city in South Central Nebraska.


Kearney is home to the University of Nebraska at Kearney and has a population of 34,000 people. The westward push of the railroad as the Civil War ended gave birth to the community.

Map of Kearney (Nebraska)

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Interstate 80, the main artery through the state, passes just to the south of the city. Exits 272 and 275 provide entrance into the city. US Highway 30 passes through the center of the city and is part of the Lincoln Highway. Within the city, the road is referred to as 24th Street.

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Kearney Regional Airport (EAR IATA), 5145 Airport Rd (take exit 275 off I-80, head north on NE-10, turn right on US-30, then left onto Airport Rd), +1 308-234-4072, . M-F 5AM-9PM, Sa 5:30AM-8PM, Su 5:30AM-9PM. During the Second World War, the airport was constructed as an Air Force base. After the end of the war, it was decommissioned and rebranded as the Kearney Regional Airport. The facility offers daily passenger flights to Denver, Colorado. All flights are run by United Airlines. Kearney Regional Airport (Q10851873) on Wikidata Kearney Regional Airport on Wikipedia

By bus[edit]

There is only one bus stop in Kearney, located on the southern tip of the city.

  • 2 Greyhound Bus Stop, 112 Talmadge St (take exit 272 off I-80, it's the first left, the stop is behind the gas station). A simple pick-up/drop-off point. Serviced by Greyhound, Express Arrow, and Burlington Trailways. Routes to Denver and Omaha.

Get around[edit]


  • 1 Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA), 2401 Central Ave, +1 308-865-8559, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM, closed Monday. Housed in a former post office, this art collection contains over 5000 pieces of artwork. The MONA celebrates Nebraska's artistic culture by highlighting Nebraskan artists like George Catlin and Robert Henri. MONA also hosts an annual Student Art Show in spring, showcasing works by budding artists from elementary school to high school. Free Admission. Museum of Nebraska Art (Q6940958) on Wikidata Museum of Nebraska Art on Wikipedia
The Great Platte River Road Archway
  • 2 The Great Platte River Road Archway (Archway Monument), 3060 East 1st St (take exit 275 off I-80, head north on NE-10 and take the first left on E 1st St), +1 308-237-1000, toll-free: +1-877-511-2724. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Closed on holidays. Spanning I-80, the archway allows visitors to explore the settling of the west by the pioneers on the Oregon Trail and the construction of the Lincoln Highway. The audio guide is highly recommended. Outside the archway, there is a maze, picnic area, and a reconstructed sod house. $12/adult, $11/senior, $6/youth. Admission fee is for historic exhibits only. Great Platte River Road Archway Monument (Q5599791) on Wikidata Great Platte River Road Archway Monument on Wikipedia
George W. Frank House, on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • 3 G. W. Frank Museum of History and Culture (The Frank House), 2010 University Dr (take US-30/W 24th St west, take the right turn directly in front of the nursing school), +1 308-865-8284, . Tu-F 1–5PM, Sa-Su noon-5PM. A historic mansion built in the 1890s by businessman G.W. Frank. After the Frank family left, it became a tuberculosis hospital for most of the 20th century. Walk-ins are welcomed for both guided and self-guided tours. Due to the age of the house and its status as a protected building, there is no elevator to the upper floors. A handicap accessible restroom is available on the ground floor. Operated by the University of Nebraska Kearney. Free admission, but donations are appreciated. George W. Frank House (Q5545612) on Wikidata George W. Frank House on Wikipedia
  • 4 The Trails & Rails Museum, 710 W 11th Street (take exit 272 off I-80 and head north on NE-33/2nd Ave, turn east on W 11th St), +1 308-234-3041, . M-Sa 10AM-6PM during summer, M-F 1-5PM rest of the year. An open air museum with eight historic buildings to tour, a barn, and a Union Pacific engine. Visitors are given a chance to explore life at the turn of the 20th century. Tours are available four times a day. The museum is run by the Buffalo County Historical Society, which has an archive located next door. $7 adults, $2 children.
  • 5 Nebraska Firefighters Museum, 2834 E 1st St (take exit 257 off I-80 and head north on NE-10, take the first left on E 1st St, drive pass the Archway), +1 308-338-3473, . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. A look into the history of firefighting, showing the changing technology and methods used to combat fire. The exhibits include interactive points, allowing people to participate in firefighting. The grounds also serve as a memorial to Nebraska firefighters who died in the line of duty. $6 adults, $3 children, $4 seniors.

Where's the "e"?

You may have noticed that the city of Kearney and Fort Kearny are spelled slightly differently. That's because when the town was being incorporated in the 1873, a post office worker in charge of filling out the paperwork misspelled it. By the time the mistake was discovered, it was considered to much work to fix it, so the name stuck.

  • 6 Classic Car Collection, 3600 US-30 B (get on W 25th St, which will turn into Highway 30 and head east; it's next to Cabela's, and if you go past the bridge, you've gone too far), +1 308-234-1964, . Th-Su noon-5PM, last admittance at 4:15PM. A collection of 200 rare and classic cars covering the entire 20th century, including early motor buggies, 1950s Cadillacs, and modern collector cars. Combined with a collection of Americana along with it, if you're into classic cars this is a must visit. $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for children, children under 5 free.
  • 7 Fort Kearny State Historical Park, 1020 V Rd (take exit 272 off I-80, head south on NE-44, turn left on State Hwy 50A and follow for 4 miles), +1 308-865-5305, . March 1-April 15: 9AM-5PM, May 1-Sep 30: 9AM-5PM. Established in 1848 to provide a safe haven for travelers on the Oregon Trail then abandoned and demolished in 1871. Now a State Historical Park with camp sites. All of the present buildings are reconstructions. The nearby State Recreation Area allow for boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing. $6/car for Nebraska residents, $8/car for non-Nebraska residents. Visitors Center is $2 for adults, $1 for children. Fort Kearny (Q5471425) on Wikidata Fort Kearny on Wikipedia


  • 1 Viaero Center, 609 Platte Road (take exit 272 off I-80 and head south on NE-44, take the first right onto Platte Rd), +1 308-338-8144. Box Office hours M-F 10AM-5PM. Home of the Tri-City Storm, the hockey team for the area. This event center has hosted everything from car shows, musical venues, and trade shows. If there's a concert in town, it's probably located here. Check the website for the list of upcoming events.
  • 2 Big Apple Fun Center, 500 W 4th St (turn west onto W 4th St from 2nd Ave/NE-44, it will be on the left), +1 308-234-4545. M-Sa 10AM-1AM, Su 10AM-midnight. Bowling, lazer-tag, and a sports bar. A go-karts track is expected to be completed by May 2021. The entertainment complex also has a black light mini golf course. Each attraction has different hours and different admission prices.

Sandhill crane migration[edit]

Sandhill crane viewing etiquette

Because of the large number of cranes in the area, it can be overwhelming for visitors, causing them to do things they wouldn't normally do. This results in visitors becoming more of a nuisance to the locals than the birds. When viewing the birds, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not attempt to approach the birds
  • It is illegal to harass the cranes and other birds
  • Most of the land around the Platte River Valley is private property, do not trespass.
  • Do not stop on major roadways or in front of private driveways

Being respectful of private property, the birds, and the locals will make sure everyone has an enjoyable time.

A skirmish between two sandhill cranes

Between late March and early April, hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes stop along the central Platte River between North Platte and Grand Island on their way north into Canada for the summer. This leaves Kearney at the center of one of the largest bird migrations in the world. The shallow waters of the Platte and the meadows surrounding it provide a perfect resting spot for the birds. But sandhill cranes aren't the only birds making use of this location; ducks, eagles, geese, and even the endangered Whooping Crane all make stops along the Platte River at the same time. There are several viewing sites around the city, allowing for an unobstructed view of the cranes as they go about their business.

  • 3 Lillian Annette Rowe Bird Sanctuary (Rowe Sanctuary), 44450 Elm Island Rd Gibbon, NE 68840 (take exit 285 off I-80 and head south on Lowell Rd, turn right on Elm Island Rd), +1 308-468-5282, . Visitor Center open M-F 10AM-4PM, trails open sunrise to sunset daily. This bird sanctuary covers over 2000 acres of land and becomes a prime crane viewing location during the migration season. The sanctuary also has prairies, wetlands, and river management programs to provide a safe place for wildlife. Tours are offered during migration season. Call in advance to schedule a tour. Free Admission. Donations welcomed.
  • 4 Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, 1020 V Rd (take exit 272 off I-80 and head south on NE-44, turn left on NE-50A, drive past the historical park, and turn left on 30 Rd), +1 308-865-5305, . M-F 9AM-6PM. This park is just north of the Fort Kearny Historical Park. Offering year round camping, fishing, and hiking, this 190 acre park shows off the beauty of the river valley. During the spring migration, tens of thousands of sandhill cranes rest in the sandpit lakes and the marshy lands surrounding them. The park includes RV hookups, showers, and a fishing pier. $6 for Nebraska residents, $8 for non-Nebraska residents.

In addition to the locations listed above, temporary roadside viewing stations are set up along the southern side of the Platte river. Check the website to see the locations of these viewing stations as they change every year.


Thomas House, University of Nebraska Kearney
  • 1 University of Nebraska Kearney (UNK), 2504 9th Ave (take W 25th St/US-6 west; it will be on the right), +1 308-865-8441, . Tours are scheduled weekdays at 10AM and 1PM. Reservations only. A relaxed campus. UNK is great place to stroll around, especially on the east side of campus. The school is home to a large body of international students from all over, especially East Asia. Guest lectures, cultural events, and concerts are held here during the school year and are open the to the public. UNK is also well known for its teaching college and business school. University of Nebraska at Kearney (Q7895890) on Wikidata University of Nebraska at Kearney on Wikipedia


  • 1 Cabela's, 3600 US-30, +1 308-234-3933. M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-7PM. Offers a wide range of sporting goods and outdoor apparel for hunting, fishing and camping even though it's smaller than most other Cabala's stores. Cabela's on Wikipedia
  • 2 Buffalo Records, 19 E 21st St (on the corner of E 21st St and Avenue A, across from Thunderhead Brewing), +1 308-224-2290. Tu-W 4-7PM, Th-Sa noon-8PM, Su 2-4PM, M closed. Boasting over 5000 records from all genres, this shop provides a great place to browse old classics and new hits. Feel free to try out a record at the listening table before you buy. Live music hosted as well.
  • 3 Stagecoach, 310 3rd Ave (turn west onto W 4th St from 2nd Ave, take the first left), +1 308-234-3313, . Mon-Sat 9AM-6PM, Sun noon-6PM. A souvenir and jewelry shop. Sells Native American designed jewelry and moccasins. Offers costumes year round. An eclectic mix of merchandise.


Various fast food outlets are found near the Interstate including a McDonalds, Burger King, Runza, Red Lobster, Old Chicago and a Perkins family restaurant.


Drinking is the unofficial pastime of Kearney. There are bars and drinking spots all over the city.


The various hotels on the southern end near the Interstate including a Ramada Inn, a Best Western and a Holiday Inn.


  • Kearney Public Library, 2020 1st Ave, +1 308-233-3282, . Public use computers-show a photo ID to get a guest pass. 24-hr WiFi in library building, parking lot, and nearby street parking. Library also has color and black/white printing and scanning, and black/white copying, as well as outbound faxes. Kearney Public Library (Q69482722) on Wikidata

Stay safe[edit]

Kearney is a safe city. Most of the trouble in the town in caused by public intoxication. Avoid approaching people who are obviously intoxicated, especially groups of young men. When driving late at night, be wary of drunk drivers. While the situation has greatly improved over the last few years, drunk driving is still a serious issue. Being found drunk driving will result in prison time of at least 7 days and a fine of $500.

Keep your car locked and valuables out of sight when not in it. If a place looks suspicious, it likely is.

On the university campus, there are emergency stations are at several points, lit with a blue light. Simply press a button and the Kearney police will be sent to your location.

Go next[edit]

Kearney is located in the Tri-Cities region of Nebraska. The cities of Grand Island and Hastings are within 50 miles to the east.

Routes through Kearney
North PlatteBrady  W I-80.svg E  Grand IslandOmaha
North PlatteBrady  W US 30.svg E  Grand IslandMissouri Valley

This city travel guide to Kearney is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.