Kearney, Nebraska

kearney Cranes_sunset_trees Kearney is situated on Interstate 80 in south central Nebraska and along Highway 30 (a.k.a. Lincoln Highway), the halfway point, 1,733 miles from San Francisco and 1,733 to Boston. Kearney is the ideal mid-point stop when headed through Nebraska. There are 1,700 affordable hotel rooms, which are conveniently located less than a mile from the interstate. Your group will find comfort staying in one of the many limited-service hotel chains that serve a hot and hearty complimentary breakfast. If your group prefers a full-service property, a couple of those are available, too.

Groups can enjoy an afternoon stroll along the nostalgic brick streets of downtown Kearney while window-shopping local boutiques and antique stores. “The Bricks,” as downtown is affectionately known, offers a unique selection of restaurants that cater to groups, including Thunderhead, a local brewery known for its stone oven pizzas; and the Alley Rose, serving lunch and dinner. The Alley Rose is a local favorite famous for its potato casseroles, market buffet and elegant multiple-course meals. Near the hotel district and interstate you can find a plethora of fast food restaurants and other national chain restaurants that can accommodate groups.

Award-Winning Attractions

Spanning 310 feet over I-80, The Archway presents 170 years of America’s westward movement, from the birth of railroads; the Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental road; I-80, the nation’s first interstate; and America’s Information Highway, the fiber optic cable that links our nation today. Through detailed displays and harrowing stories you will hear as you walk over one of America’s busiest interstate highways, The Archway pays tribute to the enduring spirit of the pioneers.archway w River

The Archway has welcomed thousands of motorcoaches and groups since opening in 2000. Exhibits provide a unique display of American history spanning from 1840 to modern day in under an hour. The Archway is a must see for motorcoaches and more traveling along I-80. Give Kara Stevens a call at (877) 511-0411 and book your motorcoach today for an unforgettable experience. Do not forget to ask about convenient catering options; archway.org.

Located adjacent to the Archway is the Nebraska Firefighters Museum, an attraction designed not only to memorialize Nebraska firefighters but also educate individuals about fire prevention and safety. Unique to Kearney, “R Hero,” a 6-foot, 150-pound Dalmatian, welcomes you at the door. It is one of 18 statues of its kind in the world, created by artists Karen and Tony Barone to honor all of our police officers, firefighters, EMTs and military personnel following 9/11. Group tours will find vintage memorabilia and trucks such as a 1930s Chevrolet pumper truck and an Emergency Medical Service display showcasing tools used in the 1950s and 1960s. Just north of the museum, an outdoor memorial was installed in 2010. A beautiful tribute to Nebraska firefighters and EMS personnel, it features five large granite tablets depicting historic fire and emergency medical events from the photo archives of the museum, and four outer tablets engraved with the names of all EMS workers and firefighters that have lost their lives in the line of duty. To schedule a tour today, visit Nebraskafirefightersmuseum.org or phone (308) 338-3473.

The Best Car Museum in the Midwest

Located on Highway 30 in Kearney, The Classic Car Collection began in 2011 with a generous donation of 137 meticulously-restored antique and vintage automobiles from Bernie and Janice Taulborg. Since then, the collection has grown to include approximately 200 vehicles regularly on display throughout the year. Many of these are on loan or have been donated to the museum.

It has recreated a 1950’s gas station with vintage tools, showing the progression of how technicians have kept us on the road. You will visit a Drive-In Theater display with an original ticket booth from the former Kearney Drive-In. The collection includes several rare and historic vehicles, including a one-of-its-kind 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith Limo; two vehicles manufactured by the Locomobile Company of America, founded in 1899; and three Pierce Arrows. The Collection also showcases the over-the-top 1950’s style, from the huge tailfins on a 1959 Cadillac and the stylish 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser to the 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk and the timeless Thunderbird. Phone (308) 234-1964 to schedule your tour today and take a sneak peek at the collection at ccckearney.com.

Art & Culture

The Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) is housed in a building constructed in Kearney 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kearney Art  in the ParkMONA displays the work of artists who were born, lived, trained or worked in Nebraska or who created artwork that reflects the culture of Nebraska. The permanent collection contains more than 6,000 works by artists of regional, national and international importance. The museum admission is free and docents are available to take you on a tour. For information, visit online at mona.unk.edu/mona.

The G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture is the new name of the historic Frank House, located on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus. The Frank Museum was built as the private residence of George Frank, Sr. and his wife, Phoebe, in 1889. It was one of the first houses with electricity on the Great Plains and featured steam radiators and indoor plumbing. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Visitors to the home are able to view the permanent exhibit on the first floor that tells the story of 1890’s Kearney (the “boom” era) through the lens of the Franks and their domestic servants. The museum also features new and rotating exhibits, and will soon feature digital interactive exhibits and augmented reality. Groups and private reservations are available by request. For more information, visit online at unk.edu/offices/frankhouse, e-mail frankmuseum@unk.edu or phone (308) 865-8284.

Minden Opera House Theater Lobby for Online Ed Just about 23 miles south is Minden, Nebraska, the Kearney County seat. Recognized for decades for its annual Christmas Pageant and 100-year tradition of Christmas lights, it is home to the 125-year-old Minden Opera House, built in 1891 by Civil War veteran Wray Thorn. In its heyday, the Minden Opera House featured plays and Monday night dances that drew traveling bands; entertainment events at the facility ceased in the late 1940s. Magnificently renovated, the Ruth Armstrong Theatre can seat up to 275 guests and boasts a breathtaking mural on the ceiling, depicting the history and the agricultural economy of the county with a seasonal orientation. This spectacular facility is happy to host groups for tours, luncheons, dinners and performances. For information, visit mindenoperahousecom or phone (308) 832-0588.

While in Minden, motorcoach tours can also visit the famed Harold Warp Pioneer Village, an amazing tribute to Americana spanning 20 acres, featuring 28 buildings and more than 50,000 artifacts, including a Pony Express Station, antique toys, a collection of Currier & Ives prints, a steam carousel, hundreds of antique vehicles and more. The museum has been a favored destination for tour groups from both America and abroad for the past 64 years. Inspired by the purchase of the country school he attended as a boy, Harold Warp amassed this astonishing private collection of historic artifacts and bequeathed it to humanity through the Harold Warp Pioneer Village Foundation upon his passing. Included in the collection is almost every imaginable category of Americana representing the forward march of man’s progress from the mid 19th century to today. For information, visit online at ­pioneervillage.com, e-mail manager@pioneervillage.com or phone (800) 445-4447.

Pioneer Village sign onlinePioneer Village train online

Sandhill Crane Capital of the World

Voted a Top 10 Wildlife Experience by the National Wildlife Federation, the Platte River is a stopping point from February through April for a half-million sandhill cranes and other waterfowl during their spring migration. At the Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, located just 12 miles east of Kearney in Gibbon, Nebraska, viewing blinds are strategically placed so you can spend sunrise and sunset with the cranes on the Platte River. Guided viewing blind trips can be reserved for a group rate starting in January by contacting Rowe Sanctuary at (308) ­468-5282; rowe.audubon.org.

Standing on the old railroad bridge that spans the Platte River, located at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, is another prime viewing area. The bridge is just 300 yards from the parking area, accessible along a paved path, and offers great views of the river anytime of the day. Fort Kearny representatives will welcome your group and provide an 18-minute informational video of the wildlife that migrates through the area year-round. Fort Kearny is less than 10 miles south and east of Kearney via Nebraska Hwy. 44 and State Hwy. 55A.

Lodging

Younes Hospitality, Nebraska’s longtime leader in the hospitality industry, operates seven upscale hotels in Kearney, Nebraska: Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center; Candlewood Suites; Comfort Inn; Hampton Inn; Fairfield Inn & Suites; Holiday Inn Express; and LaQuinta Inn & Suites. Our Kearney hotels are all located on one convenient campus, just a few feet off Interstate 80 at Kearney Exit 272. Each upscale hotel offers outstanding amenities and features today’s traveler has come to expect – microwaves and refrigerators in all rooms, free Wi-Fi, and indoor pools. There are four restaurants located on the same campus as well as a gas/convenience station and lots of free parking for tour busses at all the hotels. We always provide one complimentary guest room for each motor coach, regardless of the number of rooms the group is using. For more information, visit younes.com or phone (308) 234-2212.

Total Solar Eclipse – August 21, 2017 – Book Your Package Today.
When you plan for 2017, schedule your tour to arrive in Kearney on August 20. Why? Because on August 21, 2017, Kearney is on “the path of totality” for the first total solar eclipse in the United States in 38 years. There will not be another opportunity to view a total solar eclipse until 2024.

A partial eclipse will begin around 11:30 a.m. and last about an hour and a half. The total solar eclipse will occur at 12:58 p.m. and will last approximately 1 minute and 54 seconds in Kearney. This will be followed by another partial eclipse that will last approximately an hour and a half. The eclipse path crosses the entire U.S. and can be viewed in many places; however, Nebraska historically has a higher percentage of clear skies.

Book now to receive a discounted tour of the Archway, lunch, and special souvenir solar eclipse safety glasses. For more ­information about the eclipse visit ­visitkearney.org/2017-total-solar-eclipse.

For motorcoach and bus tour groups, the Kearney Visitors Bureau will provide a variety of complimentary services, including a personal welcome upon arrival to Kearney, step-on-guide service, custom itineraries and marketing material if requested prior to the tour. Group tours booking 15 or more guest rooms will receive a $100 rebate.

Archway Sunrise