Indian name meaning “the not very deep river”
Nickname: Cornhusker State
State bird: Western Meadowlark
State flower: Goldenrod
Time: Central (GMT – 6) in the greater part of the State; Mountain (GMT – 7) in the west.
The State: Nebraska rises from the Missouri prairie lands to the Great Plains and foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Omaha, its largest city, is one of the State’s major tourist destinations. Girls and Boys Town, the famous homeless boys’ community, is situated nearby. Originally founded as ‘Boys Town’ by Father Edward Flanagan, the home for unwanted and distressed boys is still thriving, and, today, girls also enjoy the care and protection it offers.
The attraction which draws the most visitors through its gates, however, is the Henry Doorly Zoo, which contains Lied Jungle, the largest indoor tropical rainforest in the world. In contrast to the zoo’s popular Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium, where brown sharks swim ominously close to onlookers, the Desert Dome houses three distinct desert climates in one biosphere. Located just underneath, The Kingdoms of the Night nocturnal exhibit, which houses animals that live in dark habitats, opened in 2003. Omaha’s varied nightlife ranges from punk to opera, while theatre lovers can take advantage of the free Shakespeare on the Green (Nebraska Shakespeare) festival, which takes place in late June and early July in Elmwood Park.
Lincoln is one of the most stunning State capitals in the USA. The State Capitol Building, known as the ‘Tower on the Plains’, is as impressive inside as it looks from the street; for an unsurpassed view of the city, take the elevator to the top floor.
Other city sights include the Museum of Nebraska History, which has a moving exhibit on the history of the Plains Native Americans; Mueller Planetarium; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, including a collection of Warhol Pop Art; and the University of Nebraska State Museum, which boasts the largest mounted mammoth in a US museum. The Strategic Air & Space Museum, near Ashland, features exhibitions and displays of aircraft and missiles, and is regarded as one of the best in the USA.
Nebraska is also home to Homestead National Monument of America; the pioneer landmarks of Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock; Fort Robinson State Park, where Chief Crazy Horse surrendered in 1877; and the Buffalo Bill State Park.