National & State Parks
Continue your child's education as you explore the natural wonder of national and state parks in Nebraska.
Links and Items
Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home
Educational Travel on a Shoestring shows parents how they can help their children learn–and have a blast–while traveling. From researching destinations to sharing activities that both teach and entertain, this priceless guide offers practical information for parents who want to have more fun with their kids, build closer family ties, and enjoy richer educational experiences–all without spending a fortune.
Great Lodges of the National Parks: The Companion Book to the PBS Television Series
Stand amid soaring Douglas fir in the great hall of Glacier Park Lodge or sit in the setting sun and gaze into the Grand Canyon at El Tovar. This beautiful gift book will transport you to the majestic lodges of our national parks to relive the glory of past vacations or plan adventures anew. This book and the PBS television series of the same title (to air in spring 2002) take armchair travelers into these architectural wonders and explore the surrounding natural beauty of our national parks. Lodges, wildlife, and stunning vistas are showcased in 175 full-color and black-and-white photographs, along with historical documents from the PBS series. In his introduction, Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, offers a call to preserve this national heritage, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go toward the rehabilitation of these magnificent buildings.
National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, Fourth Edition

Now in its fourth edition, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the ultimate birder’s field guide. Sturdy, portable, and easy-to-use, it features the most complete information available on every bird species known to North America. This revised edition features 250 completely updated range maps, new plumage and species classification information, specially commissioned full-color illustrations, and a superb new index that allows birders in the field to quickly identify a species.

The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fourth Edition will continue to be a bestseller among the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. travel market—the nearly 25 million people who travel each year specifically to observe wild birds.

America's National Parks: The Spectacular Forces That Shaped Our Treasured Lands
From stunning mountain ranges to arid expanses of desert, America has been blessed with an incredibly diverse land -- and the vision to protect it for our and future generations to enjoy. These lands are ours to view, wander, learn from, and revel in. America's National Parks captures all that is great about all fifty-six parks in the national park system. It also gives interesting, easy-to-understand background on the geological and ecological forces that continue to make each national park so worthy of protection.

Nature lovers will be captivated by gorgeous photos of landforms, flora, and fauna. Families will appreciate the information that is sure to enhance vacations at the parks. And visitors to any of the country's national parks will forever treasure this book as a memento of past visits and an inspiration for future ones.

Unlike any other book published on national parks, America's National Parks is a must-have for anyone who relishes America's natural wonders and wants to learn more about the powerful forces that created them.

These Rare Lands
If a picture's worth 1,000 words, this book--with its hundreds of breathtaking photos of America's National Parks--is a well-stocked bookstore. Accompanied by the words of poet laureate Mark Strand, These Rare Lands is a perfect coffee-table book for anyone who has enjoyed the wonders of nature's wildest places. From a storm over Sequoia National Park in California to the otherworldly stalactites and stalagmites of New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns and an Atlantic sunset in Maine's Acadia, this is a book that draws you back again and again. Photographer Stan Jorstad's obvious love of nature comes through in the thoughtful approach he takes to his life's work, contained in the pages of These Rare Lands.
National Parks in Nebraska
Scotts Bluff National Monument
A prominent natural landmark for emigrants on the Oregon Trail, Scotts Bluff, Mitchell Pass and the adjacent prairie lands are set aside in a 3,000 acre national monument. This site preserves the memory of the historic Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. The monument museum contains exhibits about the human and natural history of the area and also holds a unique collection of watercolor paintings by the frontier photographer and artist William Henry Jackson.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The Pony Express National Historic Trail was used by young men on fast paced horses to carry the nation's mail across the country, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, in the unprecedented time of only ten days. Organized by private entrepreneurs, the horse-and-rider relay system became the nation's most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph. Though only in operation for 18 months, between April 1860 and October 1861, the trail proved the feasibility of a central overland transportation route, and played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War. Most of the original trail has been obliterated either by time or human activities. Along many segments, the trail's actual route and exact length are matters of conjecture. However, approximately 120 historic sites may eventually be available to the public, including 50 existing Pony Express stations or station ruins.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds near Harrison is an internationally recognized fossil site. The landscape surrounding the fossil beds has been a site of change for millions of years. Agate has also been a home to people like James and Kate Cook; leaders of great nations like Red Cloud and American Horse. The weathering of sedimentary rock, bones becoming visible in cliffs, and the gifts presented to James Cook by the Lakota Sioux are all reflective of the strong natural and cultural relationships of the Agate landscape. The Monument preserves bones in one of the best preserved Miocene mammal sites in the world.
Oregon National Historic Trail
As the harbinger of America's westward expansion, the Oregon Trail was the pathway to the Pacific for fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries and others. Beginning in 1841 and continuing for more than 20 years, an estimated 300,000 emigrants followed this route from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon on a trip that took five months to complete. The 2,170 mile long trail passes through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
Homestead National Monument of America
The Homestead Act of 1862 was one of the most significant and enduring events in the westward expansion of the United States. By granting 160 acres of free land to claimants, it allowed nearly any man or woman a chance to live the American dream. Visit the park and gain understanding on how the Act changed the lives of all Americans and the land.
California National Historic Trail
The California Trail carried over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's, the greatest mass migration in American history. Today, more than 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen in the vast undeveloped lands between Casper Wyoming and the West Coast, reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American travelers and settlers. More than 240 historic sites along the trail will eventually be available for public use and interpretation. The trail passes through the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock has become one of the most famous landmarks in the American West. This unique formation--the most noted on the Oregon Trail--has come to symbolize the greatest voluntary migration in the history of mankind. The Visitor Center features museum exhibits explaining the westward migration of the nineteenth century and the significant role Chimney Rock had in the memories of those who traveled the trails west.
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
Led by Brigham Young, roughly 70,000 Mormons traveled along the Mormon Pioneer Trail from 1846 to 1869 in order to escape religious persecution. The general route is from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, covering about 1,300 miles. The Mormon Pioneer Trail travels through five states over both public and private land.
Niobrara National Scenic River
This 76-mile reach of the Niobrara River in northcentral Nebraska was added to the nation's Wild and Scenic River System in 1991. The river is swift and shallow over much of its length, cutting through bedrock forming riffles, rapids and waterfalls. The Scenic River preserves a superb example of a Great Plains river and protects a unique ecological crossroads where six distinct ecosystems and their associated flora and fauna mix, some at or beyond their normal geographic limit. The western third of the Scenic River is home to over ninety waterfalls -- highest is Smith Falls that cascades seventy feet from a Sand Hills cliff. Many locally-owned ranches are found along the river retaining the valley's rural flavor, yet much of its wild character is preserved. Wildlife abounds: animals such as white-tailed deer, coyote, beaver, mink, bull snakes, soft-shelled turtles, turkeys, herons, and sandpipers are commonly sighted. Enjoyed by tens of thousands of canoeists yearly, the upper reach of the Niobrara is noted as one of the country's outstanding canoeing rivers. A portion flows through a federally designated wilderness.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.
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