Known as the "Sandhill Crane Capital of the World," the city of Kearney, Nebraska provides many opportunities for kids. Not only does it have the annual Crane Watch Festival, but it also has a wide variety of other activities both inside and out. Whether you are in for a visit or call Kearney your home, you should be able to keep the kids busy and engaged in this Midwest town.
Parks and Wildlife
The city of Kearney has a wide variety of parks providing something for everyone. Cottonmill Park has a 43-acre lake as its centerpiece and gives kids the chance to fish from the shore or a boat, swim, canoe, kayak and play on the beach. The park also has a disc golf course, hiking trails, picnic shelters and archery ranges. The Yanney Heritage Park features an extensive family park complete with large play structures, a splash pad for the warm days, gardens with walking paths, waterways and ponds, a large lookout tower and plenty of open space. The Rowe Sanctuary is a wildlife refuge and the hub for the Crane Watch Festival. Events and programs happen throughout the year as well, such as a Groundhog Day hike and winter animal tracking.
The Nebraska Firefighters Museum features many hands-on exhibits for kids including kid-sized bunker gear, a hazard house scavenger hunt, stencil stations and a hand-crank siren. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and displays aimed to educate visitors about being a firefighter. At the Trails and Rails Museum, kids can explore exhibits such as old rail cars, locomotives, the old Union Pacific depot, an old church building and a log cabin. The museum hosts many events throughout the year including the "Wagons West Day" in June.
The Kidzone is an interactive children's museum with numerous activities for kids. They can find out what it is like to be an astronaut, learn about water movement through boat races, play in the dinosaur dig and pretend to be naturalists in the nature hut. At the Big Apple Fun Center, children will be able to race around on go-karts, putt around on the mini-golf course, zap each other in the laser tag arena, attempt a few strikes in the bowling alley and eat lots of fun food.
Just for Kix offers dance classes mainly in hip-hop for ages 5 and up. Kids of all skill levels and experience are welcome to take a class. The Dance Works aims to build creativity while the kids learn dance. It offers various styles including lyrical, pointe, jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop, tumbling and clogging. It has regular competitions for the more dedicated dancers. The Nebraska School of Martial Arts offers classes in tae kwon do, karate and leadership training for all ages. Many of the classes are family-oriented and geared for kids.