Truly the Nebraska Capitol is one of my very favorite places across the whole state. Why it has taken me a year to feature Nebraska’s most recognizable building on this blog I am not sure. Maybe this is because writing this post is STILL daunting to me! How can you narrow down a building that contains so much architectural beauty, cultural significance and Nebraska symbolism. I think this is why this post has never been written. Today, in my own feeble way, I will attempt to give you a”quick” tour of this Nebraska Masterpiece.
Nebraska’s Capitol building is filled with murals, mosaics, tapestries and distinguishing architectural details. Because I am pretty certain that no one will take the time to read 32 pages of one blog post, I am setting those details aside. Additionally I plan on writing a separate post on my kids’ favorite part of the building: the tippy top. To ride to the “14th” floor, one must climb into a rather small, older elevator. By the way, in case you were wondering, despite its appearance to the contrary, you CAN in fact fit a double stroller inside to ride up. We have done it successfully several times!
Back to the purpose of today’s blog … Just like our national government, our Nebraska state government has three branches.
The Judicial branch.
The Legislative Branch.
As long as the judges and senators are not work, both of these sections are part of the daily tours that run hourly (except at noon.) Now we also happen to have an executive area where the governor and his staff are busily at work. Since they are a bit more involved in the daily aspects of government, this section is usually closed to the public. As we once had a special family event take place inside the Capitol, I do have a picture of the executive press room.
Cropped and from my scrapbook, really you only get a good idea of the official press conference desk.
These are the main sections that exist inside of the capitol. Of course, the basement is filled with legislative offices and the cafeteria and a gift shop. Statues of famous Nebraskans line the rotunda, but I think that is another post as well. Guess you will be hearing about the Nebraska Capitol for a long time to come!
Another favorite area – the outdoor mezzanine. By walking around the outdoor platform, one can learn the names of all of the Nebraska counties. One could also learns the basics of the history of government. The relief carvings above the walkway are not necessarily in chronological order, so I do recommend getting the explanatory pamphlet from inside the capitol. By the way, I wrote a more detailed article on walking around the Capitol with children for the May/June/July issue of the Lincoln Kids Newspaper. You can pick up a copy from many area Lincoln places, or you can look online.
The Capitol Website has a wealth of information on all of the history and interesting facts of the building. NET Public Television has also produced an excellent documentary on the Nebraska Capitol. Our family was rivoted – okay, I definitely was, but my husband and kids also enjoyed the show!
Would you look at that? I used the same word to describe the capitol that they did! If you have never been to the Nebraska Capitol, I HIGHLY recommend you visit. The Capitol Website also has downloadable building, Abraham Lincoln and civics scavenger hunts. Completing these will help your older kids be engaged in the experience. As for your younger kids, have them go on a shape and color hunt as you walk through. The Capitol is filled with all sorts of possibilities! In fact, below is a picture of one of the courtyard areas I have yet to explore. Maybe someday I will figure out how to do that!
One more important item to note: The Nebraska Capitol Building can be found on both the “Lincoln: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” passport and the Nebraska Passport. When you go visit, make sure to get a stamp. The programs run through the end of August and September respectively.