Posts Tagged With: Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center

Moving Monday AND You Might Be From Nebraska If …

Well, I think that my website move is under way.  Sorry to do another post on this topic, but this process was more complicated then I thought it would be.  Picking a webhost just might be harder than picking out new paint or furniture!  Anyway, the only reason I am telling you this is because I will not be able to write again on here until the transfer is complete in 24-72 hours.  (That’s a LONG labor!)  Hopefully I will be up in time to do my give away tomorrow!  If not, I will be back as soon as possible!

For now, ponder calming effect of this picture … Don’t you want to just go to Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center with a picnic basket and a good book or two?  I do.  But as my kids are about to wake up, I am thinking this will not be happening!

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Lake

My husband was teasing me that the picture that I used last night of the Nebraska dirt road seemed to say “Dead End.”  That was not what I was exactly going for when discussing the move of my blog to a new ip address. 🙂  Peace and tranquility is more of the image I was hoping would appear!

Since all of this computer stuff has stressed me out a bit.  I was definitely in need of a laugh.  Someone posted this on the internet from an e-mail that was circulating awhile ago.  Normally I would just link you to the page, but I am not sure that I trust that site.  So, instead I am going to copy and paste.  Hope you enjoy the list!


1) You’ve never met any celebrities.

2) Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.

3) “Vacation” means driving to the Henry Doorly Zoo or going to the State Fair.

4) You’ve seen all the biggest bands ten years after they were popular.

5) You measure distance in minutes.

6) Down south to you means Kansas.

7) You know several people who have hit a deer.

8) You have no problem spelling or pronouncing “Kearney” and “Beatrice”.

9) You know the answer to the question, “Is this Heaven?”

10) Your school classes were canceled because of cold.

11) Your school classes were canceled because of heat.

12) You know what Huskers are.

13) You’ve ridden the school bus for an hour each way.

14) You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.

15) You think ethanol makes your truck “run a lot better.”

16) You know what “knee-high by the Fourth of July” refers too.

17) Stores don’t have bags, they have sacks.

18) You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it no matter what time of the year.

19) You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. Example: “Where’s my coat at?” or “If you go to the mall I wanna go with.”

20) You can locate Nebraska on the United States map.

21) Detassling was your first job.

22) Your idea of a really great Burger is when the meat is twice as big as the bun and accompanied only by ketchup and a dill pickle slice.

23) You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

24) You think of the major four food groups as beef, pork, casserole, and Jell-O salad with marshmallows.

25) When asked how your trip was to any foreign, exotic place, you say, “It was different.”

26) You carry jumper cables in your car.

27) You drink “pop.”

28) You know what the numbers I-80, 275 and 2 mean.

29) You know what “cow tipping” is.

30) You know what a “Runza” is.


Categories: Where to Begin | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Places behind the Places: Five Nebraska Counties

Only five Nebraska counties have to do with towns or counties from other regions.  I think if I were to do a study on Nebraska towns, I think many Nebraska municipalities were  named for places.  But while I may look at the names of a few towns, I will probably never have time to identify all of these.  Perkey’s Nebraska Place Names would be a great reference, but that is way more extensive than I want to go!

Banner This is not exactly after a place but more the place they wanted to be known for.  They hoped to be the “banner” county of the state.  The citizens were enthusiastic when this new county split off from Cheyenne.  Deputy Secretary of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture was big into helping promote this idea back in 1888.  The county does border Wyoming and also fairly close to Colorado.  They do have a Banner County Historical Museum.

Frontier: The Frontier region of a sparse settlement.  (I tried to find out more – the historical links were down on their county site!)

Lancaster: Named for two places: the town and county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania as well as the county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania.

Spring Creek Prairie

Spring Creek Prairie in Lancaster County

Madison: While this county may have named for former President Madison, some believe the Madison County, Wisconsin, where many of the German settlers had relocated from, is the real inspiration.  Interestingly enough while the city of Madison still exists, that county does not.  I would think that county in Wisconsin was probably named for the President, so he must be in there somewhere.  I could not verify that though …

York: Possibly for York County in Pennsylvania or for York County in England (as named by Alfred D. Jones).  But since York County, PA, was probably named for England, there is a connection to England anyway.

Categories: Lewis and Clark, Metro, Nebraska History, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Place Behind the Places, Prairie Lakes, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center: Natural Nebraska

Place at a Glance

Name/Location Spring Creek Prairie Audubon: 11700 SW 100th Denton, NE
Website/Facebook Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center; Prairie Audubon on Facebook
Open hours Center: 9-5 weekdays; 1-5 week-ends; trails until sunset; closed 6 holidays
What to Know Bring sunscreen, bug spray; proper shoes, water and snacks
Cost Adults: $4; Seniors: $3;Children (6-17): $3;  All are free on Tuesdays
Group Tours $3 admission – some adults free; several programs available; 2-6 hours
Museum Manners You can hike throughout the grounds – keep in mind that you need to leave the trails how you found them (no collecting items or unnecessary trampling)
Recommended Ages A lot of walking for little kids – while the Visitor’s Center is nice, it would not occupy preschoolers for long; could possibly hike with an all-terrain stroller; perfect for hikers about age 8 and up

So, maybe flip flops/sandals weren’t the best idea.  Or venturing out on the about the hottest afternoon of the summer.  But we did carry water.  And we had a glimpse of what being a pioneer on a blistering hot, windy day might have been like.  For it was Tuesday – free admission day to Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, located near Denton, Nebraska.  And when you want to have your kids enjoy lots of experiences, free is a good thing!

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Our kids had spent the night at my parents, and we had a co-op meeting.  So I had planned on us going home before venturing out (hence the sandals).  But I knew stopping by home would result in staying home due to all that was undone there.  So, we headed out west of town (and caught up later).  I am glad that we went.  I think the kids are glad, but there was definitely a bit  lot more complaining than normal due to the heat.

So, you hike down a path from the parking lot and come to a discovery building full of exploration possibilities, especially for children.  I did not manage to take pictures of all of the various displayed items (such as light up prairie maps) and animals on display.  But I did capture a wagon wheel – aren’t you glad? 🙂

wagon wheel

The building also has a lovely gift shop with items that will continue to help you explore nature and Nebraska.  Plus the space reflects nature.  This happens to be the picture about the water fountain.  Such a lovely mosaic.

Dragonfly at Spring Creek

The Audubon Center definitely wants kid visitors.  They have several backpacks that family can checkout to help enrich the experience.  A few of the choices: one for scientists, artists, photographers with activities inside and suggestions on what to look for while out and about.  We picked the “artist” pack, and each of my children got to have journals to capture their hiking experience.  Love the idea, unfortunately this is where the heat came into play.  My oldest wore the pack, but we never really consulted it.  On a cooler day, my kids would have appreciated all of the suggestions.

Yes, despite the warm temperatures, I did make us go for a hike.  This is where I made a few additional mistakes.

  1. First of all, not consulting the map.  We were really close to wagon ruts left there by the pioneers a century ago.  And they were clearly identified on the map.  By markers.  The map that I folded in my pocket and left there because I wanted to move us along.  My hikers were not happy, so I wanted us to keep moving.
  2. Paths.  As with most nature places, I assumed that we had to stay on them.  Wrong.  The prairie is for exploration.  Including the wagon ruts and the creek and the middle of nowhere.
  3. Trees at Spring Creek Prairie   Proper clothing.  This goes back to the rushed day part.  If we would have all been wearing tennis shoes, we maybe would have wanted to hike across the prairie.  We would have found the wagon ruts.  (Yes, I am bit too focused on dents made by conveyances from long ago!)
  4. The hot temperature did affect our trip more than I expected.  As in, we probably should have waited.  We were basically the only visitors that afternoon, other than people who stopped by to buy a t-shirt.  Obviously most explorers knew that some days staying home is a better option.  I did ask my kids if anyone of them would have enjoyed being pioneers when we came back from our hike.  They all said a resoundingly strong NO!  Just adding a bit of reality to the dreams of exploration!

If you have never been out to the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, I would highly recommend the place.  Especially if you are dressed appropriately and go on a day when the temperatures are reasonable. Rather than reflecting further, I am going to share some pictures that we took that do show a bit of the beauty of the prairie.  (With a few comments of course since today isn’t a “wordless” day).

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Visitor's Center

One of our farthest spots that we hiked.  I am not sure if I used zoom or if the path was winding because it felt like we were a lot farther away from the building.  Maybe the almost 100 degree weather was causing me to see things?

Spring Creek Turtles

We did like seeing the little turtles playing on the log.  What?  You can’t see them.  Guess you will have to use your imagination. 🙂

milkweed plant

My one son wanted to split open the milk weed.  Somehow I convinced him not to.  Pretty sure destroying nature isn’t the goal of the place.


Loved being able to see untouched land.

Spring Creek Cutoff sign

Since the Spring Creek was known as an Oregon Trail cut-off between Nebraska City and Kearney, a lovely historical marker denotes the location.  To actually read what the sign says, you can go to Nebraska Historical Markers: Nebraska City/Fort Kearney Cut-off.

Categories: Lincoln "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown", Metro, Passport Pursuit Programs, Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tips Tuesday: The Best Destination

A Family on the Go Stop

My 50th blog post – I wanted to write about something significant to me.  But I will say my topic is possibly a bit unexpected for a travel blog.  Sometimes rather than seeking out the next place to explore, only one place should be your destination.  Home.

I am beginning to see more and more how important that balance is.  Seeking out new adventures while finding time to settle in at home.  Being on the go and being on the stop.  Balancing busyness and stillness.

In the weeks to come as I continue to write about our adventures and places that we have explored, I know that some people may begin to wonder.  “How does she ever find time to homeschool?”  “How does she keep leaving and not have her house be a disaster?”  (Okay – I will be honest – I definitely am behind on that part currently – hopefully we will establish a better routine on keeping up around here.)  How can she be gone all of the time?

I actually am not.  We are home frequently.  In fact, my goal this fall is to be home three out of five school days.  We will have our cooperative day, and then we will have a field trip day.  After all, this year we are studying Nebraska.   So, when we read the short story,  Journey into Christmas, by Bess Streeter Aldrich, I want to take my kids to see her house in Elmwood, now a museum, all decorated for Christmas.  I do not want to just read about prairies but to go walk through the grasses at Prairie Creek Audubon Center.  Experiential learning.  One of the many reasons we have chosen to homeschool.

But even that will have parameters.  If we are not accomplishing our work at home, that may cancel or postpone our outings. Or if just one or two are not motivated to compete their school,  I have warned that they will be sitting off to the side finishing it, while the rest of us are taking a tour.  And if they are frequently responding unpleasantly (the way they have seemed to have been this week a bit – yucky hot weather!), we will stay home.  If their reactions to me are less than desirable in private, I am not sure I want to take them out in public.  Bad attitudes can definitely take the joy out of traveling with kids.  Theirs or mine!

The great thing about writing a blog is that I do not have to mention when we had the adventure.  Just that we went there.  So, often we were going to two or three places in day, then staying home the next.  Now that our school has started our outings will slow down, but since my blog may not slow down, that may not be apparent.    I think I am ready for routine (that is once I have finished catching up from our summer of baseball and other activities.)

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Insert a picture of your own home here. 🙂

So, go out and explore.  But sometimes be quick to stay home – enjoy your own surroundings.  There will always be opportunities out there.  We have missed plenty.  But we have also gained much on those times spent at home just being.    Your front porch (or other cozy spot) is calling your name.  Perhaps lyricist John Howard Payne in his opera Clari (Maid of Milan) expressed the sentiment best.

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.





Categories: Travel Tips, Where to Begin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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