Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Crane Migration and Platte River Nature Exploration

After visiting the nature center at my sister's house a couple of weeks ago, we were ready to check out our own local nature center to see if it was as cool as the one in Kansas.

So, we headed to the Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center along the interstate.

We were a bit disappointed that this nature center did not have much to offer for little kids. At least, it wasn't anything like the one we visited in Kansas, with games, activities, displays, and lots of cool animals to check out inside the center.

But, we made the best of our visit anyway. We were determined to investigate every part of the center.

A couple of years ago, we took the oldest two boys to a church friend's farm land to experience a few crane sightings during the migration season. 

So, after checking out a few life sized models of cranes - which was cool, because seeing them in the field is not as impressive as seeing what one looks like up close - they got the chance to operate an interactive migration map that would light up for the different migration patterns.

We learned that some cranes travel from as far as Canada all the way to Mexico, every single year. We also learned that the most common migration pattern is a very small strip that travels through the center of Nebraska. The Platte River Valley is a very central location for the cranes to take a break from their travels.

Although it was incredibly hot out, we did take some time to explore the trail and bridges that take you over and down to the banks of the Platte River.

We got to see two Buffalo lounging lazily in the hot sun. Dad and Gregory had fun spotting Minow and a few Catfish in the river as we walked over the bridge.

We saw many interesting berries, seed pods, and flowers along our walk, including these Wild Elderberries (which we sadly could not pick.)

We enjoyed our visit to the nature center, and will be watching their website for upcoming events and news of the future migration season.

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