From the car window, I saw corn and lots of it. It was what I envisioned of Nebraska, along with many other travelers. Nebraska hardly hangs out on lists of “best places to vacation.” The state in America’s midsection is usually one passed through on the way to somewhere else. However the Cornhusker State is not a snooze if you look beyond the plains. Buried off of major roads and lurking in small towns, Nebraska has a quirky side that is sure to keep you awake and interested. From cars shaped like Stonehenge to strobe light museums, consider stopping at these offbeat Nebraska sights somewhere in the middle of America.
Drink the Kool-Aid at The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid: A section of the Hastings Museum in Nebraska is for all of those who have thrown back a Kool-Aid or two in their lifetime. This quirky museum in Nebraska details the life of Edwin Perkins, native to Hastings and the inventor of Kool-Aid. Perkins came up with the popular drink while experimenting with homemade concoctions in his mother’s kitchen. The Hastings Museum Kool-Aid exhibit details the life of Perkins along with just how Kool-Aid became an international cultural icon.
Marvel at the Mystery of Carhenge in Alliance: Located in Western Nebraska, the town of Alliance sees it fair share of visitors thanks in part to the mysterious Carhenge. Just as it sounds, Carhenge replicates Stonehenge except with cars. Jim Reinders dreamed up the unique car sculpture. He studied the design of Stonehenge and decided he wanted to replicate it with 38 automobiles using the same proportions as the mysterious England site. All of the cars are covered with gray spray paint to further the effect. Originally Carhenge was built as a memorial to Reinders’ father who once lived on the farm where it stands. Today it is one of those classic, roadside American attractions that many come to marvel at just as they do at Stonehenge.
See the Light at the Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora: Dr. Harold Edgerton grew up in the town of Aurora. Edgerton is best known for its inventions of the Stroboscope, in other words, the strobe light. That invention would make rapid motion appear to stop, opening up the world to the possibility of stop motion. It is no wonder that the National Geographic Society would name Dr. Edgerton one of the 15 most influential inventors of the 20th century. The Edgerton Explorit Center was conceived in his home to preserve his life work and artifacts and teach kids and adults a thing or two about his inventions and science.
Roll on over to the National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln: Lincoln is not just Nebraska’s capital city. It rolls out the red carpet for all of those who want to learn about roller skating. The National Museum of Roller Skating collects, preserves and displays all items and artifacts pertaining to the history of roller skating, including costumes, films and trophies. However, what makes this museum truly out of the ordinary aside from its subject matter is the world’s largest collection of historical roller skates dating back to 1819.
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