Things to Do in Grand Island, Nebraska

February 28, 2023

things to do in grand island ne

There’s something for everyone in Grand Island – whether you’re looking for a day of fun or a weekend away. From horse races to living history, here are some of the best things to do in this Nebraska city.

Get up close and personal with nature at Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, where trails and blinds guide birdwatchers to a sandhill crane sanctuary along the Platte River. Time your trip with the spring migration to witness these majestic creatures at their roosts.

Stuhr Museum

The Stuhr Museum is a vast 200-acre campus that houses a world-class collection of artifacts related to pioneer life and town building in Nebraska. The centerpiece of the complex is the Stuhr Building, designed by renowned architect Edward Durell Stone. The museum also boasts a number of other attractions.

The most impressive is the 1890s Railroad Town, where costumed interpreters eschew modern attire to bring visitors back in time to pioneer life on the prairie. Other major attractions include a Pawnee Indian earth lodge, an arboretum and of course the Stuhr building itself. BVH Architecture helped the movers and shakers at Stuhr come up with a plan to renovate, enhance and protect their prized collections and improve the museum’s visitor experience. It was a long process, but the end result is the museum that they can all be proud of.

Island Oasis Water Park

The Island Oasis Water Park is one of the most popular attractions in Grand Island. It features a wave pool, lazy river and many water slides.

The park opened in 1993 and has evolved with the times. However, the water park has lost some of its “wow” factors and attendance and cost recovery have decreased over time.

To ensure the water park remains a great attraction for residents and visitors alike, the city has commissioned a comprehensive facility evaluation and master plan. This project will help improve conditions, increase attendance and improve operational and financial sustainability of Island Oasis Water Park.

Fonner Park

If you love horse racing, Fonner Park is the place to be. This thoroughbred race track hosts live horse races every year from February to early May, and simulcast races from top tracks in the nation.

The 220-acre Fonner Park Complex also houses national livestock shows, the Hall County Fair and Nebraska State Fair. It is also home to the ASKARBEN 4-H Stock Show and Nebraska State 4-H Horse Show, event and conference facilities, a restaurant and keno area, and an RV & campground.

You can also get a glimpse of the city’s history at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. Explore a re-created 1890s town, a turn-of-the-century village and displays of household items and tools. Southwest of the city, the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center offers trails, a butterfly garden and blinds for watching migrating sandhill cranes along the Platte River.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Saint Mary’s Cathedral is one of the major religious centers in Grand Island. This church is a landmark that is known for its beautiful Gothic architecture.

This cathedral is located along South Cedar Street and it serves the western Catholic diocese of Nebraska. It is a historic structure that was built in the late 1860s.

Its Gothic Revival exterior features a modified Latin cross with pointed arch openings, elaborate stone tracery, and a large altar. It also has a tall fleche at the nave-transept intersection.

Another must-visit is the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, which is a living history museum. This 200-acre museum is home to a variety of historical attractions and exhibits.

Indianhead Golf Club

Indianhead Golf Club is a fantastic place for anyone to play a round of golf or learn how to play. The course features a well-groomed, challenging layout that allows players of all skill levels to work on their game. Its greens are consistently in excellent condition and the tees are well-placed, so it is easy to find a spot to take your best shot. There is even a restaurant that overlooks the golf course and offers diners a wide range of meals to choose from, including a delicious breakfast buffet on weekends. The restaurant also provides a great location for unit events, Family Readiness Group (FRG) meetings and promotions. The staff at Indianhead Golf Club is happy to provide tips and tricks for players to enjoy their rounds.

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