At the core of The Cornhusker State lies Grand Island, flagship city of Greater Nebraska and heartbeat of the retail business for regions between Omaha and Denver.
Grand Island harbors almost every type of retail store imaginable, selling a wide variety of wares. Restaurants, too, share a similar degree of variety.
There are many things to see and do here. According to Good Housekeeping magazine, "[Stuhr Museum is] one of the top 10 places to relive America's past." History comes alive in this 200-acre village where townspeople re-enact life on the prairie. There's no better place to learn about the Great Plains, its people and history.
The annual migration of cranes to the area is a tourist attraction and a naturalist's delight. Nearly 80% of the world's population of sandhill cranes descend upon the Platte River each year and remain for about a month in early spring. Grand Island suddenly becomes a birding paradise, offering tours to view the spectacle.
The Island Oasis Water Park is a splattering of fun for kids of all ages. With six acres of slides, fountains, and wave pool, it's a perfect place to cool down on a hot summer's day. So is a lazy ride along Route 2 from Grand Island to Alliance, which was cited by Charles Kuralt as "One of the Nation's twenty most spectacular roads."
There are several golf courses in the area and a shooting park offering 25 miles of walking trails and equestrian paths in addition to a shooting range. At the Mormon Island State Recreation Area, camping, fishing and swimming are available. Paddle boating is permitted at several parks, as well. There are also numerous tennis courts, lighted ball diamonds, and a skate park.
Playing the ponies is a popular sport here. Every weekend from February through May, live races create a whirlwind of gaming activity at Fonner Park with great food, spirits and a KENO casino. Nationwide Simulcast Racing is conducted daily throughout the year.
Grand Island, the heart of "The Heartland", is located on I-80 in central Nebraska.