Nebraska has several attractions. In 1996, some of the most-visited places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).
In the state's Pine Region, Fort Robinson played a role in a number of battles with Native Americans. It is the location where Chief Crazy Horse surrendered in 1877, after the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the defeat of Lt. Col. George Custer. Crazy Horse was later stabbed to death by a soldier at the fort.
Today, with some 50 original structures still standing, this landmark is part of the 22,000-acre Fort Robinson State Park. Frontier artifacts are displayed in the former post headquarters, now a museum; among other buildings open to visitors are the officers' quarters and a reconstruction of the guardhouse where Crazy Horse was attacked.
In the mid-1800s, when covered wagons rolled west along the Oregon Trail, more than 250,000 people passed Scotts Bluff, near present-day Gering. The bluff sits 800 feet above the North Platte River valley.
At the monument's museum, visitors can view exhibits about the Oregon Trail , as well as artifacts. It is also possible to drive to the top of the bluff. On a clear day, one can see distant Chimney Rock -- a beacon for pioneers -- and the mountain trails beyond.
Arbor Lodge, located in Nebraska City, is the home of J. Sterling Morton, who founded Arbor Day in 1872. The mansion on the site is surrounded by a 65-acre arboretum with more than 250 species of trees and shrubs, most of which were planted by Morton.
Located near the town of Alliance is Carhenge, a sculpture made out of automobiles. The site is modeled after England's Stonehenge.
The Stuhr Museum illustrates several types of towns that were created on the Nebraska prairie, including Railroad Town, which was re-created on a 60-acre site in accordance with the plans of a rail company. Also on the grounds are dozens of 19th-century buildings that line the village's streets.
In the museum's modern main building are clothing, furnishings, and other mementos of pioneer life. Nearby, Plains Indian and Old West artifacts are exhibited, as is a collection of antique cars and farm machinery.
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was said to embody the traditional “rags-to-riches” story. He was born in Iowa in 1846. Following an early stint as a Pony Express rider and service in the Civil War, in 1867 Cody became a buffalo hunter, hired to provide meat for railroad construction crews. He gained a reputation as a skilled marksman and the nickname Buffalo Bill.
Tales of his skill spread, and Cody started to demonstrate his talents onstage. His theater act made him wealthy, and he developed a ranch in North Platte, Nebraska. Here, in 1882, Cody organized a rodeo event that evolved into his Wild West Show. Wearing buckskin outfits, Cody performed in the show for 30 years as it toured the United States and Europe.
Today, visitors to the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (off Route 30 in North Platte) can see artifacts and memorabilia inside his barn and 19-room home.