Solar Eclipse Road Trip to Grand Island, Nebraska - Any tips?
January 13, 2017 2:13 PM   Subscribe

We are considering taking a road trip to Grand Island, Nebraska in August to see the solar eclipse. We need to decide now to schedule work vacations. Can anyone recommend places to stay or eat in the area? Are there any good attractions? What about things to do or see on the drive from the Twin Cities area? We know the Omaha Zoo is one of the best in the country. Is there anywhere else we should plan on stopping?
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather to Travel & Transportation around Grand Island, NE (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're passing through Lincoln, the Nebraska state capitol is an architectural gem.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2017

Come through Lincoln and say hi! We've got some great museums (if I do say so myself), a state capitol that is pretty fun to tour, some nice parks, a cute downtown...

I kind of said I'd throw an eclipse party, which I'd actually like to do. I'd just have to overcome my general inertia and start the planning process.
posted by PussKillian at 2:20 PM on January 13, 2017

I've heard hotels in the best viewing areas are filling FAST so you may want to also start thinking about alternatives like camping, airbnb, etc.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:20 PM on January 13, 2017

If you leave the Twin Cities in the early a.m., you could stop for lunch at Hickory Park in Ames, Iowa. Or head on to Des Moines for Zombie Burger in the East Village. Downtown Des Moines also has an adorable sculpture garden. I'd zoom through Council Bluffs and straight on to Omaha for dinner -- lots of good places. The zoo is fantastic.
posted by Malla at 2:25 PM on January 13, 2017

I'm not sure when this year's Kool-Aid Days will be, in Hastings NE, but Hastings is about 30-40 minutes by car (sez Google) from Grand Island. It's your basic summer fair from a certain local beverage sponsor. Stuff for the kids, novelty fair foods. I can't confirm you can run through a brick wall at any point of the fair. Last year it was Aug 12-14, but if you get lucky, it could fall on 18-19-20, the Fri-Sun before the Eclipse on the 21st. Keep an eye on their website for official dates.

After the eclipse, head over to your local Runza for their yummy interpretation of spiced-meat-sealed-in-a-dough-pocket. Runza's a Nebraska chain centered in Lincoln, though they do have a few locations out of state such as the ones in KCMO and Loveland, outside Denver.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:51 PM on January 13, 2017

Bird watching
posted by SyraCarol at 2:52 PM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Zoo in Omaha is surprising. Who'd expect a world-class rain forest exhibit on Omaha?

The Durham Museum in Omaha is a converted Train station with some neat displays (and trains, of course). They have a period soda fountain that serves lunch, including some awesome malts. Not far from there, the Joslyn Museum with an interesting permanent collection (including a Thomas Hart Benson that's one of my favorites).

If historic planes are more your thing, the Strategic Air Museum is outside of Omaha on the way to Lincoln.

If you're lucky, you'll see fireflies.
posted by dws at 6:25 PM on January 13, 2017

I recommend the Farmer's Daughter Cafe in Grand Island. We always get breakfast there when we go the GI airport.
posted by that's how you get ants at 1:31 PM on August 9, 2017

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