Sandra Scott Travels: Lincoln Offers Art, History and Much More

Last week I asked: What is the capital of Nebraska?

It’s Lincoln.

The Capitol - topped by a 19-foot bronze “The Sower.”
The Capitol – topped by a 19-foot bronze “The Sower.”

When Nebraska became a state in 1867, Lincoln became the capital of Nebraska instead of Omaha, the territorial capital.

Today the city is a destination with art, nature, history, and a myriad of things to enjoy.

1.     The Capitol: Rising from the boxlike base is the 400-foot Tower of the Plains topped by a 19-foot bronze “The Sower.”

It is the second tallest U.S. state capitol.

Inside The Capitol
Inside The Capitol

Don’t miss the panoramic view from the top of the tower. Inside, there are mosaic floors, paintings, and murals depicting the Native American and pioneers heritage.

2.     History Museum: The museum boasts 10,000 years of history. The First Nebraskans section depicts their clothing, food, pottery and a Pawnee earth lodge circa 1865.

Explore Nebraska’s road to statehood with its pitfalls and successes along the way including Nebraska’s complicated position in the Civil War and the impact the Homestead Act had on the state’s development.

The First Nebraskans
The First Nebraskans

3.     Art: The Sheldon Museum of Art extensive collection includes works of art by Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. Great Plains Art Museum is a treasure trove of art depicting life on the plains.

The Kiechel Fine Arts Gallery specializes in contemporary and 20th century Regionalism art.

4.     Gardens:  Don’t miss the Sunken Gardens. It was a Depression-era project that turned a dumpsite into beautiful gardens with ponds and sculptures. It was completely renovated in 2005.

 The Sheldon Museum of Art
The Sheldon Museum of Art

Outside the Sheldon Museum of Art the gardens are dotted with outstanding sculptures. The University of Nebraska has more than two dozen garden areas that show off the best plants for Nebraska.

5.     Live Arts: The Lied Center for Performing Arts is the place for Broadway musicals, country singers, jazz musicians, and international dance groups.  Haymarket Theater and Nebraska Youth

Theater offer excellent high-quality productions featuring local students.  The Zoo Bar is a blues nightclub styled around the Chicago blues clubs.

6.     Lincoln Children’s Zoo: The zoo is fun and educational for the young and young at heart.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Lincoln Children’s Zoo

The zoo has a wide variety of mammals, reptiles, and insects with many learning experiences. Learn how to lure a butterfly to your finger, pet a lizard, watch the seals perform and get close to a white-handed gibbon.

7.     Sports: Be part of a ‘red out’ by donning a red Cornhuskers T-shirt and root for the home team at Memorial Stadium. Watch your favorite sport event of the unique Cube, a huge LED set of screens, in the Railyard. Tee off at one of the golf courses or rent a bike to explore the miles of trails in the local parks.

8.     The Haymarket: The historic district is a one-stop destination for shopping and dining.

The revitalized area is an eight-block area that includes many historic warehouses and the Lincoln Railroad Station that are now home to trendy shops and great places to eat from quick bites to fine dining.

9.     Unique: Check out the unique attractions. In the Haymarket District visit Licorice International featuring ‘everything licorice.’ At the American Museum of Speed with historic competition vehicles on display and an amazing collection of automobilia.

The International Quilt Museum has one of the world’s largest collections with more than 4,000 quilts.

10.  Day trips: Use Lincoln as a base and visit the Arbor Day Farm and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

Don’t miss the historic village of Brownville, Indian Cave State Historical Park in Shubert, and Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice.

Trivia Tease™: Where is the Banana Coast? Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!