Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center (Crane Meadows Nature Center) – Alda, Nebraska

nature center.jpgThe Crane Meadows Nature Center name has been changed to Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center.  It is open and will be glad to have you visit.  Although the name has changed, the cranes still come and give you a perfect opportunity to view these magnificent birds.

 Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center (formerly The Crane Meadows Nature Center) is a great place to visit for anyone, child or adult, who loves nature and the great outdoors. The Crane Meadows Nature Center is located at 9325 South Alda Road in Wood River, Nebraska on the south side of the Alda Interchange (exit 305) on Interstate 80.

The Center is open Friday thru Tuesday from 9am to 5pm, closed Wednesday and Thursday and open from 8am to 6pm during the birds spring migration.

crane.jpgAdmission to the Visitors Center is free – however, donations are welcomed. There is a $3.50 admission charge per person to the Crane Meadows grounds. Telephone number of the attraction is 308-382-1820. The Visitors Center and adjoining gift shop are interesting places to learn about prairie wildlife and pick up some interesting souvenirs.

Work on the Nature Center is ongoing to provide you with the best facility possible.  The center will operate through funds from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Hastings College, and the Plate River Recovery Implementation program.

The Center is dedicated to highlighting nature and wildlife in the Great Plains.  It is a place for people to connect with nature and the Platte River. 

Nature’s wonders can be seen year-round at the Crane Meadows Nature Center, where visitors can join an eagle watch tour led by the Nebraska Bird Observatory in January, take a waterfall tour in February, and watch the Platte River swarm with the world’s largest congregation of sandhill cranes as they arrive through March and April. Sandhill crane flights can be viewed at dawn and dusk from the public viewing platform on Alta Road.

During daylight hours the cranes forage in the farmland fields surrounding I-80. Crane watchers are asked to view the birds from their slowly-moving cars and not stop their vehicles or leave their cars to avoid disturbing the flocks. It is against the law to stop a vehicle on rural roads for site seeing purposes and disturbing the cranes is an additional violation.

The Crane Meadows Nature Center is alive all year-round with a wide variety of prairie life ranging from prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse, prairie dogs, burrowing owls and bats to butterflies and song birds. Various guided tours are available for bird watching and prairie wildlife observation. Call the center for additional details and pricing.

A newly remodeled Interpretive Center features 12,000 square feet of conference rooms, a full-sized catering kitchen, a snack room with vending machines and an indoor exhibition room.

One of the most pleasant experiences you can have while visiting the Crane Meadows Nature Center is to use the seven miles of public hiking trails which meander through groves of fragrant eastern red cedar, sandy, cactus-covered knolls, and miles of beautiful flowers and grasses growing vibrantly in the spring, summer and fall months. The trails are closed, however, during the crane migration season to avoid disturbing the birds.

Trails are open to cross-country skiers during the winter months. Pedestrian bridges leading from the Visitors Center to the edge of the prairie are handicapped accessible, and a thirty-five foot observation tower located on the Platte River’s north bank allows one to see far and wide over this natural wonderland. Crane Meadows Nature Center is an unusual attraction, one not soon to be forgotten.

Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center (formerly known as CRANE MEADOWS NATURE CENTER) – ALDA, NEBRASKA


  1. Terry Colborn says:

    Has the Crane Meadows Nature Center re-opened? I was there in March 2008, and found the place somewhat boarded up. I’m planning a return visit in March 2010, and would like any updated info.Thanks.

  2. Thank you for asking. The Crane Meadow Nature Center is now open and known by the name Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center. The new organization will continue the tours and has fixed the facility up to be attractive to those that come and visit. The crane season will certainly be a great time to visit so come on out!!

  3. I was wondering, does anyone know if they are open to allowing weddings?