If you love the outdoors, Crane, Illinois, has many places to visit. Whether you enjoy nature, fishing, or a day trip with your family, Crane has something for everyone. Check out Fort Robinson State Park, the Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, and Fort Kearny State Recreation Area.
Fort Robinson State Park
Fort Robinson State Park is situated in a pine-covered region west of Crawford, Nebraska. It has 22,000 acres of wilderness and offers exceptional camping and lodging. You can also view the park’s buffalo herds and take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the park.
Fort Robinson State Park is open to visitors mid-April to mid-November. The park features hiking trails that wind through forests, meadows, streams, and rugged hills. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the quiet trails along the Soldier Creek Loop. This loop is a nearly 11-mile hike that connects to the Trooper Trail.
You can also enjoy the natural beauty of the region by visiting the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Bed, a fossil site with bison remains that date back to more than 10,000 years ago. The park’s Trailside Museum is also a must-see attraction.
Visitors can also watch Sandhill Cranes assembling along the Platte River in the spring. If you are a birdwatcher, you will love watching these majestic birds. This park has many hiking trails and interpretive centers. You can spend a day immersing yourself in nature, or enjoy a family picnic by the river.
Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary
The Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary is located about 20 minutes from Kearney, Nebraska. This non-profit center is dedicated to protecting the Platte River ecosystems that support sandhill cranes. It is open daily and a guided tour is available by appointment.
The center is also home to the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center. Biologists are on hand to answer questions and educate visitors about cranes. Visitors can also take a photography workshop or spend the night there. During their stay, they can also see the cranes from a private viewing blind.
During spring migration, the Rowe Sanctuary is an excellent place to observe thousands of sandhill cranes. The sanctuary is in the heart of the staging area where hundreds of thousands of cranes and thousands of ducks converge. Tour groups are carefully timed so that participants can see the cranes as close as possible.
There are many hot spots to watch cranes at the Rowe Sanctuary, but they are best visited in the spring. The migration peak is in late March or early April. In addition to watching Sandhill Cranes, visitors can also observe Bald Eagles on their migration.
The Iain Nicolson Audubon Center is located at 44450 Elm Island Road in Gibbon, NE. It is about 45-50 minutes from Grand Island. A free parking area is available at this site. If you’re interested in observing cranes at the rowe sanctuary, make sure to check out the calendar for events.
The park offers guided tours, including one that takes place at dusk and evening. It also offers prairie chicken tours and horseback excursions. The National Audubon Society’s visitors center opened in 2003, which has led to exponentially more visitors than in the 1970s.
Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
The Jasper-Pulaski Fish and wildlife area is dedicated to providing quality outdoor recreation and maintains over 8,179 acres of habitat, making it a perfect stopover for migratory birds. The area was originally purchased in 1929 as a game farm and became a fish and game preserve in 1965. In 1972, it was renamed to fish and wildlife area.
Visitors can watch sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and wildlife area. The area is a perfect place to view the birds, as they return to the area shortly before sunset. Nighttime viewing is also the best time to catch a photo of the cranes as they settle down for the night.
The viewing platform is located about a quarter mile west of the property’s office. Visitors can follow a paved interpretive trail to the viewing platform. On weekends, the area can be crowded, so it’s best to arrive early. During the week, the area is open from sunrise to sunset. Visitors can observe the cranes up close by listening to their honks.
The Jasper-Pulaski Fish and wildlife area is home to more than eight hundred and twenty acres. Whether you are looking for a relaxing place to fish, or a hunting spot for a rare bird, the area offers something for everyone. Visitors can also participate in wetlands trapping or dove hunting, as well as turkey hunting. Both of these activities require pre-registration.
Jasper-Pulaski Fish and wildlife area is located in northwest Indiana, just a 4.5-hour drive from Columbus. When I visited the area, there were over thirty thousand sandhill cranes roosting in the protected marshes of the wildlife area. During the day, the birds feed in nearby agricultural fields.
Fort Kearny State Recreation Area
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to watch the sunrise, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area is the place for you. Located on the east side of the park, the recreation area features two public viewing decks along the Platte River. The park is also open to the public and offers a number of hiking and biking trails. Visitors should arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise for the best viewing spots.
Visitors can see hundreds of different species of birds, including endangered species. The park is home to 257 species of shorebirds and waterfowl. The park also has five endangered species, including Bald eagles and Whooping cranes.
The Fort Kearny State Recreation Area is located in Kearney, Nebraska. It offers free shuttle service within 10 miles of the park. Visitors can also enjoy an on-site fitness center and video games for kids. In addition to the park, there are several places to dine in the area.
Fort Kearny State Recreation Area offers 186 acres of scenic terrain. You can camp in one of the 94 campsites that offer electrical hookups. There are also 26 non-electric campsites. Modern restrooms and showers are also available. There is even a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. If you are looking for a peaceful place to spend the day, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area is the place for you.
Visitors should take advantage of this area to witness the Sandhill Crane Migration. The cranes usually arrive in mid-February and migrate in waves until mid-April. During their migration, you can see the birds from multiple viewing blinds. If you are interested in watching birds, you should also attend Audubon Nebraska’s 50th Annual Crane Festival in Kearney. The event will include two-day activities that include a meal and T-shirt.
Hop-in Refuge is one of the best spots in the region for observing sandhill cranes. It has a visitor center and a short walk to the water’s edge. You can also watch them from a two-story observation tower with floor-to-ceiling windows and bleachers. The refuge is funded by federal tax money, so it is open to the public.
The refuge is located on the Obion River in West Tennessee. The area has a great diversity of habitats and is home to over 200 species of birds. It also has more than 30 species of mammals and ten species of reptiles. You can also spot bald eagles during your visit. There are even bobcats and sora rails, which are rare to see.
One of the best places to see cranes is on a guided tour. Visitors can also try kayaking in the lake. During the migration season, the refuge has a large population of sandhill cranes. The refuge also provides roosting areas for the endangered whooping crane. There are also educational programs and an art fair. In the winter, the refuge is home to thousands of sandhill cranes.