March isn’t the only time you can visit Nebraska’s Crane Trust

WOOD RIVER, Neb. (KLKN) — As the name suggests, Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center is the ideal spot for the March migration of the sandhill cranes.

“In March, the parking lot is full every day,” said Matt Fong, Crane Trust’s director of fundraising and outreach. “Folks can go online and reserve a spot in a blind to see up close in person, either a morning or an evening blind, when the cranes are coming to roost in the Platte River.”

But the visitor center offers information about the importance of the cranes year-round.

“We do have a feature film that runs about every eight minutes that kind of details the crane migration and why it’s important for our local environment,” Fong said. “We also have a display area where folks can take a look at some mounted animals that are available, so it is a great kind of in-depth opportunity for folks to see and get up close to what those animals would look like in the wild.”

And if you’d rather do some in-the-field exploration, Crane Trust has that covered, too.

“There’s also a bridge that crosses the Platte River, and then there’s also an observation tower that they can kind of look out across the prairie and also observe our small herd of about 14 American bison,” Fong said.

The Nebraska Passport program is bringing the trust significantly more foot traffic during what it considers its offseason.

“We’ve seen approximately 1,000 visitors come through with their passports to have their passport signed,” Fong said. “So it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the visitor center and have folks who maybe wouldn’t necessarily stop by to take a look.”

The center also hosts potluck dinners for anyone interested in the research being conducted at Crane Trust. The next one is Tuesday.

“Some of our research team, as well as our interns, have been doing moth survey work in the evenings throughout the summer,” Fong said. “So they’re going to release some of their information on their surveys.”

The dinner starts at 6:30. Guests are welcome to bring a dish to share, but it is not required.

So whether you’d like to watch the cranes roost in March or view the bison herd from the observation tower in September, visitors are welcome at Crane Trust from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

It’s located right off Interstate 80, at exit 305, making it a great location to stop and stretch your legs on your Nebraska Passport road trips.

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