Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wayside Wednesday: Fort Cody

Just off I-80 in North Platte, NE is Fort Cody, a themed gift shop and tourist trap.  At least they admit it.

My pictures of the inside have mysteriously disappeared, but here's the outside.

Within you can find some great Old West toys, candy, and leather goods for decent prices.  The kids walked out with cap guns (remember those?) and a suction cup bow and arrow set.  Stop and stretch your legs.

Also in North Platte: Buffalo Bill Cody State Park and Campground, Gold Spike Railroad Tower

Monday, July 29, 2013

Durham Museum: A T-Rex Named Sue

The Durham Museum in Omaha has a special exhibit going on until September 8th, 2013.  As of right now, you still have time to see a real T-rex skeleton!

Sue, as it is named, was originally thought to be a female and was named after her discoverer, but now they aren't sure of Sue's sex.  It is the most complete and largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date.

A cast of her skull is available for a closer encounter.

We got there in time for a talk about the exhibit, and the staff member had an iPad with a dino-petting app.  Other displays showed how dinos moved and saw.

She can't wait to eat meet you!

Their dino digging pit was pretty lame as far as those things go, the chips are recycled rubber, but it's only a temporary thing, so they can't get too elaborate.

Nicholas enjoyed the 3D dino puzzles.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Golden Spike Tower, North Platte, NE

North Platte, Nebraska is home to the world largest rail yard and the Golden Spike Tower.  It belongs to Union Pacific and it's not technically where THE Golden Spike was driven into the ground.  They built an observation tower open to the public.  You can view the yard from an enclosed deck or an open-air deck.

Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-16, seniors are $6, and under 6 is free.  Hours are 9am-7pm in the summer and 10am-5pm in the winter.

The bottom floor has some displays, but just a couple rooms' worth.  It's not a museum or anything.

The air-conditioned top gives a panoramic view of the Bailey Yard.  There are pay-per-view tourist scopes, but I suggest bringing your own binoculars if you have them for more freedom.

If your kids love trains, it will be a real treat.  I'm surprised you can't see this place from space, it's so big.

For the kiddos they have interactive touch screens where they can color a picture.  Can't print it out or anything, though.

Next to the parking lot is also a train car, but you can't climb on it very much.

North Platte is large enough for a couple hotels and restaurants beyond fast food.
Nearby attraction is Buffalo Bill Cody State Park, which also has camping.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wayside Wednesday: The Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk

Many years ago, the tiny town of Riverside, Iowa got a brilliant publicity idea: why not claim to be the hometown of the famous Star Trek Captain?

With Gene Rodenberry's blessing, they did just that.

Don't expect anything fancy.  It's just a little storefront museum of memorabilia where they sell t-shirts (I bought one for a Trekkie friend).  There's a yearly Trekfest and birthday party in March.  I don't think it's as big as it used to be, but if you are a big Trekkie, it's probably something you should do once if you can.

Across the street is a playground and picnic area.  Eating places are scarce, so bring a picnic lunch and relax.

The monument itself is down the main street (there really is only one in the town).  A banner points to a small alley between a beauty salon and the main wall of stores.

Behind the beauty shop is the monument itself.  I suppose it will be more hospitable to birthing babies in 200 years or so.

Nearby: Iowa City on I-80 (25 minutes north On US-218), Kalona Colony to the west.  This is Amish country, so ask the locals where to get some yummy baked goods, and watch out for buggies.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Just when I had gotten back to posting and had lots of topics, my laptop started freezing for 20-30 seconds every time I ask it to do something different or more than one thing at a time, the blogging may be sparse for a bit.  Computer's been behaving today, but not sure how long it will last.