Explore Nebraska, the Cornhusker State
We had so much fun putting together our Nebraska journal. We love telling you all about our trips – it’s like you’re right there with us! And Nebraska’s such a cool state, we had a lot to tell. From our buggy trip to the Sandhills to Bob’s mining store, there was something cool to learn at every turn. Speaking of turns, we have to tell you about the Blake Family Maze!
If you look at the Nebraska postcard that we sent you, you’ll see that Nebraska’s nickname is “the Cornhusker State.” That’s because one of Nebraska’s main industries is agriculture, and there are cornfields all throughout the state.
Well, while on our scooter outside of Kearney, we passed a sign along the side of the road. It read, “BLAKE FAMILY CORN MAZE – GET LOST IN NEBRASKA.” We thought a maze sounded like fun, so we turned off the road. We met a boy named Henry near the entrance of the maze. His family ran the farm and he told us that they were having a weekend picnic. “We decided to turn some of the crop into an adventure,” he said. Then he handed us a whistle to blow in case we got stuck in the maze. “See you on the other side!”
Sofia was nervous at first – “Is it really so hard that we need a whistle?!” – but after a few minutes, we were both giggling as we ran through the corn-lined paths. There was something neat about being surrounded by all of those green-and-yellow plants. The air smelled fresh and sweet, and when we looked up we saw nothing but blue Nebraska sky.
We turned left and right, and right and left, and finally found our way to the other side of the maze. We didn’t have to blow the whistle once! Henry was waiting on the other side with some Kool-Aid. “You’re just in time for the picnic,” he said. Did you know Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska in 1927?
We spent the afternoon with Henry’s family under a clump of cottonwood trees. (The Nebraska state tree!) The Blakes told us about Pioneer Village, a museum nearby. “If you want to see how farmers used to grow crops back in the day,” Mr. Blake said, “you should swing by.”
And that’s exactly what we did! After thanking Henry and his family for lunch, we hopped on our scooter and headed over to the next town. Pioneer Village is an interactive museum with thousands of items from the days when pioneers first settled Nebraska.
We explored an old firehouse, a country school, a blacksmith shop, stables, forts and more. It was amazing to see all of the old tools and appliances pioneers used years and years ago.
What would those pioneers have thought if they had known that, one day, two kids would be able to travel the entire country on a GPS-enabled scooter?
We’re so glad we have our scooter and even more glad you get to come along with us on our travels. Scroll down to our favorites and Limestone Fizz activity below for more excitement from Nebraska.
We’ll see you next time,
Sam and Sofia
Farm Crop: Corn
Corn bread, corn tortillas, chips – corn is used in some of my favorite foods. With these huge fields, no wonder Nebraska is called the Cornhusker State.
Landmark: Car Henge
This awesome sculpture was created by an artist named Jim Reinders. It uses 38 cars to replicate an ancient English rock formation called Stonehenge.
Tree: Black Walnut
These grey-barked trees flower in the autumn. They drop walnuts during October. The nuts are harvested and, once they’re out of their shells, they’re delicious.
Farm Crop: Soybean
Corn isn’t the only crop grown in Nebraska. Soybeans are a great source of protein and are used to make soy milk and vegetarian foods.
Landmark: Chimney Rock
We wrote about Chimney Rock in our travel journal, but I couldn’t help mentioning it again. Its neat shape is one of my favorite things about Nebraska.
Tree: Ponderosa Pine
Nebraska’s plains are spotted with trees. My favorite is the Ponderosa Pine. Its clumps of pine needles are so green. They smell fresh and warm, like Christmas.
Limestone Fizz Test
The nation’s largest limestone deposit stands in the Nebraska town of Weeping Water. Limestone is a sedimentary rock (a rock made of compressed, small particles). It contains a compound called sodium carbonate. When you pour acid-based liquids on limestone, the sodium carbonate fizzes, creating a gas called carbon dioxide.
Follow the instructions below to conduct your very own limestone fizz test!
- 3 rocks from your neighborhood
- Damp paper towel
- Pointed object (nail, small shovel or pick)
- 3 tsps vinegar (this is your "acid")
- Dropper or straw
- Clean your rocks with the damp paper towel.
- Use your pointed object to scratch the surface of each rock. Your goal is to scrape some powder from the rock (not all rocks will be soft enough to allow this - that's part of your test).
- Use your dropper or straw to place about one tsp of vinegar on the area where you scratched.
- Watch what happens!
- If it's difficult to scratch the rock, and the vinegar doesn't cause a reaction, the rock is NOT limestone.
- If the surface of the rock is easy to scratch, and the surface bubbles or fizzes, it IS limestone!
- If one of your rocks proves to be limestone, it means the ground in your neighborhood is similar to the ground in Nebraska.
- If your rocks aren't limestone, it means the ground in your neighborhood is made of different compounds than the ground in Nebraska.
*Test as many rocks as you'd like!