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55 Fun Facts About Nebraska

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Did you know that Nebraska is much more than just farmlands and cornfields? Well, here are some fun facts about Nebraska that will change your mind! 

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Fun Facts About Nebraska

From being the first state to adopt 911 to planting more than 100 trees, Nebraska is full of surprises. It’s a land rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. This Midwestern gem will definitely make you want to pack your bags and explore its many wonders! 

Without any further ado, let’s dig into the best fun facts about Nebraska.

1. Nebraska Is the 37th State in the US

Let’s start with one of the basic fun facts about Nebraska. 

Nebraska joined the US Union pretty late, as it was the 37th state to get admitted. It became a part of the Union on March 1, 1867.

Fun Facts About Nebraska

2. Lincoln Is the Capital of Nebraska

Lincoln was founded and known as Lancaster in 1856. However, its name was changed to “Lincoln” after President Abraham Lincoln, when it became a state in 1867. 

Later, in 1869, Lincoln became the official capital of Nebraska due to its ideal location. The city is spread across an area of 35.69 square kilometres and has a population of 189,000 residents.

3. Nebraska Has a Population of Almost 2 Million People

As of 2023, Nebraska has a population of 1.975 million. It’s the 16th largest state with an area of 200,330 square kilometres, and the 37th most populous state in the US.

The racial composition of Nebraska is – 76.9% white, 5.4% black or African American, 1.6% Native American, 12.3% Hispanic or Latino, and 2.8% Asian.

4. 911 Was First Used in Nebraska

This is one of the unique fun facts about Nebraska.

You might already know that 911 is an integral part of the US emergency system.  Now, the 911 emergency number was first used in Haleyville, Alabama, on February 16, 1968.

Yet, it was Nebraska that adopted and introduced the number as an emergency number in the 1980s.

5. Omaha Is the Biggest City in Nebraska

Lincoln might be the capital of Nebraska, but Omaha takes the title of being the biggest city. 

Omaha has a population of 1.3 million residents and a land area of 378.9 square kilometres. The city is located on the west bank of the Missouri River and is an important centre for trade.

Fun Facts About Nebraska

6. Goldenrod Is the State Flower of Nebraska

Let’s talk about some flower-related fun facts about Nebraska.

Nebraska has over 1,500 plant species! On April 4, 1895, The Goldenrod (Soldiago gigantean) was declared the state flower of Nebraska. 

It is because the flower can survive in hard conditions and has a long growing season. This symbolises the growth and resilience of Nebraska’s pioneers.

Goldenrod is also known for its tall and slender stems covered in beautiful bright yellow flowers!

7. The Western Meadowlark Is the State Bird of Nebraska

Here are some fun facts about Nebraska and its state bird.

The Western Meadowlark became the official state bird of Nebraska in 1929 after the Nebraska Federation of Women’s Clubs (NFWC) voted for it. 

It is a medium-sized bird with a bright yellow belly and brown/black feathers on top. Moreover, it also has a unique bib-like black pattern on its chest. 

The impressive fact about this bird is that it’s also the state bird of five other states: Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon

Fun Facts About Nebraska

8. Nebraska is Also Known as the “Cornhusker State”

Let’s get into some nickname-related fun facts about Nebraska.

There are many cornfields in Nebraska. In 2021, 9.9 million acres of corn was harvested in the state! It also ranks third in the list of the top corn-producing states in the US. 

Corn is harvested by hand, and the harvesters who do this are known as “Cornhuskers”. Due to this reason, the state is unofficially known as the “Cornhusker State.”

The word “Cornhusker” might also come from the nickname for the University of Nebraska’s athletic teams, which are referred to as the Nebraska Cornhuskers!

9. Warren Buffett Was Born in Nebraska

Warren Edward Buffett, the American businessman and the fifth-richest person in the world (as per Forbes), was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 30, 1930. He also attended the University of Nebraska and graduated when he was 19!

Warren is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an American multinational conglomerate. Its headquarters are also located in Omaha, Nebraska.

10. The Nebraska Sandhills Cover 25% of Nebraska 

Here are some geography-related fun facts about Nebraska.

The state is home to the Nebraska Sandhills. These sandhills are unique as they contain sand dunes with grass growing on them!

The Nebraska Sandhills are located in western Nebraska and cover an area of 51,000 square kilometres. In 1984 the region was considered a National Natural Landmark due to their unique landscape. 

11. President Gerald Ford Was Born in Nebraska

The 38th US President, Gerald Ford, was born on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska. He was born to Dorothy Ayer Gardner and Leslie Lynch King Sr..

Initially, President Gerald Ford lived at his parental grandparents’ house on Woolworth Avenue. His mother separated from his father just 16 days after his birth and took him to Oak Park, Illinois.

12. Nebraska Has the Biggest Mammoth Skeleton on Display

These fun facts about Nebraska are for those who love palaeontology.

The world’s largest Columbian mammoth skeleton is kept on display at the University of Nebraska Museum (Morrill Hall or Elephant Hall). It is named “Archie”, and has a height of 15.5 feet!

Palaeontologists believe that these mammoths roamed the land of Nebraska almost two million to ten thousand years ago.

13. You Can See Fossilised Animals in Northeastern Nebraska

Apart from the largest mammoth, Nebraska also has many fossilised animals.

For instance, the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, in northeastern Nebraska near Royal, is one of the best sites to explore fossils. The volcanic ash buried the ecosystem of that time, leading to the preserved fossils of animals like ancient horses, dogs, camels, turtles, and many more. Today, they are almost 12 million years old!

National Geographic has also referred to Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park as the Pompeii of prehistoric animals.

14. You’ll Find a Haunted Movie Theatre in Nebraska!

Are you ready for a few scary fun facts about Nebraska?

Nebraska has a theatre named Alliance Theatre located in the small town of Alliance. The theatre was converted from a hotel in 1938

However, many people who have worked at the building or visited it have reported seeing shadowy figures and have also felt uneasy. The theatre’s owner, Gerald Bullard, has mentioned how it’s simply a friendly ghost! 

Well, would you visit the theatre?

15. Panorama Point Is the Highest Point in Nebraska

Let’s get into some geography-related fun facts about Nebraska.

Panorama Point, situated in Kimball County in southwestern Nebraska, is the highest natural point in Nebraska. It has an elevation of around 5,424 feet

Now, this is pretty low compared to the highest points of other states, as Nebraska is mostly covered in plains.

Currently, Panorama Point is a part of the private property of a working ranch. There are no hiking trails here as the terrain is not suitable.

Fun Facts About Nebraska

16. Nebraska Shares Borders With Six States

Here is another one of the basic fun facts about Nebraska. 

Nebraska shares its borders with six states. These include South Dakota (north), Iowa (east), Missouri (southeast), Kansas (south), Colorado (west), and Wyoming (northwest).

17. Eastern Cottonwood Is Nebraska’s State Tree

You’ll find 60 native tree species in Nebraska. The state has more than 516 million trees! Some common ones include Eastern Redcedar, Ponderosa Pine, Eastern Cottonwood, and ‎Green Ash.

In 1972, cottonwood became Nebraska’s state tree. The reason is that this tree is found in several places in the state, and the whole of the east area. Originally, the American elm became the state tree of Nebraska in 1937.

18. Runza Sandwich Is the Unofficial State Food of Nebraska

These fun facts about Nebraska are a must-read for foodies!

If you get to visit Nebraska, you should try the famous Runza sandwich. It isn’t the official state food, but many residents have considered it as one unofficially. 

The Runza sandwich consists of cabbage, seasoned beef, and onions, stuffed in soft bread. It’s Nebraska’s version of a hot pocket!

The dish has its roots in German-Russian heritage. The immigrants who settled in Nebraska during the 19th century introduced it to the state.

19. Nebraska Has the Second-Fastest Land Mammal

Did you know that the second-fastest land mammal, pronghorn, is found in Nebraska? 

After cheetahs, pronghorn, a type of antelope, is considered to be the fastest as their speed is around 60 miles per hour or 96.5 kilometres per hour.

Pronghorn is found in abundance in northwestern Nebraska. The residents consider them one of the most challenging animals to hunt. 

Fun Facts About Nebraska

20. Nebraska Is Blessed With a Diverse Wildlife

Apart from pronghorn, Nebraska has over 95 mammal species, 61 amphibians and reptiles, and over 106 fish species

Some of the common mammals found in Nebraska are porcupines (the second-largest rodents in the US), raccoons, deer, squirrels, American bison, tri-coloured bats, black-footed ferrets, Grizzly bears (rare species), coyotes, foxes, and many more. 

You can find these animals in state parks like Fort Robinson State Park, Chadron State Park, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, and Pine Ridge National Recreation Area.

21. People With Venereal Diseases Can’t Marry in Nebraska!

Many US states have weird laws. Here are some weird fun facts about Nebraska and one of its controversial laws.

According to the Nebraska Legislature, a person with a venereal disease (STD or STI) cannot get married in Nebraska. So, if you’ve any sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea, you cannot marry in the state.

22. There’s a Lighthouse in Nebraska Without an Ocean!

This is one of the weirdest fun facts about Nebraska.

Nebraska is a landlocked state with no coastlines. Yet, you’ll find a lighthouse, Lake Minatare Lighthouse, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, near a 2,158-acre lake

The lighthouse is 55 feet tall and was constructed in 1939. Previously, it served as both an observation tower and shelter house during the Great Depression.

23. Many Native American Tribes Still Live in Nebraska

As stated earlier, 1.6% of Nebraska’s population consists of Native American tribes. 

There are six main Native American tribes residing in Nebraska. These include Ponca, Iowa, Winnebago, Omaha, Santee Sioux, and Sac and Fox. The Omaha tribe has reservations in Thurston County, Nebraska.

24. The Dissected Till Plains Cover Some of Nebraska

Here are some more geographical fun facts about Nebraska.

The Dissected Till Plains are a geographical region full of rolling hills, valleys, and tiny streams. They cover the eastern fifth of Nebraska and have corn fields, sorghum grain fields, and soybean fields. 

Apart from Nebraska, these plains also extend towards other Midwestern states, like Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri.

25. The Great Plains Are Spread Across Nebraska

Just like the Dissected Till Plains, Nebraska is also a part of the Great Plains. These plains consist of semiarid grassland spread across ten US states and Canada.

The Great Plains cover the southern part of Nebraska, and also some of its cities, like Omaha and Lincoln. 

26. Nebraska Was Termed as the “Great American Desert”

These are some ironic fun facts about Nebraska! 

In the 1820s, two explorers, Zebulon Pike and Stephen H. Long, thought of the entire region of the Great Plains (east of the Rocky Mountains), as “unfit for cultivation.” 

Hence, the explorers termed it the “Great American Desert” and compared it to the deserts of Africa. Due to this reason, many people avoided settling in the Great Plains.

Well, the present-day agricultural Nebraska seems to disagree!

27. Nebraska Has the World’s Largest Indoor Rainforest

These are some truly impressive fun facts about Nebraska. 

Nebraska has built the largest indoor rainforest, the Lied Jungle, at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha.

You can get to see animals and plants from the Asian subcontinent, Africa, and South America. The controlled environment provides suitable humidity and temperature for plant growth and animals.

The indoor rainforest takes about two hours to explore!

28. The Badlands in Nebraska Is a Natural Wonder

Nebraska has several natural wonders, including the Badlands National Park.

The park has many unique white-rock formations that will make the visitors feel like they’re on an extraterrestrial planet! 

You will also feel like walking through the ancient history of the Earth due to the several fossil beds of horses and rhinos that you can spot. 

Fun Facts About Nebraska

29. Nebraska Means “Flat Water”

Let’s talk about some naming-related fun facts about Nebraska.

The name “Nebraska” is an Omaha word, which translates to “Flat Water.”  The term refers to the Platte River, an important river that flows through Nebraska. 

The Platte River is known for its shallowness and broadness, which makes it look wide and flat in various areas. 

30. Vice President Dick Cheney Was Born in Nebraska

Nebraska is the birthplace of many famous people, such as Vice President Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney was born on January 30, 1941, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 during the presidency of President George W. Bush. 

Although he was born in Lincoln, Dick Cheney spent his next few years in Casper, Wyoming.

31. People Lived in Nebraska 13,500 Years Ago

These are some intriguing fun facts about Nebraska!

Archaeologists have found evidence in the form of Clovis spear points. They suggest that the region was inhabited by the ancestors of the Native Americans almost 13,500 years ago.

32. Nebraska Caused Fights Between France and Spain

Did you know that the region of present-day Nebraska caused massive fights between the French and the Spanish people?

In 1720, the Spanish tried to take away the land from the French in the Villasur expedition of 1720. This led to the death of 36 of the 40 Spaniards and 10 Indian allies by the French.

33. Kool-Aid Was Invented in Nebraska

Here are some Kool fun facts about Nebraska.

Edwin Perkins invented the famous beverage, Kool-Aid in Hastings, Nebraska, in 1927. 

He created the powdered drink mix as a way to preserve fruit flavours and make an easy-to-carry beverage. It was initially called “Fruit Smack” but was later renamed “Kool-Aid” in 1934.

In 1998, Governor Ben Nelson declared Kool-Aid as Nebraska’s official drink!

34. Nebraska Had One of the Largest Hailstone

This is one of the most astonishing fun facts about Nebraska!

Nebraska has many hailstorms. However, a particular hailstorm that took place on June 22, 2003, in Aurora, Nebraska, was quite interesting. The residents discovered a huge hailstone with a 7-inch diameter during the hailstorm. 

Nebraska’s hailstone was the largest one in the US until 2010. However, in July 2010, South Dakota surpassed this record with the discovery of an 8-inch diameter hailstone!

Fun Facts About Nebraska

35. The Largest Sports Venue in Nebraska is the Memorial Stadium 

Memorial Stadium is an American football stadium situated inside the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Memorial Stadium has a capacity of more than 85,000 spectators and is the largest sports venue in the state.

36. It Was Illegal to Sell Doughnut Holes in Leigh, Nebraska

Doughnut holes are small ball-shaped doughnuts. Now, these were illegal to sell between the 1800s and 1997 in the small town of Leigh in Nebraska! Nobody knows why this law existed.

37. Nebraska Is the Birthplace of Arbor Day

Nebraska is considered the birthplace of Arbor Day, a holiday dedicated to tree planting and environmental conservation.

In 1874, Nebraska’s Governor, Robert W. Furnas officially declared Arbor Day on April 10. Then, in 1885, Arbor Day was declared as a public holiday in the state too. It is generally celebrated on the last Friday of April.

38. A Fifteen-Year Old Girl From Nebraska Became a Pilot

Evelyn Sharp from the north-central region of Nebraska was just 15 years old when she flew her first flight. The next year, she took a solo flight too. 

Later, she received her private pilot licence when she was seventeen and a commercial-transport licence at eighteen.

Evelyn also trained 350 men during the Government’s pre-World War II Civilian Pilot Training Program.

39. Hilary Swank Was Born in Nebraska

Hilary Swank is a well-known American actress, who has starred in movies like “Boys Don’t Cry”, “Freedom Writers”, and “PS. I Love You”. 

She was born on July 30, 1974, in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, when she turned six, she moved to Bellingham, Washington with her family.

Apart from Hilary Swank, other renowned celebrities born or raised in Nebraska include Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Johnny Carson, and Adam DeVine.

40. Nebraska Has the Most Irrigated Land in the US

These fun facts about Nebraska show how agriculture is of the utmost importance in the state. 

Among all the US states, Nebraska has the most irrigated land. Around 8.6 million acres of land is under irrigation. This accounts for about 14.8% of the total irrigated land in the country.

41. Nebraska Has the Smallest City Hall in the US

Let’s talk about one of the random fun facts about Nebraska.

The Maskell City Hall in Maskett, Nebraska measures only 10 feet by 12 feet. The hall serves a town of about 70 residents and can accommodate only seven town officials and two residents. If there are any more, they’ve to stand outside.

42. Nebraska Has the World’s Largest Porch Swing

Here are some truly fun facts about Nebraska!

The state is home to the world’s largest porch swing at City Park in Hebron. Originally built in 1985, the swing measures 32 feet and can accommodate around 16 adults or 24 children.

Today, Hebron is also titled as “Nebraska’s Porch Swing Capital”.

43. The Honeybee Is the State Insect of Nebraska

These are some fun facts about Nebraska and its state insect.

The Honeybee (Apis mellifera) became the official state insect of Nebraska in 1975. This is because honeybees play a significant role in the state’s economy by producing honey and beeswax.

44. Omaha SeptemberFest is a Famous Cultural Festival

These fun facts about Nebraska are a must-know for those planning to visit the state. 

If you want to experience the true culture and festivities, the Omaha SeptemberFest is the perfect event to attend! The festival has been celebrated for more than 35 years. It offers Labor Day parades, fireworks, concerts, art displays, and many more.

Every year over 140,000 people gather to celebrate this cultural event in September.

45. There Were Rumors About Radioactive Hornets in Nebraska

Here are some myth-related fun facts about Nebraska.

In the nuclear era of the 1940s, one radiation-related rumour made its way to Nebraska. 

The residents believed that some hornets were exposed to radiation, and were reaching Central Nebraska! Some even claimed that they had killed several people in the state. These hornets were called the Mutated Fukushima Giant Hornets.

46. The Legend Behind the Weeping Water Stream in Nebraska

Nebraska has a stream known as the “Weeping Water”. The stream has a legend associated with its name. 

As per the legend, there was a battle between two tribes of Native American warriors. The battle led to the death of all the men from both groups. Hence, the women and children from both sides came to the battlefield and shed several tears. 

Their tears formed a small stream called the Ne-hawka or the Weeping Water, and it has been flowing ever since!

However, the truth is that the Native Indians named the stream “Nigahoe” meaning “rustling water”. 

When the French came, they confused the word with another Indian term “Nihoage” meaning “weeping water”. Hence, the stream is known as Weeping Water today!

47. Nebraska Has a Museum of Haunted Objects

Here are some more spooky fun facts about Nebraska.

The Museum of Shadows situated in Omaha, Nebraska is known to host more than 3000 haunted artefacts! The museum is voted as one of the most haunted museums. You can take self-guided tours, and experience weird occurrences yourself. 

48. Nebraska Has the Largest Hand-Planted Forest in the World

These fun facts about Nebraska are my favourite!

The Nebraska National Forest is the largest hand-planted forest in the world! It is spread across 90,000 acres of land.

The history behind these plantations is impressive. Dr. Charles E. Bessey, a botanist from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wanted to prove that the sandhills in the region could facilitate plant growth.

He hand-planted more than 13,000 trees near Thedford in Nebraska. Surprisingly, the trees grew, and the area was considered a National Forest Preserve.

49. Nebraska is a Part of the Tornado Alley

As the name suggests, Tornado Alley is a name given to the cluster of states in the Midwestern and central US, where tornadoes are a common occurrence. 

These states include Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Ohio.

50. You Can Find a Carhenge in Nebraska

You might know about the famous Stonehenge in England. Well, if you’re a motorhead, you can find a replica of Stonehenge made up of cars, known as “Carhenge”!

Jim Reinders constructed the Carhenge in 1987 as a memorial to his father. He used 38 vintage American automobiles, including cars and trucks to replicate the Stonehenge monument. The automobiles are also painted grey and have similar dimensions and layout to that of Stonehenge.

The Carhenge is situated in the town of Alliance in Nebraska.

Fun Facts About Nebraska

51. Nebraska Has a State Song

Nebraska has a state song titled “Beautiful Nebraska”. Governor Norbert Tiemann declared the song as the official state on June 21, 1967. 

In 1960, the song only had music given by Jim Frass! However, once the song became the state song, Jim Fras and Guy G. Miller added the lyrics too.

52. Nebraska Was the Last State to Create Its Own Flag

Each US state has its own flag. However, did you know that Nebraska was the last one to create a flag?

Nebraska created and adopted its individual flag on March 28, 1925. The flag was first displayed at the Nebraska State Capitol on January 1, 1926.

The Nebraska flag consists of a blue rectangular area with the state seal and the state motto drawn on it. It symbolises the Missouri River, along with a steamboat. The seal also represents a blacksmith, a settler’s cabin, corn fields, and a railroad train moving toward the Rocky Mountains (west of Nebraska).

53. Equality Before the Law Is the State Motto of Nebraska

These are some fun facts about Nebraska related to the state’s motto.

Nebraska is one of the 25 states with an English motto. The motto states “Equality Before the Law” and is present on the official state seal. It was adopted in 1867.

The state also has a slogan for tourism, “Nebraska: Honestly, It’s Not for Everyone”, which has won a national award too!

54. Nebraska Had a Vital Part in World War II

Here are some historical fun facts about Nebraska.

During World War II, Nebraska fed the American soldiers and its allies through livestock and growing crops. 

Many trains responsible for transporting soldiers often stopped at the North Platte Canteen in North Platte, Nebraska. The soldiers received food, drinks, and even gifts (during Christmas) at this canteen. It was started in December 1941 and closed in April 1946.

55. The Missouri River Runs Through Nebraska

The longest river in the US, the Missouri River has a length of 2,341 miles or 3,767 kilometres. It starts from the Eastern Centennial Mountains in Southwestern Montana and meets the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Missouri River also runs through Nebraska and meets its longest tributary, the Platte River, just south of Omaha. Then, it flows through the Nebraska-Missouri Border.

Further Reading – Fun Facts About Nebraska

Nebraska is a beautiful state with gorgeous nature and much to explore. It is the birthplace of many famous people, unique wildlife, landmarks, and much more! 

If you enjoyed reading the fun facts about Nebraska, check out my other articles here:

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