15 Fun Facts About Nebraska

Located in the middle of the United States, Nebraska is home to small towns and vast stretches of farmland, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot happening. From the beginnings of Arbor Day to the invention of Kool-Aid and Runza, Nebraska is home to many unusual inventions and historically significant moments that you might not have ever heard about. Here are 15 fun facts about Nebraska you should know.

1. The birthplace of Kool-Aid

In 1927, the ever-popular juice drink Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. Perkins transformed his soft drink syrup “Fruit Smack” into the famous Kool-Aid powder, making for an easier shipping process. 

2. Biggest indoor rainforest

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, houses the largest indoor rainforest in the United States. The Lied Lunge, covering 1.5 acres of land with an eight-story building, features flora, fauna and animals from rainforests all over the globe.

3. Home of Carhenge

The Carhenge, a replica of the historic English Stonehenge, is located just north of Alliance, Nebraska and is made up of 38 old automobiles that have been arranged in the same proportions and shape as the original Stonehenge. 

4. Lighthouses, but no ocean

The state of Nebraska is nowhere near an ocean. However, there is a lighthouse that stands along the road in Ashland, Nebraska. The lighthouse was constructed over 75 years ago and graces a 40-acre lake nearby. 

5. Nebraska origin

The name “Nebraska” originated with the Otoe Indians. The word “Nebraska” means “flat water” and refers to the Platte River that flows throughout the state.

6. Arbor Day

Nebraska is where “Arbor Day” first began. In 1872, Julius Sterling Morton proposed the holiday to plant trees on April 10 of that year and to award prizes to the counties and individuals who planted the most trees on that day. Roughly one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Therefore, in 1885 Arbor Day became a legal holiday in Nebraska and it was moved to April 22, the birthday of Julius Sterling Morton. 

7. Warren Buffet’s home

Omaha, Nebraska, is home to one of the most famous billionaires in the world, Warren Buffett. Buffett, also known as the “Wizard of Omaha” or “Oracle of Omaha,” still lives humbly in the city in his lifelong home. 

8. Largest mammoth fossil

The Elephant Hall at the University of Nebraska State Museum features the largest mammoth fossil on display anywhere in the world. The fossils were discovered in Lincoln County in 1922 and have been identified as the remains of a Columbian mammoth. Bonus fun fact: It is also Nebraska’s official state fossil. 

9. Big football fans

Speaking of Lincoln, Nebraska, the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football stadium is capable of holding more than 90,000 people. On game day, the stadium becomes the 3rd most populated place in the state!

10. Runza

Nebraska is home to “Runza,” a fast food chain that dishes out hot stuffed pastries that are beloved by Nebraskans and almost exclusively found in the state. And even though you can find 82 Runza restaurants sprinkled across Nebraska, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find someone outside of the state that has tried one!

11. Interesting laws

In the late 1800s, a law created in Lehigh, Nebraska forbid merchants from selling donut holes. One lawmaker claimed donut holes were a waste and believed that by selling the middle of the donut bakers were trying to make an undue profit. Thankfully, the law was repealed in the late 1990s, but these tasty round treats are still hard to come by in the town of Lehigh. 

12. Chef Boyardee

In Omaha, Nebraska you can find a six-foot-tall statue of the famous Chef Boyardee. Yes, the friendly face who graces the cans of Spaghetti-Os. And yes, he was a real person. Omaha is the former home of ConAgra Foods, Inc., which includes the Chef Boyardee brand.

13. Not so populated

Nebraska is located in the bottom third of the country’s most populated states. With a total population of about 1.8 million people and most of its residents living in rural communities, it is also one of the least densely populated states. 

14. Home to big-name stars

Nebraska may be one of the least populated states, but many celebrities call the Cornhusker state home. Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Gerald Ford, and Nick Nolte are some of the state’s most famous residents. 

15. The biggest weight room in America

The University of Nebraska in Lincoln is home to the largest weight room in the United States. In fact, it covers a whopping 3/4 of an acre meaning there’s plenty of space for the entire football team to get a proper workout.

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7003 Q Street, Omaha, NE
Fun-Plex is Nebraska’s Premier Ride and Water Park and home to the state’s only roller coaster. Read More
801 South 10th Street, Omaha, NE
History:Construction on the structure that houses the Durham Museum commenced July 29, 1929 on the site of the previous Union Station. Rapidly incr... Read More
2200 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE
Our MissionJoslyn Art Museum collects, preserves, and interprets the visual arts of the highest quality, fostering appreciation and enjoyment of ar... Read More
2401 Central Avenue, Kearney, NE
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12102 South 180th Street, Gretna, NE
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822 15th Street, Columbus, NE
History:The Society was formed on June 2, 1941 when about 50 Platte County farmers and businessmen met. Gifts of both land and money had been offer... Read More
2504 14th Street, Columbus, NE
Mission : The Columbus Area Arts Council (CAAC) is dedicated to enriching the community through the promotion and sponsorship of the Fine Arts. Read More
102 North 14th Street, Fort Calhoun, NE
Our mission is to safeguard Washington County history through preservation and education. The Washington County Historical Association promotes car... Read More
306 W. Elm Street, Bancroft, NE
The John G. Neihardt Center is located on the property occupied by John Neihardt when he lived and worked in Bancroft, Nebraska. In the early 1960s... Read More
12th and Marian Road, Hastings, NE
Mission: The Children's Museum of Central Nebraska is a community resource committed to encouraging joyful, life-long learning of young children. T... Read More
4701 South 25 Street, Omaha, NE
About Us: El Museo Latino opened its doors in the historic Livestock Exchange Building on May 5,1993 as the first Latino Art & History Museum ... Read More
614 South 11th Street, Omaha, NE
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2001 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE
Mission: The Rose Theater is committed to enriching the lives of children and families through live theater and arts education.  - The Rose ... Read More
3133 West US Highway 34, Grand Island, NE
Mission:       The mission of Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is to preserve and portray the inspiring era of th... Read More
28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, NE
The Strategic Air and Space Museum is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization which receives no government funding. Donations are tax exempt to the fu... Read More
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