Cowboy for a Day
Yearn to ride the open range and experience what the world was like when lassos were more common than lattes? You've come to the right place. Next to Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bill may well be Nebraska's most famous son, most well known for his Wild West Show but also the nimble rider who covered 322 miles of the Pony Express in just over 21 hours on horseback. Check out the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and State Recreation Area (tel. 308/535-8035; www.ngpc.state.ne.us/parks) in North Platte, where the former 16-acre homestead of the famous cowboy has been preserved. You can also camp on the grounds and, of course, ride horses. Experience a living-history ranch (the only one of its kind in the state) as it was during the days of settlement at the Arthur Bowring Sandhills Ranch State Historical Park near Merriman (www.heartcity.com/visitor/bowring.shtml), where Hereford cattle roam the fields and a museum holds artifacts from the state's pioneering days. On the Hutchinson Buffalo Ranch near Rose (tel. 402/273-4574), you can check out bison (which are organically raised here), ride a wagon, and even stay in a tipi or sod house. It may not be the Four Seasons, but it's an experience you're unlikely to forget anytime soon.