Be a part of the Great Migration to the Platte River of Nebraska! Each spring, the open sky is filled with millions of flapping wings and a chorus of calls as more than 80 percent of the world’s population of Sandhill Cranes converge in the Heart Of The Great Plains - Nebraska's Platte River Valley. Migration between wintering grounds in the south and breeding grounds in the north (Canada, Alaska,Eastern Siberia) has likely taken Sandhill Cranes across what is now Nebraska for many thousands, if not millions, of years. The stopover provides the needed nourishment to continue their journey to the northern breeding grounds. (rowe.audubon.org/cranefacts).

Home Hospitality

Home Hospitality provided by the Friendship Force club of Lincoln.

Live With a Local

  • Experience the culture of the American midwest first hand as The Friendship Force of Lincoln shares with you an event in nature that makes their region special.
  • Several speakers from the University of Nebraska will give presentations throughout the week.
  • Welcome dinner featuring two speakers.
  • Farewell brunch at the Audubon Society with speakers.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Travel by bus to a crane viewing site to see up close the Sandhill Cranes as they ready for their day. While traveling, you might see cranes foraging along the roadside in its neighboring fields of corn stalks, milo, or soybeans.
  • Enjoy an evening at a second crane viewing site to view the cranes against a backdrop of a beautiful Nebraska sunset. Bring your cameras!
  • Visit The Archway, a museum and monument to the roles that Nebraska and the Platte River Valley played in the expansion to the west. As you walk through The Archway (built across Interstate 80), you will learn about 170 years of America’s westward movement through harrowing stories and detailed displays.
  • Visit MONA, the Museum of Nebraska Art. It is the only museum exclusively dedicated to telling the story of Nebraska through the artwork by artists who were born in Nebraska, have lived in Nebraska, or have some other connection to Nebraska. By extension, the MONA tells the story of America.
  • Stop in Red Cloud, Nebraska, the most famous little town in America, and the home to Willa Cather, a world renown author.
  • Visit the City of Lincoln, the State Capitol, the Governor’s Residence; and have lunch at Billy’s, the restaurant of the lobbyists.
  • Tour Audubon Society Spring Creek Refuge and learn about the tall grass prairie.
  • Spend time with the members of The Friendship Force of Lincoln; they enjoy making new friends and hosting people from around the world.

Journey to the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World

8 Days / 7 Nights Program and Itinerary:

March 17, 2018 – March 24, 2018
Coordinator: Barb Ridder, FF Lincoln

All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.

Sat, March 17

Visitors arrive at various times and are met by hosts.

Day open for host choice of activities.

Sun, March 18

Nebraska History Museum.

Welcome dinner at Graduate Hotel with Speakers: Alan Bond and Judy Diamond

Mon, March 19

Depart Lincoln on the “International Friendship Bus.” Mary Brown, Ph.D. UNL will facilitate a discussion on the bus.

Great Platte River Road Archway.

Lunch at UNK Student Union (own pay), MONA, and Alley Rose.

Dinner with Speaker, Leticia Reichart, Ph.D. UNK, Biology.

Tues, March 20

Rowe Sanctuary, overview and walk to Crane Viewing Blind.

Travel the back roads to view cranes in the fields, stop to take pictures.

Grand Island, Lunch at Texas T-Bone Steakhouse.

Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center – museum and gallery, observation tower, bison herd, trails.

Wed, March 21 

Visit Red Cloud, home of world renowned author Willa Cather, whose writings are based upon her life on Nebraska’s prairies. Enjoy readings from “My Antonia,” and others. A seven building tour is included, all of which are included in her writings.

Arrival back in Lincoln.

Free evening with Hosts.

Thurs, March 22

Nebraska Capitol Tour.

Lunch at Billy’s.

Tour of Governor’s Mansion.

Small group dinners.

Fri, March 23

Farewell Brunch and tour at Audubon Society Spring Creek.

Ambassadors treat host to dinner.

Suggested stops include the Haymarket, including shopping, antique stores, art galleries, restaurants.

Sat, March 24

Visitors leave at various times, depending on next destination.


$725 USD

Price Includes: FFI and host fees, two nights in a hotel, five nights home hosting, many meals, entrance fees, and bus transportation to crane viewing areas.


Wait list only


Know before you go

  • There is up to one-half mile of walking along the Platte River. You need to be able to walk on rough terrain.
  • The most important thing is to make sure you have enough warm clothing. March can be rather mild in Nebraska, but it can get very cold too. So bring clothing to layer, and if you get too warm, you can always shed a layer. Wear mittens, hats, and boots along with wool or synthetic socks.
  • Other important items, but not absolutely necessary, would be binoculars and a camera.
  • Ambassador applications need to be completed to FFI by December 1, 2017.
  • All ambassadors must be willing to share a hotel room with two double/queen beds.
Interested in this Journey?

We would love to have you on this Journey with us.

Our Mission

Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.
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