Crane Country

“It is pure spectacle to witness their arrow-like frames arrive to roost on the Platte’s braided channels at sunset and leave the river in mass at first light.”

—Michael Forsberg, wildlife photographer, conservationist

Each spring, more than 80 percent of the world’s population of Sandhill cranes gather along Nebraska’s Platte River. One of the most majestic migrations on earth, the open sky is covered with millions of flapping wings and a chorus of calls.

The central Platte River Valley is a flurry of activity each spring—March and April—as the cranes arrive to rest and refuel for their long journey north. Learn more about regional activities at the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Center.

Rowe Sanctuary-Audubon

(308) 468-5282
44450 Elm Island Rd
Gibbon, NE 68840

Rowe Sanctuary is dedicated to the conservation of sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and other migratory birds and their habitat along the Platte River. Along with preserving habitat for wildlife, Audubon’s visitor center in south central Nebraska is a home-base for crane tourism and year-round nature-based education opportunities. Guided crane viewing is scheduled by reservation between March and early April.

The Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center

(308) 382-1820
9325 South Alda Road 
Wood River, NE 68883

The Crane Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and maintenance of critical habitat for whooping cranes, sandhills cranes and other migratory birds along the Big Bend Region of the Platte River Valley. The Trust operates the Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center, providing a regional gateway for community outreach and education. During crane season they offer visitors several different guided tours and access to private photo and viewing blinds along the river.

Know of an ecotourist-friendly place in the Great Plains to see Sandhill Cranes? Email us at