Crane Season

Guided Crane Photography Experience

March 17 - April 8

The Guided Crane Photography Experience provides photographers with the opportunity to capture world-class shots of cranes on the Platte River in a small group setting. Rowe Sanctuary’s discovery stations are strategically placed along the Platte River to provide excellent views of the Sandhill Cranes while they roost on the river.

This experience requires a half mile walk carrying your own gear.

Each tour has two spots on a golf cart for people with true ambulatory issues. You must indicate difficulty walking on your reservation to access this option. Once full this option is no longer available.

Cost: $100/person/tour (Plus taxes and fees).

Time and Duration: Approximately 3 hours. Tours are available in both morning and evening. Please plan to arrive and be ready to go at tour start time. 

Location: All tours begin at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center, at 44450 Elm Island Road, Gibbon, NE 68840. Drive time from south Kearney to the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center is approximately 20-25 minutes. From Grand Island, drive time is 45-50 minutes.

Photography Policy:

  • Use of flash photography not allowed to minimize disturbance to cranes.
  • Participants may use tripods and continuous shooting mode.
  • Objects (i.e., camera lens) must not extend beyond the window sill of the discovery station. 
  • Tablets are not permitted and cell phones must be placed on airplane mode. Camera LCD screens must be dimmed. Auto focus lights should be turned off if possible.
  • Small red flashlights are permitted. No headlamps allowed.
  • Rowe Sanctuary reserves the right to ban use of any device determined to be a nuisance.

 Important Details:

  • You must carry your own gear over half a mile to and from the discovery station in the dark. We have limited capacity to help with ambulatory issues for this experience.
  • Dress in warm clothing (i.e., winter coat, insulated gloves, stocking cap, wool socks and thermal layers). Temperatures in March and April regularly reach below freezing and blinds are not heated.
  • Dress in dark-colored clothing to minimize disturbance to cranes.
  • You are welcome to bring drinks and snacks into the discovery station.
  • You must stay in the discovery station for the duration of your tour with the exception of toilets located outside of your discovery station.
  • Reservations are limited to adults.
  • Pre-payment is required. We accept Visa, MasterCard & Discover.
  • Cancellations are refundable up to 14 days prior to your trip, but are subject to a 5% charge on your purchase total.
  • We appreciate your understanding that every crane viewing experience is unique. Weather during your tour and location where cranes choose to roost is beyond our control.

Please be aware that ALL of our current programming is subject to change.

All tours will be cancelled and refunds given, when the National Weather Service issues a Weather Warning.

We evaluate local conditions daily to determine the extent that crane viewing opportunities can take place. The safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests are the utmost priority.

As you begin planning for your crane viewing experience; please use the following guidelines to assist in your decision making.

Rowe Sanctuary’s current plan for operating during the Crane Season:

We will be working with our local health department, two rivers public health department, the state of Nebraska and the National Audubon Society as guidance on our safety procedures during the Crane Season. Please realize all tours are subject to cancellation and refunds will be available if Covid-19 precautions change our scheduling.

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