Crane Season

Plan Your Visit: Construction, Logistics, and FAQs

While our Visitor's Center is under renovation, we will have on-the-ground updates here. Reservations open online at 9:00 am Central time on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.
Sandhill Crane. Photo: Marti Phillips.
Crane Season

Plan Your Visit: Construction, Logistics, and FAQs

While our Visitor's Center is under renovation, we will have on-the-ground updates here. Reservations open online at 9:00 am Central time on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.


Book your reservations here!

Check-In Tent 

While the Visitor’s Center is closed for renovations, we will have a check-in tent for sunrise and sunset tours near the parking lot. Indoor bathrooms will not be available to visitors, but we do have outdoor toilets near the Discovery Stations and on the trails. 


Parking near the Visitor’s Center may be limited due to construction vehicles. Watch for signage.


During Crane Season, we close Rowe trails to protect the birds from disturbance while on the river. Visitors will not be able to see cranes on the river from Rowe’s trails. 

Trails will be open daily from 10:00 am - until 4:00 pm, but this may be subject to change depending on the location of cranes on the river. From March-April, access to the trails is strictly prohibited outside of these times. Trails will be clearly marked, some may also be closed due to construction.

Gift Shop 

This year, our gift shop will offer online orders only. If you would like to pick up an order while you are here for a tour, we encourage you to place an order at least a week in advance of your visit. 

Click here to visit our Gift Shop online! 


Cancellations are refundable until two weeks prior to experience start date. Refunds are subject to a 5% cancellation fee. All tours will be cancelled and full refunds given if the National Weather Service issues a hazardous Weather Warning. 

Crane Watching Etiquette 

Cranes are wary birds that flush when approached. Approaching birds that are roosting on the river should never be done. This will stress the birds and even cause collisions with unseen obstacles, such as power lines. The best way to observe birds on the roost is from established viewing sites that are found throughout the area. Most are hunted elsewhere and the sight of a human form will scare them away.  

The best way to watch Cranes during the day is from your vehicle on county roads. Slowly drive by and stop where you do not impede traffic or block an entrance. Never stop or slow down while on highways. Viewing maps showing good daytime viewing routes are available at Rowe Sanctuary, the Kearney Visitors Bureau and Nebraska Flyway.

Remember, most land in the area is private and permission is required to enter. Always respect the rights of the people who live and work here, this includes driveways and farm roads or gated fields. It is also important to remember that the ground is softer off the road and your vehicle can easily be stuck. 

Accessibility & Accommodations

While the Visitor’s Center in under construction, outdoor toilets are available throughout the sanctuary, including near Discovery Stations and on the trails. Rowe Sanctuary is working hard to make our trails as accessible as possible, however, most are gravel trails and are not ideal for those who use mobility aids. 

If you need transportation assistance to our crane discovery stations during a regularly scheduled tour, please select "difficulty walking" in your reservation or call us at 308-468-5282. We will do our best to accommodate every visitor, but we have a limited number of vehicles and we cannot guarantee they will be available for every viewing opportunity. The earlier we are aware of your request, the more likely we will be able to make accommodations.  


Please be aware all tours are subject to cancellation and refunds will be available if Covid-19 safety precautions change our scheduling. 

Masks are optional but Rowe staff will have black masks available to help you stay safe (and warm!). If you are experiencing Covid or flu-like symptoms, please call to reschedule your visit; we will do our best to reschedule you and make accommodations, but reservations fill fast and rescheduling cannot be guaranteed.  

We will be evaluating local conditions throughout the crane migration in order to determine the extent that Rowe Sanctuary’s public events and crane experiences can take place. The safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests are the utmost priority. 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.   

Sandhill Cranes. Photo: Don Berman.

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