Classic Car Collection and Nebraska Fire Fighters Museum

Two Passport Stops

We decided to visit a couple nearby Nebraska Passport Program stops in Kearney this fall. Both were relatively short stops, so good to pair together.

Classic Car Museum

The Classic Car museum is a place that we had been to briefly for an event before but decided to take our children. Talk about cars!

The location on the side of Cabela’s doesn’t do it justice. It really should be a separate building and better advertised. You walk in a side door with an old car out front. The inside is significantly more impressive.

After you check in, there is an educational area and then you turn down a hall and see a massive row of cars. They really have everything. Different types of cars. Sections devoted to international cars. Cars in a whole series of vehicle. There is a paper describing the background and history of each car, as well as the donor. Some cars had fun facts printed on them.

A long winding path throughout a giant building shows off even more cars! There are very old cars, more recent cars, and very expensive cars! If you like cars – this is definitely the place for you!

There were a couple old fashioned horse toys like the kind that used to be out front of grocery stores. Our boys enjoyed quarter rides. Unfortunately, one was out of order. There was also a quiz game that was out of order. There was a kids area at the end that kids could climb on an old fashioned car and families could take pictures. There could have been more interactive stuff for kids – the museum was quite big and kids could get bored while their parents viewed the cars. There is a gift shop and bathrooms at the end as well as a café area. The tour ended up at the front of the building where one enters.

Overall, it was a well designed place – very clean, well organized and modern! However, there are rumors that it may go out of business by the end of the year. The cars that have been donated will either be returned or sold. This is a terrible shame because this is a pretty amazing collection of cars. So, if you are going to go see it – go see it soon! I feel like it’s a great see (plan about an hour or two depending on how much you like cars) but it may be failing because of inadequate hours, poor advertising and a lack of a well-defined exterior to the museum (the interior is extremely impressive!)

Nebraska Fire Fighters Museum

The Nebraska Fire Fighters Museum, on the other hand, is in a stand-alone building that is very nice with a cute statue outside. There is a neat display of a very old fire truck in the lobby and a display with a piece of the Twin Towers donated from a fire-fighters group from New York.

The place was well done with a conference and educational room for meetings or events as well as nice bathrooms. The main room had various fire-fighting paraphernalia and vehicles. It wasn’t a large room, but it was well done. It had a nice display showing Nebraska firefighting history. Apparently, the reason Kearney is the location of the Nebraska Firefighters Museum is because Kearney (according to the wall) was the location of the fire volunteer fire department. However, I noticed when in Nebraska City that they claim to be the first – I don’t know enough to make a judgment.

The museum had several displays aimed toward kids. Kids were given a game sheet to find out what the “fire hazards” were in the various displays. There were other interactive kids activities and even a fire bell kids could ring (asked to be respectful of other people in the museum.) There was even a place where they could watch fire-related videos (like “Planes 2”). However, the videos weren’t out until the volunteer brought them. Unfortunately, I think the video had perhaps been damaged as it skipped and frozen a lot. It’s a neat idea to entertain the kids while the adults look at the displays – so the DVD’s should be checked regularly and replaced as needed.

The outside part behind the back of the museum had a walk that had displays to firefighting groups and deceased firefighters. It was a pretty and serene place with nice memorial benches. It included several flags.

This stop only would take about an hour, but it’s a great addition to other Kearney stops.

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