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Day #10: Omaha, NE

As we try to do something meaningful on each leg of the journey, we opted to spend the morning at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha. It’s Nebraska’s top paid attraction and considered to be one of the best zoos in the world. With only a morning to spend there, we merely scratched the surface by seeing–fairly quickly–maybe half of the animals on display. 

Emerson seemed to especially like the aquarium:

Here’s a striking example of a sea nettle:

From the zoo, we drove a little over six hours to Dodge City, KS following a route southwest that was mostly off interstates through farmland and the occasional small town. While this didn’t provide the sort of majestic and sublime vistas that we enjoyed in the Rockies, we’ve enjoyed seeing the heartland of the prairie. 

The people who live I these rural communities live such a different life than we’re accustomed to leading. Even in modern America, this part of the country feels pretty isolated and in some important ways declining due to “rural flight” (as big agribusiness pushes out smaller farmers). Yet, there are interesting little museums, historical markers, and curiosities to be found nearly everywhere, if you bother to observe. 

For example, we passed through tiny Garfield, KS (pop. 190 or so) today. It’s named for the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield. Passing through the town–assuming you don’t blink–you’ll see a minuscule wayside memorial chapel that contains a church bell donated by the former President to the town. Garfield donated the bell for their first church (which no longer stands) in order to thank the town for making itself after him. 

These are the kinds of stories you can find all over America and the world. You just have to get out and look!

Today’s box score: +1 state (Kansas)

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