5 Benefits of Bird Watching

Posted by on Nov 27, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on 5 Benefits of Bird Watching

5 Benefits of Bird Watching

If you consider yourself a bird watching aficionado, you may already know the many benefits of taking part in this pastime, which has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. But those that have just begun to take part in birding, or are interested in learning more about the hobby, may be surprised to learn that bird watching has quite a few physical, mental and social advantages. Here in the Nebraska Sandhills, we are lucky enough to witness the millions of birds that make their journey across the state each year, and are here to share with you five ways you can reap the benefits from joining in on this enriching activity.

  1. Get closer to nature. Not only can you observe birds in their natural habitats, but you can also breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sun’s rays, and appreciate all of the things that make being outdoors so great.
  2. Improve cardiovascular health. Many may be shocked to learn that birding can count as a workout. But often, locations that offer the best opportunities for bird watching are located off of the beaten path and require a bit of a hike in order to reach. Getting your blood pumping with a moderately-paced walk is a great way to keep your heart healthy, and by taking part in an activity you enjoy, you won’t even notice you’re getting in a workout.
  3. Hone patience skills. The payoff of bird watching isn’t always immediate, and usually requires time spent waiting for the much anticipated glimpse of the birds you’re seeking. Refining your patience skills isn’t only a practice that will improve your mental well-being, but also has physical health benefits. A 2007 study found that people that are more patient are less likely to experience headaches, ulcers, pneumonia, acne and other health problems.
  4. Obtain quicker reflexes. After a lengthy wait, a bird watcher has to be ready at any given second to grab their binoculars or camera to bask in and capture that long-awaited moment. Every birding opportunity gives you the chance to exercise your reflex speed, as well as improve upon it. Having fast reflexes not only allows you to be a successful bird watcher, but will prevent a barrage of small disasters from happening in your day-to-day life and help you better thwart off danger.
  5. Become part of a community. Many bird watching trips take place with groups of people, and the act of coming together in this common interest can do wonders in building life-long friendships and fostering a sense of community. There are also many online groups where members can swap birding tips and share their experiences, allowing bird watchers all over the world to connect with one another.

If you’re ready to experience all of the ways that bird watching can enhance your life, book a viewing at the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental. We are centrally located to some of the best Nebraska Sandhills birding locations, and offer comfortable accommodations for your stay.

Tips for Fall Camping Comfort

Posted by on Oct 31, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Tips for Fall Camping Comfort

Tips for Fall Camping Comfort

There are many reasons why camping during the fall months can be just as, if not more, appealing than any other season. The weather tends to be more mild than summer, the colorful fall foliage enhances your surroundings, and it’s the opportunity for one last “hurrah” before the frigidly cold temperatures of winter set in. But there are also aspects to fall camping that can set you at a disadvantage, such as the short days and freezing nights. Continue reading to learn some camping tips that will help ensure you are able to have an awesome autumn adventure in comfort.

Before You Go

Adequately preparing for a camping trip, no matter the time of year, is critical. Use the following tips as a checklist to make sure you have all the fall essentials you need before you head out:

  • Pack a cold weather sleeping bag. Even though daytime temperatures may still be well into the 50’s and 60’s, it is likely to dip down into freezing temps once the sun goes down. Having a sleeping bag labeled for use in weather between 0°-30° will help you get a good night’s sleep despite the cold.
  • Invest in sleeping pads. In addition to your cold weather sleeping bag, a sleeping pad will help keep you nice and cozy throughout the night by keeping you off of the cold ground.
  • Bring clothes you can layer. With fall’s often-changing temperatures, packing a variety of clothing is a good idea so you can adapt to the current conditions. Pants, shorts, short- and long-sleeved shirts, tank tops and sweaters are all good choices to pack for your fall camping trip.
  • Load up on firewood. One of the best ways to keep warm during the chilly autumn evenings is by cuddling up next to a campfire. Make sure you bring plenty of firewood to ensure you can keep the fire going until you’re ready to head to bed.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Monitor the forecast in the days leading up to your trip. Although colder weather is to be expected, if there is a significant amount of snow or extremely cold weather in the forecast, you may want to put a halt on your expedition.

When You Get to the Campsite

Although you may be ready to unload your vehicle and get to the fun, there are some important steps you should take once you arrive at the campground:

  • Choose a campsite upwind from neighbors. Like you, everyone else at the campground will be utilizing a campfire to stay cozy, so staying upwind will keep you from inhaling their fire’s smoke all night.
  • Pick a sunny spot. Make the most use out of daylight by choosing a campsite that receives sunlight throughout the day.
  • Set up early. With the sun going down earlier and earlier each day, it’s a good idea to begin setting up your tent and other supplies well before sunset.

During Your Stay

Follow the tips below to stay comfy throughout your fall camping trip:

  • Stay active. It’s no secret that movement helps keep the body warm, and camping provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, such as hiking, biking, fishing, or even just playing charades with your group.
  • Drink hot beverages. Fall is the season for hot chocolate and apple cider, and sipping on these drinks are great for keeping you warm from the inside out.
  • Keep the next day’s clothes in your tent. By stowing the clothes you plan on wearing the next day, you’ll allow them to retain some of your warmth so they aren’t so cold when you first put them on.
  • Sleep with a full water bottle. No, this isn’t to make sure you have refreshment in the middle of the night. Lying with a water bottle filled with warm water (and, of course, tightly sealed) will assist in keeping you snug through the night.
  • Use the bathroom before bed. Although this is a good tip for camping in any season, you will feel the least like getting out of your warm tent to use the bathroom during the cold autumn nights.

At the Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental, we’re open all year long and are the perfect destination for a fall camping escapade. Call us at (308) 546-2206 or (888) 278-6167 to reserve your camping spot today!

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Tips for an Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

Going on a camping trip is the perfect way to get away from the stresses of everyday life and get closer to nature. However, there are some common camping practices, such as the utilization of single-use products and disposable water bottles, which can be detrimental to the earth.  Read our camping tips to learn how you can be more eco-friendly during your next outdoor voyage.

  • Skip single serve snacks. Although they can be a convenient way to get some nourishment during your trip, they result in a lot of waste, and can even take up more space than snacks that are prepared at home and stored in reusable containers. Sliced fruits and veggies, nuts and jerky all make great camping snacks and can easily be transported without the use of disposable packaging.
  • Invest in durable, reusable water bottles and jugs. Instead of hauling in multiple packs of expensive, single use bottled water, bring along a refillable water jug, such as this Ozark six gallon model, and heavy duty BPA-free water bottles.
  • Just say “no” to plastic utensils and paper plates. Disposable plates and cutlery create needless waste and are really not more efficient than their reusable counterparts. A set of long-lasting dishes is fairly inexpensive and also take up relatively little space.
  • Use biodegradable hygiene products. Many sunscreens, lotions, soaps, makeup and toothpastes contain ingredients that can pollute water, and some insect repellents contain permethrin, which is harmful to aquatic life. It takes only a moment while you are packing to ensure that your items are eco-friendly. Be sure to keep in mind to use all products at least 200 feet from any water source to avoid contaminating lakes and streams.
  • Use the sun to recharge. Solar powered lanterns and chargers not only take up less space than clunky battery-operated options, but they are an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Be wise about fire safety. Before you head to your campground, check the area’s fire restrictions to ensure you don’t start a blaze in a restricted zone. Don’t throw anything in the fire besides kindling, and make sure the fire is completely extinguished before you head to bed or leave your campsite.
  • Stay on designated trails. To assist in preserving nature areas for future generations, make sure to stick to marked trails during your adventure. Not doing so can result in soil erosion and damage to resources that can forever change the region’s landscape.
  • Make cleaning fun. It’s everyone’s job to help keep trash in its place, and you can make it easier to convince little ones to join in on picking up trash throughout the campground by turning it into a game. Bring along fun prizes like stickers, coloring books and candy to give to the person that gathers the most litter.
  • Practice “Leave No Trace”. Be sure to leave your campsite in the same condition, or even better, than you found it. After you pack up, there should be no evidence that you were even there.

Those are just some of the ways that you can reduce your impact on the earth while enjoying some time in the great outdoors. Stay with us at the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental for your next adventure for camping fun while surrounded by some of Nebraska’s top scenic destinations.

Tips for Stress-Free Camping with Dogs

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Tips for Stress-Free Camping with Dogs

Tips for Stress-Free Camping with Dogs

Forget the hassle of finding a pet-sitter or expensive kennel service to look after your four-legged friend while you enjoy your next outdoor getaway, and enhance your camping trip with your furry buddy’s presence.  With the following camping tips, you can take the steps needed to ensure your next outdoor excursion with Fido goes smoothly and you’re both able to enjoy your time off the grid in peace.

Pay a visit to the vet

A check-up before you head out will help spot any issues that may become exacerbated when your dog is in different conditions than they are used to. During the visit, make sure your pet’s flea and tick medications, as well as their microchip, are up to date. Ask your vet for preventative medicines for fleas, ticks and heartworms if you don’t yet have any.

Have a plan for dangerous situations

Prepare your pet for the very different atmosphere they’re going to be in by teaching them commands that can be used if you come across danger, such as a rattlesnake. Also, get them used to being secured by a tether and stake before you go so that they are more comfortable with the situation when you need to keep them from wandering away from the campsite.

Pack your pet’s necessities

 What could be worse than getting to your campsite and realizing that you left one of your pet’s vital items at home? Prevent that from happening by using the following checklist to make sure you include everything you’ll need to keep your pet taken care of throughout your expedition:

  • Directions to the nearest animal hospital from your campsite
  • Food and water bowls – collapsible options are available to save room
  • ID tags and license
  • Leash
  • Papers verifying current vaccinations
  • Pet-friendly bug repellent
  • Plenty of fresh food and water
  • Tether and stake to keep your dog secure when needed
  • Towels and blankets exclusively for their use
  • Toys
  • Waste disposal bags

Put together a customized first aid kit

Another necessity for your camping trip, a first aid kit with items specific to dogs, is a must in preventing and caring for injuries that may occur. The following are vital for any well-stocked first aid kit:

  • A bandana to use as a makeshift muzzle
  • Protective covering for injured paws – toddler socks work great and are inexpensive
  • Extra blankets
  • Preventative medicines for heartworms, fleas and ticks
  • Tweezers and mineral oil to remove ticks

Pick a Pet-Friendly Campsite

Before you leave on your big journey, check with the campground that you are planning on staying at to ensure pets are allowed. Also, when you are picking which camp site to set up at, select one that has plenty of shade so you dog can find relief from heat.

Traveling with dogs can sometimes be stressful, but with a little preparation, you can make it a relaxing, refreshing getaway for all involved. During your next Nebraska camping expedition, stay with us at The Sandhills Motel, a pet friendly property!

What You Need to Know About Kayaking and Canoeing

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on What You Need to Know About Kayaking and Canoeing

What You Need to Know About Kayaking and Canoeing

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful way to spend the afternoon or are seeking some thrills, a kayaking or canoeing trip is sure to satisfy. Many people enjoy the benefits of partaking in the sports, with about 23 million Americans hitting the water in a canoe or kayak each year. But for those that have not yet experienced an adventure in one of these watercrafts, the thought of hopping in one and zooming through the water may seem a bit intimidating. We’re here to let you know the ins and outs of both canoeing and kayaking so you can find the right fit for you and start planning your river expedition.

What are the differences between a kayak and a canoe?

There are a few key differences between these water vessels that allow for a different experience depending on the one you choose. Kayaks seat one to two people and typically contain enclosed seating areas; however, the kayaks that we rent here at The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental are recreational kayaks and do not contain the enclosure.  Kayak paddles have blades on each end, allowing for more efficient paddling.

Canoes, on the other hand, have the ability to carry more than two people, as well as the room to haul pets, a picnic lunch, more gear and any other necessities you need for your adventure. Canoes do not feature enclosed seating areas, so preventing water from splashing into the boat is necessary to keep dry. This lack of enclosure also allows for an option of seating positions, which can lend for a more comfortable ride, especially on longer river journeys. Canoe paddles only contain one blade, which equates to more effort needed in order propel the boat through the water than is required for a kayak.

What are the benefits of going kayaking and canoeing?

These sports not only provide a fun way to spend time outdoors with friends and family, but they also offer many other physical and mental benefits.

In observing those paddling in a kayak or canoe, one would think that only the arms are receiving a workout, but the motions needed to propel the watercrafts also work the core and legs, as well as provide a great cardiovascular workout. Moving at 3-5 miles per hour in one of these vessels will burn an astonishing 400 calories an hour! They also provide a low-impact workout, making them great for those seeking exercise that won’t cause stress to joints.

The workout that kayaking and canoeing provide releases endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller,  but that is just one way that these sports can benefit you mentally, physiologically and psychologically. The surge of endorphins released will also reduce stress and depression. Simply being on the water and taking in the beauty of nature is calming and can help in lowering your stress levels. Taking part in kayak and canoe rides is always a great way to socialize, and can provide a healthy way to bond with your pals.

Which is easier – kayaking or canoeing?

 While there are components of kayaking and canoeing that can make riding one more difficult in a particular body of water than the other, they are, for the most part, the same level of difficulty. However, the water in which you make your expedition is what can make your journey more mellow, or cause an invigorating day full of technical maneuvers.

Since acknowledging and staying within your ability level is vital in choosing a canoeing or kayaking adventure that will suit you, the experienced staff at The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental will help you choose the route that will allow you to acquire either the relaxation or thrills you crave while ensuring you have the skill necessary to navigate that particular body of water. The Middle Loup River is ideal for those looking for an easy-going ride aboard a canoe, kayak, or stock tank, while the Dismal River is great for those that are comfortable with a more exhilarating trip.

So, the next time you’re looking for fun, exciting things to do in Nebraska for your next vacation, visit us at The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental! We offer affordable kayak and canoe rentals for your next river adventure!

Camping Safety Tips

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Camping Safety Tips

What could be better than a summertime camping retreat, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life by roughing it in the wild for a few days and getting closer to Mother Nature? But in addition to scenic hikes, gooey s’mores by the campfire and sleeping under a star-studded sky in a sleeping bag, there are the dreaded sunburns, mosquitoes and uncontrolled fires that can accompany them. Keep you and your family safe during your next camping excursion with the following camping safety tips.

General Safety

Although many of the following suggestions may seem obvious, it can often be easy to overlook basic safety measures in the excitement of venturing out on your expedition. Use the following as a guideline while you’re loading up the car for your trip:

  • Pack layers you can add if it gets cold. Even sunny, hot days can dip into chilly temperatures during the night. Add in a blanket for each person in addition to their sleeping bag.
  • Bring a first aid kit. Your kit should be personalized to fit your needs, but some vital items to include are:
  • Band-Aids
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Sterile compresses
  • Gauze pads
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or your chosen method of pain relief
  • Burn ointment
  • Heat/cold packs
  • Tweezers
  • Wear the appropriate safety gear for any activity you’re partaking in (i.e. helmets and lifejackets).
  • Be sure to regularly apply your chosen method of insect repellant. Take a look at our May blog on natural repellants [Link to: Sandhills May blog] if you want to find chemical-free ways to keep the bugs away during your camping trip.
  • Keep your skin safe by regularly slathering on a sunscreen with a SPF rating of at least 15.
  • Never go swimming or hiking alone.

Campfire Safety

What camping trip is complete without a campfire to gather around and tell spooky stories? Abide by these rules to make sure your trip doesn’t go up in flames:

  • Build your fire at least 15 feet away from your tent, shrubs and trees.
  • Never build a fire under low-hanging trees.
  • Put the fire out completely before going to bed or leaving the campsite.
  • Never leave the campfire unattended.
  • Never use gas to start a fire.

Water Safety

While it may be an easily overlooked aspect of an exciting adventure, ensuring you have enough clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing during your camping trip is crucial. The following tips will help you in not only acquiring clean water for your needs, but offer a guideline to guard against dehydration:

  • Never drink water straight from a natural source without treating it first, even if it looks clear. Bring along a portable water purifier if it isn’t possible for you to pack in an adequate supply of water.
  • Water can also be boiled to ensure it’s safe to drink. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute (three minutes at high altitudes) to kill all pathogens.
  • Ensure you’re drinking an adequate amount of water while you’re having fun on your trip. The following schedule can help you stay on track:
    • Drink 15-20 ounces of water 1-2 hours before starting strenuous activity.
    • Drink 8-10 ounces about 15 minutes before beginning any activity.
    • During your hike or other activity, drink about 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes.

Food Safety

Nothing ruins a great camping trip like an issue arising with your food supply. The following tips will help you keep you and your nourishment safe:

  • Keep foods in tight, waterproof containers, and make sure coolers stay properly sealed to avoid wildlife getting into your food supply.
  • Never use fuel-burning camp stoves inside a tent, camper or other enclosed area. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up in a very short amount of time.
  • Keep hand sanitizer on hand to use before and after you start cooking and eating. Although there may not be a sink in which to wash your hands for miles, don’t let that important habit fall by the wayside during your outing.

Follow these precautions if you want a memorable camping trip that you’ll look back on fondly for years to come. And remember to visit The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental for river adventures that are the perfect way to round out a summer outing!

Natural Ways to Keep Bugs at Bay

Posted by on May 31, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Natural Ways to Keep Bugs at Bay

Natural Ways to Keep Bugs at Bay

Nothing spoils a fun summer camping trip like your campsite being overrun with bugs, but the thought of spraying you and your family with toxic chemicals may be just as unappealing. Rest assured that there are many remedies out there that will repel insects without the risk of contact with dangerous solutions. Utilize the following camping tips so you can enjoy a pest-free outdoor adventure this summer!

Choose your campsite wisely

Simply ensuring that the place that you choose to set up camp isn’t a breeding ground for insects is an important step in keeping your excursion as pest-free as possible. Mosquitoes and other bugs love water, so choose a site as far from standing water as possible. Another good practice in choosing a spot is to find an area that receives a lot of sun, and isn’t enveloped completely in the shade. Sunny spots will dry out faster in case you receive rain during your stay, guarding against the dampness that insects thrive in.

Dress Smart

Being mindful of your clothing choices is another easy way to help you keep your trip nuisance-free. Light-colored clothes not only help you stay cooler in the heat, but they also attract fewer insects than dark-colored clothing. Wearing loose fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants will keep more of your skin covered to also prevent bug bites. Clothes in fabrics that are made to naturally repel insects are also on the market, and are both functional and stylish.

Build a Fire

What camping trip is complete without a good, roaring campfire? In addition to roasting your marshmallows and creating the setting for spooky stories, campfires are also effective in repelling mosquitoes and other insects. The smoke from a campfire is so helpful in driving away bugs that some sources advise “smoking” your clothing by placing them downwind of your campfire.

Burning sage also helps keep mosquitoes away, and has the added bonus of being a pleasant aroma to be around. Another huge plus of burning sage on your camping trip is that it also repels ticks, which transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Make Use of Natural Solutions

There are plenty of things that appear in nature that ward off a variety of insects, while at the same time being pleasing to humans. Citronella oil and candles can be purchases at most grocery stores and assist in keeping bugs from your campsite. Peppermint, tea tree and lavender essential oils are all scents that repulse bugs, yet are also non-toxic, relatively cheap and widely available. Dot these essential oils on your skin to ward off insects and reduce the chance of bug bites. Cinnamon, something that most people have in their kitchen cabinets, is also a natural deterrent that can be sprinkled around your campsite.

Those are just some natural insect repellant solutions you can make use of to maintain a campsite that is as bug-free as possible. Plan your next outdoor excursion at The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental, where you can escape insects all together by staying in our motel or stay at one of our camp sites that are only $7.00 per person. We’re here to help you make the most out of your summer and make those lasting family memories!

Preparing for a Spring Camping Trip

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Preparing for a Spring Camping Trip

Preparing for a Spring Camping Trip

The snow has melted and summer is right around the corner. With cabin fever in the rearview mirror until next year, you may be anxious to hurry up and head out for a warm weather excursion. While spring is a great time for the first camping trip of the year, there are a few precautions that should be taken to ensure your adventure is rejuvenating, and doesn’t end up in disaster.

Prepare for the Weather

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring a lot of mud and standing water, so be sure to bring waterproof boots, jackets and socks to keep dry while you’re exploring. Although hypothermia may not seem like much of a risk when temperatures are above freezing, the risk is still high if you’re wearing wet clothing since you lose body heat more quickly than if your clothing were dry. Pack a couple of changes of clothing for each day of your camping trip, as well as a variation of short- and long-sleeved shirts, shorts and pants to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your expedition.

If you’re planning to camp in the early spring months, it is a good idea to pack an extended season or 4-season tent, as well as a 3-season or winter sleeping bag for those chilly, and sometimes still snowy, spring nights. Tarps are another important piece of equipment this time of year, and bringing just one to lie underneath your tent will go far in keeping water out and maintaining warmth inside.

Bring Along Lighting

Even though the days continue to get longer, it’s no fun cutting a fun camping evening short because the lighting is not adequate. Ensure the batteries in your flashlights and headlamps still operate, and check that your lanterns are still in working order and that you have a sufficient amount of fuel to use them throughout your trip.

Inspect Your Gear

Taking out your camping equipment and giving it a closer look before you head out is important, since it has likely been stored away for the winter. Set up your tent in the backyard and thoroughly check it for tears, as well as ensure all parts are accounted for. If you stored your sleeping bag or pad compressed all winter, allow some time for them to sit out and decompress. Test each zipper on your sleeping bag and tent, and if you use an inflatable mattress or sleeping pad, give it a trial run and make sure it still retains air sufficiently.

Be Ready for Bugs

Although they may not yet be out in full force, bugs are also beginning to come out of their cozy winter homes to enjoy the spring sun. Pools of water from rain showers are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and bothersome flies also tend to start making their appearance during this time of year. Be proactive in your fight against those and the many other insects that pop up in the spring by packing along your bug deterrent of choice, whether that means bug repellent products, wearing long sleeves, or using a screen room. And, as always, make sure to take regular breaks between your camping adventures to check for ticks, on both you and your pets.

Following just these few camping tips will allow for a refreshing spring adventure that will let you relax and enjoy nature. During your next Nebraska camping vacation, visit The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental for an exciting canoeing, kayaking or tanking adventure!

4 Reasons Why Nebraska is a Premier Bird Watching Destination

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on 4 Reasons Why Nebraska is a Premier Bird Watching Destination

Spring is in the air, which can only mean one thing – prime bird watching is upon us here in Nebraska. The area is home to a couple of unique birding opportunities, including the chance to witness the fantastic courtship ritual between the sharp-tail grouse and prairie chicken. To help you in deciding your spring vacation destination, we’ve outlined the four biggest reasons why bird watching in the spring in Nebraska is an activity you need to put on your bucket list.

 The animated Grassland Dance

 Starting as early as February, and in full-swing by April, is the yearly Grassland Dance between the sharp-tail grouse and prairie chicken. Presented by The Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental since 2011, the courtship ritual is held on a “lek”, which are special grounds in which the dance takes place. The sharp-tail grouse produces a deep booming sound while he runs, stomps, and whirls around with erect tail feathers to attract the female prairie chicken. In response, the female also clomps and leaps around and inflates her orange neck sacs. Viewing this event is stunning, and a school bus is used as a viewing blind in order to provide for the best photo opportunities.

The Great Sandhill Crane migration

 Every year between February and early April, over 80 percent of the world’s Sandhill Crane population stop at Nebraska’s Platte River on their way north from Texas, Oklahoma or Mexico. The phenomenon brings those from all over the world looking to take amazing bird photos, hear the crane’s melodic sounds and just take in the beauty of nature.

 A variety of outdoor fun

 Although getting in plenty of once-in-a-lifetime bird watching may be your number one goal during your spring visit to Nebraska, there are other entertaining ways to spend your time in the area to round out your trip. Take an action-packed canoe or kayak trip down the winding Dismal River, or kick back and bask in the sunshine during a stock-tank ride down the Middle Loup River. A drive down “one of America’s 10 most beautiful highways”, may also be in order during your trip, on the Sandhills Scenic Byway. There are many things to do in Nebraska during your spring retreat.

Comfortable accommodations

 Enjoy the serenity of lodging in the countryside, where you can take advantage of some prime birding, while still relishing in all of the comforts of staying in a bustling city.  The Sandhills Motel offers 19 rooms that feature air conditioning, DirecTV, laundry facilities, RV hookups and in-room telephones. Our picnic area is the perfect place for your group to relax while you grill some burgers. If you don’t feel like cooking, visit nearby eatery Red’s, which offers classic diner favorites. After a day of taking part in some exciting bird watching and other Nebraska outdoor fun, a soft, cozy bed awaits you at The Sandhills Motel.

So, grab your binoculars and bird identification guide, pack a picnic and head out for a springtime afternoon of some of the most amazing bird watching you’ve ever experienced. Reserve you stay at The Sandhills Motel today!

Fun and Unique Polar Bear Tank Race Theme Ideas

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Fun and Unique Polar Bear Tank Race Theme Ideas

The end to another frosty winter is within sight, which can only mean one thing – it’s time for the 11th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race! Join in the excitement by gathering a team of four to take part in this year’s rush down the Middle Loup River to benefit the Sandhills Journey Scenic Highway. Register today to take part in this end of winter event, as space is limited.

To add to the fun, teams can pick a unique theme from which to make team costumes, as well as decorate the team’s tank as it races down the river. If you haven’t yet come up with an awesome theme for this year’s Polar Bear Tank Race, don’t fret! Use the following ideas to help you choose a theme that embodies the spirit of you and your group.

  • Wet your whiskers – Bringing the mustache trend to the Polar Bear Tank Races is simple: each person dons a false ‘stache in the style of their choosing (the bigger and wackier, the better!), wears bowties and mustache-themed clothing, and decorates the team’s tank with enormous moustaches, sideburns and wigs! Get ready to laugh because this theme is sure to bring out everyone’s silly side!


  • Troll your competition – This colorful theme easily comes together with the help of neon-tinted troll wigs and matching attire. With each person sporting a different color, your tank will look like a rainbow racing down the river. Mini trolls, brightly-colored balloons and streamers are just the beginning of the fun items you can use to troll-ify your tank.


  • Save the day – Marvel and DC fans alike can get inspired by the protectors of justice while preparing for this year’s tank race. A cape, tights and a mask go a long way in turning you into the caped crusader or Superman, and it will be fun converting your tank into a vessel fit for the fastest, strongest superheroes.


  • “We’re kind of a big dill” – Take your love for pickles to the next level with this unique theme. All-green clothing for each team member and a banner replicating a pickle jar’s label to put on the tank will help transform your team into a container of the beloved, crunchy snacks. Not a big fan of pickles? Turn your crew into a container of jelly beans, M&Ms or Nerds (complete with pocket protectors and Coke-bottle glasses) to represent your favorite snack.


  • Tank of the undead – Scare away the competition by masquerading as a staggering zombie and decking your tank out with smears of fake blood and ‘Danger!’ warning signs. It’s cheap and easy to put this look together, with old, torn clothing being ideal. Bring along plenty of brains, caution tape and homemade severed limbs to bring your undead theme to life.


  • Pick your decade – Are you a fan of bell-bottoms and paisley shirts? Put together some 60’s outfits for your team and adorn your tank with peace signs to celebrate the decade of love. Or if the 70’s are more your thing, grab a polyester suit or anything with fringe, and don’t forget to bring a disco ball along for your tank. Whether you decide to go way back in time or put together a futuristic design, the possibilities are virtually endless.


  • Build ‘em up – Creating a Lego universe with your team is easier with the help of online tutorials on how to build a Lego costume. Most guides utilize only boxes, paint and paper bowls to construct a realistic Lego big enough to wear. Use mini-Legos, lots of glue and blue, green and red streamers to embellish your tank in keeping with the vibrant theme.


  • Live the mer-life – What better way to spend some time in the water than by transforming into a mermaid or merman for the day? A mermaid tail is a must and pretty effortless to put together at home, and seashells make a great addition to your outfit, as well as decorations to put on your tank. Turn to the sea for inspiration when putting together your team’s “under the sea” look.

All decorations must be attached while you are racing down the river in your tank. Team members must all be 21 years of age or older, and registration is $200 per person. Teams must have a minimum of four participants, and team members must all be 21 years of age or older. Registration is $200 a person and includes:

  • One racing tank per team
  • One life jacket, paddle, and Polar Bear Tank Race t-shirt for each participant
  • Two nights of accommodations (double occupancy) on March 2-3 in Thedford or Mullen
  • Welcome reception and soup cook-off
  • Breakfast before the race
  • Polar Bear Tank Race
  • Lunch following the race
  • Polar Bear Tank Race Awards Banquet – prime rib dinner
  • Team trophies for the top 3 men’s and women’s teams

Register today to take part in this unique event that is the perfect good-bye to winter! After you register, make sure to contact us for more information on staying at The Sandhills Motel, or give us a call at (308) 546-2206 to book your stay. We look forward to another action-packed Polar Bear Tank Race!