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Groundwater Discovery Adventure

Location: Main Level

Grab an explorer hat and dig for fossils in Hastings Museum's Groundwater Discovery Adventure!

Cook up dinner next to our 9 x 14 foot log cabin!

Hides and artifacts for role playing make our tipi one popular place!

Discover the importance of groundwater on the Central Plains in this hands-on exhibit!

Our Groundwater Discovery Adventure includes a paleontology dig site, a plains Indians settlement and a completely furnished 1857 Nebraska log cabin. Dress-up clothes and other items are available for young explorers.

Our Groundwater Discovery Adventure has been well loved for nearly a decade and we’re currently in the planning stages for a completely new and exciting adventure for families. The exhibit we’re planning will continue to offer families ways to explore our environment with many opportunities to discover life up close. Preliminary drawings of the new exhibit will be available in the next few months. Details will be posted online as they become available.

For now, you can still enjoy the dig site, plains Indians tipi and the 1857 Nebraska log cabin.

How do they relate to groundwater? Without groundwater, there would be no fossils. Native Americans relied on rivers and planted crops in flood plains. When pioneers moved west and built more permanent settlements, they tended to build along rivers first – as they’d have to haul water to the cabin until wells were dug.

This area is very popular with younger Museum guests, and it helps families explore the Ogallala aquifer and the importance of groundwater to the development of the central plains in an engaging hands-on environment.

A floor to ceiling prairie landscape mural covers all of the walls and the entrance to the center, while “soil” covers the floors. Two paleontology dig areas at the entrance allow you to dig for fossils and teeth with shovels and brushes.

A replica of a Native American tipi furnished with hides and Indian artifacts allow for role playing, as does a 9 by 14 foot log cabin.

The cabin, built in 1857 by John Adams, founder of the village of Adams in Gage County, was moved in the 1950s to Kenesaw by Edward Ziebarth. Ziebarth rebuilt the cabin on his property where it remained until after his death.  In the 1980s the cabin was moved to Kenesaw, before it was donated it to the Museum in 2001. A hay mattress, cook stove, wash tubs, clothing and other gear put your pioneers in the middle of the action!