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Although possibly not thought of as a state of trees, Nebraska, and more specifically, Nebraska City, is the home of J. Sterling Morton who proposed the first Arbor Day in 1872. Since then, Arbor Day is now celebrated in all 50 states, as well as nationally and internationally, and Nebraska City has become home to Morton’s Arbor Lodge and Arbor Day Farm.

Sprawled across 260 acres, Arbor Day Farm serves as a living laboratory to test and demonstrate conservation techniques that improve the environment. In addition, the farm’s Tree Adventure attraction, which includes the Nature Explore Classroom, Lied Greenhouse, Woodland Pavilion, and the 50-foot-high Canopy Tree House and exploratory trails, is helping visitors of all ages discover the wonder of trees and inviting them to explore the natural environment.

Arbor Day Farm is also home to Lied Lodge & Conference Center a 144-room Adirondack style lodge featuring a dramatic lobby fireplace, nature-inspired, luxurious, yet environmentally sensitive, accommodations, spa, fitness center, meeting space, and delicious dining in their Timber Dining Room. And, with a trail leading to Tree Adventure, it’s a perfect base for any family or business gathering.

Across the street from Arbor Day Farm is Arbor Lodge, the house where the Mortons lived when they came to Nebraska City in 1855. Although enlarged four times over the years, the current 52-room, neo-classical mansion was completed in 1903 by Joy Morton, oldest of the Morton’s four sons and founder of the Morton Salt Company. Now a State Historical Park, Arbor Lodge and the surrounding outbuildings, gardens and grounds are available to tour and wander and make a perfect complement to an Arbor Day Farm visit.

With a charming downtown filled with shops, businesses, and restaurants, and other area attractions including the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail & Visitor Center, Mayhew Cabin and Historical Village, the Old Freighters Musuem, and Steamboat Trace Trail, Nebraska City is a great place to uncover the past by exploring the great outdoors.