Things to Do in Wayne, Nebraska

Example of a fern fossil

Despite its small size, Wayne, Nebraska, offers an eclectic assortment of attractions and events. Science enthusiasts will appreciate the fossil beds and planetarium, and anyone up for a good time will enjoy the city’s annual “Chicken Show.” You’ll love this relaxing, welcoming community. Scroll down to check out some of the best things to do in Wayne, Nebraska.

Things to Do in Wayne, Nebraska

Visit Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

Anyone with even the slightest interest in natural history must visit Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. Once deemed the “Pompeii of Prehistoric Animals” by Natural Geographic, the park is home to a number of impressive fossils. Almost 12 million years ago, the ancient watering hole on the site was invaded by volcanic ash, which trapped numerous animals. Today, paleontologists dig at the 360-acre park to unearth fantastic fossils. Visitors can stop by to view the working fossil preparation laboratory and ask questions of the paleontologists. There is also an ongoing excavation site (the Hubbard Rhino Barn) and a mile-long hiking trail.

Attend the Wayne Chicken Show

A quirky, family-friendly event, the Wayne Chicken Show occurs every year on the second Saturday in July. Since “hatching” in 1981, the show has become a local favorite. Although you might expect the event to revolve around food, it’s actually an art show devised by the Wayne Regional Arts Council. Why chickens? “The theme of ‘chickens’ was chosen because of 1) the potential for art materials; 2) most people have knowledge and familiarity with chickens; and, 3) chickens can be considered with humor.” The festivities begin on Friday night on “Henoween” and continue through Sunday. Attendees can participate in the parade as well as various contests and games. There is also live music, dancing, delicious food, and much more.

UPDATE: The 2020 Wayne Chicken Show has been pushed back to September 12 due to COVID-19. It will be condensed to a one-day event.

Look to the Stars at the Fred G. Dale Planetarium

Located at Wayne State College, the Fred G. Dale Planetarium opened to the public in 1969. Since then, it’s undergone numerous renovations and updates. Today, it’s home to the most technologically advanced planetarium in the state: a Spitz SciDome high-definition projection system that displays three-million pixels on the 30-foot dome. Within the planetarium, visitors can view 500 million stars, observe space from any point in the solar system, and glimpse both the history of the solar system and its future.

UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, the planetarium is currently presenting some special shows that you can view online through the end of August.

Take Advantage of the Wayne Senior Center

If you’re looking for things to do in Wayne, Nebraska, and you’re over the age of 60, be sure to stop by the Wayne Senior Center. The center offers a wide range of programs and services designed specifically for local seniors. Meals-on-Wheels are available through the center, and the “Handi-Van” provides inexpensive transportation for seniors in town. Online you can view the Senior Center’s general newsletters (which include organization updates, fun facts, educational articles, puzzles, recipes, and more) and menu and activities newsletters.

Dine at Local Restaurants

When your belly starts rumbling, head to one of the area’s local eateries. The following are current favorites:

  • The Birch Room Chophouse uses locally sourced Nebraska beef and fresh ingredients. They’re known for hand-cut steaks and hand-formed burgers.
  • Fiesta Brava is the place to go if you’re craving Mexican. The service is quick and friendly, and the food is on point.
  • Miss Molly’s Coffee Company is a coffee shop, reception center, and catering company all in one. It’s the perfect place to stop for a delicious coffee drink and lunch.


Are you hoping to retire in Wayne, Nebraska? Look no further than Kinship Pointe. We offer assisted living and independent living communities in four locations: Kearney Northridge, McCook, Seward, and Wayne. Designed for your comfort and convenience, each site offers a full calendar of events and entertainment, restaurant-style dining, and a variety of apartment layouts to suit the unique needs of our residents. At Kinship Pointe, our delightful staff works every day to help residents pursue their passions and live life to the fullest. To learn for yourself what makes Kinship Pointe so special, schedule a tour or contact us online.

Files under: Senior Living 101