With the Huskers set to join the Big Ten, Nebraska fans are gearing up to travel. But unlike Columbia, Mo., or Ames, Iowa, Big Ten country might be a bit unfamiliar.
When traveling to a road game, you might want something to do when you're not watching the Huskers clobber their opponents. So whether you're headed to East Lansing, Evanston or State College, here are some fun things to do.
Wisconsin Badgers Madison, Wisconsin
Ella's Animatronic Deli: This is no ordinary deli. You'll find a merry-go-round outside and inside the building. You'll also spot the Beatles, Superman, Batman and Captain America riding a rocket, a fisherman and plenty more — all animatronic, of course.
Oh, and that's not to mention the amazing sandwiches and ice cream sundaes, which are the stuff of legend.
“A deli is a lot of things and has a broad array of items and we stick to that. You won't find trendy things like croissant sandwiches or wraps at Ella's. That's not what we are,” owner Ken Balkin told Madison.com. “We have a scratch-style kitchen, from soups and stocks to chicken salad. We do it the old way. It's the only way we know.”
Ohio State Buckeyes Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Home of famous animal guy Jack Hanna, the zoo has been named the No. 1 zoo in America and boasts a water park, golf course and amusement park on the grounds.
“It's a pretty big place and we have lots of room to grow,” said Patty Peters, a spokeswoman for the zoo.
The zoo is set up by geographic regions, including Africa, Australia, Asia, North America and a recently opened Polar Frontier section. Overall, the zoo hosts more than 8,800 animals representing about 650 species.
“Every fish counts,” Peters said.
Penn State Nittany Lions State College, Pennsylvania
Penn State University Creamery: The largest university creamery in the nation is run by staff and students and produces about 100 flavors of ice cream as well as 10 frozen yogurt flavors and six sherbet flavors. Some of the more interesting flavors are Caramel Critters (caramel coated chocolate caramel), Keeney Beany Chocolate (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and vanilla bean) and the Wicked Caramel Sundae (vanilla ice cream with caramel and chocolate coated peanuts). The newest flavor? That would be Peanut Butter Marshmallow.
Creamery assistant manager Jim Brown said some new flavors are made to commemorate happenings at the university or notable alumni.
Any plans for a Husker flavor?
“I highly doubt that,” Brown said with a chuckle. “Not because we don't like Nebraska but because we don't have any other flavors for the Big Ten. I am going to have to buy a new flag. We have all the Big Ten flags hanging up in the creamery.”
Northwestern Wildcats Evanston, Illinois
“Sixteen Candles” sites: Relive your memories of one of the most beloved films of the '80s, which was filmed mostly in Evanston. Exterior and interior scenes were filmed at Niles East High School (now Oakton Community College). And the home of Sam Baker (Molly Ringwald) can reportedly be found on the 3000 block of Payne Street. Parts of “Home Alone” were also filmed in Evanston.
Minnesota Golden Gophers Minneapolis, Minnesota
First Avenue: Nearly every day of the week, this famous rock club has live music blaring in any one of its three rooms. Since 1970, everyone from Alice in Chains to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have performed at the venerable club, and many of those names adorn stars on the club's walls. Oh, and you can catch a glimpse of the club in Prince's film “Purple Rain.”
Illinois Fighting Illini Champaign, Illinois
The Art Theater: The Art Theater shows everything from classic films to the latest independent and art films. Built in 1913, the theater has a rich history and is the only theater in town from the era that still shows movies.
The theater is also striving to be green, recycling bottles, using popcorn bags made of recycled paper, recycling film and serving alcohol in corn-based, biodegradable cups.
Iowa Hawkeyes Iowa City, Iowa
Oakland Cemetery: The city's main cemetery since 1843, Oakland Cemetery houses graves of folks such as Robert Lucas, Iowa's first territorial governor, and Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd, a 19th- and 20th-century novelist. But the cemetery is also home to the black angel, a memorial to Nicholas Feldevert. The bronze statue has changed color over time, giving it an eerie appearance. Legend has it that death, sickness or other misfortune will come to anyone foolish enough to touch it.
Indiana Hoosiers Bloomington, Indiana
Hoagy Carmichael Room: The songwriter is one of Indiana's most famous, writing songs such as “Stardust” and “Georgia On My Mind,” two of the most recorded songs of all time. The museum includes a piano, music manuscripts, recordings and photographs from Carmichael.
Michigan Wolverines Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hands-On Museum: Dozens of interactive exhibits let you stick your hands in a tornado or play a stringless laser harp. It's a great place for kids and shows them how different aspects of science and technology actually work.
Purdue Boilermakers West Lafayette, Indiana
Exploration Acres: Feel like getting lost for a while? This park hosts one of the largets mazes in Indiana, stretching over 15 acres. If you're still in the hiking mood after that, there's also 8 miles of trails.
The city's Journal and Courier newspaper compared the maze to Harry Potter's race through a labyrinth in “Goblet of Fire,” but don't worry. You won't find Voldemort or any other bad guys waiting for you at the end.
Michigan State Spartans East Lansing, Michigan
(Scene) Metrospace: This alternative art gallery hosts all kinds of artwork, from traditional visual art to music and film. You'll find it located underneath one of the most colorful landmarks in town, a parking structure known as the Hamster Cage because of its resemblance to a rodent's Habitrail cage.
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