The history of Sandhills ranch life is on display at Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historical Park, a 7,202-acre ranch located three miles north and east of Merriman off Highway 20. Former U.S. Senator Eve Bowring managed the ranch until her death in 1985 at age 92. Her wish was to preserve the ranch as a turn-of-the-20th-century working cattle ranch and living history museum.
It’s a great opportunity to see ranch life up close. A visitor center houses artifacts and memorabilia of early ranching days. Corrals, barns, bunkhouses, and even a sod house are open to the public.
The park also boasts a collection you might not expect on a ranch. Eve Bowring was a world traveler and passionate collector of antique china, silver, and glass. Her amazing collection is displayed inside the ranch house.
Buildings and grounds are open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The grounds are open from 9 a.m. to sunset the rest of the year. A state park permit is required. 308-684-3428.
While in the area, don’t miss Cottonwood Lake State Recreation Area, a half-mile east of Merriman on Highway 20 and a half-mile south. Fishing, boating, and tent camping are available. A state park permit is required.