Parks, Lakes, Gardens, and Nature Centers

More Things to Do and See
Kirkman's Cove
Coryell Park
Cass County

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park ~ Located just off Interstate 80, Exit 426, this is one of Nebraska’s most popular state parks. Secluded cabins, camping, trails, trail rides, fishing, miniature golf, and driving range available. Lodge with guest rooms, 70-foot observation tower, aquatic center, theater, marina and much more. (402) 944-2523www.outdoornebraska.org

Avoca
Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm ~ 911 108th St. (located 27 miles east of Lincoln and 35 miles south of Omaha). Offers a big dose of fall fun with an emphasis on the agricultural side of autumn. Lots of fresh air, wide open spaces, recreation, relaxation in a beautiful seasonal setting. Pumpkin Patch open September and October. (402) 267-4104www.bloompumpkinpatch.com

Louisville
Platte River State Park ~ 14421 346th St. This 418-acre park offers swimming, horseback riding, hiking and biking, paddleboating, and archery. An 85-foot tower provides spectacular views of the Platte Valley. “Camper cabins” and “housekeeping cabins” are available. (402) 234-2217 www.outdoornebraska.org

Louisville Lakes State Recreation Area ~ 18510 Highway 50. An excellent camping facility. Five sand pit lakes, surrounded by tall cottonwoods, offer fishing, non-motorized boating, swimming and picnicking. (402) 234-6855 www.outdoornebraska.org

Plattsmouth
Schilling Wildlife Management Area ~ Main Street east over the railroad tracks, first left on Refuge Road. 1,500-acre wilderness area offers hiking, picnicking, nature observation, hunting, and fishing. Confluence of the Platte and Missouri rivers as written about in the Lewis and Clark journals. www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov

Fillmore County

Bruning
Bruning Damn ~ 2 Mile N & 3/4 Mile E of Bruning in Fillmore Co.

Geneva
Geneva City Park ~ 1404 E Street Home to an American Legion Memorial Park Monument, an Army tank, and the largest natural boulder in Fillmore County with the inscription “For God and County.” The park offers a swimming pool, horseshoe pits, ballparks, and play equipment. Four mini-parks grace local neighborhoods. Boy’s Pond on West 5th Street features fishing for youth and retired adults.

The Secret Garden – Geneva Library ~ The Secret Garden, filled with amazing trees, flowers, and bushes, surrounds the Geneve Public Library, located on Geneva’s Main (G) Street. A patio on the south side of the library invites people to stop to read and enjoy the garden.

Ohiowa
Lone Star Recreation Area ~ 160-acre area four miles east of Ohiowa, with a 75-acre spring-fed lake. Camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking are available.

Gage County

Beatrice
Homestead National Monument of America ~ Explore this National Park. Interactive exhibits, tallgrass prairie, pioneer school, cabin, and special events chronicle immigration, migration, and American Indian cultures of an America forever altered by the Homestead Act. An award-winning film, “Land of Dreams” is shown at the Heritage Center along with museum exhibits. At the Education Center are farm implement displays and ever-changing special exhibits. For more information, call (402) 223-3514 or visit www.nps.gov/home. Or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HomesteadNM

Odell
Big Indian NRD Recreation Area ~ Six miles east of town, the area has 250 acres for boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, and swimming. An archery range, shelter and playground equipment are onsite. (402) 228-3402

Jefferson County

Fairbury
Crystal Springs Park ~ Located southwest of Fairbury, the park offers three lakes for fishing and RV or tent camping with electricity and water hookups from May 1 – Oct. 15. A quiet, shady setting with picnic shelters, playground, horseshoe court, restrooms, and showers. (402) 729-2148

Fairbury City Park ~ Frontier Fun Park, Union Pacific Engine No. 421, ornate stone fountain, and Girl Scout cabin, horseshoe court, swimming pool, picnic shelters and ball fields are located in the City Park.

Little Blue River Trail & Fairbury Dam ~ The Little Blue River Trail offers walking, biking, and cross country skiing starting at 3rd & C Street. Crossing the river on the Rock Island Railroad Bridge, you’ll see the Fairbury Dam. (402) 729-2148

McNish Park ~ Home to a challenging nine-hole disc golf course, a stone shelter, fountain, and Boy Scout cabin.

The Rock Creek Station State Historical Park ~ The park is home to a Pony Express Station, a toll bridge on the Oregon Trail, a visitor’s center, and the legend of “Wild Bill” Hickok. The recreation area has hiking and horse trails, RV and primitive camping. A state park permit is required. (402) 729-5777

Geneva
Geneva City Park ~ The park is home to an American Legion Memorial Monument, an Army tank, and the largest natural boulder in Fillmore County, with the inscription “For God and Country.” The park offers a swimming pool, horseshoe pits, ballparks, and play equipment. Four mini parks grace local neighborhoods. Boy’s Pond on West 5th Street offers fishing for youth and retired adults.

Johnson County

Tecumseh
Wirth Brothers Lake and Park ~ Five miles north, one west of Tecumseh. NRD Park Permit Required. Park/89 acres – Lake/33 acres. Fishing, swimming, picnic tables, shelter house, restrooms, boat ramp.

Nemaha County

Auburn
Legion Memorial Park ~ National Historic Park designation. The land was purchased for a park in 1929 by the City of Auburn. The granite and limestone building structures were part of the WPA projects of President Roosevelt. The bandstand is still in use today for church services, special events and music concerts. The gazebo offers a beautiful setting for weddings. A rock creek dissects the middle of the park for a drainage area and the rock bridges are still used by the pedestrians, not the horse and buggy, as they were originally designed to accommodate. Located at Hwy 75 and 10th Street.

Rotary Lake ~ The lake sits on the north edge of Auburn and provides fishing experiences for the young and old. The primary fish in the lake are blue gill, catfish, carp and trout. A concrete walking trail around the lake provides a safe place for walking year round.

Brock
Coryell Park ~ One mile east of Brock and three miles south or at 73203 633 Avenue, Johnson. Coryell Park was homesteaded by the L.L. Coryell family in 1867. The park commemorates the spirit and values of Nebraska’s settlers. Coryell is unique and incorporates peace, recreation, and beauty to all who visit. The park has a playground, covered bridge, pavilion, chapel (often used for weddings) and Treasure House filled with collectibles of the family, most notably a doll collection. Coryell Park was awarded the honor of one of the State’s Hidden Treasures for 2011. (402) 856–2875

Brownville
The Furnas Arboretum ~ The Furnas Arboretum, an affiliate site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, provides educational activities, eco-tourism, birding, symposiums, garden tours and memorial plantings and dedication opportunities. The Furnas Arboretum entrance is located on Main at 5th Street. For hours, please call (402) 825-6637.

Nemaha
Indian Cave State Park ~ Nemaha is the gateway to Indian Cave State Park from the north, Highway 67. The City Park offers primitive overnight camping for the traveler. (402) 883-2575 www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov

Peru
Neal Park ~ Located on the south edge of Peru. Offers hiking, biking, and birding opportunities and great picnicking areas in the park or beneath the park pavilion.

Peru State College and the Campus of a Thousand Oaks Arboretum ~ The “Campus of a Thousand Oaks,” a member of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, is nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska on the Missouri River. What began as Nebraska’s first college in 1867, a teacher training school with one building and sixty students, has transformed over the past 147 years into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs to students from around the world. Peru.edu

Steamboat Trace Trail ~ The trail starts in Otoe County near Nebraska City and follows the Missouri River along the bluffs. It goes past the ghost town of Minersville. The carved drawings in the rocks known as Sherman’s drawings are a feature found nowhere else. The trail ends in historic Brownville after traveling about 21 miles of unmatched scenery. The flora, fauna, birds and wildlife are abundant throughout the trip. The trailhead at Peru offers a place for a fresh drink, bathroom and camping. QR coding in place 2013. Camping at trailhead on Peru website gives current condition of trail.

Otoe County

Nebraska City
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park ~ 2300 2nd Ave. Situated on 72 acres of wooded, rolling hills, Arbor Lodge mansion, home of J. Sterling Morton (founder of Arbor Day), features more than 300 varieties of lilacs, a terraced garden, whispering bench, and walking trails. Park grounds are open year-round. Mansion open seasonally. Admission. State Park Permit required. (402) 873-7222 www.ngpc.state.ne.us

Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure ~ 2611 Arbor Ave. Journey through the woods and orchard on the Discovery Ride. Climb 50 feet high in the Canopy Tree House. Hike the trails. Play in the Nature Explore Classroom. Watch “Trees in the Movies,” and experience the Lied Greenhouse, where you’ll get a free tree seedling to take home. Open daily, year-round. Admission. (800) 546-5433 www.arbordayfarm.org

Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail & Visitor Center ~ 100 Valmont Dr. Complete with an authentic replica of Lewis and Clark’s keelboat, plenty of hands-on activities, and over 3 miles of trails, this center features more than 300 flora, fauna, and scientific discoveries made on the historic Corps of Discovery Journey. Open year-round. Admission. (402) 874-9900 www.MRB-lewisandclarkcenter.org

River Country Nature Center ~ 114 S. 6th St. Don’t miss the learning about four major Nebraska ecosystems (Eastern deciduous, Riparian, Sandhills & Grasslands), and much more. Impressive collection of taxidermy delights young and old. Call for hours. Admission. (402) 873-3411 www.RiverCountryNatureCenter.org

Syracuse
Williams Park and Lions Club Arboretum ~ Williams Park is located in the middle of town and features a mile-long lighted bike/walk path, playground equipment, sheltered picnic areas and restroom. Near Williams Park is the Lions Club Arboretum. The South Park, located on the south edge of town adjacent to the Otoe County Fairgrounds, offers several large picnic shelters, camper hookups, restrooms and playground. A newly constructed ball complex is in the SW corner of Syracuse. It features 4 ball fi elds, a multi-purpose field and will soon have picnic shelters, playground, volleyball and basketball courts and bike/walk path.

Pawnee County

Burchard
Burchard Lake ~ The lake covers 150-acres and offers offers fishing, camping, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Use the blinds to watch the prairie chickens during their “booming” season from February through April. Located 8 miles west and 4 miles north of Pawnee City.

DuBois
Iron Horse Lake ~ Covering 360-acres, the park offers camping, boating, swimming, and picnicking. The 85-acre lake includes a boat dock and ramp. Enjoy the sand beach and designated walking trail. Iron Horse is located one mile north and two miles west of DuBois.

Nemaha River ~ Located, one mile east of DuBois, the Nemaha River offers fishing and rafting.

Richardson County

Falls City
John Falter Memorial Park ~ Dedicated in May 1989, the park is the site of the former Falls City water tower, the standpipe of which Falls City native and famous artist John Phillip Falter climbed in his youth. That experience influenced his perspective of the world and is found in his art. The park is located on John Phillip Falter Memorial Drive (26th & Chase Streets).

Krumme Arboretum ~ This two-acre site is themed “plant materials native to Nebraska and adjoining states.” Some 70 species of trees, shrubs, and grasses are showcased. Nebraska’s State Tree, the Eastern Cottonwood, towers over the property. An inventory of plants if found at www.arboretum.unl.edu (search by region).

Stanton Lake Park ~ This camper park is next to a scenic lake and away from the concentrated residential areas. A concrete sidewalk circles the lake, with a playground nearby. Picnic shelters and fishing can be part of the experience. A fenced run for small or large dogs is nearby.

Humboldt
Boy Scout Camp ~ Located 12 miles south of Humboldt, the camp contains 360 acres of rolling hills with large oak trees and an abundance of wildlife. When the Scout Camp is not occupied by scouts, the facility is open to public camping.www.Cornhuskercouncil.com

Humboldt City Lake Park ~ Located in the south part of Humboldt, the park features two fishing lakes, tent and RV camping, swimming pool, tennis court, playground area, ball fields and picnic shelters with tables, lights, and electrical outlets. The west lake features a walking bridge to the center park. (402) 862-2171 www.ci.humboldt.ne.us

Humboldt City Square Park ~ O.J. Tinker donated the land for the Humboldt City Square Park in 1871. The bandstand, in the center of the Park, was dedicated in 1912 in his memory. The park has a playground, Lions Club water fountain with memorial bricks, and two American Legion Post #269 War Memorials. It has served as the home of the Richardson County Fair since 1921.

Kirkman’s Cove Recreational Area Nemaha Natural Resource ~ This 500-acre complex features a public golf course and 160-acre lake. The park includes fishing, boating, swimming beach, water skiing, picnicking, playground equipment, hiking trails, and RV and tent camping. (402) 335-3325 www.nemahanrd.org

Shubert
Indian Cave State Park ~ This 3,000-acre park is operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. All interior roads are hard surfaced. Horseback rides and living history presentations are part of the rustic experience. Park permit required.www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov

Stella
Stella Arboretum ~ The arboretum contains more than eighteen varieties of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers and provides a year-round habitat for birds and butterflies. The Stella Arboretum became a member of the Nebraska State Arboretum and gained National Butterfly Certification. It is open year round. Call 402-883-2546 or 402-883-2745.

Saline County

Crete
Doane College Campus ~ Located at the eastern edge of Crete, Doane College features a 350-acre garden, comprehensive library, auditorium, and other facilities. Its Boswell Observatory is a museum, open to the public. Call 402-826-8621 or 402-826-8234. The Nature Explore classroom located on the campus is a part of the Nature Action Collaborative for Children, a worldwide network whose goal is to help nature become an integral, joyful part of children’s daily lives and learn process. Doane.edu

Dorchester
The Blue River State Recreation Area ~ Located 5 miles north of town, this is a day-use area (no camping) with fishing available year round. (402) 821-2161.

Wilber
Legion Park ~ Located on the south edge of Wilber, the park offers several ball fields, a sand volleyball court, four tennis courts, and a year-round campground. A new state-of-the-art swimming pool downtown provides summer entertainment, as well as hosting swim meets.

Sarpy County

Bellevue
Fontenelle Forest ~ 1111 N. Bellevue Blvd. 1,400 acres of woods, wetlands, and waterways along 19 miles of trails, including two all-access boardwalks. Overlooking the Missouri River, the forest provides spectacular scenery and an educational view of wildlife and natural habitat. The Nature Center offers exhibits and live animal displays. (402) 731-3140 www.fontenelleforest.org

Haworth Park ~ At the end of Mission Ave. Open year round, Haworth Park features 153 acres of parkland with a concession stand, public boat launch, RV pads equipped with electric/water hookups, fishing pond, picnic tables and grills, shelters, playground, restrooms, soccer fields, basketball courts, lighted tennis courts, lighted softball diamonds and a sand volleyball court. (402) 293-3098

Gretna
Gretna Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium/Schramm State Recreation Area ~ 21004 West Highway 31, Exit 432. This 330-acre state recreation area sits along the Platte River with 3 miles of hiking paths. On the site of the state’s first fish hatchery, the aquarium offers 12 viewing tanks and a glimpse into underwater wildlife, with 50+ species of fish. Picnicking and exploring outside. (402) 332-3901 ngpc.state.ne.us

Holy Family Shrine ~ 23132 Pflug Road. Situated high atop a hill overlooking the scenic Platte Valley, Holy Family Shrine is a 23-acre site offering travelers a welcome spot for rest, relaxation, and reflection. Gardens and stone paths surround the visitor’s center and chapel. (402) 332-4565 www.hfsgretna.com

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch ~ 12102 S. 180th St. Open September 25-October 31. Experience rural beauty and interactive fun at this pick-your-own farm. Hayrack rides to the pumpkin field, delicious food at more than a dozen locations. Entertainment, petting corral, country bakery and gift shop. (402) 332-4200 www.valaspumpkinpatch.com

Omaha
Wehrspann Lake/Chalco Hills ~ Highway 50 & I-80, Exit 440. A great spot for anglers. Offers picnic sites and more than 7 miles of trails, perfect for biking, hiking, jogging, and bird watching. The visitor center overlooks the lake. (402) 444-6222 www.papionrd.org

Papillion
Walnut Creek Lake/Recreation Area ~ NE Highway 370 & 96th Street. Beautiful area for fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, and RV & tent camping along with a boat dock and fishing pier. An equestrian trail is a favorite path for horseback riding. (402) 592-8877www.papillion.org

Springfield
Weiss Studios and Gardens
The formal and informal gardens showcase artwork. 13603 Pflug Road. 402-680-0642 CarlWeissart.com

Thayer County

Alexandria
Alexandria State Recreation Area ~ Three miles east and one mile south of town, Alexandria State Recreation Area offers good fishing year round in its two recently reconstructed lakes, which total 47 acres of water (electric trolling motors only). The 1,212-acre area is shaded by mature trees and offers hiking, wildlife viewing, picnic shelters and camping. Twenty-five sites have 30-amp electrical hookups, and modern restrooms and concessions are onsite. (402) 729-5777

Deshler
Centennial Park Arboretum/The Friendship Garden ~ The east entrance to Deshler greets you with Centennial Park Arboretum, complete with a gazebo and 15 species of memorial trees and 32 varieties of shrubs and native grasses. As you travel down the main street, you see another park called the Friendship Garden. We invite you to sit on the benches, watch for the many birds in the creek area and have your picture taken with our dragon sculpture.

Deshler City Park ~ The park is home to a new walking trail that starts at the south picnic shelter, follows the creek south and east, winds behind the ballpark, up to the swimming pool and then back to the picnic shelter, approximately 1/2 mile. The park is located at 4th & Park Streets. Camping is available in the Deshler City Park at no cost for 3 days with electrical hookups and water, with sewer dumping available in town. Ater 3 days there is a daily cost of $5. Call (402) 365-4260 for more information.

Hebron
Arrowhead Gardens Arboretum ~ Established in the 1920s and located on Jefferson Ave. between 7th and 8th Street. Eleven different varieties of trees, six different varieties of native grasses and many plants may be seen in the gardens.

Little Blue River ~ Stretching across the southern edge of Hebron, Little Blue offers fishing, canoeing, hiking, and hunting. Look for the eagles that fly over the downtown businesses in the summer. The Little Blue Wildlife Management Area is 2 miles east of Hebron on the River Road, another great place for hunting, fishing and sightseeing. Look for the wild turkeys while traveling the River Road.