LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will debut a state-of-the art interactive outdoor experience – Outdoor Encounter – at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair. The Outdoor Encounter includes an aquarium, archery range and shooting gallery.
The Outdoor Encounter, housed in the new Nebraska Building, includes a 5,900-gallon aquarium stocked with more than 150 fish commonly found in Nebraska. Scenic features include a waterfall, plunge pool, 150-foot meandering stream and mural modeled after the Niobrara River Valley. An indoor archery range and old-fashioned shooting gallery will offer fair-goers a chance to try shooting sports in a family-friendly setting. A 4,500-square-foot outdoor area includes a children’s play area with donated playground equipment and climbing structures, play campsite, pollinator garden and seating areas where fair guests can relax. Game and Parks also will offer children’s games, demonstrations and more. All activities are free.
“Thanks to the support and funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Nebraska State Fair, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will provide interactive learning opportunities engaging people in Nebraska’s natural world, outdoor recreation and conservation,” Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas said.
The Nebraska State Fair built the Nebraska Building in 2014. Game and Parks received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the major features, including the aquarium, waterfall and stream. Many outdoor features were donated. “We’re thankful to all of the partners and donors who helped make the beautiful, interactive Outdoor Encounter possible, and we’re excited for the public to experience it,” Douglas said.
The Outdoor Encounter will offer activities and learning experiences for people of all ages and skill levels. “The Outdoor Encounter will be a major attraction at the Nebraska State Fair and give fair guests an opportunity to learn about the many activities outdoor Nebraska has to offer,” Game and Parks Communications Director Christy Rasmussen said.
The exhibit will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day of the Nebraska State Fair, with most activities running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a ribbon cutting at the Nebraska Building on Aug. 22 at 10 a.m.
The Nebraska State Fair runs from Aug. 22 through Sept. 1 in Grand Island. More information on the Outdoor Encounter exhibit, as well as a schedule of presentations and demonstrations, is available online at OutdoorNebraska.org/StateFair.