GRETNA, Neb. – The Schramm Education Center – a fully renovated and greatly expanded iteration of the former Aksarben Aquarium – will hold a grand opening celebration on May 18. Admission to the center will be free during the grand opening event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The new education center at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna opened for daily use on May 1. Since then, hundreds of visitors have enjoyed the new building and its unique, interactive exhibits, which include newly renovated and expanded aquariums featuring Nebraska’s natural aquatic habitats; a 2,200-gallon touch tank that invites visitors to feel a pallid sturgeon; 21 additional tanks featuring fish, reptiles and amphibians native to Nebraska; an educational nature center area; a maker space and much more.
“This space was designed to be hands-on and to invite visitors to experience nature with all of their senses,” said Lindsay Rogers, education specialist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “We hope that those who visit the Schramm Education Center will leave eager to get outdoors and experience nature with a new sense of curiosity and a fresh perspective.”
During the grand opening event, guests will be able to explore the center and surrounding grounds. Guided tours of the center and guided hikes of the trails in the surrounding park will also be offered throughout the day.
Additionally, several nearby parks will also host special events, including a bird scavenger hunt, geocaching and family fishing at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park; a family fishing clinic at Platte River State Park; and kayaking at Louisville State Recreation. All of these activities are free to the public and, because May 18 is Free Fishing and Park Entry Day, park entry is also offered at no cost.
Following the May 18 event, the Schramm Education Center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children 4-12 and seniors age 60 and up, and free for youth 3 and under. Additionally, an annual pass may be purchased for $100.
The new Schramm Education Center was completed as part of the Venture Parks concept, which brings unique, interactive and innovative activities to four popular state parks and recreation areas along the Platte River – Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area. Venture Parks is a public-private partnership and is funded in large part by generous donations.
“Through the generous donations of numerous Nebraskans and a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, we have had the opportunity to develop a truly amazing place for Nebraskans and visitors to our state,” Rogers said.
More information on Venture Parks is available at OutdoorNebraska.org/VentureParks. More information about the new Schramm Education Center is available at OutdoorNebraska.org/SchrammEducationCenter.