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Enjoy winter education opportunities at Nebraska’s Venture Parks

A variety of fun, educational events are scheduled throughout January in Nebraska’s Venture Parks. These events cover an array of interests for all age groups.

Venture Parks, Nebraska’s four 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 – are where unique experiences and enhanced camping opportunities have been created in response to demand.

Park entry permits are required on vehicles entering the state parks and recreation areas. Get yours at the park entrance or at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Schramm Education Center

Naturalist Programs – Observe an animal feeding, learn how animals are cared for and about some of their unique adaptations. This daily program starts at 10:30 a.m. and is free with paid admission to the center; meet in the lobby.

Winter Break Days – On Jan. 2 and 3, the schedule will be: Winter Storytime, 10 a.m.; Animal Feeding, 10:30 a.m.; Phenology and Nature Journaling, 11 a.m.; Meet a Reptile, noon; Animal Tracks with a Winter Hike, 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Winter: What’s Out There? – On Sundays in January, join us at 1 p.m. for a discovery hike to see what can be found along the trails in winter. Bring a cell phone to get some close-up wintry photos using macro lenses. The program is free with paid admission to the center; meet in the lobby.

Fly-Tying Workshop – On Jan. 21, join the Cornhusker Fly Fishers for a “tie-in” and observe them as they demonstrate their craft; then try your hand at making a fly to take home. The program runs from 10 a.m. to noon and materials are provided by the club.

Mahoney State Park

Cold Days, Warm Hearts – Enjoy some time outdoors with family on Jan. 14 at Owen Marina from 1 to 4 p.m. The day will include ice fishing, if conditions allow, with instruction and gear provided. Winter crafts will be available for purchase and park naturalists will provide free nature programs. Food specials include a hotdog, chips and a drink combo for $4, s’mores kit for $2.50 each, and hot chocolate and popcorn for $1 each.

Platte River State Park

Nature Center – The Nature Center is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located below Mallet Lodge near the Wooden Tower and features live reptiles and amphibians. There are hands-on activities to explore and naturalists who are excited to share their knowledge of the outdoors with guests.

Other Events

Wise and Wild – This free program, on Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m., is designed for seniors who love the outdoors and want to enjoy time in the parks. The weekly themes and sites are:

  • Jan. 12 – Meet at Schramm Education Center Classroom to create a walking stick and go on a short hike.
  • Jan. 19 – Meet at Mahoney State Park’s Kountze Memorial Theater to learn how to identify trees in winter.
  • Jan. 26 – Meet at Schramm Education Center Classroom to discover the science of snowflakes.

First Day Hikes – State parks across the nation plan First Day Hikes every New Year’s Day. These free guided hikes are a great way to spend time outdoors in the winter with friends and family. Venture Parks have scheduled the following First Day Hikes: Platte River SP, 9 a.m. at Walter Scott Lodge; Schramm Education Center, 10:30 a.m.; Mahoney SP, 2:45 and 3:45 p.m. at Kountze Memorial Theater; Louisville SRA, 3 p.m. at the picnic shelter across from concessions.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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