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Your Nebraska State Parks — Indoor Style

When it’s too cold to play outside, check out these fun, indoor activities at your state parks.


Indoor rock climbing wall at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.

Photo by Jeff Kurrus, Nebraskaland Magazine

By Renae Blum

When it’s too cold to be outdoors, you don’t have to stay cooped up at home. Try any of these opportunities for indoor fun, where you can learn more about nature and Nebraska history, get active or be entertained.

Educational Opportunities

Interested in learning more about a particular place? Then you’ll love the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, which explores the features of this pine-clad butte range, and the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center, located at Ponca State Park, where you can learn more about the Missouri River. Also check out Schramm Education Center near Gretna, which explores Nebraska’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Want to learn how fish are raised and stocked across the state? Visit one of Nebraska Game and Parks’ five fish hatcheries, many of which offer tours and educational opportunities.

Students at Schramm Education Center near Gretna. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, Nebraskaland Magazine.

Recreational Activities

Bring the family to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s Activity Center, which hosts a large indoor playground with fun tubes, slides, net bridges and ball pit. Or go next door to the Venture Climb complex, which features a 42-foot climbing wall and bouldering structure.

If you enjoy archery and target shooting, or would like to learn, visit the Turpin Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln. This family-friendly facility offers indoor archery and firearm ranges, educational classes, workshops, special events and instruction for all ages and skill levels.


Interested in Nebraska history? Many of Nebraska’s state historical parks offer museums or visitor centers where you can indulge your curiosity in Nebraska’s past.
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, located in Nebraska City, is the home of Arbor Day. During the park’s winter hours, tour this elegant mansion and learn more about the Morton family.

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Mansion. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, Nebraskaland Magazine.

Many other park museums and visitor centers are open only by appointment in the winter months, so you can enjoy having the place to yourself. This includes Ash Hollow, Buffalo Bill Ranch, Fort Atkinson, Fort Hartsuff, Fort Kearny and Rock Creek Station state historical parks.


Be dazzled by magic tricks and sleight of hand at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, which is hosting performances by magician Ryan Chandler throughout the winter at Kountze Memorial Theater. Find the schedule at melodrama.net and reserve your tickets by calling 402-944-2523, ext. 7122.

For more information on the activities listed here, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov. A park entry permit is required at Nebraska state parks.

About renae blum

Renae works for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and has written for NEBRASKAland Magazine and the Lincoln Journal Star.