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Find Places to Play in the Parks of Nebraska

There's plenty of room to roam in the wide-open spaces of Nebraska. The state's parks offer great opportunities for outdoor fun.

The state may be known for its prairies, but it also has forests and rivers to explore. Chadron State Park, located within Nebraska National Forest close to Chadron, is Nebraska's oldest state park. At a 5,000-foot elevation, you'll find Ponderosa pines, not prairie grass. Get active and explore on foot, horseback, or mountain bike. You can also fish in the lagoon or enjoy paddle boating.

Fontenelle Forest, close to Omaha in Bellevue, provides shelter to more than 600 plant and animal species, in ecosystems that include forest, prairie, and wetlands. Follow trails and boardwalks to explore the natural environment and historic landmarks preserved in the park.

Kenefick Park, a part of Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, is the setting for native plant life and historic trains. Both the world's largest diesel-electric locomotive and the largest steam locomotive are displayed here. The park also features sculptures and walkways.

There's fun for the whole family at Yanney Heritage Park in Kearney. With playgrounds, gardens, paddle boats, and kayaks, everyone will enjoy a day in the park. 

Dodge Park

Formally N.P. Dodge Memorial Park, Dodge Park is located in Omaha on an 1804 campsite of the Lewis & Clark expedition.

This beautiful park along the Missouri River is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors in eastern Nebraska. Visitors to the park enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing in the river.

The soccer fields, tennis courts, baseball fields, and horseshoe pits, are great park facilities allowing for quality time spent at Dodge Park.

Enjoy a picnic lunch under one of the pavilions and relax in this 445-acre park in northern Omaha.

Fontenelle Forest

You'll discover, as you plan your next visit to Nebraska, a whole host of attractive and exciting sites to visit. Many of the best things to do in Nebraska involve heading for the great outdoors. Make your stay in Bellevue, and check out the very fun and exciting Fontenelle Forest.

Across the 1,400 acres at Fontenelle Forest, discover some of the very best hiking trails around, including a very informative visitor center. You'll hike through this hardwood deciduous forest, and alongside important marshes. Be sure to tour the Katherine and Fred Buffett Forest Learning Center.

Kenefick Park

Prepare to enjoy a day of trains and other choo-choos during your next visit to Nebraska. In the South Omaha neighborhood, check out the very fun and always popular Kenefick Park. Spread across 78 acres, this park was created in 1891.

As you explore the grounds of the Lauritzen Gardens, where Kenefick Park is located, head for the southwest point – this will yield the best view of the part, overall, and a sightline of Interstate 80. Be sure to see the two best trains here: the Union Pacific Centennial 6900, and the Union Pacific Big Boy 4023.

Yanney Heritage Park

Formally the E.K. & Mary Yanney Heritage Park, this gorgeous city is a wonderful outdoor and indoor recreational facility in Kearney. The majority of this 80-acre park was completed from donations from the community and public grants, and said to be one of the best parks in Nebraska.

Kids love splashing around in Margre's Splashground, while Madge's Playground and Cathi's Playground also provide hours of fun for the little ones. Adults enjoy strolling through the Kellaway Garden, Mitzi's Pavilion, and Milly's Courtyard, or having a look at the John & Carmen Gottschalk Tower.

Head for the Swan Shoppe Marina for pontoon, paddle boat, and kayak rentals. Yanney Park is also home to the Peterson Senior Activity Center, and special events like Holly Jolly Jog and Heritage Day.