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Summer Park Events

Make Nebraska your oyster. This summer, parks across the state are bursting with fun, family-friendly events for you and your loved ones to enjoy, including a special round-up of events to celebrate the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. With this guide in hand, get ready for a memorable summer outdoors!

Living History

June 3-4, July 1-2, Aug. 5-6
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

History comes alive at this reconstructed 1820s Nebraska military post. Watch soldiers in action as well as portrayals of frontier life and characters, including blacksmiths, laundresses, spinners, weavers, a tinsmith, and others.
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National Trails Day

June 3
Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area

Celebrate National Trails Day with a walk along the trail on the north side of Lake Ogallala. Binoculars will be available for bird viewing.
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Buffalo Steak Night & Free Movie Night

Saturdays in June, July, August
Platte River State Park

Enjoy a buffalo steak dinner and family-friendly movies at Platte River State Park.
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Pollinator Workshop

June 5
Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area

Hear from wildlife educators about the importance of pollinators to our ecosystem in this outdoors workshop.
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Family Fishing Nights

Various dates all summer, 6-8 p.m.
Various locations across the state

Are you new to fishing? Bring your family to a Family Fishing Night and get started! Instructors will be on hand to help out, and loaner fishing equipment and bait will be available.
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Meet the Birds of Fremont Lakes

June 7
Fremont State Recreation Area

Explore the park and the wildlife of Fremont State Recreation Area by going on a guided birding tour with the park naturalist.
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Red Willow Family Fun Nights

June 7 & 21, July 5 & 19, Aug. 2
Red Willow State Recreation Area

Enjoy a cookout and a variety of outdoor recreation, including fishing, archery, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, biking and scavenger hunts.
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Pie and Paint

June 9
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Join the park naturalist out at the lake to enjoy a slice of pie while you paint! Follow guided instruction on an original painting or come up with an idea of your own.

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Full Moon on the Rise

June 9
Fremont State Recreation Area

Learn about moon phases as you watch the full moon rise over the lake.

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Who Dung It?/Sneaky Snakes

June 9
Ponca State Park

Become an expert at identifying the tracks and scat left behind by the park’s wildlife then learn about different types of snakes found in Nebraska.  Activities, live snakes, and more!

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Hayrack tour

June 10
Ponca State Park

Learn everything you wanted to know about Ponca State Park on a guided hay-rack tour.

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Kids Fishing Clinic

June 10
Alexandria State Recreation Area

Volunteers will be teaching fishing techniques and fundamentals. Fishing poles, bait and tackle will be provided to those without equipment.

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National Marina Day

June 10
Lewis and Clark State Recreation area

Celebrate on-water recreation with a day on the lake! Activities include kayaking, fishing, boat tours, a sand castle contest, a fish cleaning demonstration, archery, hayrack rides and more.

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Wildflower Walk

June 10
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Celebrate Nebraska Wildflower Week with a walk through the park, learning about and identifying the various species in bloom.

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Tea and Canvas

June 10
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Enjoy sipping tea as you paint outdoors by the lake! Follow guided instruction on an original painting or come up with an idea of your own.
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25th Annual Ash Hollow Pageant

June 16-17
Ash Hollow State Historical Park

The stories of the Oregon-California Trail pioneers come alive at the Ash Hollow Pageant. Costumed volunteers will tell their stories through music, song and diary quotes.
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Carp-O-Rama

June 17
Branched Oak State Recreation Area

Join us to learn how to catch, clean and cook carp. Novice or expert, we have advice on fishing equipment and techniques as well as demonstrations on fish preparation. Other attractions include fish printing and Dutch oven cooking.
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Ranch Life in the 1860s

June 17, July 15, Aug. 19
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park

See what life might have been like at this 1860s stage and Pony Express stop as volunteer reenactors portray daily ranch life and chores, such as laundry, haying, fencing and gardening.
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Photography Hike

June 17
Fremont State Recreation Area

Go on a hike with other photography enthusiasts, searching for that perfect photo op and sharing photography tips.

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Father’s Day Buffet

June 18
Fremont State Recreation Area

Celebrate Father’s Day with a special meal at Fort Robinson State Park. The special is barbecue spare ribs.

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Solar Eclipse Anticipation

June 18
Fremont State Recreation Area

Get ready for the amazing sight of a total solar eclipse that is coming in August! At this event, you will learn more about what an eclipse is and why they are exciting.

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Dog Walk at the Lake

June 23
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

In celebration of National Bring Your Dog to Work Day, bring your leashed four-legged friend out for a guided hike at Lake Ogallala!

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Kids Fishing Clinic

June 24
Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area

Kids ages 5-15 can learn fishing basics, including knot tying, casting, water safety, bait and tackle and fish identification and anatomy at this free fishing clinic.

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Star Party

June 30
Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Ash Hollow State Historical Park is a great place for stargazing. Join us as we observe the night sky and learn from an amateur astronomer.

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Living History

July 1, 2, 4
Fort Kearny State Historical Park

See what life might have been like at this mid-19th century stage and Pony Express station through living history reenactments.

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Fourth of July Celebration BBQ

July 4
Fort Robinson State Park

Celebrate the Fourth with a barbecue at the park.

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Bighorn Sheep Hike

July 8
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Go on a hike to find these secretive creatures of the Wildcat Hills. Come and learn about their amazing adaptations and current research being conducted.

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Classic Car Show

July 11
Windmill State Recreation Area

While you are in town for Kearney Cruise Night events, cruise on down to Windmill SRA, park your car, start a campfire and enjoy all the beautiful vehicles in the campground.

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Buffalo Steak Night & Free Movie

July 15
Platte River State Park

Join us for dinner and a movie at a beautiful park! Buffalo Steak served 5:00pm-8:00pm at Scott Lodge. The movie is Dolphin Tale at 8:15pm.

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Geocaching

July 15
Niobrara State Park

Niobrara State Park is a hotspot for geocaching. At this event, a variety of new caches will be available for the first time. Led by local geocaching enthusiasts, this event is a chance to meet up with other geocachers and search for caches both old and new.

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Prairie Grass Hike/Ranch Life in the 1860s

July 15
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park

As you hike along the historic ruts of the Oregon-California Trail, you may begin to understand the mindset of the 1860s travelers who dreamed of a better life during western expansion. Bring your camera! After your hike stay for a taste of ranch life! One to six volunteer history re-enactors will be living the ranch life in the 1860’s on our East Ranch.

Learn more about the Prairie Grass Hike

Learn more about Ranch Life

Convergence on Sacred Ground

July 21-23
Ash Hollow State Historical Park

At this signature sesquicentennial event, more than a dozen hands-on activities and demonstrations will illustrate the lives of the historic peoples who once lived in the Ash Hollow area, including pioneers and Native Americans.

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Snakes of Nebraska

July 22-23
Mahoney State Park

Nebraska Snakes are slithering your way! UNL professor Dennis Ferraro will be bringing his live snake collection to Mahoney! Free with park admission.

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Buffalo Steak Night & Free Movie Night (Robots)

July 22
Platte River State Park

Join us weekly all summer long!  Buffalo Steak served 5:00pm-8:00pm at Scott Lodge. Movie at 8:15. The movie will be Robots.

Learn more and register

Kite Flying Day

July 22
Niobrara State Park

Spend a summer day in the park flying kites. Bring your favorite kite or borrow one from the park. Fun for all ages!

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The Nebraska Star Party

July 23-28
Merrit Reservoir State Recreation Area

The astronomical views from Merritt Reservoir’s Snake Campground are fabulous, and there are plenty of recreational opportunities to keep the entire family entertained all week long at the annual Nebraska Star Party.

Learn more and register

Native Plants and Uses Workshop

July 29
Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park

Learn about native plants and their uses. Tour a pollinator plot, view a native grass display, and learn about how Native American and soldiers used native plants. An optional drive to Calamus State Recreation Area will provide more learning opportunities.

Learn more and register

Kites and Castles

July 23-28
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Mark your calendar! We’re building sandcastles and flying kites out at Lake Mac. Register online as a group or individual to enter the sandcastle competition. It’s free! The event will be held in the southeast portion of Martin Bay, near the “blue block” (Leave Only Your Footprints Sign).

Learn more and register

4th Annual Campfire Christmas in July

July 29
Indian Cave State Park

It’s never too early for Christmas! At this event, you can visit with Santa, make ornaments, go on jingle bell horse-drawn sleigh rides, listen to holiday storytelling, go on a Yule log quest, and play fun games.

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Jingle Bell Junk and Craft Market

July 29
Indian Cave State Park

Peruse repurposed items, primitives, antiques and handmade items.

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150 Years of Nebraska Storytelling

Aug. 6-8
Ponca State Park

Explore Nebraska history and the art of storytelling through presentations by more than 15 accomplished Nebraska authors, readings, and creative writing workshops at one of the state’s most scenic parks.

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2017 Great Park Pursuit

May 1 – Sept. 18
20 locations at various parks

The Great Park Pursuit (GPP) encourages participants to visit up to 21 GPP sites located across Nebraska between May 1 and September 18, 2017. Players follow clues that will lead them to a GPP post, where they use a pencil to make an impression of the post to prove they were there. Prizes and entry into drawings are based on the number of impressions collected.

Learn more

Solar eclipse events

Aug. 18-21
Various parks

On Aug. 21, millions of people will gather across the country to view one of nature’s most spectacular sights: a total solar eclipse. A number of state parks will be hosting viewing parties and educational events to celebrate.

Learn more

Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Encounter Exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair

Aug. 25-Sept. 4
Fonner Park in Grand Island

Visit us at the State Fair! Our Outdoor Encounter Exhibit will feature all of the past popular attractions, including a 12-foot waterfall, a 5,600 gallon fish aquarium, fishing and Nerf gun games, shooting and archery ranges, trapper cabin, sky fort, running stream and catch pond, fossil dig and bird scavenger hunt game.

Learn more about the State Fair
Purchase NE state fair tickets

Find even more family fun on our Outdoor Calendar