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Winterfest

Experience Nebraska’s state parks during this beautiful, peaceful time of year. Parks statewide are planning holiday events, bird-watching activities, special winter hikes and much more. Come for a day or book a cabin and stay for a weekend — there’s plenty to do.

Winterfest activities will take place from December through March.

Christmas at the Mansion

Weekends Nov. 19 – Dec. 17
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

See this stately 52-room mansion at its festive best during the holiday season, with vintage décor, holiday music and holiday themed collections on display.
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Live Theater: “Making Spirits Bright”

Nov. 26 – Dec. 18
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

“Making Spirits Bright” tells the story of a couple rediscovering Christmas joy. Call 402-944-2523 ext. 7122 for tickets and receive 10 percent off of a meal at the Lodge Restaurant.
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Ice Skating

Thanksgiving weekend through March, as weather permits
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

The ice skating pavilion at Mahoney State Park offers plenty of space to practice your skills. Call 402-471-1414 for admission and pricing.

Reduced Lodging Rates

Now through April
Various parks statewide

Receive 30 percent off of a cabin or lodge room at various Nebraska state parks. Some restrictions apply. Make reservations online or by calling 402-471-1414.
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Nature Crafts for the Holidays

Dec. 3
Fremont State Recreation Area

Learn to use twigs, pinecones and other objects found in nature to make unique holiday decorations. The morning will include a hike to collect natural materials, followed by warm cider and crafting.
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Archery on Fire

Dec. 3
Platte River State Park

Bring the family to this free event to learn more about archery. Guests will get a chance to learn about the sport under the guidance of trained professionals and will get plenty of chances to shoot, too.
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Light Up the Fort

Dec. 3-31
Fort Robinson State Park

Enjoy the visual treat of historic buildings draped in lights Dec. 3-31. Contact the park at 308-665-2900 if you’d like to volunteer to put up lights.
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Classic Christmas

Dec. 10
Mahoney State Park

Families are invited to decorate sugar cookies, make a holiday ornament, send a greeting card to local veterans and enjoy free lighted hayrack rides of the park, among other activities.

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Reindeer and Cocoa

Dec. 10
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Join the park naturalist and make reindeer holiday cards while sipping hot cocoa and learning about deer at this free event.

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Christmas in the Woods

Dec. 10, 17
Ponca State Park

Bake festive Christmas treats, take a holiday family portrait and enjoy a guided hike or lighted hayrack ride during this annual event.

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Christmas at the Codys’

Dec. 10, 17
Buffalo Bill State Historical Park

Every room in the mansion, outbuildings, grounds and Scout’s Rest Ranch Barn will be decorated and lit up to bring visitors holiday cheer. Guests can also enjoy live music, sleigh rides and more.

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Winter Painting

Dec. 11
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Follow instructions to create a winter-themed painting or create your own original idea, while enjoying refreshments. Canvas, paint, and brushes will be provided.

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Christmas Bird Count

Dec. 14-Jan. 5
Indian Cave State Park

Aid scientists and conservation efforts by helping identify as many bird species as possible. This is also a great opportunity to explore a beautiful park.
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Yule Log Quest

Dec. 17
Platte River State Park

Teams will compete in a scavenger hunt challenge to find the yule log. The day will also include hayrack rides and family events with crafts and storytime for the kids.
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Christmas at the Bowring

Dec. 17
Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Enjoy a Christmas dinner with rib eye steaks and all the trimmings. A visit from Santa and a dance featuring the Twin River Band will follow. By reservation only.
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Lunch at the Lodge

Dec. 25
Mahoney State Park

Enjoy a Christmas meal at the Lodge Restaurant at Mahoney State Park. Reservations are encouraged.

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5th Annual Winterfest

Dec. 31
Ponca State Park

Winterfest offers a full day of family fun, with crafts in the morning, the National Fruit-Cake Fling at high noon, a 3K Yule Log Quest in the afternoon and guided hayrack rides at dusk, among other activities.

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First Day Hikes

Jan. 1
Ash Hollow State Historical Park, Chadron State Park, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, Fremont State Recreation Area, Platte River State Park, Ponca State Park, Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Celebrate the first day of 2017 with a guided hike through some of Nebraska’s most beautiful landscapes. Hike difficulty varies. See calendar for details.

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Cold Day, Warm Hearts and Family Fun

Jan. 14
Mahoney State Park

Celebrate the frosty season by making memories with the family to warm you through the cold days of winter. Bring the whole family to the Owen Marina to participate in outdoor education activities or try your luck at fishing.

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