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Explore the parks with these Game and Parks events in September

Spend the final days of summer in Nebraska’s state parks. During September, a variety of events are planned for those interested in history, conservation, nature or just having a good time. Here are several examples:

Harvest Celebration begins at Arbor Day Farm

The fun of the Harvest Celebration lasts all fall season at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City. Plan to visit this attraction and Arbor Lodge Mansion for autumn-inspired activities starting in September.

Some of the activities include U-pick Apples and Pumpkins at the Tree Adventure, Living History Weekends at Arbor Lodge, AppleJack Festival, wine and hard cider tasting, food trucks, private sunset orchard wine tasting, and apples, apple pie, apple donuts, apple cider, caramel apples, and more at the Apple House Market.

These activities take place at various times throughout the season. Check the events calendar at for details.

Labor Day Weekend at Fort Kearny

Celebrate Labor Day at Fort Kearny State Historical Park for a living history weekend Sept. 2-4 at the park near Kearney.

A cannon firing will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with a special night firing on Sunday at sunset. Daily living history demonstrations will occur from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with special living history activities on Sunday afternoon.

Visitors to the park will be able to explore exhibits and the reconstructed buildings, including the stockade, grounds, powder magazine and blacksmith/carpenter shop. Reenactors will be at the park to discuss life as a soldier during the fort’s early days.

A valid Nebraska park entry permit is required. Cost to visit the interpretive center is $4 per adult and $1 per child. For more information, contact the park at or 308-865-5305.

Living History Weekends at Fort Atkinson in September

Visit Fort Atkinson State Historical Park for Living History Weekend on Sept. 2-3, and again Sept. 30-Oct. 1, and see reenactors portray life in an 1820s military fort.

Activities take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They include military demonstrations, mountain man camp, laundresses, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, spinning/weaving, coopering and more.

Visit the calendar event entries at for the full schedule.

A valid Nebraska park entry permit is required. Cost to visit the Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center is $4 per adult and $1 per child. For more information, contact the park at or 402-468-5611.

Take aim at Sling Shots at Schramm Education Center

Those age 5 and up can try their hand at Sling Shots on Sept. 3 and 24 at the Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

Meet at the lobby of the education center at 1 p.m. before heading outdoors for this game of skill and learn how to use a wrist-rocket-style sling shot. Test your precision and accuracy with tin-can targets.

Parental supervision is required. Admission fees apply for those who wish to visit the education center.

Learn more about the center at

3rd annual Ash Hollow Rendezvous is Sept. 8-10

The 3rd Annual Ash Hollow Rendezvous will be Sept. 8-10 at Ash Hollow State Historical Park near Lewellen. It will allow visitors to immerse themselves in pre-1840 history, unique culture and educate themselves of a bygone era.

Rendezvous historically were in the fall among fur traders and Native American tribes. They were a time to gather, share trade goods and knowledge. It was a time to relax, make money and have some fun.

There will be demonstrations of black powder shooting, tomahawk throwing, recurve bow-and-arrow shooting, open-fire cooking, trap setting, and canoeing. Traders’ row will feature historic-themed vendors where goods can be viewed and purchased. A cowboy poet and singer/songwriter will perform throughout the days, and food vendors will be on location.

A living history tent will host historical re-enactors talking about the newest kitchen utensils, fashion, political issues, current events, and people who lived in 1876.

A mountain man run – a fur trader’s version of an iron man event – will consist of tomahawk throwing, canoeing, trap setting, black-powder rifle shooting, and fire starting. It is open to the public. Registration is required by calling Teaspoon Stots, the Rendezvous Booshway at 801-719-9330.

Ash Hollow opens at 9 a.m. Mountain time. The event is free, but a park entry permit is required. Dogs must be on a leash.

Discover importance of dark skies for Merritt Reservoir SRA’s bats

Come and explore the dark and mysterious creatures of the night that call Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area home – bats.

From 7:30-9 p.m. Sept. 9, discover why dark skies are important for these nocturnal critters.

Merritt Reservoir SRA, renown for its Sandhills location providing spectacular astronomical views, in 2022 was certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.

This free event will take place at the Snake River Area boat dock. A park entry permit is required.

Birding for Everybody and Every Body at Rock Creek Station on Sept. 16

Visit Rock Creek Station State Historical Park near Fairbury on Sept. 16 for Birding for Everybody and Every Body, a free birding activity that is accessible and inclusive.

This 1:30 p.m. event is open to everyone, including beginner birders and families with small children. Join a guided bird outing or view birds from the Visitor Center lobby.

The 1-mile birding event will start at the Visitor Center. The trail is a mowed grass trail with a slight slope. Picnic tables will be available a quarter mile from the Visitor Center. The guided outing will take an hour and be limited to the first 20 people.

Birding may also be done from the lobby by viewing birds at the feeding station through the large picture windows.

Binoculars will be available to use. A park entry permit is required.

For more information about Birdability education, outreach, and advocacy visit

Mahoney State Park to host Nebraska Star Party on Sept. 22

Come to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park on Sept. 22 for stargazing fun at the Nebraska Star Party.

Powerful telescopes will be set up at the park’s golf shack so the public can get a glimpse of night sky spectaculars from 9-11:30 p.m. Stargazing will begin at dusk. Remember to bring camp chairs or blankets.

The rain date is Sept. 23.

The event is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required.

Saddle up for the Enders Horse Trail Ride

Saddle up your horses for the annual Enders Trail Ride on Sept. 30 at Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area.

The trail ride will be two hours through the recreation area; visitors will be able to view wildlife and beautiful scenery from the beach and through the wooded areas.

The ride is great for novice to advanced riders. Riders must bring their own horses. Camping is available and camping fees are applicable; however, there are no equestrian pens at Enders Reservoir SRA.

There is no fee to attend the ride. A daily or annual park entry permit is required upon entry and can be purchased at the park or online at

There will be a potluck lunch after the trail ride. The main dish and refreshments will be provided for participants.

Pre-registration is preferred. For more information or to register, call or text Dayna at 308-233-1026 or Beau Licking at 308-530-2648.

About Shawna Richter-Ryerson

Shawna Richter-Ryerson is an assistant division administrator for communications at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. She can be contacted at or 402-471-5565.

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