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Visit the Venture Parks

In response to a demand for unique experiences and enhanced camping opportunities, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has been expanding activities and amenities at four popular state parks and recreation areas along the Platte River – Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area. The expanded features, called Venture Parks, were possible thanks to innovative public/private partnerships.

Platte River State Park

Platte River State Park provides an abundance of opportunities for those of all ages.

Crawdad Creek invites guests to get into the water, get muddy and explore. This attraction is a series of small, interactive ponds where both children and adults can splash, play and explore. The interactive feature hosts aquatic invertebrates, insects, reptiles and fish for visitors to see and interact with. Catch minnows, tadpoles, crawdads and frogs and interact with the natural world. Park naturalists will use the ponds and the organisms that call them home in educational activities for park visitors.

The new spray park, one of the only two-tiered spray parks in the region, includes various spray features, three water slides, a waterfall, dump buckets with a fountain, squirt guns center and more. The features were designed for use by pre-schoolers all the way up to young teens. It’s a great place for families to beat the heat and have fun during the summer months.

Three new glamping cabins combine upscale comfort with camping. These secluded cabins feature skylights and queen-sized beds that can be rolled onto a deck for sleeping under the stars. With polished concrete floors, a raised stone fire pit and many windows to let in the natural sunlight, our glamping cabins combine modern comforts and rustic charm.

RV campers have a new place to camp! The brand new campground is tailored for use by recreational vehicles. The new, state-of-the-art campground has 49 full hookup concrete pads with electric, water and sewer.

Mountain bikers have been riding the trails carved into the bluffs at Platte River State Park for decades, its hills and rocks providing a challenge many yearn for, with the scenery providing the icing on the cake. Now they have a new set of singletrack trails loaded with unique features all for themselves as part of an addition to the park that could become a mountain bike destination for riders from across the country.

Along with 4.4 miles of new trails, mostly tailored to intermediate and advanced riders, are features that include stair-steps, drop-offs, a boardwalk, log rides, curved wall rides, numerous switchbacks, a launch pad, flat ramps, low-water crossings and table top ramps. A new access road on 358th Street, a mile east of the park’s main entrance, leads to a new parking lot and trailhead, which is equipped with a restroom and a repair station. A skills track near the trailhead will help riders test their abilities before heading out into the hills.

The canoe and kayak access point by Owen Landing opened as part of the Venture Park Initiative. The access point, a few yards from the mouth of Decker Creek on the Platte River serves as a stopping point on a water trail between at Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area.

Kids of all ages can enjoy Platte River State Park’s natural playgrounds that engage their senses. They can also develop their climbing skills on a rock wall with opportunities for a variety of skill levels.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

In addition to traditional features, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park provides adventure-based opportunities for those of all ages.

Looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure? Get ready for a totally unique outdoor experience. Way more than just zip lines, Go Ape is a 2-3-hour journey through the forest canopy. Our high-ropes adventure course features suspended obstacles, breathtaking zip lines and incredible views.

Go Ape provides a portion of their proceeds and stewardship services back to the park. To see what the fun is all about, check out this video! For pricing and more information please visit Go Ape directly at their website or call 1-800-971-8271.

Mahoney State Park’s Venture Climb, housed in a new, state-of-the-art addition to the Activity Center, features a 42-foot climbing wall with both auto- and top-rope belays, as well as a bouldering structure. Climbers are treated to scenic views of the park through the facility’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

Venture Climb is great for both novice and experienced climbers and is ADA-accessible. Those who wish to use the facility must fit into a harness provided by the park. All climbers must sign a waiver in person prior to using the facility. A parent must sign the waiver for climbers 18 and younger.

The grassy slope on the east side of the activity center has been resculpted for sledding and tubing. The sledding hill is complete with a snow guns and a groomer. Groomed runs are available when conditions allow. 

Coming in the near future to the outdoor Family Aquatic Center is a new state-of-the-art lazy river. This addition will complement the aquatic center’s existing swimming pool with diving area, concession, wading pool, sun deck, zero-depth entry wave pool and three water slides and a fun area for the kids with a water playground.

Louisville State Recreation Area

Louisville State Recreation Area provides opportunities for water play for people of all ages.

Louisville State Recreation Area’s new floating playground offers exciting and challenging obstacles including a climbing wall, dome, monkey bars and much more on Lake #2. In addition, visitors can rent watercycles and paddleboards.

A new access point is available on the Platte River for canoe/kayak and float trips. The access point has parking and a concrete airboat ramp. This is a great get-out point for a float from Schramm Park State Recreation Area.

Schramm Park State Recreation Area

Schramm Park State Recreation Area provides diverse opportunities for people of all ages.

The popular Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium has been completely remodeled and expanded into an interactive state-of-the-art nature center featuring the state’s river, pond and lake systems.

Access for canoeing, kayaking and other water-based recreation on the Platte River has been expanded. This is a great launching point for a float trip to Louisville State Recreation Area. Parking is available.

Venture Parks programs

The Venture Parks Education Team provides outdoor learning opportunities for our park guests. It is our goal to inspire appreciation and knowledge of natural and cultural resources while promoting greater understanding, support for and participation in conservation and outdoor recreation.

What to expect during construction

During the development, park goers should expect to see construction. Some facilities may close temporarily and/or have reduced hours or access. After implementation of the initial venture parks concept is complete, the goal is to incorporate elements of the plan into other parks across the state as funding and opportunities allow.

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Park Pricing

A park entry permit is required to visit state parks and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors, or in advance of your arrival online. View those fees, as well as attraction and amenity pricing.


Reservations are accepted for cabins, lodge rooms, and group lodges up to one year in advance of the arrival date. Reservations for camping are accepted up to 180 days in advance of arrival date. The Reservation Call Center hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (CT) and closed on holidays.

Park Events

Our 76 gorgeous state park and recreations areas host a plethora of events throughout the year. From bird hikes to kayak races, Living History events to family outdoor days, our parks host something fun for every outdoor enthusiast.