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.

All season long

Ice Skating

Thanksgiving weekend – 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.

Activity Center & Ice Rink Hours

Mon, Thurs & Friday 4 – 8 PM
Saturday 11 AM – 8 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Saturday, Dec 16th 11 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, Dec 17th 11 AM – 6 PM
Mon, Dec 18th & Thurs, Dec 21st 4 – 8 PM
Fri, Dec 22nd & Sat, Dec 23rd 11 AM – 8 PM
Sun, Dec 24th & Mon, Dec 25th 11 AM – 6 PM
Tues, Dec 26th –Sat, Dec 30th 11 AM – 8 PM Sun,
Dec 31st & Mon, Jan 1, 2018 11 AM – 6 PM
Tues, Jan 2nd thru Sat, Jan 6th 11 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, Jan 7th 11 AM – 6 PM

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.
Learn more

December park events

Christmas at the Mansion

Weekends Nov. 18 – Dec. 23
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.
Learn more

Christmas in the Woods

Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9, 16
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.

Learn more

Light Up the Fort

Dec. 2-31
Fort Robinson State Park

Enjoy the visual treat of historic buildings draped in lights Dec. 2-31. Contact the park at 308-665-2900 if you’d like to volunteer to put up lights.
Learn more

Archery on Fire

Dec. 2
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.
Learn more

Christmas at the Bowring

Dec. 9
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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Christmas at the Codys’

Weekends in December
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, hayrack rides and more.

Learn more

Classic Christmas

Dec. 9
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Enjoy a classic Christmas at this fun family event. Get your picture with Santa, decorate sugar cookies, make holiday crafts, hayrack rides around the park, and more. These are activities are free.

Learn more

Reindeer and Cocoa

Dec. 9
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Oh deer! Join the park naturalist out at the lake for an afternoon of deer facts, hot cocoa, and crafting. Learn a little more about deer while we make reindeer holiday cards. Hot cocoa and snacks will be provided.

Learn more

Nature’s Gifts: Decorations from the Great Outdoors

Dec. 9
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

Come and help us create garland feeders, bird feeders and fun nature ornaments that will dress up the Nature Center and your own homes for the winter season!

Learn more

Christmas Bird Count

Dec. 14
Ponca State Park
Dec. 16
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.
Learn more about the event at Indian Cave SP
Learn more about the event at Ponca SP

Yule Log Festival

Dec. 16
Platte River State Park

Enjoy the beautiful season of the park and holiday crafts, time with Santa, games, a bonfire and free lighted hayrack rides. The day’s main event is the Yule Log Quest!  Gather your team for this fun scavenger hunt and use a series of clues to find the location of the yule log.
Learn more

Winter Acrylic Painting

Dec. 16, 17
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Follow guided instructions on an original painting or come up with an idea of your own. Canvas, brushes, paint and refreshments provided; registration required ($10).
Learn more

Arctic Archery Day Camp

Dec. 28, 29
Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center

This day camp will spice up your child’s winter break! Register for one and/or two days of ancient spear throwing, games, art projects, crafts, and learning about winter wildlife.
Learn more

6th Annual Winterfest

Dec. 30
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.

Learn more

January park events

First Day Hikes

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

Celebrate the first day of 2018 with a guided hike through some of Nebraska’s most beautiful landscapes. Hike difficulty varies. See calendar for details.

Learn more

Winter Fun Exhibit at the Mansion

Weekends in January
Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Explore special displays filled with antique ice skates, sleds, snow shoes, and more. Learn the history of these favorite winter pastimes and playthings, including diary excerpts on the Morton family’s winter activities.

Learn more

Cold Day, Warm Hearts and Family Fun

Jan. 13
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.

Learn more

Ice Bowl Disc Golf Tourney

Jan. 20
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Get competitive with fellow frolfers! Tee off time at 1:00pm. All proceeds will go towards Hunters Helping the Hungry.
Learn more

View all Calendar Events