The 10 Best Nature Centers in Nebraska!

Nebraska is home to a number of nature centers. Whether you want to watch sandhill cranes during their spring migration or learn more about the incredibly diverse flora and fauna of the Midwest, you’ll be able to do so at one of these top-notch centers located throughout the state. If you’re ready to get outside and take in nature, we’ve rounded up the 10 best nature centers in Nebraska.

1. Pioneers Park Nature Center, Lincoln, NE

The Pioneers Park Nature Center offers eight miles of hiking trails that twist through various habitats and animal exhibits where you’ll spot bison, elk, white-tailed deer, and many different birds in the bird garden. Children can dig around in the natural play area and learn new things from one of the dozens of exhibits available. If you’re looking for a day of nature while staying in the city, this is it!

2. Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, Bellevue, NE

The Fontenelle Forest Nature Center is one of the state’s five National Natural Landmarks, covering over 1,000 acres of lush forest and featuring 20 miles of hiking trails. Birding sites, rare flowers, remnants of the Mormon Trail as well as Lewis and Clark’s journey can also be found throughout the area.

3. Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, Wood River, NE

When the sandhill cranes pour into the region around Wood River, Nebraska, the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center comes to life. Visitors can enjoy larger-than-life murals depicting the birds’ spring migration, exhibits with the latest information on the birds’ habitat, and a butterfly garden outdoors where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a picnic.

4. River Country Nature Center, Nebraska City, NE

To enjoy some extraordinary exhibitions on Nebraskan wildlife in a beautiful setting, look no further than the River Country Nature Center. You’ll see first-hand some of the birds and animals that inhabit the area as well as the unique wildlife works of Joe Voges, a noteworthy Nebraskan taxidermist. 

5. Aksarben Aquarium, Gretna, NE

The Aksarben Aquarium in Gretna features 12 viewing tanks full of native Nebraska fish as well as a museum on fish management. Films are scheduled often in the nature center’s theater and there is a large terrarium you must see to believe. 

6. Neale Woods Nature Center, Omaha, NE

The Neale Woods Nature Center is located on 550 acres of beautiful forest and hilltop prairies right in Omaha along the Missouri River. It’s also one of the best places in the state for bird and butterfly watching!

7. Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City, NE

Bring the entire family to the birthplace of Arbor Day where there are 260 acres of nature to enjoy. The Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City offers world-class exhibits, such as The Canopy Tree House, where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of life in the forest from 50 feet up. Or visit the Nature Explore Club Cabin and solve fun “nature challenges” while exploring the amazing diversity of Nebraskan wildlife.

8. Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Denton, NE

There’s plenty to do and see at the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center in Denton, Nebraska. The center is located on 850-acres of tallgrass prairie and includes walking trails, wetlands, woodlands, and a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Many people recommend visiting Spring Creek throughout the year to experience each season’s different scenery and wildlife. 

9. Wildcat Hills Nature Center, Gering, NE

The Wildcat Hills Nature Center is located near Gering, Nebraska, and features many interesting exhibits such as mounts of indigenous birds, dioramas of large mammals, and an aquarium filled with local fish. A collection of fossils has also been introduced to the center from the University of Nebraska State Museum. Educational events are held year-round so there’s always something new to learn and see.

10. Prairie Loft Center, Hastings, NE

The Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning is a unique destination housed in beautiful barns that were once used as part of a working farm near Hastings, Nebraska. The center hosts educational programs for all ages, from hands-on field trips to presentations. 

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9325 South Alda Road, Wood River, NE
The Center is a non-profit organization that operates year-round.We are solely supported by sponsorships, contributions, grants and program fees. W... Read More
4705 DLD Road, Hastings, NE
Located just west of Hastings, Nebraska, the beautiful barns were once part of a working farm that fed over one thousand people. Buildings on site ... Read More
44450 Elm Island Rd, Gibbon, NE
Lillian Annette Rowe Bird Sanctuary, commonly known as Rowe Sanctuary, is dedicated to the conservation of sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and oth... Read More
1783 10th Avenue, Columbus, NE
The Aquatic Center is one of the finest indoor pools in Nebraska. The pool is open year round (Swimming and Activity Hours). A variety of activitie... Read More
106 South 1st Street, Pierce, NE
Mission StatementThe mission of the Gilman Park Arboretum is to improve the landscape environment of Pierce and the surrounding area by serving as ... Read More
1014 Boswell, Crete, NE
This 300-acre campus, which features wooded rolling hills, open green spaces, and bodies of water, provides an intrinsic setting for more than 160 ... Read More
11700 SW 100th Street, Denton, NE
Mission:Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center fosters the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of Nebraska’s tallgrass prairie ecosyst... Read More
3201 South Coddington Avenue, Lincoln, NE
Welcome to Pioneers Park Nature Center… 668 acres of tallgrass prairie, woodlands, wetlands and a stream. Since 1963 the Nature Center has ... Read More
1309 North 17th, Lincoln, NE
Dedicated as the second site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Maxwell Arboretum's trees and shrubs provide the greatest diversity of plant spec... Read More
17th Street and Holdrege Street, Lincoln, NE
5000 Saint Paul Street, Lincoln, NE
The arboretum at the Nebraska Wesleyan University campus covers about 25 acres on the west side of the campus and includes over 100 species of tree... Read More
1111 Main Street, Wayne, NE
Mission:   The Wayne State College Arboretum serves as a living educational resource for the regions residents and students by providing: ... Read More
3800 South 48th Street, Lincoln, NE
About Us:The Arboretum at Union College covers about 30 acres with a collection of trees, shrubs and perennials. The Arboretum exists to provide an... Read More
25211 South 68th Street, Firth, NE
Four miles south of Hickman on S. 68th Street (68th and Princeton Road) (402) 788-2592 Read More
21502 West Highway 31, Gretna, NE
The newly remodeled Schramm Education Center (formerly Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium) at Schramm Park State Recreation Area is currently closed for renovatio... Read More
11809 Old Maple Rd., Omaha, NE
Heron Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary.  The sanctuary features one of the last oxbow wetlands of the Big Papillion Creek and it is wit... Read More
14323 Edith Marie Avenue, Omaha, NE
Escape to this peaceful oasis Seven miles of dirt trails 600 acres of conserved forest and prairie land Nature center building open seasonally... Read More
100 Bancroft Street, Omaha, NE
MissionLauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental... Read More
1111 North Bellevue Boulevard, Bellevue, NE
Features: Just minutes from downtown Omaha, your nature adventure awaits! 19 miles of dirt trails 1,400 acres of conserved forest, prairie and... Read More
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