With over 125 picturesque parks and gardens dotted around the region, not to mention a plethora of colorful natural reserves and idyllic wetland conservatories, Lincoln is a top spot for outdoor lovers and nature fans. It’s a treasure trove of natural parks just waiting to be discovered. Here are the top five parks in Lincoln.
Pioneer’s Park Nature Center
Established in 1963, the Pioneer’s Park Nature Center serves the Lincoln community in a variety of ways. Bison, white-tailed deer and elk can often be spotted along the park’s eight miles of hiking trails, as the walkways boast a variety of different habitats which shelter the animals. In addition to the 668 acres of riverbank, tall grass prairie, woods and wetlands, the facility also houses the Enda Shields natural children’s play area where kids can learn about native bird species and prairie plants, and they can also help out in the large herb garden. The center offers summer nature camp programs too, as well as day trips for children of all ages. As an educational facility, wildlife sanctuary and plant conservatory, Pioneer’s Park is a great place for families and those who want to learn more about nature in Lincoln.
Bowling Lake Park
Only seven and a half miles from Lincoln’s city center, Bowling Lake Park is one of the largest parks in the Lancaster county. Popular as a fishing spot, those who partake in the sport can expect to catch bluegill, channel catfish, rainbow trout and largemouth bass. During the winter months, the lake freezes over beautifully and families can spend the day ice-skating. Over 12 acres in size, Bowling Lake Park is the perfect place for those looking to spend some time near a picturesque stretch of water.
This garden was ranked in the top 300 gardens in the United States and Canada by The National Geographic’s Guide to Public Gardens. Established in 1930, the wonderful spot has been most recently renovated in 2004 and includes two ponds, a healing garden and a charming pavilion. One of the most noteworthy attractions is the thousands of tulips that begin blooming in the spring here and last throughout the summer months. Visitors and locals can donate and help with the conservation of the gardens in a variety of personal ways, such as purchasing a brick on the pavilion, or participating in the one-flower forever program, a project which sees flowers being planted here in honor of someone special.
King Saline Wetlands
Northwest Lincoln is home to the King Saline Wetland Conservatory , a site which aims to preserve the remaining ten percent of Nebraska’s wetland areas. The plant life growing in the marshes here is comprised primarily of saltgrass, seablite and saltwort, all of which are saline tolerant species. Conservation strategies implemented by the site’s sponsors include wetland water monitoring programmes and the construction of water channels which divert storm run-off. Visitors can see endangered plant and animal species here, and can learn about the ecosystems of the marshlands. They can also discover how to contribute to conservation efforts.
Cripple Creek Park
This six-acre neighborhood park has more than just a playground to offer its residents. The large, sheltered pavilion here is perfect for a picnic on a sunny day, the volleyball courts offer a great chance to get some exercise, and the expansive grounds, beautiful foliage and towering trees invite visitors to take long, ambling strolls through the picturesque scenery. In addition, Cripple Creek Park is part of Nebraska’s 131 miles of bike trails, making it a great place to stop and rest, or to start a long bike ride.