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Pioneers Park Nature Center

Facility Rentals

Did you know you can rent the auditorium in the prairie building or the Birthday Party House? Call 402-441-7895 for more information and to make your reservation today!

Birthday Parties at the Nature Center!
Reptiles Rock, Insect Investigations, Nature’s Scavenger Hunt, Amazing Birds, Marvelous Mammals or Grow in the Garden. Choose the theme that will make for an exciting birthday celebration. Available from 10-noon on Saturdays and 1:30-3:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. We provide the space, program, a favor bag for each child, and a special gift for the guest of honor.
Auditorium facilities: $100 for up to 10 children and 5 adults, $7 each additional child, $3 each additional adult. Call 402-441-7895 for reservations at least two weeks in advance.

Check out our seasonal newsletter, programs and classes including currently offered scout badge work.  To register online, visit the PROCTOR online registration (Location: PPNC) or call 402-441-7895. The Nature Center also serves as a liaison to volunteer-run Hyde Observatory. Nature Center programs and events include:Special Program

  • School hikes to more than 12,000 school children annually
  • 8 weeks of nature camps for ages 3 to 17
  • A wide range of public programs for all ages
  • Birthday parties
  • Outreach programs

2015 Fall - 2016 Winter Classes

Register for classes today!

Download the full Program Guide for contact information, hours and fees.

Hayrack Rides
Plan a hayrack ride through the Nature Center for a group, family, or corporate event. Hayrack rides can be scheduled starting in September 18th through October 31st on Friday, Saturday or Sundays. Refreshments at the campfire after your ride is included. Reservations should be made at least two weeks in advance. Spaces fill up quickly so book early.
Group Rates: Up to 30 = $200(one 45 min. ride) | 31-60 = $325 (two 45 min. rides)
Please call to make special arrangements for groups over 60.

Hyde Memorial Observatory
Public Programs take place every Saturday.
Dates: November – March, | Time: 7-10 pm
Dates: April – October | Time: 8-11 pm
Fee: Free
Enjoy programs about astronomy and space exploration, learn from knowledgeable volunteers, and take a peek into the universe through three different telescopes. Programs change monthly. Visit for more details. Hyde Observatory is located on the south side of Holmes Lake in Holmes Park. 3701 S 70th St. Lincoln, NE.

Grandparents and Gardens
Dates: Sunday, September 13 | Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Fee: $15/family
Celebrate grandparents with a garden scavenger hunt and other activities. Lemonade and cookie will also be provided. Register by September 10.

Composting Workshop
Dates: Saturday, September 19 | Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Fee: Free
Learn how to be successful with composting by attending a composting demonstration sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln Recycling office. No pre-registration required.

Prairie Exploration Guided Hike
Dates: Tuesday, September 29 | Time: 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Fee: $4/child
Location: Prairie Building
Come discover the treasures of the tall grass prairie on this guided afternoon hike. Register by September 25.

Wild Fall Festival
Dates: Friday, October 9 | Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fee: Free
Enjoy an evening at the Nature Center for our annual Wild Fall Festival.
Games, activities, and lots of wild fall fun will take place as part of the event. Hayrack rides will be available for $3/person. Food will also be available for purchase.

Fall Fun Day Camp
Dates: Thursday, October 15, Friday, October 16 | Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Fee: $35/day Thursday or Friday only, $60 for two days | Ages: 6-13 years old.
Take a break from school and attend the Fall Fun Day Camp at the Nature Center. This camp will include a hayrack ride, outdoor exploring, camp fires, hiking, marshmallow roasting, and much more. Ages 6-13. Register by October 9.

Composting Workshop
Dates: Saturday, October 17 | Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Fee: Free
Learn how to be successful with composting by attending a composting demonstration sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln Recycling office.

Woodland Wonders Guided Hike
Dates: Tuesday, October 27 | Time: 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Fee: $4/child | Location: Prairie Building
Explore the wonders of the woodlands in the fall. This guided hike will take you through the woods and along the Haines Branch Creek. Register by October 23.

Prairie Run
Dates: Saturday, November 7 | Time: 9:00 am kids run | 9:30 am adult walk/run
Fee: $10/1 mile run, ages 5-12 years old (Adults wishing to run with child will need to register as an adult.) | $20/5k run/walk, ages 13 and up
Ready… Set… Run! Participate in the one mile or 5K prairie trail run and help support the Nature Center. All proceeds will go towards the support of our land management and prairie restoration projects. All participants will be entered in a prize drawing. Register at by October 27 to receive a free t-shirt, registration open through November 5.

Night Hike
Dates: Friday, November 13 | Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Explore what is lurking in the dark during this Friday the 13th guided night hike. Enjoy hot cocoa after the hike. Register by November 10.

Eagle Watching Trip
Dates: Saturday, December 5 | Time: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fee: Fee: $45/person
Road trip with us to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City, MO for Eagle Days on December 5. Events include live eagle programs, exhibits, activities, and access to spotting scopes. Bring your own or borrow a pair of binoculars to view eagles and other migrating waterfowl. Transportation and a sack lunch will be provided. Register by December 1.

Holiday Greenery Workshop
Dates: Saturday, December 5 | Time: 9:00 – 11:00 am
Fee: $25/person
Bring a basket, mug, vase or select one from us and create festive holiday décor. Greenery, pine cones, ribbon, wire, and design ideas will be provided during this workshop. Each participant will create and will take home a finished piece. Register by December 3.

Winter Birding
Dates: Monday-Thursday, December 28- 31 | Time: 10:00 am – Noon
Fee: Suggested donation $3/person
The Chet Ager building will be open to provide a warm and cozy spot for bird watch this winter. Bring your favorite warm beverage and sit back and enjoy nature’s show. Binoculars and birding guides will be available. Staff will also be on hand to help identify and discuss sightings.

Cross Country Ski Workshop
Dates: Sat., Jan 23 | Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Fee: $17/person
Travel by ski and explore winter wonders at the Nature Center. Outdoor Adventures from the University of Nebraska will host this cross country ski workshop. Ski rental is included in the registration fee. Workshop will be held inside if weather is not suitable for ski use, otherwise workshop will be outside. Hot chocolate will be provided. Recommended for individuals 12 and up. Register by January 20.

Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center: Friends Annual Meeting
Dates: Saturday, January 30 | Time: 9:00 am
All are invited to the Friends Annual Meeting. Find out more about the Friends and enjoy refreshments and good conversation.
The Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center promote and support the development, programing, and operation of the Nature Center.

Nature Preschool
Hike, dig, climb, build, explore, and learn while being outdoors at the Nature Center Preschool.
Registration for the 2016/2017 school year begins February 1, 2016. Space is limited. To learn more about the nature based preschool and pre-k programs attend one of the open houses on Thursday January 21 or February 25. Contact the Preschool Director at 402-441-8669 for more information.

Preschool Open House
Dates: Thursday, January 21 or Thursday, February 25 | Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Inclement weather date: Thursday, January 28