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Winterfest in the Parks

Start a new family tradition this holiday season by attending a Winterfest event at a state park. Winterfest is a statewide series of events showcasing the beauty of Nebraska in the winter.

Grab the kids and enjoy Christmas in the Woods at Ponca State Park or experience a Classic Christmas at Mahoney State park. Those looking for a bit more adventure can take on the Yule Log Quest or a First Day Hike.

Visit our event calendar for a list of all Winterfest events.

Christmas in the Woods

WINTERFEST and "Christmas in the Woods"
Saturdays Nov 29 through December 20 Celebrate "Christmas in the Woods"Winterfest will be held Dec 27, 2014
Remember those old family traditions of Wassail, cookies, a crackling fire during the holidays? Come and enjoy those traditions again at Ponca State Park! Crafts and activities will be offered. The Yule Log Hunt & bonfire will be held where participants can gather in teams to hunt for the infamous yule log. Lighted holiday hayrack rides conclude the day's activities. (402) 755-2284

Dec 27th at Ponca - Schedule of events

  • 9:00am – 6:00pm - Refreshments, FREE
    "My Favorite Outdoor Winter Activity" Art work on display

  • 9:00am – 11:00am Crafts, FREE

  • 11:00am – 1:30pm Homemade Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup $5 per person

  • HIGH NOON National Championship Fruit Cake Fling, as seen on NBC's TODAY Show, FREE Participants fling wildlife friendly fruitcakes; competing for distance. Prizes awarded in three age groups.

  • 1:30pm – 3:30pm 3K Yule Log Quest, FREE Pre-registration required 20 teams (consisting of 3-5 members) compete in five different Family- friendly challenges that will ultimately lead them to clues to find the Yule Log.  Prizes will be awarded to the Champion Yule Log Team, the Best Themed Team, and the Team with the Most Unique Stocking Caps. 

  • 3:30pm Burning of the Yule Log & Awards Presentation, FREE

  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm Lighted Hayrack Rides, FREE

NE Metro Parks

NE Northeast Parks

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Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Upcoming Events


Platte River SP


  • Swimming Pool Facility
  • Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Complex
    ( Outdoor shooting range)
  • Craft Center
  • Paddle Boats
  • Horse Trail Rides
  • Fishing
  • Cabins

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Niobrara SP


  • Horse Trail Rides
  • Camping
  • Cabins
  • Fishing
  • Hiking & Biking
  • Swimming pool opens June 7th

Ponca SP


  • Horse Trail Rides
  • Naturalist Programs
  • Archery
  • Swimming pool opens on June 7th

email ngpc.ponca@nebraska.gov

NE Panhandle Parks:

NE Central Parks


Fort Robinson State Park

  • Fort Robinson Restaurant opens on Friday and is open to the public with full menu, catering and take-out daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Labor Day.


  • Swimming Pool
  • Horse Trail Rides
  • Kayaking & Tubing
  • Cookouts: Breakfast- Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and  Friday; Steaks- Monday,
  • Thursday, Saturday; Chuck Wagons- Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday.
  • Horse Drawn Tours
  • Stage Coach Rides
  • Jeep Rides
  • Free rodeos: Every Thursday Evening through Labor Day

Chadron State Park

Activities: Camping,Picnicking, Swimming, Horse Trail Rides Hiking / Biking Trails

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Fort Kearney SHP/SRA

Rock Creek Station SHP

  • Rock Creek Station Historical Park is having living history re-enactors and educators who will provide a glimpse into the 1860's beginning Saturday, May 24th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This will continue with a monthly Living History day taking place every 3rd Saturday of the month through October. 

NE Southeast Parks

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Indian Cave SP


  • Camping
  • Hiking & Biking
  • Horse Trail Rides
  • Crafts

Spend Some Time in
the Parks

Check out any of our 11 Shooting Areas

Holiday Hours Available
for the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex and the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln

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Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641

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