COPY-Pioneers Park Nature Center turns 50 in 2013!


Snowshoeing / Winter Hike

It may be cold outside but we can still enjoy the outdoors! Bring a friend and snowshoe around the Nature Center to see what animals are keeping active in winter. Participants will need to provide their own snowshoes and rentals are available through UNL Campus Recreation at 402-472-4777. If there isn't enough snow for snowshoes we will go for a winter walk followed by hot cocoa.

Date:  Saturday, January 12
Time:  1:30-3:30p
Location:  Prairie Building
Fee: Donation

Winter Poetry on the Prairie

Winter is the perfect time for creativity. Looking out over the prairie and pond join us to share poetry – your own or that of other poets you treasure, or just come and listen.

Date: Sunday, January 27
Time: 1-3:00p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $5 suggested donation

Star Gazing

Hike under the brilliant stars of the Winter Hexagon, learn to find them in the night sky. Listen to their stories as you warm up with hot cocoa. We might even hear the sounds of nocturnal animals around us. This is recommended for ages 6 and up. Register by January 31.

Date: Saturday, February 9
Time: 7-8:30p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $7/person

Geology Day

Learn about fossils, minerals, rocks and gemstones through displays and demonstrations by the members of the Lincoln Gem and Mineral Club. They can also help you identify your own specimens during this drop-in program.

Date: Sunday, February 10
Time: 1-4p
Location: Chet Ager Building
Fee: $5 Suggested Donation

Great Backyard Bird Count

Bundle up and join us at Pioneers Park Nature Center for a 9:00 a.m. winter bird walk. Then meet with other birders at the Chet Ager Building for hot mulled cider and a snack as we count the visitors at our bird garden. That data will be submitted to the biologists at the Cornell University Bird Lab for the 16th Annual Great Bird Count. The Wild Bird Habitat Stores will be on hand to discuss how you can attract birds to your backyard and participate in the GBBC's fun, four day free bird count. No registrations necessary for this drop-in program but please call 402-441-7895 if you plan to attend the bird walk.

Date: Saturday, February 16
Time: 9-11:30a
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $5 Suggested Donation


Dutch Oven Cooking

Campfire cooking is so much more than beans and hotdogs. Learn how to make delicious dishes over the fire. We will go over caring for cast iron, preparing the fire, recipes and try some wild herbal teas. This class is in collaboration with Nebraska Game and Parks. This class is recommended for ages 14 and up. Register by February 21.

Date: Saturday, March 2          
Time: 2-4p          
Location: Prairie Building          
Fee: $10/person


Bird Identification 101

Birding is the fastest growing form of outdoor recreation in the US and is popular all over the world. This class will provide participants with some basic identification and acquaint them with the tools available to enhance their birding experience. The class, led by Dave Titterington of the Wild Bird Habitat Stores, will conclude with a morning bird walk through the Nature Center to try out your skills and a bird banding demonstration on April 13.

Date : Saturdays, April 13 and 20                                  
Time: 8-10a                                    
Location: Prairie Building                                             
Fee: $20/2 sessions, register by April 4


Bird Banding Demonstrations

This is your opportunity to see up close some of the migratory birds that pass through our area as well as our year round residents.  Join a licensed bird bander to watch the banding process and to learn about this nation-wide research project.  In case of rain or excessive heat, banding will be cancelled.  No registration necessary.

Date: Saturdays, April 13 and May 4                             
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon                                                     
Location: Bird Banding Station                                              
Fee: Donation

Nature's Market

Celebrate spring! 

It's going to be an exciting day filled with lots of activities.  Visit food, jewelry, plant, and craft booths.  Participate in silent and live auctions of garden benches and painted watering cans as well as nature items such as elk antlers.   Enjoy entertainment by the String Beans.  Children can participate in creating a work of recycled art and make one to take home.  It is a day of fun for all ages.  Sponsored by the Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center, all proceeds support scholarships to Nature Center programming.


Date: Saturday, April 21
Time: 10a-3p
Location: Prairie Building          
Fee: No Charge


Backyard Composting

Date: Saturdays, May 11 and June 8                             
Time: 10 a.m.                            
Location: Composting Demonstration Area                    
Fee: Free

Learn how to compost in your back yard through a training session provided by UNL Extension and the City Recycling Office at the Nature Center's backyard composting demonstration area. Two lucky participants will receive a free soil thermometer or plastic compost bin. The program is approximately one hour long.  No registration necessary.


Mother's Day Breakfast and Bird Walk

Treat your mother to a unique Mother's Day early morning bird walk followed by a breakfast of rolls, fruit, and a beverage.  Binoculars will be provided for those who do not have their own.

Date: May 12, Sunday                                                  
Time: 8-10 a.m.
Location: Chet Ager Building                                         
Fee: $10/person, register by May 7


Pine Needle Basket Making

Learn how to make coil baskets. Each person will begin a pine needle basket to finish at home. Recommended for people 14 and older. Register by January 10.

Date: Saturday, January 19
Time: 1-4:00p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $15/person

Sandhill Crane Trip

Experience one of our planet's most spectacular wildlife migrations.  Visit the Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center, travel rural roads to see the cranes foraging and dancing in the fields, then watch and listen to them return to the Platte River at sunset from a Rowe Sanctuary blind.  The fee includes van transportation, dinner and blind costs.  Must have the ability to walk uneven trails in low light with a guide.  Registration and payment required by February 21 for blind reservations.

Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: Noon-11:00p            
Fee: $75/person

Primitive Basket Making

In this class, we will learn how to make baskets using primitive supplies. Students will learn how several types of primitive baskets are made using indigenous techniques. After class, students will never look at baskets in quite the same way. We will concentrate on a couple of group projects, and will draw names to see who will get to take them home. Register by March 14.

Date: Saturday, March 23
Time: 1:00-4:00p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $15/person


Playful Puppets

Enjoy a wild puppet show and then work together to put on a puppet show for the adults. Recommended for children ages 3-10 years old. All non-participating attendees will leave for a short activity while the children prepare for their show. 

Date: Thursday, Dec 27
Time: 10-11a
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $5/child  


Storytelling & Music

Children of all ages can explore the exciting world of nature through music and storytelling.  Some instruments will be provided or bring your own. Each day will have a different theme: Wednesday is Winter, Thursday is Birds and Friday is Mammals.

Date: Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, Jan 2, 3 & 4
Time: 10-11a
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $3/person

Preschool Open House

Learn about the wonderful nature based preschool and pre-K programs at Pioneers Park Nature Center by attending one of the open house sessions. Children explore the Nature Center daily developing inquiry, motor and social skills..  Registration for 2013-14 school year starts on February 1st. If there is inclement weather Open House will be held Tuesday, January 29.

Date: Tuesday, Jan 22  
Time: 10-11a & 1-2p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: Free

Animal Theater & Winter Play

Celebrate Groundhog's Day with the animals! Come see a show about wildlife at the Nature Center. Then head outside for some fun winter games. Dress for the weather.

Date: Saturday, February 2
Time 10 – 11:00a
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $3/person

Nature Explorers Camp: Angry Birds

Schools out… spring is here and the competition is fierce in the fight for space and a mate! Discover what March madness is really all about. Plus have a crazy good time with friends. Before and after care are from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and from 5:00-5:30 p.m. Full camp activities will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Dates: March 11-15
Time 7:30a-5:30p
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $170

Hand in Hand: Spring Song

Together you and your child will discover the wonders of spring through walks, games and stories. Please dress for the weather, we will be exploring outside for a portion of each class. A snack will be provided. Ages 2 ½-3 ½ year olds and accompanying adult. Register by March 8.

Dates: Mondays, March 18, 25, April 8, 15, 22 & 29, May 6 & 13
Time: 10-11:30a
Location: Prairie Building Goldenrod Classroom
Fee: $65/child/8 week session
Birthday Parties @ 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.  There is time for a nature hike/activity and your birthday activities.  We provide the space, program, a favor bag for each child and a special gift for the guest of honor.  You provide the refreshments. Facilities available:

Birthday House, $75 for 10 children and 3 adults, $7 each additional child, 15 maximum. 
Auditorium, $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.

Specially For Scouts

Scout Hikes

One hour naturalist-led hikes are available.
Fee: $3/scout/minimum 10

Naturalist Badge for Webelos

Learn to identify the poisonous plants and animals of our area, search for animals of our region, investigate food chains, bird flyways and the importance of wetlands! Complete activities 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 with the help of Nature Center staff. Register by May 2.

Date: Saturday, May 11
Time: 9:30a-noon
Location: Prairie Building
Fee: $10/scout

Junior Naturalist Series

This series of programs is targeted at Brownies but all levels of Girl Scouts are welcome to attend. A six month series, sign up for one day to all six. Fee includes instructor, supplies, snacks and recognition. Come dressed for the weather, we'll be outside for at least part of the time! Register through the Girl Scouts at at least two weeks before the program. Fee $15/scout.

2013 Spring/Summer Junior Naturalist Series “It's Your Planet, Love It”

Days: Sundays | Time:  1-3:30p  
Location: Prairie Building  
Fee: $15/scout
March 17 Bird Brained
April 21 Get Growing
May 19 Nature's Recyclers
June 16 Water Wonders
July 21   Exploring Turtles
Aug 18  Tree-rific!


Upon request, staff will work with leaders for Naturalist or Forester badge programming with the following fee schedule:

  – 2 hours or less: $7/scout/minimum 10