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April 27, 2022

Nature Spots: We're Not in Omaha Anymore...


The weather's (very slowly) getting warmer & sunnier!

And with that, I know we’re all itching to get outside! Sometimes it can be tough to get a full nature fix in such a flat and landlocked state like Nebraska, but I’ve done some exploring and I have come up with a list of some beautiful spots in Omaha that will help you appreciate the nature available to you and even make you feel like you're not in Omaha anymore!

Chalco Hills Recreation Area

Chalco Hills Recreation Area - Great Runs

There is a lot of natural beauty to see here! I brought my dad to Chalco Hills when he visited from Connecticut, and we spent a whole sunny day here. We took our kayak out for a while, as there is plenty of lake to explore. Then we took a long stroll around the trail that surrounds the lake. I was blown away by how massive and serene the trail is, which is also perfect for biking or running!

Lake Cunningham

photo by Caity Ducham

I’m hesitant to put this one on the list, because it is currently a hidden gem. As one of the lesser-known lakes in Omaha, Lake Cunningham is the ideal location for an intimate sunset picnic or a peaceful sunny walk. This area recently underwent a huge makeover, so all the trails and recreation areas are updated and clean. There is also camping, boating, and the cutest lighthouse! There will be summer events happening here, like food truck days and even 5K races!

photo by Caity Ducham

Sonny’s Aksarben

Love nature but prefer to sit with a cocktail than to hike or bike? Sonny’s is an airstream-turned-bar planted in the heart of Aksarben. In the warmer months, bistro tables are added into the glass greenhouse for a cozy and tropical outdoor seating area. You can grab a drink or some food from any of the surrounding restaurants and be transported a little closer to the ocean.

Lauritzen Gardens

This botanical center is one of the top rated spots in Omaha, because of all the amazing colors and textures of the thousands of plants here. You can easily spend a whole day exploring the beautiful grounds and experiencing all the seasonal attractions the gardens have to offer. Be sure to check out the website before you go, as you can reserve a ticket ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the programs and guidelines. Admission costs $9-$15, but if you have a library card you can check out a pass from any Omaha Public Library or online for free!

OPPD Arboretum

I had some suspicions when I pulled up to this “nature spot” so close to busy Blondo Street, but after a few minutes of walking in the trails, I started to see why this was highlighted for its peaceful wonder. The trails are dense and woodsy, the trees are colorful and lively, and there are plenty of serene benches and bridges to add to the experience. Because of the beauty of this spot, it is a popular place for photo shoots, so try to go before golden hour to avoid the rush of photographers!

It’s easy to get discouraged at what feels like a lack of natural beauty here in Omaha, but I encourage you to check out these locations and continue pursuing more natural gems in our city.

You may be surprised at what you find!

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