Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in February. Here are some opportunities:

Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night is Feb. 1 in Kearney

Grab your fellow nature nerds and join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as it hosts Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at McCue’s Nebraska Taproom in Kearney.

Nature is cool, so there is no shortage of topics questions could cover. Get your teams of no more than five players and be ready to compete for prizes. Registration is not required.

These events are for adults only and are free to attend with a purchase from McCue’s, 2008 Avenue A, Suite A.

For more information and or questions, email [email protected].

‘The Science of …’ virtual webinar series continues

Nebraska Game and Parks’ virtual webinar series “The Science of …” continues in February. On Thursdays at 3 p.m. Central time, Game and Parks educators will discuss the science behind common things regarding nature and animals.

The topics are: Feb. 1 – Gar; Feb. 8 – Bighorn sheep; Feb. 15 – Garter snakes.

The webinars are free, but separate registration is required for each. See the calendar event entries at for registration links.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Birds and Binoculars on tap at Mahoney SP

Bird lovers of all ages are invited to the new James Family Conservatory and Nature Center Feb. 3 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park for Birds and Binoculars.

At 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., a variety of bird activities will take place in preparation for the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count. Learn beginner birding skills, identify birds at our feeders or on a hike, complete a birding craft and learn about different kinds of home-made bird feeders.

The James Family Conservatory and Nature Center is open Saturdays in February from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Naturalists will have nature-related activities available.

Little Saplings presents Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 7

Adults looking to explore the outdoors with their young children are invited to Little Saplings, a monthly early childhood nature discovery program at Schramm Education Center near Gretna.

The 2024 series, which occurs the first Wednesday of the month, continues Feb. 7 with the theme Great Backyard Bird Count at 9 and 10 a.m. It is designed for children ages 2-5 and their adult caregivers. The cost is $4 per child and $5 per adult.

See the calendar event entry at for more information.

Wildcat Tales preschool program is Feb. 13

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will host the monthly Wildcat Tales preschool program Feb. 13.

The program Dark Skies will meet at the Nature Center at 10 a.m. Mountain time. It will include a lesson plan, story and hands-on activity specifically targeted for children ages 2-6 years.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information, contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Schramm Education Center busy with programs in February

Several programs are planned in February for the Schramm Education Center, open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10 adults, $7 youth and seniors and 3 and under are free.

  • We Love Animals! Valentine’s Day Program – At 11 a.m. on Feb. 14, look for signs of animals in the winter on a naturalist-led hike; at 1 p.m., have fun learning about our aquarium fish, then make a gyotaku fish print to take home; and at 2 p.m., meet some of the center’s animal ambassadors. Paid admission is required. All ages are welcome.
  • Fly Tying for Beginners – On Feb. 17, stop in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to give fly-tying a try. You’ll work with the Cornhusker Fly-Fishers as you make a fly of your own to take home. Fly-tying is the art of attaching materials such as feathers, thread, metal, beads and more to a hook, with the aim of imitating an insect or small prey.
  • How to Draw Birds – Come to the center at 2 p.m. Feb. 24 to learn how to draw birds. Begin by observing them in the birding area. Later, in the classroom, a step-by-step method will be used to make drawing birds fun and easy. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Wildcat Hills to host Dark Skies homeschool program

There are air and water pollution, but too much light at night causes another kind of pollution. Come learn the benefits of dark skies during the homeschool program Dark Skies on Feb. 15 at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area.

The homeschool program meets once a month at 10 a.m. Mountain time at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center. Topics change each month.

The program is free, but a vehicle park entry permit is required. For more information contact the Nature Center at 308-436-3777. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Homeschool Hikes set for Feb. 21-22 at Schramm

Homeschool families are invited to join an outdoor educator on a guided hike at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna during the Homeschool Hikes program at 9 a.m. Feb. 21 and 1 p.m. Feb. 22. This month's theme is Great Backyard Bird Count.

Homeschool Hikes is a monthly nature exploration program hosted by the Schramm Education Center geared toward homeschool families and ages 5 and up.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP in advance through the event listing at

Valentine’s Day featured in February at state parks

Whether it’s a nice Valentine’s Day dinner or a cozy stay in a warm cabin, you can find them in February in Nebraska’s state parks.

Don’t forget to purchase a vehicle park entry permit to enter Nebraska Game and Parks state parks. Get one at or at state park entrances.

Compete in Ponca SP's snow-building contest

Get creative outdoors. Spend some time at Ponca State Park and build something unique out of snow, for the chance to win a free night's stay in a four-bedroom mini lodge.

This contest runs through March 19. Snow sculptures must be built at Ponca SP and can be of any size. Participants must supply their own accessories and may not take accessories from others. When finished, submit a photo of the sculpture to [email protected].

Prizes will be awarded for the top three places.

Mystery at the Mansion is Feb. 3 at Arbor Lodge

Come to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City on Feb. 3 for an evening of fun with Mystery at the Manson: Murder at the Hatters Mardi Gras Ball. This old-fashioned mystery, which guests may participate in, will take place at Arbor Lodge Mansion at 6 p.m.

Participants will receive a character to portray as they arrive at the mansion by 5:45 p.m.

Cost is $30, and space is limited for this adults-only event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visit the event listing at to buy tickets or for information on adding dinner or lodging.

Arbor Lodge celebrating Love is in the Air Weekends

Love is in the air at Arbor Lodge each weekend in February. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 3-4, Feb. 10-11, Feb. 17-18, and Feb. 24-25, step back in time and discover vintage Valentine's Day cards, weddings in an era gone by, and the history of Valentine's Day.

This event is included with Arbor Lodge Mansion admission. Visit the calendar event entry at to buy tickets. Call 402-873-7222 for more information.

Mahoney SP will host Valentine’s special

Reserve a select cabin room Feb. 9-14 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The two-bedroom cabins are $170-$190, before tax. For another $55, get the optional Valentine’s Package. Contact Group Functions at 402-944-2901 to make a reservation.

The Valentine’s Package includes sparkling juice, two wine glasses, Baker’s chocolates, insulated cooler tote bag, raffle tickets for prizes, tickets to activities, and a 2024 Nebraskaland calendar.

Visit the calendar event entry at to see more details and activities.

Birds and Breakfast set for two weekends at Ponca SP

Ponca State Park’s Birds and Breakfast, a two-weekend, two-night getaway package focused on the Great Backyard Bird Count and Valentine’s Day, is for lovers and bird lovers. It is scheduled for Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 16-17.

Guests receive a 30% lodging discount, complimentary bottle of wine or cider in their cabins, and hot breakfast in the Resource and Education Center.

Expert birders with the Loess Hills Audubon Society will conduct a bird-related program during breakfast and guided bird tours after breakfast Feb. 10. Bluebirds Across Nebraska will conduct a bluebird program during breakfast Feb. 17 and Ponca State park naturalists will conduct bird-related programs throughout the day.

For more details and to reserve a spot, contact the park at 402-755-2284 or at [email protected].

Enjoy Valentine's Day cabin getaway at Lewis and Clark

Reserve a lake-view cabin for a minimum two-night stay at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area on Feb. 9-11 or 16-18 and get a 30% discount.

A Sweetheart Package can be added on for $35. This includes early check-in and late check-out, waived pet fee, beverages, snacks, flowers, sweet treats and more.

Reserve your stay by calling the park office at 402-388-4169.

Enjoy Valentine’s getaway at Niobrara State Park

Niobrara State Park will host a special Valentine’s getaway Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 16-17.

Guests can get a 30% discount on lodging, with early check-in and late check-out. They also will get a complimentary package from local businesses.

Call the park at 402-857-3373 to make reservations.

Platte River SP hosting Valentine's Day dinner

Visit scenic Platte River State Park for a romantic Valentine’s Day Steak Night on Feb. 14 at the Walter Scott Jr. Lodge and Restaurant.

The dinner, served from 4-9 p.m., will include choices of steak, chicken, fish, appetizers, a salad bar, desserts and a kid’s menu. Visit the calendar event entry at to see the menu. Call 402-234-2217 for reservations.