Nebraska parks for the family

Jun 1, 2012 at 6:25 a.m. ET

Nebraska is known for its sprawling land, and that means there's plenty of space for every type of park imaginable, from state parks to summer spray parks.

Mahoney State Park

Mahoney State Park

Mahoney State Park near Ashland is consistently ranked as a top Nebraska park. Open year-round, this 700-acre modern park sits along the Platte River and features endless amenities, activities and a nice assortment of lodging options including cabins and spacious campgrounds.

Mahoney is within driving distance from several attractions include the Strategic Air and Space Museum, Nebraska Wildlife Safari and, for the golfers, Quarry Oaks Golf Club and Iron Horse Golf Club.

Location: 28500 W. Park Highway, Ashland, NE 68003

Rates: Campgrounds are $15-$26


Calamus State Recreation Area

Envision a little slice of heaven complete with 5,000 acres of sand beaches, fishing, boating and swimming. That's exactly what you'll get at Calamus in addition to two modern campgrounds (including showers), two primitive campgrounds and a fish hatchery.

Location: Burwell, NE

Rates: Camping $7-$17


Heartland of America

The Heartland of America Park and Fountain is one of Omaha's most cherished parks. The famous Fountain with its 300-foot water jet and light show always draws a crowd. You'll also find the Lewis & Clark Interpretive exhibits, WWII and Airborne Memorial Sculptures and a pedestrian bridge connecting to the Lewis & Clark Landing.

Location: 800 Douglas St., Omaha, NE 68102

Rates: Free


Fontenelle Sprayground

Families wishing to cool off over the hot summer months will want to escape to this new city splash pad. Sprays include interactive ground sprays, spray flowers, dumping bells and spinners. Parents can either get involved and play in the water or sit back in the shade and enjoy watching their tots have a ball in the splashing water.

Location: 4405 Fontenelle Boulevard, Omaha, NE 68104

Rates: Free


Pioneers Park Nature Center

Spanning over 668 acres, Pioneers Park Nature Center is a beautiful family-friendly park with tallgrass prairies, woodlands, wetlands and a stream. Kids can burn off energy on any of the eight miles of hiking trails that pass bison, elk, and white-tailed deer habitats.

Location: 2740 A Street, Lincoln, NE 68502

Rates: Free