OMAHA, Neb. — Portions of a $35 million project involving state parks and recreation areas between Omaha and Lincoln are expected to open this spring.

The Venture Parks project will offer zip lines, rock-climbing walls, an alpine slide, floating playgrounds and a splash pad, the Omaha World-Herald reported . There will also be luxury camping cabins.

The project will add to Mahoney and Platte River State Parks, as well as Louisville and Schramm Park State Recreation Areas. The complex is along the Platte River. About 1.5 million residents live within an hour-long drive from the site.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is leading the project. The goal is to encourage more people to go outside by offering a place for adventure and education, said Jim Swenson, the commission’s parks director.

“It’s an ambitious project that takes state park recreation to the next generation,” he said. “Our parks are gateways to the outdoors.”

The hope is to show the public that there is more to do at the state parks than just stopping by for a picnic, Swenson said.

Other planned features include an RV campground with electricity and Wi-Fi access. There will also be a sledding hill and snow-making machines, as well as mountain bike trails. There are also plans to improve air boat access and to build a canoe and kayak landing.

Educational portions include aquarium tanks with aquatic ecosystems and an interactive exploration center about the state’s water.

Features will be added to the Venture Parks over three phrases.

Eighty percent of the project’s funds were raised privately. The remaining $7.3 million is acquired from park fee funds.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com