Imagine an endless, lushly shaded retreat tucked away in its own private wilderness, seemingly miles away from the city. A place where the gentle sounds of nature envelop you, whether you’re strolling along a rustic boardwalk, drinking in a sunset glistening off of the Missouri River, or standing in awe of a wild turkey, deer, or beaver as they cross your path. A place where an easy hike along a dirt trail is as rejuvenating as it is rewarding.

The perfect natural escape can come in many shapes and forms, but there are a few things that the most idyllic natural havens have: solitude, rich green foliage, water, diverse landscapes, endless opportunities for discovery and exploration, and, of course, abundant wildlife! Fortunately, Nebraska is home to multiple wildlife refuges and nature centers that offer unrivaled close-ups of the Cornhusker State’s natural beauty in all of its diversity.

But you don’t have to travel all over the state to get a complete dose of everything that NE has to offer in the way of fauna. For the wildlife-lover who wants to be immersed alongside animals in their natural habitat, there are some places that just can’t be beat. Take a trip to Fontenelle Forest this season and you’ll see what we mean!

There are literally hundreds of reasons to love this slice of Nebraskan beauty! Always remember to keep a safe distance from all wildlife and be respectful of your surroundings on your visit.

The hours of operation for the Nature Center are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., but extended hiking hours are available to members. Admission rates can vary, sure to follow the Fontenelle Forest Facebook page and website to stay up to date on special events!

Ready to see even more of Nebraska’s wildlife? To get up close and personal with some of NE’s larger residents, this wildlife safari is the perfect weekend adventure!

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