There was a great Facebook conversation going on about the best parks in Omaha. Everyone has an opinion about parks and what makes them the best: Sand vs. non-sand, themes, variety, location, crowd levels, and the type of playground it had. There were some consistently favorite Omaha parks, so I’ve compiled those and narrowed that list down with some of my picks, too.
Note: This post was written in 2018 and updated in 2023 to reflect the new playgrounds opened at Standing Bear Lake and Dream Park at Lake Manawa State Park.
If you’re bored with your neighborhood park, here are some of my family’s favorite parks in Omaha. These are all ones with playgrounds. **UPDATE: Since I wrote this, three parks in downtown Omaha have reopened and they each have super fun playgrounds! Check out Gene Leahy Mall, Lewis & Clark Landing, and Heartland of America Park (with the skate ribbon).
Benson Park & Spray Ground
Where: 7002 Military Ave.
Size: 217.3 acres
Why: This park’s playground is outstanding– and a no-sand playground to boot. It’s great in all seasons, but especially fun in the summer when the popular splash pad is open. The small lake is nice for a stroll and fishing is allowed.
Where: 802 S. 60th St.
Size: 216.4 acres
Why: This park’s playground was recently updated, with some nice climbing areas added to it. Elmwood is one of my favorite parks because of the open space and the trails surrounding it. Take a short walk through the woods to imagine a little escape from the city. And if you’re so inclined, there is a fitness area right next to the playground where you can sneak in some weight-bearing exercises in while the kids play (I’m never so inclined).
Tip: This is a great one to pair with a picnic and park date.
Where: 3201 Woolworth Ave.
Size: 58 acres
Why: Omaha’s oldest park often gets overlooked by shinier new parks. However, its playground was updated in 2017, and it’s a great one. This park also has the perk of lots of gorgeous trees, a nice little lake, a pool, and a dog park.
Where: 3033 Hummel Park Road
Size: 202 acres
Why: This is our favorite city park for hike! It also has the best special events (so check the city’s calendar from time to time). The playground consists of rather large metal slides. They look cool, and my kids love them, but if you’re a nervous parent, I’d stay clear until your kids are steady climbers.
Lawrence Youngman Park
Where: 192nd Street and West Dodge Road
Why: This lakeside park has a pretty sizeable playground, a boat ramp, and fishing is allowed. And the covered picnic area is a nice bonus.
Standing Bear Lake
Where: 6404 N. 132nd St.
Size: 685 acres
Why: I like Standing Bear Lake for the lovely trail, but it recently opened new playground with a Native American them. The good news is: It doesn’t have sand.
Zorinsky Lake Park
Where: 3808 S. 156th St.
Size: 1,023 acres
Why: This is my absolute favorite park to run the trails, and they’re good for bike rides, too. The trail to the west of 168th Street is so wooded, you’ll feel removed from the city. The main playground near the boat ramp is huge and a hit with kids.
Plus one great playground near Omaha
If you look beyond the Omaha metro, you’ll encounter more fun parks to visit.
Where: Lake Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Why: This large, wooden park located in Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was originally designed by kids’ submissions of what the perfect playground would look like. In 2019, it reopened with an updated look and long-lasting material. There are several elements that draw from Council Bluffs history. Plus, it’s just awesome. Lake Manawa State Park also has trails and a small beach.
Unlike other parks on this list, Dream Park is in a state park that does charge an entrance fee for out-of-state visitors. It’s $5 per vehicle.
I’d love to know your favorite parks in Omaha! Please leave a comment with your favorites.
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