There are surprisingly few places to go trail riding within 30 or so miles of Omaha. One option at Mahoney State Park horse riding. Mahoney is in Ashland, Neb., which is about midway between Omaha and Lincoln.
UPDATED: This post was written in 2016 and updated in January 2023.
I’ve gone horseback riding at Mahoney as a kid and recently, I decided that it was time to hop back on the saddle, and this time, bring my son along for his first horse ride. My daughter wasn’t old enough for a trail ride, so she’d have to settle for a pony ride.
Mahoney State Park is family-favorite place to explore in any season, including exciting updates in 2018. The first time we went just for horses, though, didn’t quite work out for us. All trail ride slots were filled. So, I learned a few things to share with you.
Mahoney State Park Trail Rides Information
Before you trot out to Mahoney to take the kiddos on a trail ride, there are a few things you should know how it works, from getting your tickets to timing your ride.
1. You can only buy tickets in person at the administration office starting at 8 a.m. Call ahead of time to see if there are spots left, (402) 944-2523.
2. Trail rides are for ages 6 and older.
3. Trail rides last about 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Trail rides are $25.
5. Horse trail rides run from May to Labor Day. Starting in mid-August, hours are more limited.
6. Holiday weekends are the busiest times at Mahoney State Park. Which drives home point No. 1. Call ahead.
Mahoney State Park Pony Rides Information
My grand plan of taking my son out on his first trail ride didn’t pan out, but pony rides turned out to be a decent backup option. Here are a few things to know about pony rides at Mahoney State Park:
1. Kids ages 3-9 can ride the ponies.
2. Pony rides run from May to October. Rides are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with reduced hours starting mid-August. From mid-August to Labor Day weekend, pony rides are only on Saturdays and Sundays and Labor Day. Pony rides are weather permitting.
3. Pony rides are $7 and you can pay at the stables or at the Administration Office.
I think $7 is a little steep for a 5-minute pony ride in a circle. I made the rookie parent mistake of promising them a pony ride before knowing the price…and you know there’s no backing out of that kind of promise.
Want more horseback riding options near Omaha?
One of my family’s preferred parks for horseback is Platte River State Park in Louisville, Neb. I thought the route was more scenic since it went along a creek. Platte River State Park is about the same distance from Omaha as Mahoney, so about 20 to 30 minutes from Omaha.
We’ve come across pony rides at a festival at Bellevue Berry Farm in Bellevue, Neb. The most recent one we saw rides at was the Midlands Pirate Festival. Bellevue is just a few miles south of Omaha.
Further away, you can get pony rides at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. I wouldn’t make a trip just for the pony rides, but the zoo is a great one.
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