When you’re in the process of buying a new home or trying to sell the one you have, parks are often on the list of commodities people care about.
How close is the nearest park? How big is it? Does it have a playground? Is it a good place to go for a run or to walk a dog?
Living in Omaha, we are in luck. Regardless of where you live, you are likely walking distance or at least relatively close to a park of some kind. With around 200 public parks, the city’s park system is the 11th best in the country according to the Trust for Public Land. Some are small parks nestled in neighborhoods, some offer large playgrounds and an array of picnic tables. And others are surrounded by lakes, tennis courts, basketball courts or soccer fields.
I thought I’d pass along a “Top 10” list of what I consider to be some of the best of the bunch. They’re good parks to keep in mind if you’re looking to move into a nearby neighborhood, or if you already have a home you love and are looking to explore a different part of the city.
- Heartland of America Park (800 Douglas St.). Waterfalls, a fountain, historic monuments and a sightly 15-acre lake make this park a favorite site for weddings, concerts, or just an evening stroll after dinner in the Old Market. It’s also walking distance to Gene Leahy Mall, another terrific downtown park.
- Pipal Park (7802 Hascall St.). This is a neat park to check out because it offers a “barrier free playground” that makes it easier for children with special needs to join in the fun. You’ll also find a picnic area, two tennis courts and a historic monument.
- Benson Park (7002 Military Ave). This sprawling 217.3-acre park includes several amenities, including soccer fields, baseball fields, horseshoes, basketball and tennis courts. You can also take a walk on a trail stretching 5/8 of a mile long that wraps around the lagoon.
- Zorinsky Lake (3808 S. 156th St). Besides providing amenities for several “land” activities such as soccer, football and baseball, this park, named after Senator Edward Zorinsky of Omaha, offers a 255-acre lake where you can boat and fish. The park is also home to the Bauermeister prairie, which houses 120 species of plants, birds and wildlife.
- Tranquility Park (12222 West Maple Road). With 17 soccer fields and 24 tennis courts, this park is a popular place for soccer and tennis leagues. However, it also offers other nice amenities including a playground, picnic shelters for special events and the Tranquility Park Mountain Bike Trail, a 6 mile, off-road biking course available to mountain bikers during normal park hours.
- Elmwood Park (802 S. 60th St.). This midtown park features an 18-hole public golf course as well as 216.4 acres of picturesque land sprinkled with paths, trails, a playground, picnic areas and lots more. It’s also walking distance from Stinson Park at Aksarben Village, popular for its playground, concert series, Omaha Farmer’s Market, and other special events.
- Halleck Park (816 E. Halleck St. in Papillion). With 70 acres of parkland, this Papillion park offers extensive walking trails as well as several athletic fields, playgrounds, a large pavilion and the Halleck Park Arboretum. You’ll also find the Halleck Park fishing lake, which is stocked with fish four times a year.
- OPPD Arboretum (108th and Blondo Streets). While this park is a great place for a walk, you can also learn a little something while you’re here. The park offers an electrical safety education area; a substation overlook; a transmission line demonstration; shelterbelt, wildlife and erosion control plantings; a formal planting area; and an outdoor classroom.
- Memorial Park (6005 Underwood Ave). This park is named after the large memorial in the center of the park dedicated to veterans who served during World War II. It’s also a popular place for kite flying in the spring, sledding in the winter, and its rose garden with about 1,000 rose bushes provides a delightful setting for a summer walk.
- Hanscom Park (3201 Woolworth Ave.). Located near Omaha’s historic Field Club and Gold Coast neighborhoods, Hanscom Park and the surrounding residential subdivision is one of the oldest in Omaha. Besides being close to U.S. President Gerald Ford’s birthsite and gardens, the park offers extensive floral displays, a lagoon, a swimming pool, several athletic fields and a playground.
And this is just a short list! For the complete list of all parks in Omaha, click here!