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Arbor Lodge at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Arbor Lodge. Photo: JonClee86, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For those who enjoy visiting stately homes with gorgeous gardens, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is a great place to go.

Situated just a 45 minute drive from Omaha and around an hour from Lincoln, the park was once the home of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day.

Rich in history, visitors can tour the mansion, explore the beautiful gardens, walk the trails, and enjoy a picnic.

Spanning 52 acres, this Nebraska state park also offers recreational and bird spotting opportunities and is close to the Missouri River, making it a great family-friendly destination for those who love history and nature.


For those who visit Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, there are plenty of sites and attractions to enjoy during your time there.

Presented below is a quick rundown of some of the main ones to look out for.

Mansion at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

One of the main attractions at the park is the mansion. Built in the 1850s it has been beautifully restored to its original Victorian-era style.

The mansion at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park serves as a museum that is dedicated to the life and work of J.

Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about Morton’s contributions to conservation and the environment, as well as his political and social activism.

During a guided tour of the mansion, visitors can explore the various rooms, including the library, dining room, and bedrooms, which are all furnished with period pieces and artifacts from Morton’s life.

The museum also features exhibits that highlight Morton’s legacy and impact, including his work as a Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland, his advocacy for the establishment of the National Park System, and his efforts to promote conservation and environmentalism.

Visitors Center at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

In addition to the mansion museum, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park also has a separate building that houses the park’s visitor center.

The visitor center offers a range of educational resources, including interactive exhibits and displays, as well as information about the park’s recreational opportunities and events.

Gardens at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

The gardens at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park are divided into several distinct areas, each with its own unique features. The Sunken Garden is one of the most popular areas, with its terraced levels and decorative plantings. The Rose Garden is another popular spot, featuring over 260 varieties of roses in a range of colors and fragrances.

Other areas of the gardens include the Formal Garden, which includes a large fountain and well-manicured hedges, and the Wildflower Garden, which showcases a variety of native plant species. There is also a Japanese Garden, which features a small waterfall, a pond, and traditional Japanese landscaping.

In addition to the gardens, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park also includes a greenhouse, which is used to cultivate plants and flowers for use in the gardens. Visitors can take guided tours of the mansion and the gardens, and there are also educational programs and events held throughout the year.

Hiking at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is home to several hiking trails that wind through the park’s scenic woodlands and gardens.

The trails vary in length and difficulty, making them accessible to hikers of all skill levels. The park’s signature trail, the Tree Adventure Trail, takes hikers through a canopy of trees and offers stunning views of the park and the surrounding countryside.

The trail is also home to several educational exhibits that teach visitors about the trees and plants that call the park home.

Picnicking at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is a lovely destination for picnicking, and the park has several picnic areas equipped with tables and grills.

The park’s lush gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for picnics, and visitors can enjoy the park’s tranquil atmosphere while they dine.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own food with them, although they should respect the park by disposing of their trash responsibly and considerately.

Several shelters are available that can be reserved for group events and gatherings. However, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed at them.

Birding at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

Be sure to bring your binoculars with you if you are into birding as the park is home to a variety of bird species.

The park’s wooded areas provide habitat for woodpeckers, owls, and other woodland birds, while its gardens also attract a variety of songbirds and hummingbirds.

To help you identify the different species that reside there, it is worth grabbing a birding guide.


Arbor Lodge State Historical Park welcomes pets, however certain conditions to their presence have been put in place.

For a full rundown of the park’s pet policy it is worth contacting the main office for more detailed clarification.


Unfortunately there are no camping options available at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. But in the surrounding area you will find plenty of options.

This includes the Victorian Acres RV Park and Hidden Falls Cabins & RV Park. Both of which offer a range of RV and tent options for those who require them.

If you would prefer to stay at more homely forms of accommodation, you will find the Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast, Lied Lodge & Conference Center and Days Inn and Arbor Day Farm Lied Conference Center, all within a five minute drive of the park.

Park Location

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park
2600 Arbor Ave
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Phone: 402.873.7222

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park: