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Omaha Magazine

Seeing Stars: Where to See Starry Nights Around Omaha

Apr 29, 2021 03:46PM ● By Kim Reiner

When people are inside Omaha’s city limits, stargazing isn’t as simple as stepping into one’s backyard and looking up. Viewers need to go somewhere with minimal light pollution, and preferably, to a place where the view of the horizon is not blocked. Those who are new to stargazing should know there’s a bit more to selecting a spot. A good tip is to consider the direction before selecting a stargazing destination. To view southern skies, it is important to choose the best southern spot in Omaha. Here are local stargazers’ favorite nighttime viewing spots:

 

Zorinsky Lake Park
3808 S. 154th St. (south entrance)
There’s a good reason the Omaha Astronomical Society holds public events at Zorinsky Park. Within the park setting, the street lights aren’t glaring, which creates as good of viewing conditions as possible within the city. The preferred spot for viewing is at the soccer fields.

Flanagan Lake
168th and Fort streets
Similar to Zorinsky Lake Park, Flanagan Lake benefits from the park setting away from too many street lights. As one of the newer parks built in Omaha, it’s another stargazing spot that’s popular with the OAS though parking can be a bit of a nuisance. Society members opt for a spot in the park near the playground located on the north side of the lake, just west of 168th and Ida streets.

Photo by @sixhexsix on Instagram

 Glenn Cunningham Lake Park

8305 Rainwood Road
The city-managed park sits on an expanse of 1,050 acres in northwestern Omaha. It’s a known site for stargazing, according to a member of OAS. However, the park has been under renovations for more than a year, including draining the lake, with no end date known.

 Two Rivers State Recreation Area

27702 F St., Waterloo, NE
Off-the-beaten path, Two Rivers SRA is a smaller camping spot home to seven areas and several sandpit lakes. The remoteness of the park makes it a good option for looking at the night sky. Nebraska State Park daily admission or an annual park pass is required to enter the area.

 Platte River State Park
14421 346th St., Louisville, NE
It’s a bit of a drive from Omaha, but Platte River State Park is an outdoor lover’s destination. Venture away from cabins to get the best views of the sky at night. The park has an observation tower to put people above the treeline, too. Nebraska State Park daily admission or an annual park pass is required to enter.

 Mahoney State Park
28500 W. Park Highway, Ashland, NE
Omaha Astronomical Society has singled out Mahoney State Park for its warm-weather monthly public viewing events. Cosponsored with Nebraska Star Party, the OAS events are typically held on a Friday night from May through September. The events are held at the park’s golf driving range. Organizers coordinate with park staff to ensure lights are shut off to ensure optimum viewing conditions. Nebraska State Park daily admission or an annual park pass is required to enter the area. 

This article originally appeared in the May issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.