Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Papillion, NE

  • Published 2022/08/17

In Nebraska, Papillion remains one of the state’s wonders because of its 19th-century Parisian influence.

This city vibrates with a small-town buzz with all the opportunities of a vibrant community.

The name Papillion came from the city’s creek and is often shortened to Papio.

Its proximity to the large-scale establishments and natural preserves of Ohama make it a reliable district with short commutes and downtimes.

It’s also known for its low unemployment rates and abundance of recreational activities.

With family-friendly centers and amenities, it’s also a worthy stop for groups with kids and seniors.

Here are some of the best things to do in Papillion, Nebraska:

Watch a Baseball Game at Werner Park

Field at Werner Park

Skinzfan23, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you a huge Omaha Storm Chasers fan?

Then, you’re in luck!

Werner Park is home to the group and gets you that homey feel when you watch baseball.

Get situated at the Berm Seating or the lawn, and cheer for your idols as they hit a home run.

Not only that, but this ballpark also gets you in that right cheering spirit with its indoor bar.

This minor league stadium also offers a one-of-a-kind venue for parties, galas, and balls.

Find Werner Park in west Papillion, on Ballpark Way.

Play a Friendly Tennis Match at Halleck Park

A relaxing day spent at Halleck Park is undoubtedly one for the books.

This expansive park along the road of the same name in downtown Papillion has a variety of sports venues, including a ballpark and a tennis court.

At the center of it all is Halleck Park Lake, which offers a curved walking trail at its sides.

In 2010, the park officially coined the term “affiliate site” of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.

Show your athletic side with a friendly sports match with your friends.

Ensure your kids get their fun within the playgrounds and pens.

Stay at the pavilion and breathe in the atmosphere of silence and relaxation.

All 70 acres of Halleck Park are worth exploring.

Have a Go at the Arcade Games at Papio Fun Park

Papio Fun Park is located south of Papio Creek, on East Lincoln Street.

This amusement park has everything you and your little ones may desire in a fun field trip.

Spreading across eight acres, it is enough to house a wide array of thrilling activities, including batting cages and go-karts.

Do you wish to spend your birthday amid the adventurous walls of a theme park?

Papio Fun Park can make that dream come true.

To top it off, the park’s indoor facilities keep the fun never-ending.

Improve your basketball and volleyball skills with a try at the Jumpshot.

Or better yet, win a prize at the arcade center by only strategizing your way to victory with the games.

Sit by the Walnut Creek Lake

West of 96th Street, you’ll come across Walnut Creek Lake.

Despite the lake in its name, this outdoor locale is a mixed-use recreation area with a reservoir.

The astounding fish species you can encounter in the lake include bass, bluegill, and crappie.

The trails surrounding the aquatic reserve are best for hiking and horse riding.

Also, picnic areas are all over the vicinity, so you can sneak a quick snack break around your walking tour.

Watch the clear skies sitting by the boat ramp.

Bring your dogs and watch them have fun getting to know nature in its beautiful state.

Get a Tan at Papio Bay Aquatic Center

Papio Bay Aquatic Center fits all you may be looking for in a swimming and aquatic center.

This five-acre center on Halleck Street doesn’t hold back with its magnificent facilities and equipment.

To prove this, Papio Bay Aquatic Center received the Excellence in Aquatics Award, which is only given to the best-managed facilities all over the country.

Children also have their own fun-packed materials, including a butterfly slide and a sand play area.

If swimming isn’t your thing, you can lay back on a mat or chair by the grassy area and fulfill your tan.

You can also host a game of volleyball on the sand courts.

At this pool and facility, fun things are in store for you and the whole family.

Play around the Splash Pad at Schwer Park

Papillion never runs out of outdoor centers for those needing the time to exercise and let loose.

Schwer Park is one of these well-loved centers.

At West Centennial Road, this spot stands out from the others with a seven-acre fishing lake.

It also features one of the three infamous splash pads in Papillion.

Soak in the sun and a little water while playing with the shower flowers and rainbow rings.

Schwer Park’s winding trail is also an ideal choice for a biking tour or a peaceful walk.

Explore the Downtown Area at First Street Plaza

Street view of Downtown Papillion

Atomic Energy505, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the heart of downtown Papillion, on Washington Street, cool yourself down at the Splash Pad in First Street Plaza.

The famous Splash Pad in this plaza is the most sought-after amenity in the area.

This pad is on the western edge and a highly recommended spot when the summer heat becomes too much.

Shopping is also a tourist favorite for those stopping by the plaza.

If you’ve got the time, you may want to sit by the shaded areas and immerse yourself in a good book.

For those feeling adventurous and curious, renting a bike is an option.

First Street Plaza has a B-Cycle location where you can get a temporary ride for your on-land traversing.

Touch up on Your Fishing Prowess at Prairie Queen Recreation Area

Prairie Queen Recreation Area opened its doors to the public in March 2015.

Since then, it has served as a sanctuary for those wanting a fresh break.

Upgrade your knowledge of the site’s dam and flood protection measures.

So, you aren’t only enjoying yourself, but you also gain insight into the city’s water development and improvement plans.

Prairie Queen Recreation Area’s aquatic habitats, including underwater shoals and cove enhancements, have also improved to make the lake the most suitable place for fishes and underwater animals.

Boat around the lake and bring your fishing gear with you.

Take home your fresh fish meal of catfish or black crappie for the day.

Spend Your Afternoon at the Trail at Big Elk Lake Recreation Area

Your outdoor recreational break will best be spent at Big Elk Lake Recreation Area.

This lake boasts not only of its impressive aquatic attraction but also of its 1.1 miles of trail.

From a top perspective, you’ll see the trails surrounding the lake extending further into nature in its tranquil form.

You can also go on a non-motor boat to explore the lake and its beauty.

Here’s a fun fact about this lake and recreation area: its name came from the leader of the Omaha tribe, Chief Big Elk.

Now, its historical significance has grown 10 times more vital in the city of Papillion because of the area’s stunning view of the lake.

Big Elk Lake Recreation Area is located on Cornhusker Road.

Score a Hole at Eagle Hills Golf Course

Eagle Hills Golf Course is on Eagle Hills Drive.

This manicured golf course, opened for play in 2000, gives way to some basic and complex layouts for that golf score.

It’s perfect for beginners and those polishing their skills.

The course features 18 holes, a three-hole academy course, a practice teeing area, and a clubhouse.

With its challenging natural characteristics, including rolling fairways and wetlands, you are sure to have a grand time with a round—or multiple rounds—with colleagues and friends.

Eagle Hills Golf Course is also open for corporate events and seasonal celebrations.

Down by the practice area, you can schedule an appointment with one of our experts to hone your skills.

Have a Spooky Tour at Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch

At South 48th Street, meet the Old West charm of Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch.

Get your seasonal produce—of fruits and vegetables—from this ranch.

Most importantly, bring your party to this place and watch as your simple celebration becomes extra special.

When you come to the ranch on specific months, you may catch the Haunted House and Hayride.

It features a 30-minute adventure through scary and eerie sceneries.

Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch also has campfires and a pavilion if you want a peaceful meeting with friends.

Watch an Outdoor Concert at SumTur Amphitheater

One of the best ways to truly enjoy Papillion is to watch a live event in an open area.

SumTur Amphitheater gives you that immersive concert experience in a laid-back setting.

Opened to the public in 2007, this amphitheater is the premier choice for outdoor performance venues in all of Nebraska.

This is because of its 350 stadium seats, 2,150 hillside seats, and improved lighting and audio system.

Entertainment is now more accessible and innovative at SumTur Amphitheater.

Find this venue on Third Street in the city.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Has Papillion increased your hunger for exploration and amusement?

It may be time to check in at what you can do at some of the following sites near the city:

Navigate the Cultural Exhibits with Your Child at Omaha Children’s Museum

Entrance of Omaha Children's Museum

Ckahler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The large neighborhood of Omaha, only 19 minutes from Papillion, is where Omaha Children’s Museum resides.

This exhibit-filled museum and learning center offers little ones the chance to explore their interests.

Since 1976, the educational programs affiliated with this center have helped hone children’s skills.

The seasonal exhibits showcased come in various themes–some of which focus on space, culture, and fantasy.

At the museum, hourly shows also depict in-depth discussions about various topics.

Take your kid to Omaha Children’s Museum and watch them fall in love with nature and life.

Explore the Underwater Aquarium at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

A tiger walking majestically at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Aspects and Angles /

Be more in tune with wildlife while going for a drive at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

From 2D characters to real-life animals, you can learn a thing or two about the creatures in this zoo.

Go on an Alaskan adventure and learn more about the humpback whale through the sculptures and spouts.

Ride an open-chair airlift and discover more about the various exhibits at the zoo from up above.

A Gorilla looking into the camera at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Aspects and Angles /

Take your child for a carousel ride at Sue’s Wildlife Carousel and feel the nostalgia of amusement parks.

Purchasing a ticket to this park is well worth your time, that’s for sure!

You only need to drive 17 minutes from Papillion to reach Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Jelly fish at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

TheCreatorx3d /

Get Lost in the Barn Maze at Haunted Hollow Scream Park

Haunted Hollow Scream Park, located on Old Giles Road, is a 10-minute drive northeast of Papillion.

This haunted park, established at least two decades back, has been at the forefront of Halloween scares.

From horror themes like freak shows to movie-specific ones like Michael Myers’ house, every show can be a terrifyingly good time.

Spook yourselves and your friends as you circle the Whack Shack, where reality is part of the illusion.

Get ready to run in the sinister old corn maze, where eerie sounds abound.

After a scary show, walk into Haunted Hollow Scream Park’s Carriage House Café to energize yourself.

Bike around the Premises of Chalco Hills Recreation Area

Frozen stream during winter at Chalco Hills Recreation Area

HolmesCatDog /

Chalco Hills Recreation Area, in southwest Omaha, is only a 12-minute drive from Papillion.

This ecological education center is the ideal place for a breather and nature watching.

One of its breathtaking features is the Wehrspann Lake, which acts as a flood control reservoir for all of Omaha.

Snow covered trail at Chalco Hills Recreation Area

HolmesCatDog /

Discover flora and fauna around Chalco Hills Recreation Area, including Nebraska’s state flower, the goldenrod.

For a quick tour, bike around the place and marvel at the large expanse of lawn and lake on both sides.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can also try your hand at fishing.

This river’s Catch and Release fishing measures are especially important, though, so you might want to check that out before bringing out your rod.

Final Thoughts

Papillion and its numerous recreational sites make it an appealing city for a trip when you’re in or planning to go to Nebraska.

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a month-long stay, Papillion welcomes you with its never-ending chain of attractions.

Make your way to this fascinating destination and enjoy this list of the best things to do in Papillion, Nebraska!

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