Discover Arbor Lodge State Park

Have you ever wondered about the park that honors the roots of Arbor Day? Let’s embark on an adventure through the history and facts of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is not just any park; it’s a slice of American history in Nebraska City, Nebraska. This historic site is where Arbor Day began, thanks to the visionary J. Sterling Morton, who also served as the Secretary of Agriculture in the 1890s. 

Imagine walking through the same halls as a pivotal figure in American conservation! Today, this historical park doubles as both a museum and a tribute to Morton’s legacy, featuring his home where the idea of a day dedicated to tree planting was conceived.

At Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, you’ll find more than a traditional state park experience; it’s a chance to walk through history literally. The Arbor Day Foundation, closely linked with this park, continues to promote tree planting and conservation, building on the legacy started here.

Plan your visit to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and immerse yourself in the rich history of Arbor Day and American conservation. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or looking for a unique venue for events, this park offers an unforgettable experience.


Top 3 Facts about Arbor Lodge State Park


Historical Significance

Arbor Lodge State Park is the former estate of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. Morton, a passionate tree planting and conservation advocate, established Arbor Day in 1872. His efforts have had a lasting impact on environmental conservation and tree planting worldwide.


Park Size

Arbor Lodge State Park spans approximately 400 acres, offering plenty of space for visitors to explore its scenic beauty, historic sites, and numerous recreational activities.


Tree Species

The park’s arboretum features over 200 species of trees and shrubs, making it a diverse and educational destination for tree enthusiasts and those interested in learning about different types of flora.

Where to Sleep

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1054 Grace River Road
Number of Guests 8
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Smoke detectors
$0.00 / day
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JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
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Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Arbor Lodge State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Arbor Lodge State Park

Arbor Lodge State Park is located in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Here are directions to help you get there:

  1. From Omaha:
    • Take I-80 W from Omaha.
    • Take exit 420 for NE-50 S toward Springfield.
    • Continue on NE-50 S for about 16 miles.
    • Turn left onto US-34 E/US-75 S and follow US-75 S for about 12 miles.
    • Turn left onto NE-2 E and follow it for approximately 4 miles.
    • Take the exit for Nebraska City and turn right onto N 4th Street.
    • Continue straight to stay on N 4th Street, then turn left onto Central Avenue.
    • Turn right onto N 6th Street, and Arbor Lodge State Park will be on your left.

Places to Stay Near Arbor Lodge State Park

Here is a list of accommodations near Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City, Nebraska:

  • Hotels
  1. Lied Lodge & Conference Center
  2. Best Western Nebraska City Inn
  3. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Nebraska City
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  1. Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast
  2. The Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard Hilltop House
  • Campgrounds
  1. Riverview Marina State Recreation Area
  2. Victorian Acres RV Park & Campground
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Public Bus


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Best Time to Go to Arbor Lodge State Park



Summer brings warm temperatures and long days, making Arbor Lodge a popular destination for outdoor activities. Picnics, hiking, and cycling are popular, and the park hosts various events and festivals. The lush foliage provides shade and a picturesque backdrop for relaxation.



Winter brings a serene atmosphere to Arbor Lodge, with snow-covered landscapes and peaceful surroundings. While outdoor activities may be limited, visitors can still enjoy walks along snow-dusted trails and cozy visits to the historic mansion, which is often decorated for the season.



Springtime at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is marked by vibrant colors and blooming flowers. The gardens come alive, making it a great time for leisurely walks and birdwatching. The weather is mild, perfect for exploring the historic mansion and its grounds.

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Must-See Attractions

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Arbor Lodge Mansion

The centerpiece of the park, Arbor Lodge Mansion, was once the home of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. Visitors can tour the mansion to learn about the Morton family’s life and legacy while exploring its elegant rooms, original furnishings, and beautiful architecture.

Arbor Lodge State Park Gardens

The park is renowned for its stunning gardens, which feature various plants, flowers, and landscaping designs. Visitors can stroll through the formal Sunken Garden, the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, and the Apple House Market to purchase plants and other garden-related items.

Morton Oak Tree

One of the highlights of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is the Morton Oak Tree, a majestic bur oak that was planted by J. Sterling Morton himself. This historic tree symbolises Morton’s commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship and is a popular spot for visitors to admire and photograph.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Arbor Lodge State Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for information on hours of operation, special events, and any temporary closures or restrictions.

Pack Appropriately

Wear Comfortable Shoes

The park has trails and gardens to explore, so wear comfortable walking shoes to navigate the grounds comfortably.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Remember that Arbor Lodge is a natural habitat for wildlife, so be respectful and observe animals from a safe distance. Leave no trace by disposing of trash properly and respecting park rules and regulations.

Stay Informed

Check the Weather

Nebraska weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast before your visit and dress accordingly. Depending on the season, sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent may be necessary.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Arbor Lodge State Park

Arbor Lodge began as a modest frame dwelling in 1855 and was remodeled seven times to become the present-day 42-room mansion.

Arbor Day is an annual celebration of tree planting, promoting environmental conservation and awareness. The Arbor Day Foundation has helped plant 500 million trees in the past 50 years.

Yes, leashed pets are allowed in designated areas of the park. However, pets are not permitted inside the Arbor Lodge Mansion or other historic buildings.

Yes, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park offers picnic areas with tables and grills where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals. These areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Yes, bicycles are allowed on designated trails within the park. Visitors are asked to stay on designated paths and be mindful of pedestrians.

Admission to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is typically free. However, there may be fees for guided tours of the mansion or special events.

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