Situated astride the picturesque Missouri River bluffs in northeastern Nebraska, Ponca State Park is the eastern gateway to the 59-mile section of the Missouri National Recreational River, one of two un-channelized stretches of the river bordering Nebraska.
Ponca State Park encompasses nearly 2,400 acres of heavily forested rolling hills and Missouri River bottomland. The dense woodlands offer a haven for many types of woodland wildlife. During the day, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys often are seen throughout the area. In fall, the skies are filled with migrating ducks, geese and other birds. In winter, the park is home to bald eagles, often seen roosting, soaring and now nesting along the river. Winter is also a great time to view a variety of hardy songbirds at the park's bird feeders.
Ponca State Park has been selected as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The park annually participates in national and local bird events including a Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, International Bird Migration Day and regional spring counts.
The Highland Oaks Public Golf Course is located on the southern boundary of the park. This challenging 9-hole course offers spectacular park vistas and a luxurious clubhouse. The clubhouse offers a rental room for small family and business functions.
Ponca State Park provides excellent camping. Paved electrical camp sites in two modern campgrounds with 30/50 amp electrical hookups. There are showers, picnic tables, fire pits, nearby water spigots, dump station, and playground.
Ponca State Park has 14 rustic two-bedroom, air-conditioned cabins with two double beds, bedding, towels, bathroom with shower, kitchenette and screened porch. Kitchenettes are furnished with a range, refrigerator, cooking utensils, dinette, dishes and tableware for six. In addition to the 14 rustic cabins, Ponca State Park offers year round lodging with the 15 mini-lodge cabins each have 4 bedrooms with a Queen bed in each room. Mini-lodges are year-round w/large great room/dining area, wood burning fireplace, 2 bathrooms, cable TV, and high-speed internet. Reservations are accepted up to one year in advance for two or more nights. In addition to the 14 rustic and 15 mini-lodge cabins, Ponca offers 2 "Green Cabins". Each of the Green Cabins feature two bedrooms and fully-equipped kitchen. Amenities also include big screen TV, cable, wireless internet, gas grill, outdoor deck and more. Open year round. Weekday discounts (Sunday-Thursday) are available October-April on all the Green and Mini-Lodge cabins.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, are once again teaming together to provide the 9th Annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo on September 21st and 22nd , 2013. The Expo will feature hands-on activities, exhibits, seminars and demonstrations on topics such as fishing, hunting, game calling, camping, outdoor and game cooking, trapping, wildlife and the arts, outdoor survival, wildlife watching and optics, bird dog training, canoeing/kayaking, biking, outdoor photography, fish and wildlife management, live fish display, fly tying, conservation history, hunter ethics, firearms safety, habitat stewardship, shooting sports (shotgun, pellet rifle, muzzleloader, and archery), and many, many more.
All the activities at this event are free to the public with a Park Entry Permit. Free hayrack shuttles to different venues and through Ponca State Park's early fall colors are available. Expo hours are from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday. Food vendors are available at this event.