Fontenelle Forest is now open to the public (effective July 1).
Before visiting the Forest, please read our detailed list of reopening guidelines below, so that you know what to expect when visiting.
Purchase a membership or daily admission online or by calling Visitor Services at 402-731-3140.
Fontenelle fOREST’S phased reopening guidelines (EFFECTIVE jULY 1)
We are very excited to welcome back our members and guests!
WE ASK THAT YOU FOLLOW ALL GUIDELINES TO HELP CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR OUR MEMBERS, GUESTS, volunteers AND STAFF. THANK YOU.
What can I expect when I visit?
First and foremost, we are asking visitors that feel sick, have a fever, or are exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19 to stay home.
When you visit, please take a moment to familiarize yourself and follow signage throughout the area. This will help ensure an easy and safe visit to Fontenelle Forest.
Before checking in at the Forest:
For guests who need to pay admission or renew a membership, we are encouraging payment online or via the phone whenever possible prior to arrival at the Forest (or while in the parking lot via their phone). This is simply to minimize the amount of time guests spend standing in close proximity to one another during check in. If purchasing admission or membership online is not an option, we are happy to help with that in person when you arrive at the Nature Center.
You can purchase daily admission or renew your membership in the following ways:
- Online at FontenelleForest.org/Visit.
- Over the phone with a credit/debit card by calling 402-731-3140.
- Cash can be placed in the admission box (through the access gate and to your left at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center). Neale Woods and other locations have a lockbox where you can pay daily admission.
- Cash or credit/debit card can be accepted at the Visitor Services desk inside the Nature Center.
Two options for entry:
- Direct Trail Access: You may go directly to the trails (bypassing the building), by calling 402-731-3140. Visitor Services will remotely open the gate for you.
- Nature Center: You may enter the Nature Center (mask required) and check in at Visitor Services.
While checking in at either location, please be courteous of other guests waiting and maintain proper social distancing.
If you plan to enter the Nature Center, there are procedures we ask that you follow:
- The main entrance will be “Enter Only.” Please do not exit through the main doors. If you need to reenter the building for any reason, please walk around the building and use the main entrance.
- Masks: All guests entering the building will be required to wear a face mask. Children age 2 and under are not required to wear a mask. This is to help keep you and our staff safe. If you need a mask, disposable masks will be available for $1. We also have a variety of other masks and bandannas available for sale in our Gift Shop.
- Please wait your turn to approach the front desk to check in. Markers have been placed on the floor to help maintain proper social distancing.
- Please follow all one-way directional markers and maintain a safe distance while walking through the Great Hall, Gift Shop and Baright Gallery.
- Baright Gallery: Those wishing to view the current exhibit in the Baright Gallery are asked to follow the one-way directional signs and maintain proper distancing. We are recommending no more than 20 guests in the gallery at a time.
- Restrooms: Restrooms are available, but may have limited capacity, to avoid guests being exposed to groups other than their own. To access restrooms, enter through doors off plaza at the back of the Nature Center, not through the main entrance).
- Gift Shop: The gift shop is open to one-way traffic and we are asking that no more than five (5) guests shop at any time. Guests will purchase any items at the front desk, as usual.
- Habitat Hollow and Mud Pies: Habitat Hollow and Mud Pies (lower level) will remain closed until further notice.
- Exiting the Nature Center: Guests may either exit the building through the doors leading onto Dennis Plaza or exit the Baright Gallery doors leading to the Raptor Woodlands Refuge. Once guests have exited either of those doors, reentry will not be permitted. To reenter the Nature Center, guests will need to walk around the building and reenter through the main Nature Center doors.
- Consider all doors of the Nature Center (except the main entrance) as exit only.
The Raptor Woodland Refuge will open with similar procedures:
- Recommended 20 person capacity
- Maintain proper social distancing
- Masks are encouraged
- Follow the one-way directional markings
- Stay to the right and proceed through the exhibit in a counter-clockwise direction
- The center walkway and rope bridges will be closed
- All exhibits will be visible
Acorn Acres: Acorn acres will be open, but is an outdoor area and is not cleaned or sanitized. We are asking guests to follow all the same guidelines in this area, including encouraging the use of masks and maintaining a safe distance from other guests.
Rentals: Strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs are available for rent during your visit. Guests will be asked to wear disposable gloves (provided) and masks (required indoors) when using Fontenelle Forest equipment. All strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs will be thoroughly sanitized between uses.
One-way traffic on the Boardwalk: We are asking all guests using the boardwalk to keep to the right at all trail intersections and maintain social distancing whenever possible. Going right at every intersection will help us keep traffic going in one direction.
Trail usage: Trails at Fontenelle Forest are open except where posted due to ongoing maintenance and repair. Please follow all trail signage.
Exiting the Forest: When exiting Fontenelle Forest, all guests will be asked to leave via the outdoor walkway between the Nature Center and Raptor Woodland Refuge, exiting via the main access gate.
Neale Woods: The Neale Woods Nature Center building will remain closed. Neale Woods trails are open except where posted due to ongoing maintenance and repair. Please follow all trail signage.
hours and all other information remain the same.
- Open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Extended Summer Hours through Labor Day)
- Open Saturday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Member fob access is available before and after hours (as usual). Member fobs can be purchased at Visitor Services or by calling 402-731-3140.
- Membership and daily admission are available for purchase online.
Questions? Call Visitor services at 402-731-3140.
pROGRAM AND EVENT updates/CANCELLATIONS
Fontenelle Forest is open as of July 1. For an updated list of events, visit FontenelleForest.org/calendar.
For questions, please call our Visitor Services desk at 402-731-3140.
reducing the risk to yourself and others
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and its partners continue to track the unfolding outbreak of illness caused by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and anticipate its impact on Nebraska and its health care system. You can reduce the risk to yourself and others by closely monitoring the situation and following the guidelines set forth by local, state and national health agencies.
Additional Trusted Resources
Click on the links below to find the most up-to-date information regarding Covid-19 from trusted local and national resources.