Seniors in Kearney, NE, are blessed with an abundance of beautiful locations where they can immerse themselves in nature. As many of the residents at Cambridge Court assisted living community know firsthand, our local area is rich with walking trails, picnicking areas, golf courses and fishing spots. The sheer variety of outdoor pursuits available ensures older adults can try new outdoor recreational activities and continue to engage in their favorite pastimes.
October is the peak period for spotting fall color, but all the months of fall are a great time to explore sights and experiences the season brings. To maximize comfort and enjoyment, be sure to dress accordingly. Grab a sweater if the wind is cool, wear practical footwear and make it a habit to apply sunblock and bug repellent before heading out of your assisted living apartment.
With 18 parks spread across 600 acres in Kearney to choose from, we can't include all of the top outdoor spots around our community in this list. However, we've collected information about eight of the parks that seniors might consider visiting this fall.
With its iconic tower, rock garden, fountain, gazebo and water features, Harmon Park is popular with walkers and photographers alike. It's filled with mature trees and landscaping, so seniors desiring to see autumn foliage won't have to look very far for displays of dazzling color. There are also shelters and picnic areas situated around the park to ensure visitors can take time to relax.
In addition to its natural beauty, Harmon Park also has an inclusive playground and several sports fields where seniors can watch local youth playing baseball, basketball, tennis and volleyball.
Covering 100 acres, Cottonmill Park is one of the largest parks in Kearney. Its 43-acre lake allows seniors to enjoy viewing fall foliage reflected in the water as they walk or bike along its many trails. Grills, picnic tables and playground equipment are set up in scenic locations, which makes it an ideal day-trip destination for older adults and their family during visits. There are also cleaning stations for individuals who go fishing in the lake and land a catch. A permit is required to fish; seniors and veterans that meet age requirements are eligible for discounted rates.
As the home of the Peterson Senior Activity Center, Yanney Heritage Park is well-known to most older adults in and around Kearney. Events and concerts are held regularly on the grounds and at the amphitheater, so families also visit the space often. Its ever-expanding selection of amenities are all gifted by donors, making the park truly one of a kind and worth the time it takes to explore the gardens, trails, marina and playgrounds.
Though the park is famous for its views of the migrating Sandhill cranes each spring, its lovely nature trails, swimming beaches and picnic shelters add year-round appeal. No-wake boating is permitted, and seniors are invited to call ahead of their visit to reserve a horseback trail ride. In addition to birdwatching and hiking, the area is great for fishing. Bluegill, catfish, bass and rainbow trout are located in seven fishing lakes scattered across the 186-acre site, and there are wheelchair-accessible fishing piers to ensure the safety and comfort of anglers with mobility issues.
As a pet-friendly senior living community, Cambridge Court is home to many dog lovers. While our grounds have areas where residents can walk their animal companions, the City of Kearney has also built a dedicated dog park inside of Meadowlark North Park that visitors can use to exercise their pets. The field is securely fenced to enhance safety for the dogs and has benches for owners to sit and rest.
Meadowlark Hills Golf Course has won several accolades for its inviting yet challenging 18-hole course, including consecutive selections as the Best of Kearney from 2014 to 2021 in the Kearney Hub readers' choice awards. It features water hazards, sand bunkers and a large driving range spread over the scenic bluffs of the Platte River Valley. Several leagues and programs, such as a ladies' day and couples night, are held regularly, and seniors new to the sport can take lessons from professional teachers and practice their swing on a special putting green.
Buffalo Ridge Golf Course originally opened in 1966, so the city of Kearney has grown up around the park over time. This suburban setting offers golfers a unique experience while making it easy to travel to the course. Its location on the northeast side of town is just seven minutes from Cambridge Court, so our residents won't have to transport their golf clubs far from their assisted living apartments to enjoy a good game.
Seniors wanting to introduce their grandchildren to golf may want to plan an outing with their family to the Elks Country Golf Course. The park offers unusual twists on the traditional game, including rounds of glow-in-the-dark golf and FootGolf that youth unfamiliar with the game may find appealing. Individuals interested in a traditional game can try their hand at a 9-hole public course that's open year-round.