Niobrara State Park becomes a classroom for hundreds of children - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Niobrara State Park becomes a classroom for hundreds of children

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Archery and shooting games were some of the favorite activities at Niobrara State Park's Outdoor Education Rendezvous. Archery and shooting games were some of the favorite activities at Niobrara State Park's Outdoor Education Rendezvous.
NIOBRARA, NE (KTIV) -

Spring has finally shown signs of breaking in eastern Nebraska, and here at Niobrara State Park, hundreds of kids came out to enjoy the great outdoors.

"This is very beneficial to them, because some of these kids get stuck inside the city limits and this is a good way for them, and this is interesting to them," said Misti Halsey, a kindergarten aide in Pierce, Neb.

Teachers say there were weeks when the kids had to stay inside for recess. So, the chance to have class in an outdoor setting is one they can all appreciate.

"Thirty percent of the kids are indoors full time, with their iPods and those other things that they do," said Mark Rettig, parks superintendent for Niobrara State Park.

But this way, the kids say, was a much better option.

"Outdoors, hiking, fishing," said Hunter Howard, a 4th grader at Elk Horn Valley.

Park officials expected about 500 kids for this Outdoor Education Rendezvous. 25 different stations were set up throughout the park.

"Everything from s'mores to knot tying, to learning how to cast a fishing pole," said Rettig.

"It's fun because I was hitting all of the animals all over," said Adam Miller, a 4th grader at Elk Horn Valley.

Students worked through different activities like meeting animals, while others were exploring, and working.

"Petting the catfish," said Mariah Strom of Lynch, Neb.

"My group found a rodent skull, a jaw, and some leg bones," said Lane Carson, a 6th grader.

In the past years, Niobrara State Park had hosted a series of days for students, but this time around, they combined it all into one spectacular day. That way all could savor the experience together.

"This is awesome," said Miller.

"When you're doing that as a family you're creating for them, memories that will last a lifetime," said Rettig.

Plus, a reminder that summer is, in fact, coming soon.

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