Oak Lake Park


A community park including playgrounds, open green space for special events located near Sun Valley Boulevard and I-180.

Acres: 186.39


Oak Lake Park has been a staple in Lincoln since the mid 20th century. However, it hasn’t always had the same pristine look it does today. 

In 1922, Henry and May Bannister gifted their parcel of land to the City of Lincoln. This parcel, along with a large piece of land owned by the State of Nebraska, were to be used “for general park use”. This became Oak Lake, then called Oak Creek Lake. Oak Creek Lake offered boating and fishing opportunities for Lincoln. The lake, only around 4 feet deep, was well-stocked with close to 70,000 fish. By the early 1940s, Oak Creek Lake Park became a “mecca” for recreation in northwest Lincoln. Planting a variety of trees became a priority for the department, in an area that was still dominated by stark prairie land. 

Adjacent to this newfound lake was the Lancaster County dump that stretched across Oak Creek and sat at the corner of Highway 6, right outside of the North Bottoms. This dumping site had been used all the way up until the middle of the 20th century, and there are few records of its existence besides photographic evidence and first-person accounts. According to a Journal Star article from 2017, Lincoln historian Jim McKee recalled “cars all over dumping stuff--everything went in--from bed springs and old furniture. People would scavenge around the dump too” (Hicks, 2017). 

After the North 48th Street dump was created in the 1950s, the Lancaster County dump site near Oak Creek Lake was given to the Parks and Recreation Department. This was dredged and cleaned out, and later replaced with layers of dirt. Almost the entirety of this site was turned into the second lake at Oak Lake Park. Oak Creek Dog Run was also created in the vicinity. 

In 2017 the Oak Creek Dog Run was transferred to a larger space at Roper. Today, Roper East Park covers 6.6 acres of land, allowing for small and large dogs to enjoy the outdoors freely. 

Today, Oak Lake Park is a haven for the communities around northwest Lincoln. The Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Independence Day celebration, the Uncle Sam Jam, is hosted at Oak Lake Park every summer. Oak Lake is still stocked with fish, allowing for tremendous recreation opportunities. New playground equipment was installed at Oak Lake Park in the recent years, making this park an enjoyable place for the whole family. 


Rules and Regulations


All wedding reservations require a $100 damage deposit toward any preemptive cleaning fees or potential damage that is done to the park during your wedding. These deposits are refundable after your event if everything is found clean and in order, there are no alcoholic beverages in the park, and there are no reports of your wedding party blocking the public from entering the park. Damage deposits can be dropped off at the Lincoln Parks and Recreation administration office.

Key, Damage, and Cleaning

All deposits must be provided in either cash or check, as they are refundable if everything is found clean and in order after your event, there are no alcoholic beverages in the park, and you are only in the space for your allotted time period. We do not accept credit card deposit payments. 

Damage deposits cover three categories: Key Deposits, Damage Deposits, and Cleaning Deposits. If the key is not returned, if there is damage done to the space, and/or the space is not cleaned when Parks staff arrive following your event, you will be subject to penalization or suspension of your account.

All deposits are required for Enclosed Shelters, Weddings, Special Use Locations, and some Open Shelters. While keys are not required in most open shelters, if you would like electricity, you will need a key to open the electrical box.

In order to drop off your deposit you will need to come into the Parks and Recreation Administration Office during the time listed below for your subsequent shelter.

Refund Policy

Lincoln Parks and Recreation has implemented a “Cancellation Policy” for all groups reserving spaces. Any refund on a shelter reservation is subject to a $25.00 administration fee and must be made seven (7) working days prior to the reservation date. If your request is approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation, you should receive a check for your subsequent amount in the mail from the City of Lincoln within two or three weeks.

Interruption or Termination of Event

Lincoln Parks and Recreation reserves the right to terminate or interrupt any event in the interest of weather-related emergencies, public safety noncompliance with the City of Lincoln and Lincoln Parks and Recreation laws and policies, or if the event can be viewed as inappropriate.

Inclement Weather

Lincoln Parks and Recreation is not responsible for circumstances beyond their control such as bees, mosquitoes, rain, cold weather, bad weather, vandalism, etc. You may complete a refund request, but requests due to inclement weather are viewed on a case-by-case basis with the Director of Parks and Recreation.


Reservation FAQ's

Lincoln’s many city parks and gardens are wonderful places to host your big day! You can choose from over ten different options ranging from an urban brick background at the Haymarket’s Iron Horse Park to a botanical scene at the famous Sunken Gardens.

Do I get exclusive use of the park when I make my wedding reservation?

No. Since city parks are considered public property, it is illegal to bar the public from entering the park during your wedding. By making a reservation at a city park for your wedding, you are ensuring that you will be the only wedding allowed in that area at the time. While the public are encouraged to be conscientious of your space and big day, you are not allowed to kick them out of the park for your time period. Damage deposit must be paid within two weeks prior to the event. For information about the deposit policy, read appendix.

What amenities are provided in wedding sites?

We simply provide the location and backdrop for your wedding, all additional items such as chairs, tables, and decorations must be privately provided. Keep in mind that we do not allow any litter such as fake flower petals, glitter, birdseed, crepe paper, or rice to be left in the park after your wedding. We do not allow any open flames such as candles. We also do not allow stakes to be put in the ground.


How far in advance are reservations made?

Dates may be reserved up to one year in advance. Include the date and time of requested use when making a reservation. When making a reservation, be sure to include time to set up and clean up, as you are only allowed in the shelter for the allotted time you requested.

Additional information

Please check with our Administration Office staff and District Supervisors to help direct you to designated areas in outdoor wedding venues.


Commercial Photography in the Park

Lincoln's parks and public gardens have provided beautiful backdrops for generations of family photos. When you or your photographer are taking pictures, we ask that you be mindful of, and minimize disruption to, other park users and garden visitors. Please also take care to avoid damaging any flowers, plantings, turf, or park property.

If your photo shoot is large and/or it could disrupt normal park or public garden operations, you make need to seek a Special Use Permit. If fees for photography services are collected on site, a Permit to Conduct Business may be required. Wedding reservations are available at our wedding designated sites. Please contact 402-441-7847, Ext. 0, or email parks@lincoln.ne.gov, for additional information regarding both Special Use Permit and wedding reservations.

Thank you and enjoy those beautiful pictures!










Sun Valley Blvd. & Charleston Street, Lincoln 68508  View Map

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