Beautiful Gilman Park offers a wide variety of attractions and accommodations. Playgrounds, ball field, picnic areas as well as the venues listed below highlight the 50 acre park.
Gilman Park Arboretum
Award-winning Gilman Park Arboretum was established in 1993 and became affiliated with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in 1996. The arboretum is 14 acres around Bill Cox Memorial Lake featuring over 325 species or cultivars of woody plants and landscape gardens containing over 80 varieties of perennials and grasses. A 1.2 mile paved service path winds through the Arboretum and features a 1913 “rigid-connected lattice pony truss” bridge build by Canton Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio. This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Nebraska Historic Bridge Inventory.
Pierce Historical Museum
Pierce Historical Society Museum boasts five buildings filled with memories of the past. Staffed by volunteers the museum is open every Sunday from Memorial weekend to Labor Day weekend 1:30 to 4:30 pm. The original Pierce Train Depot, District 7 School House, and Frank Kratochvil Blacksmith Shop are three of the buildings on display at the museum.
Bill Cox Memorial Lake
This 12 acre lake was built in 1970 in memory of Bill Cox, former owner/publisher of the Pierce Country Leader. Overlooking the lake is the Calvert Memorial Gazebo built in memory of long-time Pierce family doctor, John H Calvert.
In 2012, the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission restocked the lake with bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Fishing is allowed under the following regulations.
PER DAY LIMITS: 5 Bluegill, 1 Bass 21” Minimum, 5 Catfish 15” Minimum.
No Minnows or other live fish allowed for bait. $100.00 fine for each violation.
Fishing in Bill Cox Lake requires a Nebraska fishing license. No state park permits are required. Ice Fishing is allowed (at your own risk)
The “Shelter House” is located in Gilman Park, east of the swimming pool. Constructed in 2011, it replaced an older log cabin shelter house that was significantly damaged in a severe thunderstorm in 2010. The Shelter House is available for rent by calling ahead for reservations. The fully enclosed facility has been used for family reunions, wedding receptions, birthday parties, and even for weddings and baby showers. Rental fee is $100.00. The shelter house has air conditioning and heat, with a refrigerator, microwave, and a double oven. It has cafeteria bench seating, a patio area protected by a roof with picnic tables and a grill. For reservations call (402) 329-4535.
The “Devers Shelter” is a partially enclosed shelter located to the east of Bill Cox Lake. The shelter is available by reservation. There is no charge for reserving the Devers Shelter Area. There is an open area to the east and north for kids activities that includes playground equipment.
Camping is available at Gilman Park on a first come, first serve basis. There are four camper spaces in the camping area which is located west across the parking lot from Bill Cox Lake. There is electricity and water available May-October. Daily Camping fee is $10.00.
The Pierce Municipal Swimming Pool located in Gilman Park is open Memorial Day weekend through the first week of August. The pool has a baby pool and two diving boards. The swimming pool was constructed in 1994.
In the rolling hills of northeast Nebraska you will find Cuthills Vineyards, located just 3 miles west of Pierce on 853 Road, just north of Willow Creek State Recreation Area. The first winery in Nebraska, you’ll enjoy award-winning wines in a restored 1920’s barn surrounded by seven acres of vineyards. They offer free samples of approximately 20 red and white wines, ranging from dry to sweet.
Scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area is located 1.5 miles southwest of Pierce. Built in 1982 by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District and managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission the park covers 1,600 acres and offers camping, fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing and hunting. An 8-mile hiking and horseback limestone trail winds through the area meandering from the swimming beach and proceeding to the west edge of Pierce.
The Pierce County Veterans Memorial is located on the grounds of the Pierce County Courthouse. The memorial was dedicated on May 28, 1995 to honor all veterans from Pierce County who served our country.
This beautiful 3,067 yard, 9 hole golf course is located 1 mile northwest of Pierce and features a driving range and clubhouse making this one of the most complete golf facilities in Nebraska. The course also offers membership advantages, as well as being open to the public.