The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Outdoor Adventures Center encourages students of all ages and athletic abilities to stop by and go on an adventure with the staff.
Opened in May 2014, the center offers equipment rentals, academic classes and free training courses for everything from hiking, kayaking to Dutch oven cooking.
“This facility was designed with something for everyone in mind,” said OAC assistant director Jordan Messerer. One of the most popular activities at the center is rock climbing. Covering 2,383 square feet, with 30 ropes, the climbing and bouldering gym is the largest in Nebraska.
“It gives students an outlet to the outdoors while also providing one of the only decent rock climbing gyms in the region,” sophomore construction management major Jonathan Mueller said.
All UNL students are given a free “try-it” climb each semester. The center also encourages students with no climbing experience to try out the facility with climbing basics classes are offered every week.
“The 30-foot walls may look tall, but students shouldn’t be discouraged,” Messerer said. “Our walls are adaptable for anyone, even for students with physical limitations.”
The center is also equipped with a full bike shop, which offers affordable bike repairs and rentals for students.
The League of American Bicyclists recently honored the Outdoor Adventures Center with a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business award for its contribution to the bicycling community of Lincoln.
By offering free bike safety classes and giving students the opportunity to rent single-speed bikes for an entire semester, the center has promoted a healthier lifestyle for UNL students.
“It’s a great way to get a workout in, a great study break and it gave me a hobby that I can pursue throughout my whole life,” Mueller said.
Day- to week-long outdoor adventure trips are available through the center as well. Students can spend a weekend rock climbing in Minnesota, canoeing down the Niobrara River, cycling through Nebraska City or backpacking through Nebraska National Forest. Fall and spring break trips are also available in places like Colorado, Wyoming and Florida.
Students and staff can train to take part in or lead these outdoor adventure trips.
“I came in and had no knowledge about backpacking and now I lead week-long trips,” staff member Jeff Ahern said.
Along with promoting healthy living, the center hopes to establish a place where community can be found. There’s a social aspect to the center’s offered activities.
“The community is what I like most,” Ahern said. “I love coming in, meeting new people and learning more about the outdoors.”
The OAC aims to create a place where students can step out of their comfort zone and try something innovative and creative.
“You can’t have adventure without taking risks,” Messerer said. “This facility can push you to take healthy risks and help you work past the personal limits you have set for yourself.”
The OAC, located at 841 N. 14th St., is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.