UNO Outdoor Venture Center


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Tierra Sharae

Every Thursday this month, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Outdoor Venture Center (OVC) is hosting a slackline and hammock hangout in Elmwood Park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking and consists of balancing or walking on a narrow strip of elasticized webbing tensioned between two sturdy anchors, often trees.

The weekly slackline and hammock hangouts have given many students the opportunity to #VentureOut out of their comfort zones, including foreign exchange student Kana Yamashita, who attended Thursday’s event.

“This is my first time slacklining,” Yamashita said. “I enjoy it because it is very different than other activities.”

Yamashita describes the sport as fun and one that requires participants to draw on their core strength.

The event, free of charge, is a unique way to relax and enjoy the weather.

The OVC, located in UNO’s Health, Physical Education & Recreation building, challenges the UNO community to exceed its “perceived personal limits physically, mentally and socially,” according to its website.

To aid in your adventures, the OVC offers rentals including tents, sleeping bags, hammocks and backyard games. Also available for rental is equipment for backpacking, cooking, paddling and climbing.

Prices for renting equipment are budget-friendly and are listed on the OVC’s website.

The center also offers a multitude of trips, workshops and events to help the community experience the elements.

“The trips are a good way to get involved and make friends, especially if you don’t know many people,” OVC student employee Mark Powell said.

A camping course in Iowa’s Waubonsie State Park, a climbing weekend at Minnesota’s Blue Mounds State Park, backpacking trips in Colorado and the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, full-moon cross-country skiing through Elmwood Park and an ice climbing trip in Ouray, Colorado are just a sample of the affordable and exciting events offered by the center.

More than just fun, the trips provide endless opportunities to learn and grow.

“You overcome hardships and push yourself, especially on the climbing, backpacking and paddling trips,” Powell said.

Perhaps the most prominent feature of the OVC is its 2,500-square-foot climbing wall. Accessible to the Omaha community, the wall is safe, fun and invigorating.

“I gained a lot of upper body strength while climbing,” said UNO student Collin Peterson, who describes climbing as a good way to stay active and to clear his mind.

The OVC offers belay courses weeknights from 5 p.m. to close and weekends from noon to 6 p.m. to teach the skills necessary to handle the ropes safely and effectively.

For an added thrill, the center offers bouldering, which is climbing without roped protection, as a tremendous experience for building strength and endurance, according to the OVC’s website.

Bouldering is free to HPER members, while nonmembers pay a small guest fee of $7. Shoes, helmets, harnesses, belay devices and lead ropes are also available for rental.

Whether renting equipment, attending trips or climbing the wall interest you, the OVC offers countless outstanding, valuable and creative ways to #VentureOut.