Lincoln, nicknamed "The Star City," is the capital of the State of Nebraska and has an estimated population of 225,581 residents. Founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster, it soon became the city of Lincoln, named after president Abraham Lincoln, and became the state capitol upon its admission into the Union on March 1, 1867. Located along the Platte River, Lincoln soon grew to be an economic and social center of the state.
Lincoln has an extensive park system, with over 100 individual parks. The largest parks in Lincoln's park system are: Antelope Park (which contains the Lincoln Children's Zoo and the Sunken Gardens), Woods Park, Holmes Park, Oak Lake Park, Pioneers Park, Tierra Park, and Wilderness Park. The parks are connected by a 99 mile system of recreational trails. The MoPac Trail extends through the city of Lincoln.
The city has a diverse and rich heritage that is reflected in the many paintings and iridescent murals depicting the American Indian heritage of the area and the history and culture of the early pioneers who settled Nebraska. Some of these are housed in the University of Nebraska State Museum. Other popular attractions in the area are the Hyde Observatory, Joshua C. Turner Arboretum, Sunken Gardens, Lincoln Children's Zoo, Lincoln Children's Museum, and the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Museum.
Lincoln is home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Union College, and the Bryan LGH College of Health Sciences. Other institutions of higher learning that have satellite campuses in the area are Bellevue University, Doane College, Peru State College, and Southeast Community College.
The arts and entertainment are supported by several venues and organizations like the Lied Center, hosting national tours of Broadway productions, concerts, and guest lectures. The Pla-Mor Ballroom is the home of the award-winning Sandy Creek Band. On O Street one can find lively nightclubs and dance halls. Local attractions include the Nebraska State Fair, Jazz in June, Movies on the Green, and the Star City Parade.