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Pleasant Dale, Nebraska

Ruins of Prairie Peace Park

The abandoned remnants of a little sanctuary for world peace that fell into disrepair. 

In the 1990s, the peace park movement began to pick up speed across the United States, with the goal of creating dozens of public spaces throughout America to serve as sanctuaries for world peace. In 1994, Prairie Peace Park was created just off of I-80 in Nebraska.

Prairie Peace Park received a notable amount of recognition and attention over the years, including a visit from Ed Asner and a host of other celebrities. But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. By 2005, the “War on Terror” was in full force and the peace park movement had been struck a hard blow. The park was closed and sold to the transcendental meditation group at Maharishi Vedic City.

Since its closure, Prairie Peace Park has let many of its exhibits wither, rust, and decay. Tires and used bottles litter the ground, and the once-used mattresses of the park are now bare and torn.

Fortunately for the pacifists of the world, the legacy of Prairie Peace Park is not entirely lost. Whoever owns the land of Prairie Peace Park is legally required to preserve two of its works of art, both of which can still be seen today. The first is the World Peace Mural, a rainbow painting of flowers, humans, and sunshine completed by a team of 34 international artists, and the other is “The Dance of Children,” a metal globe sculpture with doves and children holding hands on its equator.

Know Before You Go

You can access the park by car. Take exit 388 off of Interstate 80 and immediately the peace park ruins will be on the eastern side of the road, just north of the highway.