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 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, many of Prairie Peace Park’s exhibits have been left to 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. The land’s owner 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.
Update as of July 2020: The building burned down and all of the sculptures have been removed. It’s now extremely hazardous, with broken bottles and rusty nails everywhere.
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. Wear boots or protective shoes in addition to full coverage or padded clothing, as exploring the ruins and surrounding landscape can be hazardous. The house has been left abandoned for so long that much of the flooring has started to rot. The Prairie Peace Park and Maze was sponsored by the World Peace Center of Lincoln, Nebraska. A brochure found in the archives of Genesis Farm in Blairstown, New Jersey reads, "Displaying Visions of Humane Living and Planetary Management for our Children..."