Peru is home of Nebraska’s first college is host to nearly 2,500 Peru State College students each year. Downtown Peru provides all the necessities of small-town life including a restaurant, grocery store, bank and night life. Peru State College and the Campus of A Thousand Oaks is one of the affiliated sites that constitute the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, a botanical resource for students, visitors and residents of Southeast Nebraska. The college offers a unique mix of innovative, online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs. What began as Nebraska’s First College in 1867, a teacher training school with one building and 60 students, has transformed over the years into a state-of-the-art institution.
The Steamboat Trace Trail is a scenic hiking, biking and birding trail that links Nebraska City to Peru to Brownville and offers a total experience to nature lovers. The 21 mile historical route closely follows the Missouri River trail of Lewis and Clark, past the ghost town of Minersville and through the wetlands and river bluffs of southeast Nebraska. The Peru Trailhead located on the north end of 5th Street offers a picnic area, restrooms and camping for visitors.
Peru Bottoms Wildlife Management Area is a wildlife restoration project with over 2,000 acres of land sponsored by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission offering birding, hunting and fishing. This is a habitat for bald eagles and snow geese migration as well as other wildlife. The area is located 2 miles north of the Peru boat ramp and offers public access to the Missouri River.
Neal Park located south of campus provides a pavilion, picnic area and hiking opportunities while Sid Brown Park provides a children’s playground and a splash pad to open in the summer of 2015.
The Peru Museum offers local history and sits adjacent to the restored Brownell House. The Peru Cemetery is noted as a tri-state observation point where on a clear day you can see the states of Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
Old Man River Days brings visitors to the area for a 5K run, kids events, vendors and evening entertainment. The town celebration is held each summer to commemorate the townspeople’s efforts to keep the mighty Missouri from flooding the town in 1943