Educational

Iowa Outdoor EXPO for Kids and Families

Date
Sep. 23
Location
Des Moines Water Works Park
Event For
all ages
Cost
Free
Organization
Des Moines Izaak Walton League, Iowa DNR, Polk Co. Conservation, City of Des Moines
Contact
Lisa McIntyre
Phone
515-360-4352
Information
The Iowa Outdoor EXPO for Kids and Families provides a chance for kids and families to learn, explore, and rediscover outdoor recreation through hands on activities. We have over 60 stations from fishing, watersports (canoe/kayak/paddleboard), and archery, to Kids Corner and buckskinners.

Iowa Outdoor Expo

Date
Sep. 23 - 3:15 pm
Location
Water Works Park
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join us for the Iowa Outdoor Expo, Sept. 22-23! Try your skills at bow fishing, trap shooting, archery, canoeing, kayaking. Visit the education tent and learn from experts about reptiles of Iowa, monarch tagging, owls, pony tales, geocaching and many more nature topics. No registration required.

Temporary Art in the Park

Date
Sep. 25 - 6:00 pm
Location
Jester Park, Shelter #3
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Come explore what nature has to offer with this exciting art program featuring ephemeral, or short lived, art, insects, and flowers. No registration required.

Nature Friends – Tricky Tracks

Date
Sep. 25 - 6:30 pm
Location
Pearson Park
Cost
$7
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join a naturalist on a nature adventure! We will explore a nature topic through stories, sharing time, guided explorations, and art activities. Register online at www.wdm-ia.com.

Owl Prowl

Date
Sep. 26 - 6:30 pm
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
After a brief discussion around the campfire about these flying predators of the night, we’ll go for a hike and learn how to call three different species of owls.

Mentored Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Date
Sep. 29 - 5:00 am
Location
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Longhouse
Event For
ages 12-15
Cost
$10
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Youth will be placed in groups of two and teamed with an experienced waterfowl hunter and conservation officer for a guided waterfowl hunt at Chichaqua. Mentors will provide dogs, decoys, calling skills, and guidance. Participants need to provide waders, firearms, and ammunition.

Hike It Baby

Date
Oct. 2 - 10:00 am
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
all ages
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Parents and their children from birth to school age are invited to join the Des Moines Hike It Baby chapter for a casual naturalist-led hike. Dress appropriately for the weather. Strollers not recommended.

Toddler Tales

Date
Oct. 4 - 10:00 am
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
ages 3-6
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Information
Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft.

Campfire Building for Beginners

Date
Oct. 5 - 6:30 pm
Location
Jester Park, Shelter #6
Event For
Public
Cost
$5
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Learn some tips and tricks on how to build a good campfire with a variety of materials. We will practice building a fire and even try making our very own fire starters to take with you!

Cache Bash Championship

Date
Oct. 6 - 10:00 am
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join us to search for 15 geocaches hidden in Jester Park! Geocachers will be on hand to teach newcomers how to use a GPS and the ins and outs of geocaching. At each cache, participants must punch their passport. Those who find at least 10 out of the 15 geocaches will earn a geocoin!

Catch It, Clean It, Cook It

Date
Oct. 6 - 10:00 am
Location
Jester Park, Shelter #5
Event For
Public
Cost
$5
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Come learn the basics of fishing, how to clean fish, and then how to cook fish. Fishing license is required for participants over 16 years of age. Bait and poles will be provided, but feel free to bring your own as well.

Nature Friends – Going Batty

Date
Oct. 9 - 6:30 pm
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
3- to 5-year-olds with an adult
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! We will explore a nature topic through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks will be provided. Register online at www.leadingyououtdoors.org. Select the calendar tab.

Coffee & Chat

Date
Oct. 11 - 9:00 am
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join us for coffee and conversation to learn about the latest happenings at the Jester Park Nature Center. This is a social hour meant for meeting staff and others who enjoy nature. Bring your questions and ideas.

Fall Colors Hike

Date
Oct. 13 - 10:30 am
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Enjoy a nature hike through the woods with a naturalist as they explain the brilliance of fall colors.

Fall Frenzy

Date
Oct. 14 - 1:00 pm
Location
Walker Johnston Park
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Explore Walker Johnston Park with a scavenger hunt, outdoor games, crafts, and live critters. Hosted by Polk County Conservation, Urbandale Community Action Network, and Urbandale Parks and Recreation.

Nature Friends – Nutty Squirrels

Date
Oct. 15 - 6:30 pm
Location
Legion Park
Event For
3- to 5-year-olds with an adult
Cost
$7
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! We will explore a nature topic through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks will be provided. Register online at www.wdm-ia.com.

Going Batty

Date
Oct. 18 - 6:00 pm
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Are they blind? Do they really suck blood and turn into vampires? Learn the truth about this grossly misunderstood animal.

Wild Night Life & Hike

Date
Oct. 25 - 6:30 pm
Location
Jester Park Nature Center
Event For
Public
Cost
$5
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Join us for a campfire program about the wild night life in Jester Park. A short hike will follow as we search for some of these nocturnal animals. Afterwards enjoy eating s’mores around the campfire.

R.I.P. Hike

Date
Oct. 27 - 4:00 pm
Location
Thomas Mitchell Park, Shelter #2
Event For
Public
Cost
Free
Organization
Polk County Conservation
Contact
Patrice Petersen-Keys
Phone
515-323-5359
Information
Thomas Mitchell Park is the final resting spot of Dewitt Devotie. Who was he and why is he buried in the park? We’ll hike to his gravestone to pay our respects and try to unravel this eerie mystery.