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In response to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country as the highly infectious delta variant continues to grow in prevalence, Polk County Conservation will be re-implementing some safety protocols in our public facilities. Polk County has consistently followed CDC recommendations. The CDC is now recommending that all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear a mask in indoor settings in geographic areas where transmissibility rates are “substantial” or “high.”  Polk County is now at the “substantial” or “high” transmissibility threshold so we are reverting back to the policy that all individuals wear masks while in Polk County buildings.

These Public Buildings Include:

  • Jester Park Nature Center
  • Natural Resources Headquarters
  • Chichaqua Longhouse

Polk County Conservation buildings under concession agreements have adapted their own COVID-19 operations, although all COVID-19 precautions are strongly encouraged. These facilities include:


Facility Operations

  • Jester Park Nature Center: Normal hours have commenced at the nature center. Water fountains, Park Packs, puppets, books, the Naturalist Nook, and all exhibits are now open and accessible to the public.
    • Monday - Friday | 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    • Saturday | 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Sunday & Open Holidays | Noon - 4 p.m.
    • CLOSED August 28 for Glow Wild event

  • Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center: Summer hours will begin for the outdoor recreation center on Memorial Day.
    • Thursday - Saturday |10 a.m. -4 p.m.
    • Sunday | Noon - 4 p.m.
    • CLOSED August 28 for Glow Wild event


Volunteer & Public Programming
Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the public and the staff. In response to the ongoing development of COVID-19, Polk County Conservation facilities and programs will adhere to social distancing, smaller group sizes, increased sanitation, and face masks mandatory while indoors.

  • Indoor educational programming, including camps, nature programs, Older Wiser Livelier Seniors, field trips, in-school programs, etc. will adhere to all COVID-19 precautions.
  • Indoor volunteer events and programs will also follow COVID-19 precautions and procedures.
[Photo by IRIS22 Productions LLC]

Donations are being sought to create a lithic  (stone)  artifact exhibit at the Jester Park Nature Center to educate visitors about Iowa's archaeological past. This $60,000 exhibit is anticipated to open to the public in the spring of 2022. Over the past 30 years, private co ...