The Jester Park Nature Center is one of Iowa's leading nature centers - a gateway to experience Iowa's natural environment. It welcomes those who come to learn and play, and tell the story of the land they are about to enjoy. We want all to enjoy the outdoors more. Understand it better. Care for it more deeply. Share in our common need to preserve what we have been given.
One of Iowa’s leading nature centers, the Jester Park Nature Center is a gateway to experience Iowa’s natural environment. As a place where education and tourism intersect, this facility provides exceptional value to this region. Serving as the welcome center, portal to Polk County’s family of parks, and Jester Park’s new front porch, tourists, students, educators, families, and others connect through the nature center to the natural playscape and bison/elk exhibit, restored woodlands, Saylorville Lake, and a network of natural trails that will immerse people back into nature.
A nature center in Polk County had been a dream for decades by a long lineage of passionate County Conservation Board members and staff. Efforts in the past at Yellow Banks Park and Greenwood Park brought about notable concepts for nature centers, but in the end did not materialize. Having a dedicated space that focuses on environmental education and outdoor recreation in our growing region has been greatly needed for quite some time.
The turning point that gave optimism to the reality of a nature center came in 2012 with the passing of the Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum. One of the key signature projects accompanying this referendum was the Jester Park Nature Center. Half of the funding for the center was allocated through the bond and the other half needed to be raised through additional public and private fundraising. This process began in 2014 and ended in 2016 with the help of a dedicated team of community volunteers known as our Campaign Leadership Team. We were inspired and humbled by the generosity of the many individuals, families, organizations, and businesses that supported this project.
Jester Park Nature Center
12130 NW 128th St Granger, Iowa 50109
P: (515) 323.5350
F: (515) 323.5354