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Admission into Jester Park
& the Nature Center is FREE

News & Announcements

Get the latest news and information on the Jester Park Nature Center here.

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 collections of artifacts have been donated to Polk County Conservation. All of the artifacts originated fro ...

"Art has the power to inspire us in times of adversity, and the ability to teach our society that even in times of ugliness, beauty is still all around." – River Mural Artist, Jan Hutchison
We hope you enjoy the latest art installation, the River Mural, located on the floor at the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center!

Tune into Polk County Conservation's Facebook page Monday - Friday at 10 a.m. for a live educational program!

UPDATED: May 27, 2020 | In response to the ongoing development of COVID-19, we have decided to close the doors of the Jester Park Nature Center to the public until the Polk County Health Department advises otherwise.

The upper level of the nature center will showcase a new, unique travelling exhibit this March! Snakes, Rattles and Holes consists of a 69 foot long, 10 foot high plywood rattlesnake model.

Located outside the Jester Park Nature Center along the streamscape path, you will find decorative leaf towers that are designed to honor a special person, family, company, or a loved one that has passed. 

Happy New Year! The Jester Park Nature Center & Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center are closed on January 1, 2020. ...

Polk County Conservation and The Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center are pleased to present,  Artists in the Making . This art exhibition highlights the work of University of Northern Iowa artist, Holly Majerus & North Polk 7th grade.  The opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 9, from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center.  FREE to the ...

On November 24, from 1-3 p.m. join us to celebrate the grand opening of Jester Park’s newest recreation feature, the Petra Alward Bouldering Room! Located in the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center. Petra herself will be in attendance at the opening ceremony which begins at 1 p.m. Take part in FREE climbing, archery, demos/presentations, and Dutch oven dessert ...