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Admission into Jester Park
& the Nature Center is FREE

The Art of Jester Park & Polk County Conservation

Public art has the power to energize our public spaces, arouse our thinking, and transform the places where we live, work, and play into more welcoming and beautiful environments that invite interaction. Beyond its enriching personal benefits, public art is a true symbol of societal maturity. Public art helps green space thrive, enhances roadsides, pedestrian corridors , and community gateways; it demonstrates unquestionable civic pride.” "Wood Is Art”, Public art Benefits of Public Art []

Explore local art as you adventure throughout Jester Park

Over the last decade, Polk County Conservation has expanded public art throughout our park system. Today, park visitors can experience a myriad of art that educates, inspires, informs and arouses their curiosity about our natural world. This link shows you our current public art and where to find it!

The Galleries at the Jester Park Nature Center

The Galleries at Jester Park Nature Center offers the opportunity for local art to be displayed and made available for sale to park visitors. 

Current Exhibition - Through the Lens: Des Moines Camera Club Exhibition

This art exhibition highlights the work of Des Moines Camera Club photographers. 

The Des Moines Camera Club is dedicated to the pursuit of photographic excellence. They provide activities for those who wish to share, learn, or improve their photographic skills. The membership represents all levels of photography, from beginner to advanced, and amateur to professional. Their goal is to increase their knowledge of photography and inspire each other in photographic activities.

Through the Lens will be on display through August 25 during Nature Center HoursFor additional information, please contact Missy Smith at 323-5317.

FREE to the public


Sculpture Trails

Jester Park Sculpture Trail

The Jester Park Sculpture Trail features 5 unique nature-inspired public works of art. Each sculpture is located along a beautiful nature trail beginning at the front entrance of the Jester Park Nature Center. Take a hike and discover each art piece as the trail leads you around the pond, over the creek, through the woods, and eventually back to the nature center. During the hike, you will discover sculptures meant to educate, inform, and nurture our fascination and curiosity about the natural world. The newest sculpture, "Horai" was recently added. This full size bull elk, made from barbed wire and 16 gage welded scrap metal, was created by artist, Jeff Best, of Devil's Rope Studio. Hoari means a portion of time or season and with this piece, Hoari is referring to the elk's fall bugling season when he competes for breeding rights. Check out this video for a talk with the artist about his piece.

The sculpture trail now culminates with Gears of Change, a temporary outdoor exhibit, displayed behind the Jester Park Nature Center in conjunction with our permanent outdoor Prairie Sculpture Trail. This interactive sculpture is on loan to us from artist, Hilde DeBruyne, of Cumming, Iowa. Gears of Change is a contemporary, colorful sculpture in metal. It consists of a playful composition of gears and sprockets of different sizes. It symbolizes our journey of life, changing gears in different situations. Gears of Change will remain on display through April 1, 2025. Check out this video for a talk with the artist about her piece.

 Easter Lake Sculpture Trail

Discover six unique works of art nestled along the Mark C. Askelson Trail looping beautiful Easter Lake. Each work is meant to educate, inform, and nurture your fascination and curiosity about the natural world.



Public Art Throughout Our Parks

Don't stop your art exploration at Jester Park. You can find public art throughout our park system. 


Lauridsen Skatepark

WOW, 2019

Medium: Steel

Size: 12' x 11'

Artists: R & R Studios


Lauridsen Skatepark

Lauridsen Skatepark Mural, 2019

Medium: Paint

Artists: Caeden DeBruin, Marcella Christiani, Adan Gomez, Randy Garza, Jacob Kuperman, Roan Bachar, Maggie Douglas, Taylor Ross - Derek Hutchison, Laura Todd, Nathan Esteras, Dana Harrison, DSM Tattoo Collective, Jimmy Novarro, Danielle Kelso, Maddy Fusco, Chis Sullivan - Jordan Sandquist, John Hintz, Paula Tomlinson & Waukee High School students


Easter Lake

Butterfly, 2015

Medium: Willow and Terracotta

Size: 4' x 8'

Artists: Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss

Great Western Trail

River Chuck Stop, 2018

Medium: Steel, Repurposed Bicycle

Size: 12' tall

Artists: Barney Feezell and Steve Haefner

Thomas Mitchell Park

Morel Mushroom, 2005

Medium: Wood Carving (oak)

Size: 7.5 'x 5'

Artists: Mike Sibley and Jim Swearingen