Enjoy environmental learning at other nature centers in northwest Iowa

The Iowa Great Lakes area is full of environmental opportunities, from recreating on the lakes to hiking county and state parks to bird watching.

After people experience the many interactive exhibits and live animals at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji, they often ask where else they can find fun nature-related things to do in the region.

So here are six places within 70 miles of Okoboji that you can visit for even more environmental fun.


Photo of fish hatchery

Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery (7.2 miles)

122 252nd Ave., Spirit Lake


Open 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays, with additional hours during spawning season

Visit the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery to see tanks with live fish found in the Iowa Great Lakes as well as live painted and snapping turtles. Touch wildlife pelts, view animal mounts and request to watch a video on the hatchery process. You can also walk through the production facility with incubators, indoor raceways and stock tanks.

The annual hatching period for walleye, northern pike and muskellunge begins in March and runs through April, at which time the hatchery is open extended hours for the public to view the live fish and the hatching process.


Photo of Lost Island Nature Center

Photo from Palo Alto County Conservation Board website

Lost Island Nature Center (27.3 miles)

3267 350th Ave., Ruthven


Open 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday-Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (January-February) or 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (March-December)

Explore an indoor wetland area, wildlife mounts and a variety of environmental exhibits. Enjoy the view of birds outside as well as a panorama of Lost Island Lake.


Photo of the Emmet County Nature Center

Photo from the Emmet County Conservation Facebook

Emmet County Nature Center (28.8 miles)

6 miles east of Wallingford on County Road N40


Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, dependent on staff availability, call ahead

Visit the beautiful nature center to see wildlife displays, live animals, a fish tank with area fish species and to touch fur pelts and feathers.


Photo of the Prairie Heritage Center

Photo from the Prairie Heritage Center Facebook

Prairie Heritage Center (47.5 miles)

4931 Yellow Ave., Peterson


Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

See a bison mount in person and learn about the tallgrass prairie through indoor exhibits. View live bison outdoors and bald eagles scavenging on the prairie along the Little Sioux River. Traveling exhibits vary depending on the season.


Photo of Water's Edge Nature Center

Photo from Water’s Edge Nature Center website

Water’s Edge Nature Center (62.9 miles)

1010 250th St., Algona


Open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays and 1-4 p.m. weekends

At the Kossuth County Conservation Board nature center see beautiful taxidermy, re-creations of an Iowa wetland, woodland and prairie and an overlook of Smith Lake.


Photo of Pocahontas Nature Center

Photo from Pocahontas County Conservation Facebook

Pocahontas County Conservation Nature Center (68 miles)

702 N.W. Seventh St., Pocahontas


Open 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays

Stop in to see live animals, touch Iowa animal pelts, view a variety of Iowa wildlife skulls and learn through informational exhibits.


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