The human-sized honeycomb crawler has been a hit inside Pollinator Paradise at the Dickinson County Nature Center.
But this new interactive exhibit is only the beginning in the brand new addition to the Okoboji center. As fundraising continues, plans are moving forward for more children’s museum-quality exhibits that kids of all ages are sure to love.
Exhibit designs, created by Kraemer Design + Production of Cincinatti, OH, focus on our favorite pollinators — butterflies and bees — and will be featured in five main exhibits that address the importance of pollinators to our diets, dwindling pollinator populations and how people can help provide healthy habitat and food sources to bring back our pollinators back.
“The main attraction will be a life-size apple tree grove where kids can dress up as a mason bee, collect pollen, pollinate flowers on the tree, watch as the pollen moves from tree to tree to create fruit with the help of bees and then see the pollen shoot up into the air to start the process over again,” said Kiley Roth, community relations coordinator for the Dickinson County Conservation Board. “It teaches us that one in three bites of food that we take is due to pollinators.”
A food truck will also help people differentiate between pollinated and non-pollinated foods. Kids can play the role of a cook to distinguish between these types of foods while preparing play meals, and others can sit under pollinator-themed umbrellas to solve puzzles and play games about amazing insects and their impact on food production.
“The honeybee climber will be expanded, and the live monarch enclosure currently in Pollinator Paradise will be updated in a new monarch exhibit that will even have giant butterflies hanging from the ceiling,” Roth said. “Kids will get to create their own symmetrical butterfly wing designs with colored tiles and a mirror, and they will solve metamorphosis puzzles.”
All ages will enjoy the interactive Save the Pollinators area where people can create pollinator garden plots on a touchscreen to see how the choice of plants impact the population of pollinators through the seasons.
Then build your own pollinator using three-dimensional body parts such as pollen sacs, a proboscis, antenna and hairy bodies.
“Over the years, pollinators have been on the decline, and with this addition, we feel that we are able to share what people may do to help pollinator populations while learning how they affect us in our daily lives,” said executive director Lee Sorenson. “This addition, with some wonderful museum-quality exhibits, makes learning about pollinators fun and interactive.”
The Pollinator Paradise addition is estimated at a total of $1.2 million, and approximately $300,000 is left to raise. The Dickinson County Conservation Board and non-profit Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County is grateful to the many other generous individuals, foundations, organizations and businesses in the community who have supported the project since its groundbreaking in July 2017.
To see the exhibit concept designs, visit our Pollinator Paradise page.
Make a tax-deductible donation with the “donate” button at the bottom of the page, and make sure to add a note that states the donation is for Pollinator Paradise. Donors may also make a check out to the Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County with Pollinator Paradise in the memo line and mail it to 22785 Nature Center Road, Okoboji, IA 51355.