Kids

Fast frog facts

Photo of northern leopard frog

Leo the northern leopard frog — named after conservationist Aldo Leopold — is always a hit with kids when he comes out during programs. That is often because he makes the programs more exciting when he escapes from the grasp of the naturalist with his squirmy, slippery body. But visitors also love to see his…

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Tiger salamander fun facts

Sy the tiger salamander is huge. The Dickinson County Nature Center has two tiger salamander animal ambassadors, named Manny and Sy, and they are members of the largest land salamander species in North America. Tiger salamanders usually grow 7-13 inches long, but Sy is around 14 inches in length from head to tail. That’s one…

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Recycled T-shirt bags are an environmentally-friendly craft

Photo of side view of cut t-shirt

Planning the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival, we decided that it would be a good idea to have bags for people to carry around their crafts and other goodies. We could purchase bags, or we could decorate bags. Then naturalist Ashley Hansen brought up the idea of making bags out of old T-shirts. We’re grateful…

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How to tell apart four orange and black butterflies

Graphic of four butterflies and their wingspans

An orange and black butterfly flits by. Many people immediately think “monarch,” but there are actually quite a number of orange and black butterflies in Iowa and throughout the United States. Three butterflies in the Iowa Great Lakes area that often get confused with the monarch butterfly are the painted lady, viceroy and red admiral.…

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Celebrate the end of summer with squirt gun painting

Photo of girl with squirt gun painting

It’s hard to think about, but it’s obvious in the Iowa Great Lakes that summer is coming to an end. Traffic is easing. Visitor numbers are dwindling. Stores and restaurants are getting ready to close for the season. But there is still plenty of warm weather to enjoy outside, and squirt gun painting is a…

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Make a bendable snake with pipe cleaner and beads

Photo of pipe cleaner snakes

In honor of my big day today, holding a snake for the first time (you can see the video here), we made a fun snake craft. Whether you love snakes or hate them, this craft is cute and simple. You’ll need: Pipe cleaners Beads Googly eyes Liquid glue Start  by selecting what kind of head…

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Recycled bunny bookmark

Photo of a bunny bookmark

Bindi, named after conservationist Steve Irwin’s daughter, Bindi Irwin, is the newest animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center as of August 2018. In honor of her arrival, today’s craft is bunny-themed! (Learn about cottontail rabbits) To make this adorable bunny bookmark, you’ll need: An envelope, a used one is fine Scissors Glue Googly…

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7 cute cottontail facts

Photo of a bunny

The Dickinson County Nature Center’s bunny animal ambassador, named Bindi, is actually a pet rabbit species. However, this mini rex looks quite a lot like the native rabbit in Iowa, the eastern cottontail. They both have a fluffy white tail, long ears, a brown coat with lighter colors in the undercoat and dark eyes. There…

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These fish really pop

Photo of partially finished fish

There’s something about making a craft three-dimensional. It just makes things more fun. Try out this three-dimensional fish craft — it really pops! You’ll need: Colored paper Scissors Glue stick Marker Cut your 8.5×11-inch sheet of paper in half the short way. Fold in half the long way and cut three-quarters of an oval, making…

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