Photo of pasta turtle

Easy pasta creatures

November 19, 2018

The Great Lakes Mall in Spirit Lake hosts an annual Festival of Trees in which local businesses and non-profits can decorate a tree for a chance to be voted to win the top prize. This year, the theme is about our local food pantry through Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and…

Graphic that says mammoth tusks were about 15 feet long

Ground sloths and mammoths once roamed Iowa

November 19, 2018

The Iowa Great Lakes were formed as a result of glacial activity in the area. West Lake Okoboji is thought to have been created by the Wisconsin Glacier about 14,000 years ago as it retreated to the north. The Des Moines Lobe of the glacier is what covered Iowa and…

Photo of a hawthorn leaf

Wonder why leaves change color in the fall?

November 13, 2018
Graphic of scavenger hunt

Can you find them all? Try our indoor/outdoor fall scavenger hunt

November 13, 2018

The weather is chilly, but that doesn’t mean that kids hibernate. Your kids are still as active as ever, and they want something to occupy their time. You want something to occupy their time too. Why not print off our fall scavenger hunt? There are indoor and outdoor items to…

Photo of a leaf turkey

This turkey is unbe-leaf-ably cute

November 5, 2018

To go along with our blog about turkeys this week (read it here), we thought we might as well make a turkey-themed nature craft too. You will just need a few supplies: Turkey template printed on white paper (Find the template here) Leaves White computer paper Crayons Scissors Glue Begin…

Graphic about turkey body parts

Why turkeys look so odd

November 5, 2018

Turkeys are odd-looking creatures. With their bumpy red heads, hanging flaps of skin around their faces and large tails, wild turkeys are quite a sight. The odd parts of their bodies also have interesting names and purposes. Let’s look at some of the body parts that make a turkey unique.…

Graphic about recycling

Don’t forget to recycle during the holidays this year

October 29, 2018

Tis the season for celebrations. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, we’re all in the holiday spirit — whatever your favorite holiday is. However, sometimes what comes with holidays is waste. There are Halloween candy wrappers, uneaten Thanksgiving leftovers, Christmas wrapping paper — so much of our holidays end up…

Photo of a coyote

Five differences between coyotes and wolves

October 22, 2018

I still remember the first time I heard a coyote pack howl as dusk began to settle on the Iowa Great Lakes area. On a walk at Kettleson Hogsback, the sun started to set above the calm shallow lakes, and a high-pitched howl began in the distance. Another answered it.…

Photo of nighttime scene with noodles

This noodle art is so fun it’s batty

October 15, 2018

Bats are a hot topic around Halloween. (We love bats — read about how they use echolocation here.) And we love crafts that are both nature-related and fit into the season, so today we tested out a new bat craft. It’s simple, great for all ages and utilizes things you…

Bats use echolocation to find prey

October 15, 2018

Bats can see about as well as humans. However, they are nocturnal — which means they are active at night — and think about how well you can see at night. (Read about nocturnal animals in Iowa.) Without a light, can you see a mosquito? You might feel it bite…

Make your own glowing pool

October 8, 2018

We had more than 180 people attend the Family Glow Walk in October 2018, and one of the hits were our glowing sensory ponds. Light-up rubber duckies, neon fish and bright bobbers floating in luminescent water drew kids in like moths to a flame. Wonder how we did it? We’ll…

Graphic about muskies

Fish are fun!

October 8, 2018

Test your fish knowledge with our fun quiz here!