Photo of a baby bunny in the grass

A quick guide to finding a baby animal

May 29, 2018

You see a baby bunny in the yard. It looks at you with wide eyes and freezes as you approach. Oh no, an orphan bunny! You think, kindheartedly. The truth is, though, that bunny is fine on its own. In fact, most baby animals that humans stumble across and try to…

Photo of floppy fish

Shake, wiggle and flop! Create a moving fish

May 21, 2018

Shake, wiggle and flop. These floppy fish are simple and a lot of fun for kids to make! You’ll just need a few supplies: Two pieces of colored paper Scissors Gluestick Markers Begin with the sheet of paper that you want to be the main color of your fish. Fold…

Photo of kids bouncing on a fen

Fen, kame, esker — what do these glacial landmark words mean?

May 21, 2018

Walking along the glacial landmark tour inside the entrance of the Dickinson County Nature Center, visitors can to experience replicas of many of the places created by the Des Moines Lobe of the Wisconsin Glacier when it was in the county about 12,000 years ago. From bouncing on a fen…

Watch the Okoboji Osprey lifespan

May 14, 2018

From migrating north to reproduction and caring for chicks to migration south, the osprey lifespan is fascinating! Don’t forget to download the Okoboji Osprey Activity Book complete with word search, dot-to-dot and Migration Mad Libs. Click here to access the free activity book.

Photo of a chipmunk

Five ways to tell apart a chipmunk and a ground squirrel

May 7, 2018

You see a little critter scurrying around the garden, its back striped dark brown and white. A chipmunk? A ground squirrel? The species often get confused, because they are about the same size — 8-11 inches and 5-9 ounces — and they both burrow. However, there are some key ways…

Photo of a fish eating fish on a clothespin

It’s a fish-eat-fish world! Clothespin craft instructions here!

May 7, 2018

It’s a fish-eat-fish world out there. OK, I know that’s not how the saying goes, but I think it applies in an area where lakes are the main attraction. Think about what’s going on beneath the surface of our lakes when we’re out boating, waterskiing and paddleboarding. Our fish are…

Graphic of the activity book cover

Okoboji Osprey free activity book

April 30, 2018

Click on the image to download our special Okoboji Osprey activity book for free and then click here to watch the osprey live April-September on the nest cam.  

Photo of osprey on the nest

Osprey Diaries: A little late

April 30, 2018

The ice is finally gone! We’ve been quite annoyed that after we arrived back our favorite fishing holes were all covered in ice, and then as soon as we began building our nest it snowed. And I mean snowed. And then a couple of days later it snowed some more.…

Photo of a ring-billed gull

Okoboji seagulls aren’t sea gulls at all

April 23, 2018

There is no such thing as a seagull. All gulls have proper names, none of which is sea. We posted this Noon Nature Fact on our Facebook page last week and had several comments on it. I knew that there were lots of species of gulls, but honestly didn’t realize…

Go on a Spring Scavenger Hunt

April 23, 2018

I don’t really want to sit at my desk today. I want to go outside! This weekend was really the first weekend I felt the warm sun on my skin, and the winds that flew were cool instead of frigid. It felt wonderful, and it finally feels like spring is…

Photo of a tundra swan

4 ways to tell apart swans and snow geese

April 9, 2018

It’s a big, white bird paddling on that body of water. But what exactly is it? Most likely, it’s a trumpeter swan if you’re in Iowa. The trumpeter swans is native to the state and is the biggest waterfowl native to the U.S., its wingspan reaching up to 8 feet…

Photo of pipe cleaner animals

Easy and inexpensive pipe cleaner animals

April 9, 2018

I was flipping through Pinterest last night when I saw some photos of amazing miniature animal creations and realized that they were all made out of pipe cleaners. That’s something we have a lot of in the craft supply area at the nature center, so I figured it would be…