Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

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Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›
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Family Nature Club

If you and your family are looking for opportunities to get outside, explore, and discover all of nature’s many wonders, check out our Family Nature Club!  The zoo, in collaboration with Polk County Conservation and Des Moines Parks and Recreation, is excited for a second year of Family Nature Club activities that encourage families to immerse in the outdoors and learn about nature.  Monthly events include activities such as hikes, water play, nature art, and prairie exploration.

Nature Play Philosophy:

  • Child-lead, unstructured play in nature.
  • Open-ended, free exploration without many adult restraints and rules. 
  • Hands-on, imaginative sensory experiences outside.

What Nature Play Might Look Like:

  • Building tree houses and forts in the woods 
  • Catching frogs and splashing in creeks
  • Daydreaming and watching clouds in a field      
  • Searching for creatures under a rock or log
  • Sorting pinecones, leaves, and sticks
  • Or simply running around outside!

The Importance of Nature Play for Children:

  • Supports child development (intellectual, emotional, social, physical, spiritual)
  • Encourages creativity and problem solving.
  • Enhances cognitive ability.
  • Increases physical activity.
  • Fosters an appreciation for nature and the desire to preserve it.

About Family Nature Club:

Family Nature Club is dedicated to re-connecting families with the outdoors. Research shows that children’s lives are greatly enhanced when provided many diverse opportunities to play outside in nature. These kids are happier, healthier, more self-confident and creative. In addition, Nature Club encourages families to spend quality time together and helps strengthen family bonds.     

Families are invited to join zoo staff and Polk County naturalists each month for nature activities at the zoo or excursions to local Polk County parks. Click on the activities below to learn more or register to attend an event.  Monthly Nature Club adventures will be approximately 1.5 hrs in length.   

Click here to register for an activity

**All excursions located off-site from the zoo are free of charge.  Activities located at the zoo are free with the purchase of Admissions.  

2016-2017 Nature Club Activities

Date Time Location Activity Ages
Sat., Oct. 8 10:00 am Brown's Woods Fall Hike All Ages
Sat., Nov. 12 1:00 pm Ewing Park Seed Harvesting All Ages
Sat., Dec. 3 1:00 pm Blank Park Zoo Nature Art All Ages
Sat., Jan. 14 1:00 pm Fort Des Moines Park Snow Shoe Hike 6 yrs+
Sat., Feb. 11 1:00 pm SE 6th Bridge Bald Eagle Day All Ages
Sat., Mar. 11 6:30 pm Jester Park, Camp Area #5 Night Hike All Ages
Sat., Apr. 8 1:00 pm Jester Park, Shelter #6 Bird Watching All Ages
Sat., May 13 1:00 pm Zoo Plant.Grow.Fly. All Ages
Sat., June 3 1:00 pm Greenwood Park Fishing All Ages
Sat., July 8 1:00 pm Thomas Mitchell Park Creek Walk 5 yrs+
Sat., Aug. 12 10:00 am Jester Park, Shelter #6 Nature Playscape All Ages
Sat., Sept. 9 1:00 pm Chichaqua Bottoms Monarch Tagging All Ages


**dates, times, and activities are subject to change depending on weather conditions
**Activities will be on foot.  Stroller accessibility may be limited.

Blank Park Zoo would like to thank the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for helping to support our Family Nature Club.  

Zoo Polk County Conservation Logos

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