Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Admission: $12 Adults, $7 Child. The Zoo will be closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The Zoo will close at 1:30 pm on December 18
Resources & Links
Looking for more information about pollinators and gardening? Check out the sites listed below for additional resources and information.
Trees Forever Project Funding
A guide compiled by Trees forever to assist Iowa communities seeking funding sources for community improvement projects.
The Xerces Society
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For forty years, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs. To learn more visit:
More than just a clearinghouse for information on insects, this site helps expand on the natural histories of our subjects. See an insect in your garden that you can’t identify? Ask for help at:
The Pollinator Partnership is a non-profit organization-- the largest organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. To learn more visit:
The Lost Lady Bug Project
Over the past twenty years native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare. We're asking you to join us in finding out where all the ladybugs have gone so we can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare. To learn how you can get involved, visit:
BeeSpotter is a partnership between citizen-scientists and the professional science community designed to educate the public about pollinators by engaging them in a data collection effort of importance to the nation. To learn more visit:
Migratory Dragonfly Partnership
To better understand and conserve North America's dragonfly migration, dragonfly experts, nongovernmental programs, academic institutions, and federal agencies from the United States, Mexico, and Canada have formed the collaborative Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP). This site will allow you to submit dragonfly migration observations. To get involved visit:
Insects of Iowa
Looking for a great way to help you identify insects you see in Iowa?
REAP stands for Resource Enhancement and Protection. It is a program in the State of Iowa that invests in, as its name implies, the enhancement and protection of the state's natural and cultural resources. Iowa is blessed with a diverse array of natural and cultural resources, and REAP is likewise diverse and far reaching. Depending on the individual programs, REAP provides money for projects through state agency budgets or in the form of grants. Several aspects of REAP also encourage private contributions that help accomplish program objectives.
There’s been a horticulture garden at Iowa State University since 1914, and now Reiman Gardens is one of the finest and most unique gardens in the country available to student, faculty and staff exploration, research and learning. To learn more about how they are involved in pollinator conservation, visit:
Science Center of Iowa
Science Center of Iowa’s hands-on exhibits, special-format theaters and other unique facilities attract Iowans and distant visitors. SCI also supports the larger interests of the Des Moines metro area by being a significant place for community gatherings and maintaining collaborative partnerships with neighborhoods, cultural groups, Iowa businesses, the educational system, sponsoring investors and others who share the mission of developing skills and encouraging cultural exchange. To learn more visit:
Polk County Conservation Board
The Polk County Conservation Board’s mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage. To learn more about how Polk County Conservation is helping pollinator’s, please visit:
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Whether you visit on your own or explore with a group, you will find the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden a place where you can learn about fascinating plants, hone your gardening skills or immerse yourself in beautiful gardens. To learn more visit:
To learn more about everything outdoors in Iowa, visit:
Drake University is recognized as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. A midsized, private university in Des Moines, Iowa, we offer the benefits and resources of a larger institution along with the advantages of intimate class sizes and close personal relationships.
Warren County Conservation
The Warren County Conservation Board currently manages over 2,200 acres of land for the benefit of its citizens. Visitors can enjoy outdoor education and recreation opportunities on areas being conserved for this generation and generations to come.
Madison County Conservation
The Madison County Conservation Board manages over 2,000 acres and 13 county parks and natural resource areas in Madison County, Iowa. Through environmental education and natural resource management, the board and its employees provide outdoor recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, water trails and premier hunting and fishing locations to bring citizens in contact with their natural resources. MCCB offices are located just south of Winterset on Clark Tower Road. For more information, maps, and services offered visit:
www.madisoncountyparks.org or call 462-3536.
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines Area Community College, a public institution serving the educational and career training needs of Iowans, is committed to the lifelong success of its students. As Iowa’s largest two-year college, DMACC offers 153 programs, certificates and transfer degrees, annually serving more than 75,000 credit and noncredit students on six campuses and in five learning centers. Thanks to college-wide innovation, new programs and affordable tuition, DMACC has experienced record growth and is the 15th fastest growing two-year college in America.
City of Des Moines Parks & Recreation
The Park and Recreation department is responsible for the management of 76 parks across Des Moines. Besides the special features found in some of the signature parks (Ewing, Union, Greenwood, Gray’s Lake and Pappajohn Sculpture Park) patrons can enjoy a variety of amenities such as, basketball courts, BMX track, boat and bicycle rentals, disc golf, enclosed and open-air shelters, equipment rental and concessions, horseshoe, ice skating, nature trails, picnic areas with tables and grills, playgrounds, ponds and fishing, sledding hills, soap box derby track, soccer fields, softball fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, wading pools, skateboarding, dog parks and more.
Friends of the Garden
The Friends of the Garden mission is to "inspire the discovery, understanding and appreciation of nature by creating and maintaining gardens at the Springfield Botanical Gardens and by supporting the mission of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Park Board." We offer 114 acres of gardens, arboretum and grounds including the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House, the Gray-Campbell Farmstead, free tram service plus many other features.
Iowa Native Plant Society
The Iowa Native Plant Society is a forum for native plant enthusiasts, gardeners, and professional botanists to exchange ideas and information, and to work together to:
- encourage conservation and ethical use of Iowa's native plants
- promote education about Iowa's native plants, their habitats and cultural habits, and the preservation of these plants and their environment
- appreciate and enjoy Iowa's native flora
INPS organizes field trips and promotes other native plant events.
Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District
The Polk SWCD mission is to provide leadership to help people improve, conserve, and sustain our natural resources while educating them about the importance and practicality of maintaining our environment and quality of life.
Rainscaping creates beautiful landscapes that manage water sustainably while often providing native plants that help landscapes absorb more rainfall, reduce runoff, and attracts songbirds, dragonflies and butterflies. Don’t just landscape, rainscape!
Buchanan County Conservation Board
Buchanan County Conservation Board cares for 39 properties, and features an award-winning Environmental Education Program. Our mission is to "improve quality or life through programs of conservation and education." To learn more about where you can enjoy natural areas in Buchanan County.
Story County Conservation
Story County Conservation (SCC) manages over 3,500 acres of parks and natural areas for outdoor recreation and takes an active role in developing and managing wildlife habitat throughout the county, including assistance to private landowners. SCC also oversees the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program. To learn more about how SCC is involved in the pollinator program visit: http://bit.ly/SCCforPlantGrowFly
Dorothy Peacut Nature Center
The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center is a public educational facility managed by Woodbury County Conservation Board that opened its doors in 1995. This award-winning Nature Center is located in the northwest corner of Sioux City, Iowa in Stone State Park. We invite you to hike the Loess Hills prairie and woodlands, meet a live bird of prey, enroll in a nature education program, play at the Discovery Forest Nature Playscape and view wildlife and insects in and around our center.
Forest Ave Outreach
Forest Ave Outreach is a Christian Faith based organization serving the communities of the King-Irving and surrounding neighborhoods of Des Moines, IA. We aim to unite individuals within communities through the use of agriculture, horticulture, permaculture, conservation, and sustainability. We offer a variety of classes and hands on training as well as providing the neighborhood residents opportunity to grow their own fresh, healthy foods. All produce we produce is given to need families or donated to charities within our neighborhood(s).
Iowa Environmental Council
The Iowa Environmental Council is an alliance of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa's natural environment. Since 1995, the Council has worked toward creating a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa, focusing on water and land stewardship, clean energy and air quality.
Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1990. The mission of the Refuge is to actively protect, restore, reconstruct and manage the diverse native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and sedge meadow. The Refuge serves as a major environmental education, volunteer and outdoor recreation hub for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. The Refuge also strives to provide assistance to local landowners as they improve their lands for wildlife habitat. Lastly, the Refuge tries to increase scientific knowledge and understanding of the prairie and savanna through ongoing, targeted and innovative research. The Refuge achieves all of these goals through community involvement and by working and partnering with others.
Living History Farms
Living History Farms is an interactive, 500-acre outdoor history museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences.
Iowa Prairie Network
Our purpose is: To Learn About, Teach About, Enjoy and Protect Iowa's Prairie Heritage
Our motto is: Prairies are our Rain Forests
Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter
Sierra Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, formed in 1972, enjoys approximately 5,000 members with members in every Iowa county. Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter is the largest member-based, environmental non-profit in Iowa that endorses candidates, lobbies at the Capitol and empowers volunteers to engage with elected officials. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet.
Des Moines Audubon Society
Objectives: Conservation of wildlife in general and the study and protection of birds in particular.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Saylorville Lake
Dallas County Conservation Board
With over 3000 acres and 20 + sites comprised of parks, museums, wildlife refuges, hunting areas, boat ramps and trails, Dallas County Conservation offers a variety of recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities. Use the links at left to explore what Dallas County Conservation has to offer!
Wickiup Hill Learning Center, Linn County Conservation Department
The vision of the Linn County Conservation Board is to improve community through people, parks, trails and open space. This vision is accomplished in many different ways, including increasing environmental awareness. In order to meet the mission of increasing environmental awareness in citizens, the Conservation Board built the Wickiup Hill Learning Center in 2002 and completed an expansion in 2012. One of the Center’s longstanding goals is to provide opportunities for people to experience the outdoors and develop an awareness and admiration of nature.
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources.
Hardin County Conservation Board
It is the mission of the Hardin County Conservation Board to provide safe and healthful recreational opportunities, to protect and enhance county natural resources and to offer opportunities for our residents to participate in conservation education. We have acquired 63 public natural areas and manage over 2,798 acres of timber, prairie, wetlands, parks, campgrounds and the Calkins Nature Area.
O’Brien County Conservation Board
The Conservation Board manages 650 acres of land in 24 locations throughout the county for outdoor recreation and wildlife benefits. We want you to spend time enjoying your outdoor areas! The O’Brien County Conservation Board is here to provide positive outdoor recreation and natural resource opportunities for YOU!
Jackson County Conservation
Jackson County Conservation's mission is to provide outdoor recreation and education opportunities for residents and visitors to our Jackson County. We manage more than 35 areas, including campgrounds, wildlife areas, river accesses, historic sites, nature center, recreation trails and we encourage the development and conservation of Iowa's natural resources.
Jones County Conservation
The Jones County Conservation Board strives to provide programs that preserve and enhance natural and cultural resources and provide recreational opportunities for all people.
Badger Creek Lake Watershed Project
The Badger Creek Lake Watershed Project was initiated to improve water quality in the lake which is impaired by excessive sediment and phosphorus loading. The watershed includes 11,700 acres in northeast Madison County and part of Dallas County, and the lake itself is located about 5 miles south of Van Meter, Iowa. We are working together with farmers and landowners in the watershed to use conservation practices that keep soil and nutrients on the farm and out of the lake.
The Nature Conservancy
Our Mission: To conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our Vision: A world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.
Mines of Spain Recreation Area and E.B.Lyons Interpretive and Nature Center
The Mines of Spain Recreation Area and E.B.Lyons Interpretive and Nature Center are located on 1380 acres of beautiful wooded and prairie land just south of Dubuque, IA. The area has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and includes Julien Dubuque’s Monument at a point just above where Catfish Creek meets the Mississippi.
Trees Forever is a nonprofit organization nationally headquartered in Marion, IA that is dedicated to planting trees, encouraging volunteer and youth involvement and environmental stewardship. For over 25 years, we’ve been planting a better tomorrow. For more information call 800-369-1269 or visit...
The Iowa Arboretum, located on 415 acres in Madrid, is home to more than 4,000 accessioned trees, shrubs and flowering plants that are located along nicely landscaped paths. Woodland and prairie trails add to the tranquil and scenic setting.
Johnson County Conservation Department
The Johnson County Conservation Department manages many natural resources and outdoor recreation areas throughout the county. Several native prairies, river access areas, small community parks, and the 1,052 acre F.W. Kent Park provide a variety of services in natural resources recreation and conservation.
Ringold County Conservation
Ringgold County Conservation is located in the hills of southwest Iowa and invites you to visit the natural resource and recreational areas located in beautiful southern Iowa. The Ringgold County Conservation Board has been involved in various programs promoting conservation, recreation, wildlife, habitat and environmental education while managing 8 parks, trails and wildlife areas across the county, encompassing over 1000 acres.
Gardening / Prairie Resources
Iowa Master Gardener Program
Need gardening advice? To get helpful advice and tips, visit:
Iowa Prairie Network
The Iowa Prairie Network is all volunteer, non-profit (501c3) organization started in 1990. We are a network of people dedicated to the preservation of our prairie heritage in the state of Iowa.
Plant Iowa Natives
Plant Iowa Natives works to promote, educate, and create awareness of the use of native plants for horticultural, conservation, and habitat-improvement across Iowa. It is managed by the Tallgrass Prairie Center at UNI.
Native plant profiles, garden design articles, pictures, environmental news, and much more.
We help DIY homeowners, schools, and small businesses choose native prairie plants adapted to your landscape for ease of maintenance and maximum wildlife draw. Whether it’s walking your garden with you, performing light maintenance, or working up a landscape plan, we promise a thriving native plant landscape that gives you four seasons of life and beauty.
The Brenton Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community by bringing joy to all through the beauty and knowledge of the natural world of trees. The arboretum accomplishes this mission by focusing on quiet enjoyment, education, research and conservation. Visit and enjoy over 2500 labeled trees and shrubs, grass walking trails, the O’Brien Nature Play Area, green roof Pavilion for picnics, and many beautiful vistas. This living museum of trees is situated on 143 acres and open free to the public every day from 9 am until sunset.
Butterflies and Moths of North America
Butterflies and Moths of North America is an ambitious effort to collect, store, and share species information and occurrence data. For help with butterfly species in your garden, visit:
Monarch Joint Venture
The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs that are working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States. To learn more visit:
Monarch Watch is an organization all about monarch butterfly conservation and milkweed habitat preservation. They provide resources about monarch biology, butterfly gardening, and educational resources. To learn more visit:
eButterfly is a free, user-friendly way for butterfly watchers across North America to record, archive and share their observations anytime, anywhere. It is also an important tool for conservation, providing researchers with a comprehensive picture of the abundance and distribution of butterflies. To learn more visit:
North American Butterfly Association
The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) is the largest group of people in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico) interested in butterflies. We are a membership-based not-for-profit organization working to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies. To learn more visit:
Monarchs in the Classroom
Monarchs in the Classroom aims to promote and facilitate inquiry-based education through original curricula and research opportunities. We use monarchs and other insects as focal organisms in inquiry-based teacher workshops and conduct an annual Insect Fair to spotlight student research. The monarch butterfly serves as an excellent tool to get students excited about science and to teach inquiry in the classroom. Want to learn how you can add pollinator education to your classroom, visit:
North American Butterfly Monitoring Network
The North American Butterfly Monitoring Network is made up of programs that monitor butterflies in North America, collaborating institutions, and the people who are involved in our many projects. We are a network of data collectors, data users, and informatics specialists dedicated to the goal of supporting the wide-spread collection and use of all types of information on butterflies. To learn more visit:
Iowa Native Plant Society
The Iowa Native Plant Society is a forum for plant enthusiasts, gardeners, and professional botanists to exchange ideas and information. Together they work to encourage conservation and ethical use of Iowa's plants, promote education about Iowa's plants, their habitats and cultural habits, preserve of these plants and their environment, and appreciate and enjoy Iowa's native flora. Visit:
From programs they implement locally to their efforts around the world, the Minnesota Zoo aims to be a leader in the conservation of animals and their habitats. To learn more visit:
Encyclopedia of Life
Our knowledge of the many life-forms on Earth - of animals, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria - is scattered around the world in books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere. Imagine what it would mean if this information could be gathered together and made available to everyone – anywhere – at a moment’s notice. This dream is becoming a reality through the Encyclopedia of Life. For more information visit:
Tree of Life Web Project
The Tree of Life Web Project is a collection of information about biodiversity compiled collaboratively by hundreds of expert and amateur contributors. Its goal is to contain a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct. To learn more visit:
Journey North engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events. To learn more visit:
Every plant tells a story. Whether you have an afternoon or a whole season, you can make an important contribution to a better understanding of changing climates. We are a national network of people monitoring plants as the seasons change. To learn more about Project Budburst, visit: