Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$14 adults, $8 children

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Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$14 adults, $8 children

View All Rates ›

Resources & Links

Looking for more information about pollinators and gardening? Check out the sites listed below for additional resources and information.

Pollinator Resources

Gardening / Prairie Resources
Butterfly Resources
More Resources

Pollinator Resources

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:

Bug Guide

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:

Pollinator Partnership

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?


Bees, Hornets, and Wasps of the World

An easy photo guide to identifying bees, hornets, and wasps.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


Des Moines Audubon Society

Organized 1923
Objectives:  Conservation of wildlife in general and the study and protection of birds in particular.


Dickinson County Conservation Board


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.


Drake University

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.


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).


For Lands Sake!


Friends of Warren County Conservation


Garden Word


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:


Iowa Arboretum

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.




Iowa DNR

To learn more about everything outdoors in Iowa, visit:


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.


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.


Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) is a statewide nonprofit conservation organization that works with private landowners and public agencies to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. We hold deep respect for the privilege and opportunity to conserve Iowa’s natural resources and to help connect people to the beautiful Iowa landscape.


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


Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Master Gardener Program

The mission of the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Master Gardener Program is to provide current, research-based, home horticulture information and education to the citizens of Iowa through programs and projects. Master Gardeners extend Iowa State University Extension & Outreach’s consumer horticulture education programs through volunteer activity.


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.


Jasper County Conservation

The Jasper County Conservation Board administers over 3,000 acres of land dedicated to public use and enjoyment, including a historic water-powered mill, bike and recreational trails, an astronomical observatory, and many wildlife habitat areas. The goal of the Jasper County Conservation Board is the establishment of a quality park, recreation, conservation and outdoor education system which gives the most service to residents of Jasper County and the State of Iowa. To reach this objective, we energetically promote programs and interests in conservation and preservation of our natural resources.


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.


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.


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.


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: or call 462-3536.


Milkweed Matters

The mission of Milkweed Matters is to increase pollinator habitat by tossing seedballs, rolled by thousands of Iowans at educational workshops across the state, into roadsides during large-scale bikes rides such as the 400+ mile RAGBRAI ride each summer.


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:


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.



The Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge help visitors view and experience nature by giving their time, funds, and spirit in support of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge’s work, environmental education, and conservation efforts.


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!


Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $577 million on 489,000 habitat projects benefiting 12 million acres nationwide.


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.


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:


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 Iowa

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!


Reiman Gardens

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:


Rydell National Wildlife Refuge

Located in northwestern Minnesota, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge protects approximately 2,200 acres of grassland, wetland, and forest habitat to benefit migratory birds and resident wildlife species. Rydell also provides a variety of educational and recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.


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:


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.


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:


Tallgrass Prairie


The Hillbilly Gardeners Garden Club

The Hillbilly Gardeners Garden Club, Springfield, Missouri, is a member of Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, Inc. and National Garden Clubs, Inc. As well as growing and designing with plants, we promote knowledge of the environment, endangered species, landscaping with garden development plus protecting our birds, butterflies and other pollinators. Our garden club and others have become more interested in promoting and growing native plants including wildflowers. Plant.Grow.Fly. is a perfect partner for us.
Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, Inc website link:


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.


Trees Forever

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...


University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Education

UNI's center for Energy & Environmental Education works to empower Iowans with knowledge, tools and inspiration to create a more sustainable and desirable future for our communities.


US Army Corps of Engineers, Saylorville Lake


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.

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.


Winnebago County Conservation Board

We are located in the rolling hills of north-central Iowa's prairie pothole region. Our purpose is to provide outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone and to protect and conserve our natural resources.


Wits End Gardens


Gardening / Prairie Resources

The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund

The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund created a new guide with step-by-step instructions and examples of how to produce great pollinator habitat. The guide will provide specific insights on Site Preparation, Seed Mixture Design, Planting Methods, Planting Timing, Future Management, Determining your Projects Objectives and more!
This free guide is available as a PDF download from their website at:  

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.

Monarch Gardens

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.


National Wildlife Federation: Garden for Wildlife

Check the Eco Region Keystone Host Plant Lists from Dr. Doug Tallamy and pollinator conservationist, Jarrod Fowler. These native plants are critical to the food web as they support higher numbers of wildlife species completing their life cycle. Without keystone plants in the landscape, butterflies, native bees, and birds will not thrive.



NatiVeg is an online database that aids in native plant selection for your location.  Simply type in the address of where your garden will be, the primary purpose of your garden (such as wildlife or pollinators), and you will receive a list of native species that suit your area and intended purpose.  It's that easy!


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.


Butterfly Resources

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

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:

More Resources

Minnesota Zoo

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

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:

Project Budburst

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:

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