There is a place in Marshall County that provides a natural sanctuary away from urban sounds. With both blacktop and mowed trails, there is a way for all visitors to get close to nature (there are handicap accessible trails available as well!) Among the natural white noise, you are sure to find an adventure of your liking at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center.
Grimes Farm is located a short drive from Marshalltown, and less than an hour from Des Moines. This Nature Center provides experiences and education that all audiences can enjoy and benefit from. From bird watching along the trail, to the relaxing white noise of Lynn Creek, you're bound to find relaxation here.
This conservation area also provides educational opportunities for learners of all ages. A newly constructed outdoor amphitheater will be used for presentations designed to teach the public about all things native to Iowa. This man is Leonard Grimes.
Leonard and his wife Mildred purchased the land that is now Grimes Farm in 1964 and transformed it into the beautiful nature reserve it is today through hard work and community connection and support. The dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting are set for Thursday, May 24th, 2018 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Other activities for this event include a visit from Don Becker. Don has done extensive research in learning about reptiles and will be doing a presentation about reptiles that are native to Iowa. He will also have a special exotic guest to show off! This event is sure to be fun for attendees of all ages and is free to the public.
Several events are held at Grimes farm throughout the year. Even on non-event occasions, it's a wonderful place to come and relax alone or bring the family and get up close and personal with native Iowa nature.
Children will enjoy the playground, and Storybook Trail, which is a walk-through storybook about how kids can be more involved in nature and help animals and plants thrive! This short interactive hike will keep your kids entertained while getting them outside and moving.
The inside of the conservation center provides more insight into Native Iowa plants and animals in an interactive room full of displays and manned with knowledgeable staff. It's open 6 days a week: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-noon.
During my own visit, I was able to talk to a staff member who provided information about not just Grimes Farm, but the other 28 public areas in Marshall County. These areas offer all kinds of resources for visitors to camp, hike, hunt, fish, boat, and participate in environmental learning activities as well as horse trails. Information on all of these areas can be found here or by calling Grimes Farm at 641-752-5490.
My experience at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center was very relaxing and educational. I recommend this lesser known area to anyone who is looking to unwind and get back to nature.
Image credit: April Stewart