Explore the Outdoors at Indian Creek Nature Center
If you are traveling east in Iowa you will want to make a stop at the Indian Creek Nature Center just outside of Cedar Rapids. The perfect stop to take in nature, hike miles of trails, and experience everything the outdoors has to offer.
Nature Center Building
When we made our stop to explore the Indian Creek Nature Center we started with the nature center that provided hands-on indoor exhibits, books, an incredible bird-watching room, and live amphibians.
The kids loved looking at the real skins and guessing which animals they came from and building a dam like a beaver would in nature.
In addition, they also had live amphibians which included turtles and frogs.
One of my favorite parts of the nature center building was the glass pathway that displayed the creatures of the area and how they live throughout the year including the winter months, in the Midwest. The staff members were super knowledgeable and shared bits of information that the kids and myself had no idea about!
After exploring we sat down in the bird room and saw several different birds in the distance. They also offered several bird books to help identify which birds you see!
Indian Creek Nature Center offers an incredible outdoor classroom. Everything is made of natural materials and is a great way for all ages to have fun playing with materials from their natural surroundings.
We spent a lot of time moving to each station. Although, it was the beginning of spring and still a bit chilly the kids still enjoyed playing with the outdoor weather area and music station. They also climbed into the large teepee. The entire outdoor space is such a great place for children to use their imaginations and have fun!
The Indian Creek Nature Center offers miles of trails over 200 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, maple sugarbush, tallgrass prairies, and oak savannas. We did not get a chance to explore the trails, but we saw many families taking advantage of the paths and taking in all the natural beauty of the property.
Alliant Energy has teamed up with the Indian Creek Nature Center to install a solar power system. On our way into the nature center, there was a display that shared how the photovoltaic system worked and gave them a chance to play around with it too. They really enjoyed the hands-on learning experience and seeing all the solar panels!
Maple Syrup Festival
We made a visit to the Indian Creek Nature Center just in time for ‘Maple Syrupin’ Time!’. This was such a fun experience for everyone. The kids love syrup but never understood how or when it was made. We attended an hour-long class that took us through the history and steps to making maple syrup! We were able to tap a tree, see the sap being cooked down to syrup, and learned the history of when and why maple syrup was made.
Our guide was super knowledgeable and let the kids try different steps within the process. In the end, we got to try some local maple syrup! It was a fun memorable experience. The Maple Syrup Festival happens one time each year and the tapping of trees only happens a few weeks out of the year. The temperatures have to be just right at night and during the day to get sap from the tree. If you plan to visit the Indian Creek Nature Center, make a visit during Maple Syrupin’ Time!
Address: 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Phone: 319 362 0664
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.