Calkins Nature Area is a truly unique asset to Hardin County. Located between Iowa Falls and Alden, Calkins Nature Area boasts a first rate nature center of over 6,000 square feet which greets you as you enter 76 acres of rolling hills, nestled up to the banks of the Iowa River. Admission is free to the public.
Calkins Trail Map
In addition to the nature center and amphitheater, these attractions are also found at Calkins Nature Area:
3 miles of hiking trails to explore native ecosystems
2,000 square foot educational rain garden
Butterfly house with native wildflowers and butterfly species
Cross-country ski trail and ski rental
Full-sized Plains Native American tipi
Gazebo and picnic area
Live wildlife exhibit featuring over 20 species of native wildlife
Native American agriculture and foraging garden
Nature exploration backpacks
Wild bird observatory
Calkins Nature Center contains a Native American and Natural History Museum that tells the story of the county’s ecological and cultural history. The museum is home to one of central Iowa’s largest collections of Native American artifacts dating back to the earliest inhabitants of North America. There is also a classroom, resource library and great room that is available for meetings and public programs.
Shirley's Butterfly House
Open to the public, Calkins Nature Area maintains a butterfly house that was graciously donated by Shirley Welden of Iowa Falls. The house features a netted cover for air and sunlight permeability, while also being able to house various pollinator species. The main goal is to house Monarch Butterflies for the annual Monarch Tagging Program. Inside the house you will find beautiful water fountains, various native prairie flowers, walkways and benches. Stop out mid-summer for a beautiful and amazing experience!