Events at Calkins

Several events are held throughout the year at Calkins. Most are popular annual events that draw a big following. Thanks for supporting Calkins Nature Area!

BBQ & Bluegrass Fundraiser
Monarch Tagging
Halloween Hike
Christmas at Calkins

BBQ & Bluegrass Fundraiser
Ever since the summer of 2013 the Friends of Calkins Nature Area has put on a BBQ & Bluegrass Fundraiser. Each year has featured three first class bluegrass acts and deliciously smoked pulled pork that is produced and prepared locally. There is a live auction featuring outdoor gear and homemade desserts as well as activities for the whole family.

Roe Family Singers perform at the BBQ & Bluegrass fundraiser. Family enjoying cookies at the BBQ & Bluegrass fundraiser. Kind Country perform at the BBQ & Bluegrass fundraiser
The Roe Family Singers, from Minneapolis,
MN, danced and sang many classic
bluegrass tunes during the 1st and 2nd
annual BBQ & Bluegrass Festival.
BBQ & Bluegrass is fun for the whole
family, especially if you like chocolate
In 2015, Kind Country from Minneapolis,
MN, took the state and entertained the
crowd with their unique blend of modern
country bluegrass music.

Monarch Tagging
The monarch butterfly seems so ubiquitous to rural Iowa that it is hard to imagine it being a species in peril. Every September Calkins Nature Area hosts a monarch tagging program that gives everyone a chance to be a part of the conservation of this magnificent species. Participants will also learn about their unique lifecycle, the complex issues that the monarch is facing and what they can do to help.

Beginning of the butterfly cycle. The stages of the butterfly cycle. Catching butterflies in a field.

Monarch Butterfly (photo by Iowa Falls Times Citizen)Everyone gets to try their hand at wrangling a monarch during the annual tagging event. The photo above was taken by the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen. There's something about catching butterflies that captures the imagination and even makes grown-ups feel like kids again.

Halloween Hike
The Calkins Halloween Hike is one of our biggest events each year and promises family fun for all. The main attractions are the trick-or-treat trail, spook-athalon obstacle course, hayrack rides, costume contest, free face painting, pumpkin carving contest, owl pellet investigation, stargazing and ghoulish goodies. In addition there is also a chili and hot dog meal for a free-will donation.

Bumblebee at Halloween Kike Pumpkin carved with a spider design. Kids dressed up for the Halloween Hike. Girl with face painting.

Kids dress up for the costume contest and the trick-or-treat trail. Face painting is always popular.

This event is FREE and is family oriented for all ages. With this many activities and moving parts, the Halloween Hike requires many volunteers. Contact the nature center if you are interested participating or in need of volunteer hours.
Prairie scarecrows decorate the path along the hayrack ride.
Prairie scarecrows decorate the path along the hayrack ride.

Christmas at Calkins
Come meet Santa, listen to live Christmas music, enjoy the cookies and treats, be creative making a yule tide craft or bundle up for a sleigh ride. These are just some of the things to do during the annual Christmas at Calkins. This event is fun for the whole family and a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Christmas at Calkins is usually the 2nd weekend in December and is FREE to attend.

Man and young boy enjoy some Christmas crafts. People enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride.
Everyone gets into the action
the ornament craft station.
Take a ride through a winter wonderland.
Santa sitting in a chair by a Christmas tree. The Bearcat Pickers entertain a crowd at Calkins Christmas.
The big guy himself takes time out of his
busy schedule to make an appearance.
The Bearcat Pickers entertain the crowd with
Christmas songs as everyone enjoys holiday treats.