Indian Creek Nature Center 41.966606° N -91.59162° W

Description

Indian Creek Nature Center has been a home for outdoor immersive education since its founding in 1973. Below you can find a listing of group experiences, such as field trips and birthday parties, that includes information on subjects, grade levels and capacity. Once you select 'Book Now' on your preferred experience, you will see a calendar with all the available dates and times to choose from. We welcome groups to stay and use our outdoor picnic areas. When you make your reservation there will be an opportunity to request use of this space. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. We look forward to your visit!


Lunch Notes

We welcome groups to stay and use our outdoor picnic areas. When you make your reservation there will be an opportunity to request use of the space.
Groups MUST bring trash and recycling bags AND take waste with you (carry-in/carry-out)! Teachers/chaperones should check the tables and picnic area for littler/food spills before leaving - please leave the space better than you found it!
Compost and recycling bins are located inside the front door. Please ask ICNC staff if you need assistance determining what is compostable.

Cancellation Policy

Our field trips take place in all seasons, and are not canceled due to weather. The exception is if the Cedar Rapids school district or your district cancels school due to weather. If you cancel your program less than 14 days in advance, a $25 cancellation fee will be charged. For cancellations less than 48 hours in advance, an additional $25 administration fee will be charged. This includes all reasons other than dangerous weather or other severe circumstances such as school closure. An attempt to reschedule canceled programs will be made pending availability. Complete refunds will be made for any field trip canceled by ICNC.

Private groups/homeschool groups: The group coordinator (person making the reservation) will be responsible for any cancellation or administrative fees that apply to your reservation.

Info

5300 Otis Road Southeast
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

319-362-0664

naturecenter@indiancreeknaturecenter.org

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Subjects
History, Other, Science, Animals, Earth's Systems, The Water Cycle, Conservation, Sustainability, Speaking & Listening, Team Building, Technology, Ecosystems, Life Sciences, Adaptation, Weather And Climate, Water Testing, Biology, Botany, Geology
Activities
Field Trip, Family Programs, Tour Groups, Birthday Parties
Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Adult, K, Postsecondary, Preschool
Cost
Accommodations
Outdoor Lunch Space

Learning Experiences

Field Trip

Wolf Exhibit/Nature Center Tour (All Ages) *November-1 hour

Take a one hour tour of the nature center where you will see the Wolves and Wild Lands Traveling Exhibit, learn about animals of Iowa (past and present), explore the birds from the bird room and see our in-floor creek exhibit ($5/student, maximum of 25 students).

Subjects Covered

history

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, adult, k, postsecondary, preschool
Capacity
25 stu., Max 2 chap., Min 1 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Sounds of Spring (Preschool) *Spring, Summer*

As the weather warms up, so does the frog chorus! Listen for frogs at the wetlands. Learn about the frog life cycle and special frog features, sing frog songs, and go on a frog watching hike.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Seasons Exploration (Preschool) *Spring*

Nature is always changing all through the year. You might play in the the fall colors, or smell the spring flowers, play in the winter snow or dance in the spring rain. Explore all of the exciting changes in the seasons that are happening right now at the nature center grounds!

Subjects Covered

ecosystems, weather and climate

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Maple Syruping (Preschool) *March

This unique, fun activity can only be experienced during the month of March! Listen to Native American legends, tap a tree, and visit the sugarhouse to see how sap is made into delicious maple syrup. The hour ends with a taste of our real maple syrup!

This program meets at Penningroth Barn (6665 Otis Road SE).

40 total participants (includes students, chaperones and teachers) is the maximum for this program

Subjects Covered

history, life sciences

Grades
preschool
Capacity
40 stu.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Wild Animals in Winter (Preschool)

Hibernation, migration, and adaptation are the words of the day as we explore what different creatures do. We’ll play animal games to see how well you can hibernate, and discover what animals do to get ready for winter. Find out who takes a long winter nap and who stays awake to play in the snow. Explore the outdoors in winter!

Subjects Covered

weather and climate, animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Feet Beat (Animal Tracks) (Preschool) *Winter*

Creatures big and small leave their tracks and traces in the mud and snow – birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, mice and more! Go on a tracking walk, learn about food chains, and make an animal track craft.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Feathered Friends (Birds) (Preschool) *Winter*

Explore the fascinating world of our feathered friends and go bird watching with a naturalist. Take a peek at our collection of bird nests and colorful feathers while you learn about their songs, characteristics and habitats.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Talking Trees (Forests) (Preschool) *Fall*

Do you know that trees tell stories? Come learn the secrets hidden in apartment house trees. Learn the parts of a tree and discover the great things trees do for us. Search for leaf shapes, feel bark textures, smell a tree, and explore the forest habitats on Nature Center grounds.

Subjects Covered

botany

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Meadow Magic (Insects) (Preschool) *Fall, Spring, Summer*

Sun, meadows and buzzing bugs create a special experience as you hunt through the tall grass prairie for insects and learn about their characteristics. Explore the homes of butterflies, ants, grasshoppers, bees and more while enjoying the great outdoors at the Nature Center.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Creature Feature (Preschool) *Fall, Spring, Summer*

Get to know Iowa’s wild animals! Use your senses to discover fun facts about their fur, their tracks, what they like to eat, and how they choose to live. Get moving with interactive animal games. Go for a hike to explore their habitats and enjoy the great outdoors.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 5 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Busy Buzzing Bees (Honey Bees) (Preschool) *September*

Honey is a sweet treat that the bees work all summer to make. You will learn all about it as you observe the community of a beehive firsthand in the Nature Center’s observation hive. Get to know the drone, worker, and queen bee. How do bees find nectar? How do they communicate with each other? Play a buzzing bee game.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
preschool
Capacity
20 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Wetland Exploration (Grades K-8) *Summer*

Search the wetland to see what kind of critters you can capture with dip nets. Get a first-hand look at life cycles and have fun using magnifiers to help identify the unique ones.

Subjects Covered

ecosystems, life sciences, animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Insect Safari and Nature Center Explore (Grades K-8) *Summer*

Hike the trails though the prairies of Indian Creek Nature Center to see what kind of insects you can find. Insects will be collected, viewed and returned to nature. A brief tour through the Nature Center and a quick look at the pond will round out this fun adventure.

Subjects Covered

life sciences, animals, adaptation

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Critters and Jaunt (Grades K-8) *Summer*

Get an up close look at the animals that call the Indian Creek Nature Center home. A variety of animals will be shown and touched before heading outside for a short hike on the trails.

Subjects Covered

ecosystems, animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Plants & Animals Hike (Grades K-5) *Fall, Winter, Spring*

Join us for a sensory exploration of the prairie and woodland habitats of Indian Creek Nature Center! Discover the diverse plant and animal life along the trails and amongst the prairie plants. Various activities along the hike will help you understand food chains, life cycles and the interdependence between people, wild plants, animals and the earth.

Subjects Covered

biology, ecosystems, life sciences, animals, adaptation

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Iowa Butterflies (Grades K-3) *September*

Experience the wonder of one of our most enchanting pollinators! Learn about the life cycles of a butterfly, as well as the tactics butterflies use to protect themselves, including camouflage, mimicry & behaviors. Get an up-close look at milkweed plants, native flowers and monarch butterflies in the Nature Center’s own butterfly hoop house. Finally, learn about conservation issues and what individuals can do in their own yards to help butterflies. It may even be possible to tag a monarch before it begins the long journey to Mexico.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Insects (Grades K-2) *Sept-mid Oct*

Discover the vast diversity in the insect world, review insects’ basic characteristics, and explore the essential roles insects fulfill in our environments. Observe adaptations for survival, finding food and pollination. You will have an opportunity to look at our indoor observation honey bee hive (September-mid October) as well as learn about life cycles and metamorphosis. Ample time will be spent outdoors exploring.

Subjects Covered

science, biology, animals

Grades
1, 2, k
Capacity
40 stu., Max 5 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Maple Syruping (Grades K-12) *March

Learn about the history of this unique North American heritage activity, and explore the Native American and pioneer history of ‘sugaring.’ You’ll learn about maple syrup as the first agricultural crop harvested in Iowa each year and identification of maple trees. Then, visit the sugar bush (woods where the maple trees grow) and use tools (bit & brace, hammer, spile and collection bag) to tap a maple tree. You’ll also tour the sugarhouse to learn how sap is boiled to create maple syrup, followed by a sample of the maple syrup made right here at Indian Creek Nature Center.

This program meets at Penningroth Barn (6665 Otis Road SE).

40 total participants (includes students, chaperones and teachers) is the maximum for this program

Subjects Covered

history, biology, weather and climate, life sciences

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, k
Capacity
48 stu.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Weather (Grades 1-3) *Fall, Winter, Spring*

Explore what creates the seasons, the water cycle, and experience the weather challenges migrating animals face during their long journeys. Go on a weather scavenger hunt, and collect data on temperature, cloud cover, cloud type, precipitation, and wind speed.

Subjects Covered

science, weather and climate, the water cycle

Grades
1, 2, 3
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Ponds & Wetlands (Grades 1-3) *Sept, Oct, Apr, May*

A teacher-naturalist leads the way as students explore the wetland and participate in a variety of exciting activities, like dip-netting, listening to frog sounds, and more! Watch birds at the wetland, feel furs and pass around a turtle shell before looking for turtles in the water. Wetland characteristics, importance and function will be covered.

Subjects Covered

science, ecosystems, life sciences, animals, adaptation

Grades
1, 2, 3
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
120 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Plants, Seeds and Pollinators (Grades 2-5) *Fall, Spring*

The Nature Center is the perfect place for hands-on learning about plants and flowers! Learn about habitat needs of plants, plant, seed and flower anatomy and purpose, and pollinators. Go on a scavenger hunt to find examples of different seed dispersal mechanisms and pollinators. You’ll also learn about how animals use plants and seeds and how plants sometimes use animals.

Subjects Covered

science, biology, botany

Grades
2, 3, 4, 5
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Snowshoeing/Winter Hike (Grades 3-12) *Winter*

Strap on snowshoes, and head for the trails! This outdoor snowshoeing experience includes discussion of the history of snowshoes while you explore the trails looking for signs of wildlife. Snowshoes are provided. This program requires 5″ of snow cover. Not enough snow on the ground? Don’t worry! We will go on a guided winter trek through the woods.

Subjects Covered

other

Grades
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Honeybees (Grades 3-5) *Sept-mid Oct*

Observe honeybees and their activities within the indoor observation hive, including worker bees, the queen and drones. Discussion includes honey bee life cycles, bee adaptations, the value of pollination, the relationship between flowers and bees and beekeeping. You’ll also participate in a pollinator hunt and view an outdoor bee hive.

Subjects Covered

science, biology, animals

Grades
3, 4, 5
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Outdoor Skills (Grades 4-12) *April*

An outdoor skills experience with hands-on activities that may include: fire building, use of flint and steel, orienteering and/or atlatl, archery, plants to avoid, and marking your trail. Indoor inclement weather plans may include: introduction to compasses, map skills, what to bring on adventures or knot tying. This program is available in the month of April only

Subjects Covered

science, adaptation, team building

Grades
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
120 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Water Quality Study (Grades 4, 5) *Sept, Oct, Apr, May*

Measure the water quality at our wetland by testing the pH, turbidity, smell, color and temperature of the water. Data is recorded and used to predict which aquatic life forms would grow and reproduce in the conditions measured and observed. You will also use nets to complete a macroinvertebrate collection, identify collected species, and use data collected to determine water quality.

Subjects Covered

ecosystems, animals, adaptation, water testing, conservation

Grades
4, 5
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
120 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Geology (Grades 4, 5) *Fall, Winter, Spring*

Participate in hands-on experiments and explore geologic concepts, geologic timeline, rock cycles, mineral testing, fossil formation and a fossil dig. You will also demonstrate plate tectonics, and examine rock specimens and fossils from the nature center’s collection.

During the winter and colder temperatures, this program will take place indoors

Subjects Covered

science, earth's systems, geology

Grades
4, 5
Capacity
40 stu., Max 8 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
120 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Watersheds: Exploring Our Actions (Grades 6, 7, 8) *Fall*

Get ready to explore the Indian Creek Watershed and the problems it faces as a result of human activity. Using a 3-D watershed model you will look at urban and rural pollution sources, erosion and flooding. Conservation techniques will be discussed and viewed as students experiment with a stream table. Tour a rain garden and parking lot bioswale, while also looking at an example of permeable paving. The focus is on what each of us can do individually to improve watershed health.

Subjects Covered

earth's systems, the water cycle, conservation, sustainability

Grades
6, 7, 8
Capacity
20 stu., Max 4 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Team Building (Grades 6-12) *Fall, Winter, Summer, Spring*

Communication, working together and patience are important life skills. Get ready to put these skills to the test as you attempt many fun challenges and cooperate to reach common goals. We discuss the importance of clear communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Come dressed and prepared to enjoy the great outdoors in all weather.

Subjects Covered

speaking & listening, team building

Grades
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Capacity
20 stu., Max 4 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Geocaching (Grades 6-12) *Fall, Spring, Summer*

Geocaching is a recreational activity that requires creative thinking, patience, and teamwork. The objective is to hunt for and locate a hidden object using GPS coordinates. You will work together and locate hidden objects, while enjoying the natural beauty of the prairie and trails at Indian Creek Nature Center.

Subjects Covered

technology, team building

Grades
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Capacity
20 stu., Max 4 chap.
Activity

field trip

Duration
90 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Maple Syruping for (Adult/Senior Groups) *March

Learn about the history of this unique North American heritage activity, and explore the Native American and pioneer history of ‘sugaring.’ You’ll learn about maple syrup as the first agricultural crop harvested in Iowa each year and identification of maple trees. Then, visit the sugar bush (woods where the maple trees grow) and use tools (bit & brace, hammer, spile and collection bag) to tap a maple tree. You’ll also tour the sugarhouse to learn how sap is boiled to create maple syrup, followed by a sample of the maple syrup made right here at Indian Creek Nature Center. This program meets at Penningroth Barn (6665 Otis Road SE) and can be adjusted so we remain on hard surfaces throughout the program (please note this request for us). 40 total people is the maximum for this event.

Subjects Covered

science

Grades
adult
Capacity
40 stu.
Activity

field trip

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Birthday Parties

Birthday Party Package #1

Birthday parties include:
*One-hour naturalist-led program of choice, options found in link provided
*
Use of the birthday party room for up to three hours and other public areas of the nature center during regular business hours
*Special favor for birthday child
*
Vanilla ice cream with optional maple syrup topping for all party participants
**Member discount
Package #1 is for 1-10 TOTAL PEOPLE

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, k, preschool
Capacity
10 stu.
Activity

birthday parties

Duration
180 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Birthday Party Package #2

Birthday parties include:
*One-hour naturalist-led program of choice, options found in link provided
*
Use of the birthday party room for up to three hours and other public areas of the nature center during regular business hours
*Special favor for birthday child
*
Vanilla ice cream with optional maple syrup topping for all party participants
**Member discount
Package #2 is for 11-15 TOTAL PEOPLE

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, k, preschool
Capacity
15 stu.
Activity

birthday parties

Duration
180 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Birthday Party Package #3

Birthday parties include:
*One-hour naturalist-led program of choice, options found in link provided
*
Use of the birthday party room for up to three hours and other public areas of the nature center during regular business hours
*Special favor for birthday child
*
Vanilla ice cream with optional maple syrup topping for all party participants
**Member discount
Package #3 is for 16-20 TOTAL PEOPLE

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, k, preschool
Capacity
20 stu.
Activity

birthday parties

Duration
180 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Birthday Party Package #4

Birthday parties include:
*One-hour naturalist-led program of choice, options found in link provided
*
Use of the birthday party room for up to three hours and other public areas of the nature center during regular business hours
*Special favor for birthday child.
*
Vanilla ice cream with optional maple syrup topping for all party participants
**Member discount
Package #4 is for 21-30 TOTAL PEOPLE

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, k, preschool
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

birthday parties

Duration
180 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Family Programs

Golf Cart Tour, Two Hour

See Indian Creek property in a whole new way! Have a seat in our quiet, electric golf cart as we tour prairies east of the nature center in style. Other routes/stops will include a stop at the blue bridge, view of the confluence of the Cedar River and Indian Creek, step inside the lower level of the old barn, a stop for an optional picnic lunch (please bring your own). Other viewing opportunities include two wetlands and drives along the sycamore and bluebird trails. We will provide the golf cart and the driver, you provide optional sack lunches and up to five people interested in a relaxing drive through our property. $22/person (minimum of 2 people) or $110 for a private tour (up to 5 people).

Subjects Covered

other

Grades
adult
Capacity
5 stu.
Activity

family programs

Duration
120 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Golf Cart Tour, One Hour

See Indian Creek property in a whole new way! Have a seat in our quiet, electric golf cart as we tour prairies east of the nature center in style. Other routes/stops will include a stop at the blue bridge, peek inside the lower level of the old barn and drive through the sycamore and bluebird trails. We will provide the golf cart and the driver, you provide up to five people interested in a relaxing drive through our property. $12/person (minimum of 2 people) or $60 for a private tour (up to 5 people).

Subjects Covered

other

Grades
adult
Capacity
5 stu.
Activity

family programs

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Tour Groups

Wetland Gathering (Adult/Senior Program) *Spring, Summer, Early Fall

Gather at one of our wetlands to witness the sounds and sights of these magical places. Talk with us about accessibility for those with mobility impairments. Season(s) Offered: Spring, Summer, Early Fall (through mid-October).

Subjects Covered

other

Grades
adult
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

tour groups

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Butterflies/Insects (Adult/Senior Program) *Summer, September

Get an up-close look at butterflies and other insects. Learn all about these small but mighty critters. You’ll have the chance to visit to our butterfly hoop house. Season(s) Offered: Summer, Early Fall (through September).

Subjects Covered

other

Grades
adult
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

tour groups

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Reptiles & Amphibians (Adult/Senior Program) *Year-round

What makes reptiles and amphibians similar and different? We’ll tell (and show!) you all about it. Meet some live reptiles and amphibians, too! Season(s) Offered: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
adult
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

tour groups

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Discover Iowa Birds (Adult/Senior Program) *Year-round

Discuss Iowa’s variety of birds. Listen to bird songs and calls. Look at bird feathers and artifacts. Try your hand at bird watching. Season(s) Offered: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
adult
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

tour groups

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist

Iowa Wildlife (Adult/Senior Program) *Year-round

Discover and remember the diversity of wildlife in Iowa. See and touch artifacts from a variety of animals – birds, insects, mammals and more – and meet a live animal (optional). Season(s) Offered: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.

Subjects Covered

animals

Grades
adult
Capacity
30 stu.
Activity

tour groups

Duration
60 min.
Book Now Join Waitlist