• Superhero and Princess 5K & Kids Fun Run!

    The Superhero and Princess 5K & Kids Fun Run on October 18 will definitely bring out your inner superhero! Racers are encouraged to run, walk or fly in their favorite action hero or princess costume. Sign up for the 5K before October 6 for just $25. Fees for the Kids Fun Run is just $10 per child (ages 3-12).

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    More Info & Registration

  • Gray's Lake Access Information

    Preperations for this year's Hy-Vee Triathlon (Aug.30-Aug.31) will affect access to Gray's Lake Park starting Aug. 24. The park, trail and concession stand will remain open. No boat rentals will be allowed during the events. Click the link below to view the schedule of areas impacted.

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    Map of Affected Areas

  • Taekwondo Special

    Join Taekwondo for just $1 during the month of September.

    At Pioneer Columbus Community Center take Taekwondo - Mondays and Wednesdays 6:00 – 8:00 pm, 7 years and up. Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00 – 7:00 pm, Pee Wee 4-6 years old. Cost is $50, new joining fee $1 for the month of September. For more information call 248-6316.

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Illustration of the benefits of prairie plants

Urban Environmental Education

 

Connection You with Nature in the City

 

Reconnect with nature and your family!  Restore yourself and refocus your children by getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors.  Studies have shown that children are smarter, more cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied chances to play in the out-of-doors. That’s why the Park and Recreation Department offers educational programs for every age and every season. 
 
Next time you’re at Gray’s Lake, or many of your other city parks, keep your eyes open for new interpretive signage. These signs help visitors to the city parks view and understand natural land management strategies, as well as different aspects of park and lake ecology. In the future, you may be able to access interpretive information with your mobile phone through a podcast while on a park walking tour.
  

Of course, educational programs reach far beyond signs. Thanks to ongoing partnerships with Polk County Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources, the Park and Recreation Department continues to offer popular nature story hours, intriguing pond exploration, creepy insect investigations, informative bird programs and more.

 

Additional outdoor programs sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department also include canoe classes and trips, a camping night at Gray’s Lake, eco-art, nature-based scavenger hunts, and a “how-to” on gardening with native plants.  Visit Parks throughout the year to see what’s coming up in your neighborhood that would interest you, your friends, and your family.

 

Educational Documents

 

 Backyard Conservation and Habitat Creation

Canada Goose Habitat

Herbicide Alphabet Soup

Native Landscaping Resources

Native Species Blooming Periods

Small Urban Landscaping with Native Species