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7 Things To Do in Iowa's Outdoors This Week

  • 5/15/2015 10:01:00 AM
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From wildflower hikes and trout fishing to camping under the stars and exploring architecture, here are 7 things you need to do this week in Iowa's outdoors | Iowa DNRWhile the cool weather forecasted for this week doesn’t seem to herald in the unofficial start of summer, it’s still a great time to get outside. If you’re looking for some new or different ideas to explore Iowa’s outdoors, we have a suggestion for each day of the holiday week:

Tuesday Why tiptoe through the tulips when you can stroll through the prairie? Join a guided wildflower walk led by the O’Brien County Conservation Board at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, which starts at 6:30 p.m. The late day sun should make it a prime time for budding nature photographers to take some great shots. For more info, contact the O’Brien CCB at 712.295.7200 or

Wednesday Enter your first fishing tournament! Head over to Lake Macbride for the Iowa Bass Assault Team Challenge, or explore our special events calendar to plan your first entry. Looking for a quieter experience? We’ll be stocking trout up in northeast Iowa at Joy Springs, Bigalk Creek and Bohemian Creek.

Thursday Pick up a paddle and take the canoe or kayak out on one of Iowa’s established water trails. Need help choosing? Check out our paddling experts' suggestions for this spring.If you’re just getting started, consider taking a free online paddle safety boating course and look to a local outfitter to rent a canoe or kayak. Many outfitters also provide a shuttle service.

Cedar Rock State Park | Iowa DNRFriday Swing by Cedar Rock near Quasqueton, now open for the season. Step inside the time capsule of Cedar Rock, designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and take in the beauty of the house and boathouse along the banks of the Wapsipinicon River. The only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Iowa that bears his coveted signature tile, the house was completed in 1950 for Walter and Agnes Walter, who donated the house to the Iowa Conservation Commission (now DNR). Tours leave on the hour from the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call ahead for reservations to make sure you get a spot: 319-934-3572 or email

Saturday Check out the night sky at the Ashton Observatory near Baxter – be sure to look for Saturn, which is at its closest point to earth today. Learn the basics with a classroom program at 8 p.m. and stick around for stargazing afterward. Better yet, bring along the tent – the observatory is located in Ashton Wildwood County Park – and enjoy a whole night or weekend under the stars. 

Sunday Step into the shoes of those who built many of Iowa state parks’ most treasured features at the Iowa Civil Conservation Corps Museum at Backbone State Park, which will be open noon to 4 p.m. May 23, 24 and 25. The museum offers visitors an interesting and informative look at the work of the CCC in state parks. After the museum, wander the park, which still features numerous buildings and structures built by the CCC. After Memorial Day weekend, the museum is open noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment by calling the park office at 563-924-2000.

Backbone State Park | Iowa DNRMemorial Day Take to the trails in Jefferson County for a relaxing day outside with an all-ages scavenger hunt and a chance to win prizes. Can’t make it on the holiday? Take your time – you can head out any time between May 23 and June 20. 

For more ideas on exploring Iowa's outdoors, follow us on Twitter and browse our Take It Outside, Iowa State Parks and We Love Summer in Iowa boards on Pinterest.