I had never heard of Minburn, Iowa or Voas Nature Area before, which made me even more excited to go check it out! This Dallas County Conservation area is not too far from the Des Moines metro area, but definitely feels like you are out in secluded nature. We initially made this trip hoping to see the annual tiger salamander migration (mentioned here) but struck out on spotting any of the little critters.
You can see more specific details on the Voas Nature Area & Museum page or check out its location on the interactive map.
There is only one parking area, right by the main observation deck. The bathrooms were locked and the nature museum is on the other side, but not open to the public. You can see rock specimens by peeking in the window, but that is about it.
I’m betting this amphitheater gets used for school presentations.
There are a few trails to choose from, we set out on the closest grass one which ended up looping back to the main building (wondering about their coveralls? They are linked on this page!).
It was a little wet so our friends went home and we head out for more exploring, along one of the dirt trails. I really liked their sign markers, down on the ground and easy to spot.
The highlight of the trip for me was spotting this snake in a tree!
The raindrops beaded up on its scales for a cool look.
A brief scan makes me think that it is a common garter snake, though I’m more than happy to be corrected! We love spotting wildlife and this snake was a big hit with my kids.
I’d like to try and organize a trip to see the museum some time next year and maybe explore the trails more thoroughly, it definitely has an isolated, relaxing vibe that we enjoyed. Let me know if you’ve hiked out this way!