Annett Nature Center – Indianola, Iowa

Annett Nature Center is so cool! I can’t believe it took us this long to go check it out – I emailed the staff ahead of time to make sure someone would be there and the center would be open since it’s a bit of a drive from the west side (please do the same – on a nice day it would be no big deal if they had a meeting/program and were closed, but on a cold day you might be bummed!). We were not disappointed – there were enough animals and interactive displays to keep 4 kids 4 and under busy for 45 minutes, easily.

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[You can see more specific details on the Annett Nature Center page below or check out its location on the interactive map.]

Annett Nature Center – Indianola, Iowa

The nature center is a part of the Warren County Parks and has a set of trails in addition to the indoor building. It’s a bit hard to photograph inside – but you walk into a large reception desk and lobby with a few taxidermied animals, nice clean bathrooms, and then can go downstairs to the main exhibit hall. There is a coat room too, which is nice in winter.

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Right now they have a new, traveling exhibit called “‘Snakes, Rattles, Holes’! Walkthrough the larger than life snake skeleton to learn about the anatomy of a snake, how they swallow their prey, the process of shedding their skin, how they move & hunt, and more! ” (from the Warren County Facebook page). You can see parts of the huge snake skeleton, my kids were big fans. They said this exhibit will be up until mid-July of this year (2017).


There was a lot to read and look at, all touch-able as well.

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It’s hard to see with the skeleton there, but there is an adorable little wooden playhouse along the back wall with animal pelts hanging off of it, a neat sensory box to stick your hands into, and a large trunk full of puppets and stuffed animals that were lots of fun.

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They have a honeybee hive to check out as well! There is a tube to the outside, and it was neat to watch them all working away in there.

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Down the steps, there is a large area with lots of animal displays, and then this side room. Through the window, there are two screech owls outside and then several turtle aquariums.


I didn’t snap a good shot of the main animal area – but you can see the cool floor tiles in this one. There was an “open” turtle tank here that my kids LOVED looking into, in addition to a few fish tanks, a cute little crawl/hidey-hole, and a few other small displays.

anc nature map

At the front, we borrowed the nifty laminated maps – you can see there are two bridges, two observation towers, and a bird blind. We went over the main/largest bridge and back, it was 30 degrees and sunny but our hiking buddies didn’t have quite the same enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to going back in spring!

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You can see the bridge here – it was pretty cool checking out the ice up close!

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There was some fun sculpture art at this pond, closest to the nature center, with a little dock.


The trails we went on were all mud/grass, nothing too steep, and easy to walk.


There is a butterfly garden up by the nature center as well- not very pretty right now but can’t wait to see it in spring!

buffalo sculpture

A big barbed wire buffalo sculpture, also towards the front.

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Last but not least, a beautiful wooden lodge that this photo totally doesn’t do justice to. The picnic tables were slabs of wood, with a fireplace and sink, it was gorgeous!


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