The Forest Park Museum and Arboretum are on 17 acres, with the Raccoon River Valley Trail passing through the arboretum. There are several buildings including a visitor center with live animals, First Nations artifacts, and a rifle collection. Hastie Hall has Dallas County history from the 1800s to the 20th century, including early transportation, occupations, and common farm/house items. Baldwin Hall showcases the lives and occupations of Dallas County’s early pioneers. Wagner Gallery has a library and collections for architect William Wagner. There is a log cabin, originally built in 1863, a scale house used to weigh grain, and a one-room Alton School House, used from 1867-1961.
It is more of a museum complex, with several buildings existing separate from one another but connected by trails. There are handy “touch here” signs in some of the display halls, but a toddler would get easily frustrated with all the things they aren’t supposed to touch! The spaces are small and densely packed with information and things to look at.
Name: Forest Park Museum & Arboretum
Address: 14581 K Avenue, Perry IA
Type: Places to visit, places to hike
Shade: Yes, the museum is indoors
Trails: Yes, paved and dirt
Other notes: Forest Park Museum showcases natural, cultural, artifacts of central Iowa. There is a wind turbine visible from the grounds, across the road. There is a covered wagon kit to check out. The arboretum has a paved trail and a mowed walking trail, with over 100 different tree species.
Other things nearby of note:
- Connects to the Raccoon River Valley Trail
- Voas Recreation Area is close by
- If you’re looking for other places to get outside, check back in with the interactive map!
The library and workshop are on the left, log cabin on the right.
The schoolhouse on the left, covered wagon kit on the right. You can check this out from the administration buildings that you enter from the parking lot.
The visitor center; is small and cramped, but has lots to see!
Have you been here? Leave a comment and let people know what you think!