Grimes Farm & Conservation Center – Marshalltown, Iowa

Grimes Farm & Conservation Center, Iowa, Marshalltown, natural playscape, nature center, nature, Iowa outdoors

The Grimes Farm & Conservation Center is a county park located a little less than one hour northeast of Des Moines, Iowa in central Iowa. The farm was purchased in 1964 by Leonard and Mildred Grimes and was in bad shape. Over the years they worked to heal the acres of land by planting grasses, and flowers, planting trees, planting a pond, and much more. Today, this land is a great place for the whole family to visit, explore and learn.


Name: Grimes Farm & Conservation Center

Address: 2349 233rd St, Marshalltown Iowa 50158

Type: Places to Play, Places to Hike

Bathrooms: Bathroom inside the nature center and porta potties available around the grounds.

Shade: Shade is available in various locations throughout the farm

Playground: Natural playscape

Hours: Nature Center hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to Noon; Sunday’s Closed. Natural playscape, hiking, and biking trails are open from dawn to dusk.

Official Website:

Other things nearby of note: 

Tips before you go! 

  • Bring bug spray and sunscreen. There are tons of flies and ticks around.
  • If you enjoy bird watching, this is the place to do it! Bring your binoculars. We saw tons of different types of birds while exploring.


Our favorite part of Grimes Farm & Conservation Center was the natural playscape. We have a few in Des Moines, Iowa and it is one of the best places to play and use your imagination. This natural playscape offered tunnels to climb through, fun ways to play music, a sandbox to dig in, a water feature to splash in, and more. There was also a replica of Mildred’s Tower with slide children could climb and slide down.

After spending time playing in the natural playscape you can begin exploring the many trails offered. I loved that there were so many lengths to choose from which makes it great for any age group visiting. We chose a trail that offered a story walk which is a book to read along the trail. The trail led us to the back of the Grimes Farm Nature Center.

The Grimes Farm Nature Center offers hands-on activities, fossils, turtle shells, animal fur, and more. When we entered the nature center we grabbed a scavenger hunt sheet to make sure we checked off all the important things to see. This building also has classrooms that offer environmental education. We spent a lot of time in this building cooling off after our hike and taking in all the fun things!

After cooling off we made our way on the trail to Mildred’s Tower. This was not a bad hike. It was about a 1/2 mile there and back and pretty shady in most parts. When we arrived, the kids had fun climbing to the top to take in the crop fields and Iowa farmland.

Comment below your fun experiences at Grimes Farm & Conservation Center!


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