The official start of spring is just around the corner, and as the weather begins to warm many of us are itching to get outside. There are plenty of outdoor spaces in Central Iowa to enjoy, and we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you make the most of your spring adventures. Check them out and be sure to tag us in your outdoor photos on social media with #gooutdoorsIA!
Our region is fortunate to have many existing entities that specialize in all things outdoor. When you’re preparing for your next spring adventure, remember that you don’t have to plan it alone! Whether you’re looking for a new park to explore or hoping to rent outdoor rec equipment, here are a few resources to consider.
Polk County Conservation
Polk County Conservation‘s mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long-term protection of natural heritage. PCC is responsible for maintaining and stewarding more than 15,000 acres of prairies, trails and parks! The organization provides year-round educational programming, events and volunteer opportunities open to the public.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources manages fish and wildlife programs, ensures the health of Iowa’s forests and prairies, and provides recreational opportunities in Iowa’s state parks. As you might have guessed, it’s a state-wide organization. So, if you’re looking to venture outside of Central Iowa, this is a great resource to turn to. The DNR also provides helpful programming and educational events that encourage the enjoyment and stewardship of natural resources
Municipal Parks & Recreation Departments
Most cities in our region have a Parks & Recreation Department responsible for programming, maintenance and equipment within each jurisdiction. These can be helpful in finding resources close to you, many of which are free to the public!
- City of Altoona
- City of Ankeny
- City of Bondurant
- City of Clive
- City of Des Moines
- City of Johnston
- City of Norwalk
- City of Urbandale
- City of Waukee
- City of West Des Moines
- City of Windsor Heights
Check the Weather
Sunny and 70 degrees one day, snowing and below freezing the next — we all know what to anticipate when it comes to Midwest weather. Don’t let an unexpected cold front or spring shower spoil your adventure! Make sure to check the weather before you head out so that you can plan and dress accordingly. Spring storms can arise out of nowhere, so it’s also important to identify where you would take cover in the event of inclement weather. Checking the forecast ahead of time, bringing extra layers and making appropriate plans will ensure that your trip to the trails, water or park go off without a hitch.
Make It Fun
There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy the outdoors. The best part about being outside? Anyone can do it! Exploring Central Iowa doesn’t require any special equipment or expert knowledge; your next adventure is as close as your own backyard. Whether you’re taking your pup for a walk in a nearby park, going for a hike on one of Central Iowa’s many soft trails, or renting a kayak for a day paddle, all that it takes is you. Make it fun, and enjoy all of the many health and wellness benefits that come from being in the great outdoors.