Stop 8 For Wildlife and People

The refuge is a great place for wildlife, but it was also created with humans in mind.


To your right you’ll see our visitor center. Opened in 1997, it was built with a low profile so as to blend with the surrounding environment. Inside, visitors can tour different exhibits detailing the history and evolution of tallgrass prairie. A 15-minute film about the history of prairie is available for viewing.


Education is central to our mission. Each year, thousands of local students visit the refuge. These field trips give students hands-on experiences with Iowa’s prairie ecosystem. Although the refuge focuses on elementary-age students, the visitor center is an education hub for all ages.


But you don’t need to be a student to enjoy the prairie! See the hiking path snaking near the visitor center? That’s our two-mile Tallgrass Trail. The refuge has six hiking trails, including a 4.5 mile bike trail, which are used to explore the environment. Wildlife viewing, photography and hunting in select areas are also popular activities. If you prefer more structure, grab a schedule of events at the visitor center for a list of free public programs.