The Jester Park Nature Center will exist as a means to connect you, the visitor, to a sense of stewardship, ownership as well as a sense of place within the land in which you reside. Surrounded by prairie, woodland and wetland environments, the Center will encourage exploration of the various habitats representative of the Iowa landscape. Time inside the Center will inspire you to get outside by creating an integrated transition between indoors and outdoors, and to explore and recreate in the great outdoors of Iowa in a safe and responsible manner. Cultivating appreciation of Iowa's diverse natural habitats is to create an understanding of where we are in the grand scheme of things as interconnected parts of a great web of biodiversity. We are not apart from nature but rather a part of it.
Both the layout and site of the Jester Park Nature Center have been specifically chosen to maximize the experience for the visitor. As you enter the building, explore the hands-on interactive exhibits and displays that immerse the participant in the diverse habitats spread across Iowa. Layers of embedded discovery and unexpected surprises await the eager student of the natural world, no matter the age. The goal of the Center is to bring many connected aspects of the outdoors inside one location where these concepts are readily available and accessible.
Visitors will be able to connect patterns and make associations which leads to a deeper level of learning once interest and curiosity has been piqued. The Center will provide a launching point into three vital habitats spread across Iowa. Once a general understanding of the means by which prairie, woodland and aquatic ecosystems are interconnected, visitors can then step right outside the building to experience these natural areas and put their newfound knowledge into practice through exploration. Inspired and educated by their experiences within the exhibits and classrooms, visitors can go outside and partake in their own Jester Park adventure.
"Through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection." -- Freeman Tilden