Economic Vitality and Communal Wellbeing at the Jester Park Nature Center

Rear view of the Jester Park Nature Center

In partnership with the Great Outdoors Foundation and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County Conservation is proud to announce a boon to Iowa's economy through the Jester Park Nature Center project. This project, in the final stage of its capital campaign, will be a key attraction in Central Iowa's 'year-round playground' destination at Jester Park. 

Jester Park Nature Center will serve as a place where education, recreation and tourism intersect into one setting. This opportunity will provide exceptional value to this region by serving as a significant tourist attraction and welcome center, portal to Polk County's family of parks and Jester Park's new front porch. Tourists, students, educators, families, and others will connect through this center to the natural playscape and bison/elk exhibit, restored woodlands, Saylorville Lake and a network of nature trails immersing visitors back into nature. 

The bison/elk exhibit at Jester Park immerses visitors in the native Iowa landscape

Outdoor nature-based recreation has become one of the largest industries in Iowa with our natural areas as vital components of the economy. Businesses benefit from accessible quality parks, trails, and outdoor recreation available for their employees with potential employees and entrepreneurs basing job choices on available outdoor opportunities. It was also found from survey conducted by the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau that 62% of visitor respondents marked Outdoor Activities and Parks as a preferred interest. 

Visitors and residents of Polk County can fulfill that need to seek and commune with the natural world and begin their outdoor adventures right here in central Iowa at the Jester Park Nature Center. With a population that is expected to grow by as much as 50% within the next 35 years, development of a facility that will provide people with immersion into wild places and grant unparalleled opportunities for all who visit this portal to the outdoors is key not only to healthy minds and bodies but also to a robust economy. This center will impose a positive influence on the surrounding community. Property values increase in the vicinity of nature centers. Employment is provided. The center will become a place of value for local businesses and residential neighbors through the provision of overall wellness and outdoor opportunities. The Jester Park Nature Center will provide entertainment through education and recreation to locals while attracting visitors to the area who will then frequent other surrounding businesses. Thriving individuals foster a thriving local economy and the Jester Park Nature Center will be at the forefront of these endeavors.  

Join us on Thursday, April 21st at 4:00 p.m. for the Jester Park Nature Center public announcement at the downtown offices of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Hosted by Polk County Conservation, the Great Outdoors Foundation, and the Jester Park Nature Center Leadership Team, the launch announcement will include remarks from the planning team who will give an overview of the nature center's design and expected groundbreaking date as well as opportunities to learn about the Nature Center's impact on Iowa's economic future, conservation, and quality of life. A short reception will follow the media announcement. The event is open to the public. RSVP required - to secure your free reservation please register here. Space is limited to the first 200 people to register. 


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