Annett Nature Center is a scenic 160-acre park south of Indianola and next to Lake Ahquabi State Park. Miles of trails, plentiful wildlife, and an interactive nature center make it a terrific spot to spend a day outdoors in Central Iowa!
About Annett Nature Center
The 9500-square-foot nature center opened in 1997 after several years of planning and fundraising. Since its opening, it has expanded, adding a butterfly garden and a fantastic event pavilion. Recently, a new water feature was added near the nature center. Plus, the new Middleswart Lodge is now available for event rentals.
Things To Do at Annett Nature Center
See the nature center!
The Annett Nature Center has interactive displays, classrooms, a community room, and a deck with great views. Kids love to explore interactive exhibits, including a treehouse, puppets, a bird-viewing room, and more. There are also a few live animals to see, like fish, turtles, and a snake.
Hike the trails
Four + miles of hiking trails wind through 160 acres of diverse landscape – prairie, wetlands, and woodlands. Trails are well marked, with maps placed at several trailheads. Also, you can find two lookout towers and a bird blind from the paths!
See the trail map here.
Explore the butterfly garden
The butterfly garden features native prairie flowers that fill the center circle at the entrance to the nature center. Benches line a brick walkway, where you can sit and enjoy the blooming flowers and small waterfall.
Take in the views
Annett Nature Center is a fantastic place to get sweeping views of nature’s beauty year-round! Take in the views from the deck of the nature center, the Davidson Memorial Pavilion, and two separate lookout towers (see trail map for locations). That’s not to mention all the scenic views from the trails.
A bird blind just off the Wetland Loop is a great place to spot waterfowl and other wildlife. And be sure to look for Osprey from a lookout tower near the wetlands (south of the nature center); this area is an Osprey Reintroduction site.
Lester Pond is a great place to go fishing, no matter the season! Anglers often catch Largemouth Bass, as well as some Bluegill and Catfish. This 5-acre pond is southeast of the nature center, reachable via trail.
Attend a nature program
Annett Nature Center Park often hosts school groups and summer day camps. But that’s not all – Warren County Conservation offers nature programming and volunteer options for all ages! See their Facebook page for up-to-date information on events.
Host an event
Annett Nature Center is the perfect spot to host an event, big or small, indoors or out! Rent the Annett Nature Center and Lester Davison Memorial Pavilion or the Middleswart Lodge – both are fantastic options with scenic views. See the Warren County Conservation website for details and call to reserve space.
Things to Do Nearby
Lake Ahquabi State Park is across the road from the nature center and a great place to hike, fish, camp, and more! This state park has over 6 miles of trails, a 115-acre lake, a beach, campgrounds, and more!
Zo-El Annett Woods is a small nature area about 15 minutes northwest of the park. It has a shorter trail, but the long suspension bridge makes it well worth visiting!
Summerset Trail is a 12-mile paved trail with a trailhead just north of the park in Indianola. It extends from Indianola to Carlisle, passing next to Banner Lake at Summerset State Park.
Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park is 11 miles north of Annett Nature Center. It’s a former coal mine that offers one of the area’s most unique (and scenic!) landscapes!
Woodland Mounds State Preserve is a 185-acre natural area about 20 minutes northeast of the park. It’s a fantastic place to hike! The native Woodland culture once lived here—and you can see their burial mounds from the 3-mile loop trail.
Visit Annett Nature Center Today!
Annett Nature Center is at 15565 118th Ave, Indianola, IA 50125.