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McFarland Park
Parks and Trails
Location: 56461 180th St
Ames, IA 50010
Amenities: Bicycling, Canoeing, Conference Rooms, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Kayaking, Pets Allowed, Picnic Tables, and Pond and River Fishing
Maps: Google | Bing | Yahoo!
Link: Map of McFarland Park

McFarland Park is a 200-acre area located northeast of Ames. The park offers visitors a variety of ecotypes to explore including tallgrass prairie, woodland, and stream habitats. Facilities include:
Story County Conservation Center: Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The offices of the administrative and environmental education staff are housed at this building, and the multipurpose room is available for rent for social gatherings and meetings. Educational displays throughout the year fill the center. A cedar deck is adjacent to the building for picnics and public use.
  • Stargazing Observatory:  Supervised by the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers (AAAA); available to the public through astronomy programs offered by AAAA.
  • Touch-a-Life Trail: Hard-surfaced trail through various plant communities including prairie, woodlands, and ponds; handicapped access to fishing dock, deck overlooking the lake, and handicapped accessible picnic sites.
  • Picnic areas with grills: Some sites are handicap accessible
  • Supervised youth camping -  $20/site/night payable at time of reservation - reservation required. Campsites are closed Dec 1-Mar 31.
  • Hiking and Off-road Biking: The park's 5.5 miles of trails are open to hiking and off-road biking, but interior trails with stairs are closed to bicyclists. Please obey all signs. Equestrians are not allowed in the park; horseback riding is allowed on the trails at Peterson Park and along the greenbelt.
  • 6.5-acre lake: The lake is stocked with bluegill, bass, and catfish.
  • Winter activities: Ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Current and Upcoming Events For This Facility

Date Event Title
Partners Fall Festival
Kick off the month of October at the Partners Fall Festival. Enjoy the changing seasons while listening to traditional and modern blues music from Redz Bluez. The Mucky Duck Pub will offer food vending from its Mobile Mallard and is sponsoring the band!
Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches
This is a geocache hunt like no other! Combining the fun of geocaching with the spirit of the season, the pursuit has turned nocturnal! Join us for our third year of Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches and explore the origins of Halloween while suing a GPS to enjoy the outdoors. Experience McFarland after dark and find hidden jack-o-lanterns throughout the park. Space is limited, so be sure to register your group early! Fee of $10 per group with registration is required by 4pm on Monday, October 9.
Nocturnal Raptors
Who's hoo at McFarland Park! Join us as we investigate the world of Iowa's nocturnal raptors. Explore the unique adaptations of these impressive predators of the night. Learn how to talk to the owls and enjoy stories of encounters with these remarkable birds. With a live animal, this program is sure to be a hoot! This program is free but registration is required by 4pm on Friday, October 13.
TEAM (Trail Enhancement and Management) Day
Be a part of our TEAM (Trail Enhancement and Management) and help make improvements to county trail systems. Trail maintenance will be done at this workday.
All volunteers are asked to wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and gloves and bring a water bottle. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are strongly recommended. Registration is required by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 19 to ensure enough refreshments and tools for everyone.