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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
2/4/2017
Introduction to Snowshoeing
Learn some basic snowshoeing skills and then test them out on a fun hike! The hike will involve activities to help participants practice. Participants should dress for the weather. This program is designed for ages 8 and up. Program will be canceled if snow conditions are insufficient. Fee of $5 with registration is required by 4pm on Thursday, February 2.
2/14/2017
Participants will register for staggered start times beginning at 6pm.
Luminary Showshoe Hike
Let luminaries light your way around McFarland Lake on a special snowshoe hike. End the experience with a sweet treat and hot cocoa. Snowshoes are provided (sizes available for ages 8 and up). Hike is self-guided; the complete luminary loop is about one mile. Staggered start times begin at 6:00 p.m. with the event ending at 9:00 p.m. Fee of $10 with registration required by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7.
4/1/2017
Come and go as you please
Birdapalooza
Come enjoy an afternoon all about birds! Go on a guided birding hike, meet a live raptor, create a bird feeding treat and crafts, play some games, and then participate in the Iowa Bird of Mouth project to write and publish a poem! This afternoon of indoor and outdoor activities is fun for all ages, but themed for preschoolers through middle school. This event is free and no registration is required.
4/15/2017
Geocache Egg Hunt
Your family will love this new-age way of hunting eggs. Join Naturalist Jess Lancial to learn how to use a GPS, then go search the woods to find the Conservation Bunny's nests of hidden treasures. Collect prizes and candy and discover some of nature's treasures along the way. Be sure to keep a watchful eye as you may come across a golden egg containing giveaways! This program is limited to 20 groups, so be sure to register early to reserve your spot! We recommend that groups not exceed eight people as groups will share one GPS unit. Fee of $5 per collector (any child 3-14 years old) with registration required by 4:00 p.m. on April 12.
5/7/2017
Come and go as you please
Partners Spring Festival
The annual Partners Spring Festival isn't far away! Mark your calendars now and celebrate the great outdoors and additions to McFarland Park. More details to come.