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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
Join us for a day full of "oldies"! We'll celebrate our 20th fall festival by revisiting all the best crafts and activities from years past. Enjoy a free-will donation barbecue while you listen to classic rock, jazz, and blues from the band "Old School". The festival is open to everyone and is held rain or shine! Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and friends and family to enjoy an afternoon of oldies at McFarland Park.
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 second year of Halloween Hides and Creepy Caches and explore the origins of Halloween while using a GPS to enjoy the outdoors. Experience McFarland Park after dark and enjoy finding hidden jack-o-lanterns throughout the park. Space is limited, so be sure to register your group early! We recommend that groups not exceed 10 people. Fee of $10 per group with registration is required by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 10.