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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
6/2/2017
Evening Exploration
Discover the mysteries of the dark at the park! Follow us on a journey to understand just what it takes to be a creature of the night. Test your senses and try your hand at talking with the owls. Capture this unique opportunity to see McFarland Park through lightless eyes. This hike is not intended to scare but to excite your imagination.
If you wish to bring a flashlight, please cover it with red tissue paper. We will begin the hike at the conservation center. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. This event will include an hour and a half hike and is a family-friendly event, however it is not intended for strollers or wagons. Please no light-up shoes.
Registration required by 4pm on Wednesday, May 31..
6/12/2017 - 6/16/2017
Day camp - runs from 9am-11:30am each day
Frogs Nature Camp A (for kids completing kindergarten spring 2017)
Children discover what makes a habitat through exploration, games, and song. Campers connect to the world around them by investigating the five basic needs of all living things.
6/12/2017 - 6/16/2017
Day camp - runs from 9am-11:30am each day
Waterbugs Nature Camp A (for kids completing grades 1 or 2 this spring)
Calling all explorers! Search for nature's treasures as we follow maps, make mini-rafts, investigate wildlife, and step into creeks and marshes. Discover Story County natural areas through hands-on activities, art, stories, games, and journaling.
6/12/2017 - 6/16/2017
Day camp - runs from 1:00pm-3:30pm each day
Waterbugs Nature Camp A (for kids completing grades 1 or 2 this spring)
Calling all explorers! Search for nature's treasures as we follow maps, make mini-rafts, investigate wildlife, and step into creeks and marshes. Discover Story County natural areas through hands-on activities, art, stories, games, and journaling.
6/12/2017 - 6/16/2017
Day camp - runs from 1:00pm-3:30pm each day
Frogs Nature Camp A (for kids completing kindergarten spring 2017)
Children discover what makes a habitat through exploration, games, and song. Campers connect to the world around them by investigating the five basic needs of all living things.