Adventure in Nature

Visit the Annett Nature Center south of town. Inside the nature center is a cool museum of local wildlife and plenty of exhibits. The outdoor options are endless with 160 acres of blooming prairie, wetland, and a pond. Enjoy the butterfly garden, acres of trails for hiking and biking, and a sweet observation deck! If you’re looking for something watery, there’s kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding.

Do you have curious kiddos? Take them geocaching. Use a GPS-enabled device to navigate to 25 different geocaches (containers) along the trail. Find each one, open it, and collect the trading card inside. Up for a Storywalk®? Find a nature-themed children’s book tucked along the hiking trails. Read while you wander! There are so many seasonal activities too, like a Halloween hike, winter Owl Prowl, as well as summertime day camps and a Kids’ Fish Day!

group of kids in canoes
kid holding bow and arrow
buffalo statue in the prairie grass

Take a dip

Everyone knows summers in Iowa tend to get toasty. So grab the towels, shades and sunscreen — oh, and the whole crew — and head to Indianola’s top spots to cool off.

Indianola Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center is a great place to make a splash! Rocket down the waterslides or get drenched under the giant dumping bucket! For the little tots, there’s an entire swim area with plenty of fun water features. Grab a nibble during pool breaks at the Edgewater Snack Bar.

In an effort to accommodate swimmers of all ages and abilities, the aquatic center offers adult lap swim and water walking sessions, special needs and sensory-free swim nights, and Splash & Story Saturday for the kiddos.

overlooking the lake and beach

Maybe the beach is more your scene. Get to Lake Ahquabi State Park to squish your toes in the warm sand. Lay out your towel and catch a few rays or wade in and cool off. There’s a snack bar during the peak of summer and restrooms to shed wet clothes before the drive home. It’s a picture-perfect way to spend the day.

Tasty Tip #83: Before you dive in, we suggest packing a picnic lunch with food from Savor the Rise and don’t forget the latte! After you’ve drip-dried, go for a scoop or two at local favorite Outside Scoop.

Let’s Park It

If play is a priority, Indianola boasts a whopping 14 city parks to swing, slide, picnic and find new friends! Moats park is a slam dunk for shooting hoops! Skateboarder in the family? Indianola Memorial Park also includes a skate park free of charge during daylight hours for skateboarding and inline skating. Disc golf more your style? Don’t miss out on tossing a disc with the kids at one of the best disc golf courses in the nation at Pickard Park!

Buxton Park is nature’s playground in Indianola. A children’s garden captures the curiosity of the littlest explorers. There’s a play tunnel, interactive Natureland game, musical instruments and the perfect display of touch-and-feel plants. Visit the Buxton Park website for a scavenger hunt the whole family will love — find living creatures, brilliant blooms and leaves of all colors and textures.

family walking in the park
kid throwing snow in the air
Fountain at Buxton Park

Hike, Bike and Fish It

Into experiencing the bigger park adventures of Warren County’s rolling hills and beauty? Warren County Conservation manages more than the 2700 acres of land and an abundance of activities to enjoy them. Catch a big bass at Band Swallow Bend or your first trout at Banner Lakes. Get your hike on at Woodland Mounds Preserve’s 3-mile trail at or casually meander the habitats of Annett Nature Center. Take a short biking trek on Indianola’s McVay Trail or spend a good part of your day enjoying the beauty of the 11 mile stretch on Summerset Trail from Indianola to Carlisle. Whatever your flavor, Indianola dishes up the best in family outdoor adventures.

kids biking
fishing off the dock
two people hiking
funzone arcade area

Food with a side of fun!

Get your game on at one of Indianola’s many kid-friendly eateries, where you’ll find custom menus for the kiddos and all kinds of games, even a simulator where you can golf, play hockey or even zombie dodgeball!

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