November 25, 2020

Lost Island: A Timeless Attraction

Lost Island Nature CenterLet’s face it. Summer has faded quickly and the fall harvest season is now upon us. There is still time though.

To get out there. You know, to enjoy the outdoors just one last time. May we suggest The Lost Island Nature Center… as featured in My Solutions magazine…


Lost Island Lake lies at the heart of one of Iowa’s most diverse natural landscapes and is often referred to as “hub of the wetlands.” At 1,100 acres, Lost Island Lake is the state’s fifth largest natural lake. It remains a favorite destination for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more.

The area has become more accessible to the public in recent years, thanks to the spacious Nature Center, which opened in 1993. “We want to encourage people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors by experiencing nature first-hand, giving them a sense of responsibility for our natural resources,” said Mary Barrick, administrative assistant at the Nature Center, which also houses the offices of the Palo Alto County Conservation Board.

The Lost Island Nature Center and County Conservation Board, located in Lost Island-Huston Park, provides a wealth of educational opportunities. Programs are provided throughout the year for school children, civic groups, scouts, 4-H, and the general public. Annual events include Wings and Wetlands, Birdhouse Building, Winter Solstice, Earth Day, and a Halloween Hike. These events offer a wide variety of outdoor activities. Canoeing, bb gun shoots, campfire cooking, scavenger hunts, marsh dipping, nature sketching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fishing, and bird hikes are just some of the activities that are provided. A new Saturday in the Park event in June of 2012 attracted over 300 people who enjoyed Dutch-oven cooking, basket weaving, games, fly tying, music, and more.

Lost Island Nature CenterMore than 1,200 students visit the Nature Center for school field trips year-round, and many return for Summer Explorers day camps and the Junior Naturalists program held throughout the school year. “People tell us they like the Nature Center because of its simplicity, and our prairies, marshes, lakes, and river will keep you coming back for more,” Barrick said. “We try to offer something for everyone so more people can learn about Iowa’s natural resources.”

Rediscover Nature

The Lost Island Nature Center near Ruthven is open to the public each Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit or call 712-837-4866. Join us on Facebook to keep up to date on our programs, seasonal sighting, and fun facts!

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