Discover Ames

Story County Conservation

McFarland Park

McFarland Park is a 200-acre area on the northeast corner of Ames. The park offers visitors a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, and hammocking. There is also a bird blind and an observatory that offer unique ways to experience the outdoors. Grills, a picnic shelter, and a natural playscape make it an inviting place for families to enjoy.

Story County Conservation Center (at McFarland Park)

The Story County Conservation Center is located at McFarland Park on the northeast corner of Ames. Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30AM-4:30PM. Educational displays can be found throughout the building, as well as, a bird watching area. There is a unique meeting room available for rent to the public for events.

Peterson Park

Peterson Park is a 200-acre park, divided into two areas (East and West), on the north side of Ames. This is an old mining area containing three gravel pits, a 31-acre lake, and both prairies and woodland areas. The park offers: a swimming beach (West Peterson), picnicking, bird watching, boating, hiking and equine trails, canoe access to the Skunk River, fishing and hunting.

Hickory Grove Park

Hickory Grove Park is a large 445-acre multiple-use recreational area southwest of Colo containing a 98-acre lake. There is a modern campground with 43 sites and a shower house with flush toilets and hot water. A primitive campground with is on the south side of the lake. Multiple cabins and shelters are available for rent. A beach, picnic sites with tables and grills, and hiking trails offer visitors a great place to recreate and enjoy nature. There is also a fish cleaning station and an archery range. Kayaks and paddle boards are available for rent at the beach.


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