Dickinson County Nature Center prepares for grand opening of new exhibit

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OKOBOJI, Iowa (KCAU) – The Dickinson County Nature Center is preparing for the grand opening of the Pollinator Paradise on November 16.

“The all-new children’s museum-quality exhibits arrive from the fabricators beginning November 11, and then we will be able to present everything to the public,” said Kiley Roth, Community Relations Coordinator. “We saw the exhibits in process during a studio walk-through, but we are so excited to see everything up and running. Pollinator Paradise is truly going to offer interactive displays unlike anything in the region.”

Inside of the Pollinator Paradise, visitors will be able to see a life-sized apple orchard where kids can dress up as a blue orchard mason bee.

They can collect faux pollen to launch into the stigma of a flower and watch it moves from tree to tree with the help of the bees.

“We will also have a bright yellow food truck filled with faux foods to makes meals we couldn’t have without pollinators—cereal with blueberries, mint chocolate chip ice cream, coffee,” Roth said. “We will also have a little fajita cart behind the food truck because you need pollinators for alfalfa to feed beef cattle as well as to pollinate ingredients in guacamole, salsa, and other fajita toppings.”

In the Magic Monarchs exhibit, the visitors will be able to see the live monarch life cycle in the summer.

They can also create symmetrical butterfly wing designs using colorful tiles and a mirror.

There is also a human-sized honeycomb climber in which the kids can dress up and pretend that they are honeybees.

The visitors can also view a live indoor beehive.

The Build-a-Pollinator exhibit features a butterfly, moth, milkweed bug, and bee body that the visitors will be able to finish by selecting the antennae, wings, legs, and even a proboscis, what pollinators use to drink the nectar.

Save the Pollinators will be a digital game, where people of all ages can create a pollinator garden.

They will select the type and amount of flowers and grasses for a garden plot and watch how those choices will impact the population of pollinators throughout the seasons.

“We want people to not only have fun playing but to learn that one in three bites of food that we take is due to pollinators,” Roth said. “Without pollinators like bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, and more, we wouldn’t have many of the foods that we love. Plus, we want people to know that pollinator populations are dwindling and that it is up of each of us to help bring them back.”

There will be a ribbon-cutting on November 16 at 10 a.m. for the grand opening and the nature center will be open until 4 p.m. on that day.

In addition to getting to see the new exhibits, the visitors can bounce in a bee-themed inflatable (depending on the weather), do crafts and activities, and go on a naturalist-led hike through Kenue Park at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

Following the grand opening, the Pollinator Paradise will be open during the Dickinson County Nature Center regular hours of 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, year-round.

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