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Free Bison Day Family Festival

August 5 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

<h1 class="tribe-events-single-event-title">Free Bison Day Family Festival</h1>

What: Bison Day – Free scheduled programming, crafts, and games

When: Saturday August 5th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228

Free Bison Day Family Festival, Activities and Programs

Mark your calendars for Bison Day at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge scheduled on Saturday, August 5 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. This free event will be filled with fun, educational, and family-friendly activities and includes several scheduled programs. Crafts and games will be ongoing from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The guided program schedule is listed below:

Free Guided Programs:

  • Guided Wildflower Walk

10:00 am – 11:00 am 

Join a naturalist for a guided walk along the paved ½ mile Overlook Trail loop to lean about our native tallgrass prairie wildflowers while enjoying their stunning beauty. This program is appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and older. The trail is wheelchair accessible. A free loaner manual wheelchair and one electric wheelchair are available for use on this trail. The wheelchairs can be signed out at the refuge visitor center desk.

  • Nature Tots Program – Prairie Animals

10:30 am – 11:30 am

Children ages 3-5, accompanied by an adult, will learn about prairie wildlife by listening to a story, engaging with animal furs, and participating in an outdoor activity.

  • Live Hawk and Owl Display with SOAR

10:00 am – 2:00 pm 

View live ambassador owls and hawks with SOAR, Saving Our Avian Resources, and learn about the life histories of these amazing birds. SOAR staff will be displaying the raptors and speaking to visiting at an indoor outreach table from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

  • Bison, Keystone Species of the Tallgrass Prairie

11:00 am – 11:30 am 

Learn about our national mammal, the American bison, and why bison are considered a keystone species with biologist Pete Eyheralde inside the visitor center. Pete conducted bison research at the refuge and has lots of great bison information to share. 

  • Prairie Walk and Bison Talk with a Refuge Biologist

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm 

Join Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge biologist, Karen Viste-Sparkman, for a guided program along the ½ mile Overlook Trail loop. Learn firsthand from our biologist how the refuge manages the prairie reconstruction and the wildlife populations, including our bison and elk herds.

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy views of the tallgrass prairie while you dine at the indoor/outdoor eating areas. A vendor will be selling ice cream at the visitor center parking lot during the event hours. For additional information, please email [email protected], call 515-994-3400, or visit  https://www.facebook.com/events/168497742893690

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, August 5th!The refuge is located right off highway 163 in Prairie City at 9981 Pacific Street – only about 30 minutes east of Des Moines. For more information about the refuge and event, including driving directions, please visit our website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/neal-smith or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NealSmithNWR. Specific questions can be directed to [email protected] or call (515) 994-3400.



August 5
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


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