Calkins Interpretive Center serves the purpose of promoting conservative education to Hardin County and north central Iowa. The building consists of a multi-purpose room and kitchen that is available for rent, a laboratory/classroom facility, gift shop, library/conference room, and a natural history museum. Area schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, and other agencies benefit from increased awareness of environmental education and conservation of IowaÕs natural resources.
The nature center area contains 76 acres, which consists of woodland, wetland, and reconstructed native prairie and is bordered by the Iowa River. A popular attraction is a live wildlife exhibit featuring over 80 different species of animal including pheasants, waterfowl, fallow deer, raptors, amphibians, and reptiles. A system of two miles of trails provides access to the nature area for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. An arboretum is also located near the prairie