The Nature Explore Classroom at Indian Creek
The Nature Explore Classroom at Indian Creek Nature Center is the 3rd Certified Nature Explore Classroom in Iowa.
Their Sense of Wonder Outdoor Classroom is located at 6665 Otis Road SE in Cedar Rapids, IA. This child and family friendly classroom trail is a collaboration between the Nature Center and Metro High School. With countless volunteers and help and funding from Metro High School, State Farm Youth Advisory Board, Cedar Rapids Garden Club, OPN Architects and Hoffman Design Consultants, this wonderful site was created.
Planning for the trail began in late summer 2008, after the Cedar River flooded much of the surrounding area which affected students and staff. The Sense of Wonder Trail, guide for parents, maps out a playscape designed for children and their adult to explore, discover, daydream, and play outdoors to connect with our earth.
Unique items in this classroom include a Pipe Vine Teepee, Bird Blind, Frog Pond, Prairie Plant Maze and Climbing Rocks. The Woodland Wildflower area was planted with hundreds of native flowers. The Deconstruction area is a beautiful decaying tree trunk covered with fungus and moss. A volunteer constructed a willow tunnel that both children and adults may pass through. The entrance feature is adorned by a beautiful metal oak leaf done by a local metal artist.
The Sensory Garden contains herbs, native prairie and woodland flowers, and also wheelchair accessible raised planter beds. ï¿½Grass Paveï¿½, a permeable paving system that looks like a lawn, was planted and withstands both foot and occasional vehicle traffic.
Benches in each section are available for adults to sit and observe. Most adults however, are usually found playing right along with the children. The trail will be highlighted on their web site.
The Nature Center routinely offers programs for preschoolers and parents with plans to host additional workshops for early childhood educators, parents and others.