Weekends April 15th - October 31st 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Weekends November 1st - April 14th 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Nature Center can open by appointment by calling (319) 636-2617
Winter: Nature Center may be closed if travel conditions are "Not Advised,"
please call in advance (319) 636-2617.
Fontana Park and Interpretive Nature Center, just 9 miles north of Independence on Hwy 150, were developed around a 19th century mill site. A shelter house was built on the old mill foundation, and the mill stones are on display. Fontana Park offers fishing, hiking trails, camping, and a playground. It also has shelter houses that may be reserved by the public.
The Fontana Interpretive Nature Center contains meeting and classroom areas, a variety of exhibits, a nature library and observation deck, and staff offices. The nature center was built with conservation in mind, making use of local resources and energy-efficient technology. Exhibits in the Fontana Interpretive Nature Center helps visitors understand how we can "make our home in a living environment." As visitors use the nature center they see and touch natural objects, play games, and find answers to questions.
In addition to the nature center, visitors to Fontana Park can enjoy the live wildlife display that features animals native to Iowa. Animals in the display include orphaned, injured, or human-raised wildlife that can no longer live in the wild. Without human care they would perish. It is our belief that the animals displayed here serve a valuable purpose to educate the public about Iowa's native wildlife and the need to protect and respect them. Daily care is given by a dedicated staff that provides the best possible environment for the residents of the display. The display is licensed and regularly inspected by federal inspectors of the Animal Protection Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. An attending veterinarian serves our veterinary needs.