Loess Hills Lodge Interpretive Facility

Located at Hitchcock Nature Center, the Loess Hills Lodge includes an exhibit gallery, observation tower, interpretive garden, and more.

COVID-19 Update:

The Loess Hills Lodge welcome desk, gift shop, & restrooms will open to the public on Thursday, June 11th.

Restrooms will be open during regular park hours.

The Loess Hills Lodge exhibit gallery & gift shop will observe the following hours through June 30th:
Monday - Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday - Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Loess Hills Lodge exhibit gallery & rental facilities will remain closed at this time.

Additional closures may be necessary, check back for updates.

Outdoor public spaces remain open for guest use.

Loess Hills Lodge

On your visit to Hitchcock, the Loess Hills Lodge interpretive facility is the perfect place to begin your exploration of this unique landform. Outside you will find an interpretive garden of native prairie plants, a patio area for picnicking and relaxing, and an observation deck that offers beautiful views of the park and the surrounding flora and fauna. Climb the 45-foot observation tower for a unique bird’s eye view of the Loess Hills and adjacent landforms.

Inside, experience a unique exhibit gallery featuring a variety of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Kids will love exploring the Curiosity Cove, where they can make animal prints, create their own habitat, read stories, and complete a scavenger hunt. Other features include a raptor exhibit with calls, a talon strength simulation, and information about Hitchcock’s award-winning HawkWatch, as well as a prairie and woodland exhibit highlighting how the Loess Hills were formed and the communities they support today. Navigate our stewardship monitor to learn more about ecological restoration or take a virtual tour of the park and learn about its history. 

        "Best Nature Center in the state! I can't thank you enough for the wonderful nature center and staff." 
                                                -Iowa Association of Naturalists member


Hours

March – November 
    Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
    Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

December – February 
    Friday and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
    Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closed on Mondays, Federal Holidays, & Other Holidays as Posted 

Free Loess Hills Lodge admission with park entrance fee

To learn more about the Loess Hills Lodge, download the Hitchcock Nature Center and Loess Hills Lodge brochure here.

Loess Hills Lodge Green Renovations

The Loess Hills Lodge utilizes many sustainable LEED-green features and provides park visitors with the opportunity to witness these green building practices first hand.  The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system promotes a whole building approach to sustainability by recognizing the importance of the following five areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. All five of these areas were taken into account throughout the Loess Hills Lodge planning stages and renovation process.

Sustainable Site Development

During the initial stages of renovation, porous pavement products were installed outside the lodge and nearly all demolition materials were recycled. Grasspave, an innovative porous paving product was installed in the center’s main parking area and trailheads. The multi-layered structure of grasspave increases groundwater recharge, reduces pollutants in stormwater runoff, helps alleviate flooding and contamination to streams and reduces erosion rates in the fragile Loess Hills.

Water Savings

Restroom fixtures featuring water control sensors designed to run water only as long as needed are installed throughout the Lodge. 

Energy Efficient

Various energy-efficient products are installed throughout the Lodge, including low-voltage and compact fluorescent light fixtures, high-velocity hand dryers, and replacement windows containing double glazed, low-E glass to reflect heat.  An outdoor wood burning furnace was added and is expected to decrease propane consumption by 85%.

Healthier Indoor Environment

Adhesives and wall paint containing low Volatile Organic Compounds and indoor air quality green label modular carpet tiles are present throughout the building. 

Materials Selection

The use of recycled and reusable materials was a key component of the Loess Hills Lodge renovation process. The updated building features wall and floor tile made of 55-75% recycled post-consumer glass content, wood trim created from renewable local wood products and 100% recycled gypsum wallboard.

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