Wickiup Hill Learning Center's expansion project will celebrate with a grand opening on Saturday, April 13, 2013. (photo/Linn County Conservation)

Wickiup Hill Learning Center’s expansion project will celebrate with a grand opening on Saturday, April 13, 2013. (photo/Linn County Conservation)

TODDVILLE – If you haven’t been to the Wickiup Hill Learning Center lately, now is a good time. A $3.8 million expansion has added 2,200-square-feet of exhibit space, among other amenities.

The grand opening will be this Saturday, April 13, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities start with a private donor recognition on Friday, with the public invited to Saturday’s free event. See location for Wickiup Hill.

Here is more from the Linn County Conservation Department:

Wickiup Hill Learning Center Expansion Project Dedication and Grand Opening: On Friday, April 12, Linn County Conservation will celebrate the completion of the newly expanded Wickiup Hill Learning Center with donors and partners.  Speakers for the program include Linn County Board of Supervisor Member and Conservation Board President Lu Barron, Friends of Linn County Conservation Board Dick Heft, Representative Kraig Paulsen and Senator Rob Hogg.

The program will highlight the importance of the project for Linn County, including: promotes youth education of critical natural resources, renewable energy and sustainable communities; provides a hub for family activities and life-long learning opportunities; provides education about the Cedar River and wise management of this natural resource related to water quality and floodplain management; greatly improves the quality of life for the Linn County community by providing a destination.

The program will also highlight the public support that made the expansion a reality, the role private partners play in education area youth, state level support for the project and the many partners needed to make an impact related to environmental education.

 Tours of the new exhibits and administrative offices of Linn County Conservation will be provided before and after the program.

 A grand opening event for the general public is scheduled on Saturday, April 13 10-4PM.  Admission is free and kids take home a free “Oliver and Ava’s River Raft Adventure” coloring book.

About the Project

The Wickiup Hill Learning Center Expansion Project included additional exhibit space (2,200 sq ft), multifunctional class room space (1,800 sq ft), public restrooms, storage, and library area (2,000 sq ft), administrative offices and tornado safe room (2,300 sq ft).  The total project costs were $3,800,000.

 The Wickiup Hill Learning Center Expansion Project was made possible by the support of many different organizations and people. The project received financial support from 22 governmental organizations ($1.75 million), 4 federal and state grants ($1.5 million), 14 community organizations ($545,000), 12 corporate partners ($92,000) and 119 private supporters ($50,000).  The Vision Iowa Community Attraction Grant program awarded Wickiup Hill $850,000.  Locally, the Hall Perrine Foundation contributed $350,000 towards the project.  The level of these contributions to this project is a statement regarding the value Wickiup Hill has added and will continue to add to the community.

 The new exhibit, “Oliver and Ava’s River Raft Adventure”, features a timeline room that details historic events locally, nationally, and internationally.  The timeline room introduces Oliver and Ava, two school children assigned to visit a local park and bring back photos of what they find.  Oliver and Ava lead visitors through the three exhibit rooms: “Life Along the River”, “Nature is Fun”, and “Everyone Lives in a Watershed”.  The Life Along the River room features a full-size replica of an Ioway summer home, a three-sisters garden, a maple syrup camp and scent station, and historic artifact replicas.  The Nature is Fun room features a muskrat hut, research fort, hollow tree, nature view finders, an oversized underwater room, a larger than life green frog, and a special secret passage-way from the muskrat hut to the fort! The Everyone Lives in a Watershed room features the waterdrop game, a watertable (coming in July 2013), and a video touchscreen about healthy watersheds!   Other exhibit areas include a Native American movie alcove, a sustainable energy wall, a wing span wall, and an eagle’s nest for reading about the outdoors.