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Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning Center

Features Animals
9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228-7820
+1 515-994-3400
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Review Highlights
Prairie Park with Bison and Elk

We drove our car through park with free range bison and elk in the fall native prairie of this wild... read more

Reviewed 15 November 2017
Christine F
,
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
Bison, Elk, and more wildlife

This wildlife refuge features a herd of free ranging bison and elk. The refuge is fenced in and... read more

Reviewed 6 September 2017
Randy K
,
Des Moines, Iowa
Read all 65 reviews
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Overview
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This is the largest prairie reconstruction project in the United States.
  • Excellent61%
  • Very good30%
  • Average3%
  • Poor6%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“auto tour” (9 reviews)
“bison” (24 reviews)
LOCATION
9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228-7820
CONTACT
Website
+1 515-994-3400
Write a ReviewReviews (65)
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All reviews
"auto tour"
in 9 reviews
"bison"
in 24 reviews
"wildlife refuge"
in 9 reviews
"different seasons"
in 3 reviews
"acres and acres"
in 2 reviews
"nature lovers"
in 2 reviews
"scenic drive"
in 2 reviews
"interactive exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"all ages"
in 3 reviews
"tall grass"
in 2 reviews
"buffalo roaming"
in 2 reviews
"visitors"
in 8 reviews
"trail"
in 12 reviews
"herd"
in 3 reviews
"pheasant"
in 3 reviews
"bloom"
in 4 reviews
"land"
in 4 reviews
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1 - 10 of 65 reviews

Reviewed 15 November 2017

We drove our car through park with free range bison and elk in the fall native prairie of this wild life refuge, beautiful and so peaceful in November. Visitors center well done and includes prairie dog exhibit, displays are educational and interesting for all ages.

Thank Christine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2017

This wildlife refuge features a herd of free ranging bison and elk. The refuge is fenced in and has cattle gates at each end of this drive through park. Don't exit your car, but you can take photos as they're often near the road. You...More

Thank Randy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2017

This is a National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) which has been bought and paid for with money from the sales of Federal Duck Stamps. This NWR that is located in Central Iowa (about 20 miles east of Des Monies) and is dedicated to restoring the native...More

Thank BluegooseTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 9 July 2017

We decided to drive through on our way home to see if we could spot the bison or elk today. And yes we did! We saw 4-5 head of elk with two of them being bulls and having pretty good size antlers. The bison we...More

Thank davidjensen399
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2017 via mobile

My 8 year old twins and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon visit to the refuge. We spent 3.5 hours between the learning center and the 2 mile trail that circles the prairie just beyond the center. The girls had a nice time exploring the learning...More

Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2017

We drove into the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge and were able to view the bison up fairly close to the car. We didn't see any elk the day we went, but that didn't ruin our experience. We saw a pheasant and a bunch of 12...More

1  Thank 858sharlae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2017

Although our free time was limited by scheduled events, we found it entirely worth the hour to tour the Learning Center, see the movie, and drive through the reclaimed area of prairie. Good, clean family fun!

1  Thank Wayne K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2017 via mobile

Loved the 2 mile loop trail. We were relatively close to the buffalo though we got closer when we did the auto path. It was an easy paved trail all the way. Nice afternoon out with the family.

1  Thank Lorena H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2017

This is a large restored prairie with buffalo roaming the grass land. There is a modern learning center with professional displays and rangers who guide you to video displays. You can walk in the bufferfly garden and go on long trail exploring walks. The prairie...More

2  Thank david_hance_iowa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2017

Great place for kids. A little barren in the winter but an interesting place. Iowa nature is more beautiful than expected.

1  Thank craig19852014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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