The Gilbertson Conservation Education Area, a 365-acre park along the banks of the Turkey River, is located on the east side of Elgin. This beautiful area is lined with streams and bottomlands surrounded by the limestone palisade bluffs for which northeast Iowa is so famous. At this public facility hunting, fishing, and boating are available. There are over five miles of multi-use trails wind along the scenic Turkey River for hiking, horseback riding, non-motorized bike and cross-county skiing, one of which is paved and handicap-accessible. This historic site also provides a sloping canoe launch into the Turkey River, a nature center, a petting zoo including farm animals, an historic house built in 1878, a saw mill built in the 1930′s, a picnic shelter, playground and restrooms. A new museum containing Conner Dummermuth’s collection of early 1900 farm memorabilia is also located at the Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building.
There is also the Hart Dummermuth Historical House which depicts a typical farm home during the 1890 – 1920 era. The Gilbertson Nature Center features interpretive and educational displays about northeast Iowa.
Admission for the petting zoo and bulding is free. There is a box hung on the fence in case anyone would like to leave a free will donation to help feed the animals.
Primitive and tent camping areas are available as well as 28 sites for modern camping with electricity, water, dump station, and shower house with flush toilets.
Admission – Fee charged for camping
Campground go east out of Elgin, Iowa on Agate Road or County B64 to 1810 Agate Road.
Gilbertson Nature Center, Historical Buildings and Petting Zoo go east out of Elgin, Iowa on Agate Road or County B64 turn Left onto A Avenue and go to 22580 A Avenue.
The petting zoo is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Wednesdays – Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM or by appointment May 1 to Labor Day.
The Gilbertson Nature Center [22580 A Ave] featuring interpretive and educational displays about northeast Iowa, the Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building containing farm and home antiques and memorabilia and the Hart Dummermuth Historical Home depicting a farm home from between the 1890 – 1920’s. The buildings are open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM or by appointment.
Dawn L. Amundson
Environmental Education Coordinator
Fayette County Conservation Board
Gilbertson Nature Center
22850 A Ave
Elgin, Iowa 52141