Calkins Nature Area Prairie Maze

Another weekend is upon us, and while COVID-19 is still present in Iowa - and spreading in Hardin County - restaurants, shops, bars, churches and other establishments have permission to be open in Hardin County. Still, health officials advise you to be safe - stay home if you're ill. Limit your outings if you're over age 65, or have an underlying health condition. If you do go out, social distance by staying six feet apart from other people. Wear a face covering. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands frequently. For those who are able and feel comfortable leaving their home, we've rounded up five ideas for things to do this weekend in and around Hardin County.

Have some outdoor fun at Calkins

Calkins Nature Area has canceled its annual Halloween Hike, but staff have replaced it with other fall activities that promote social distancing and being outdoors. And both are free of charge.

  • Saturday and Sunday: Calkins staff will put candy buckets out along the trail from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The buckets will be hidden in various locations throughout the grounds and it will be your job (and your kids’) to go out and find the candy buckets using a scavenger hunt image shown on the Calkins Facebook page. Hard copies of the image will also be available at the nature center’s front door. There are eight buckets in total, and guests are asked to take just a single piece of candy from each bucket. Staff will be on the property all day to answer any questions.
  • There are two tallgrass prairie mazes (a beginner level and an expert level) cut into the Calkins prairie. The beginner level course starts by the parking lot loop. The expert level trail starts in the parking lot closest to the mailbox. The mazes are open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

For more information, visit the Calkins Nature Area Facebook page.

Support the local team in postseason play

The pandemic prompted the Iowa High School Athletic Association to shorten the regular football season to seven games and it let every team into the postseason. This week is the first week of playoffs and every Greenbelt team is at home tonight. Iowa Falls-Alden (3-4) will host Hampton-Dumont/CAL (3-4), South Hardin (5-2) will host Central Springs (2-5) and AGWSR (4-3) will host Meskwaki Settlement. All games will begin at 7 p.m. Find previews of the games here

Buy some remaining fresh produce

As fall advances, farmers' markets are winding down. Catch the Iowa Falls Farmers' Market on Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the northeast corner of Estes park in downtown Iowa Falls, near the intersection of Rocksylvania Avenue and Stevens Street. Or, head out to Puffer Roske Farms for some fresh produce. The farm is located east of Iowa Falls at 10042 Co. Rd. S45, open 12-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Find more information on the farm's Facebook page.

Participate in an online library program

The Barlow Memorial Library in Iowa Falls and the Grace O. Doane Alden Public Library have been offering online programs - about everything from Sacagawea to rainforest animals. Most of the programs are linked from the libraries' Facebook pages (Barlow here, Alden here) or the libraries' websites (Barlow here, Alden here). The programs are free, but they're only available for a little while, so act this weekend.

Pick up turkey and all the trimmings

The Alden UCC Church will host its annual fall turkey supper on Sunday, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the church, which is located at 212 West St. The menu includes turkey, homemade dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Due to COVID-19 the meal will be carry-out only and feature all hot dishes. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

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