Spring activities in Marshall County

T-R PHOTO BY EMILY BARSKE - A yellow flower peeks out of the landscape along on sidewalk on Second Street in Marshalltown.

With temperatures reaching the 60s and 70s, springtime has finally arrived in Central Iowa. From exploring Marshalltown’s 24 city parks, to spending time at Grimes Farm and other county parks, there are a variety of ways to while away a spring day.

Marshalltown Parks and Rec. director Geoff Hubbard said its 2019 Summer Activity Guide offers a comprehensive view of local activities and information about parks and summer jobs.

Glenwood, Goldfinch and Timber Creek retention ponds are open for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. Because there are no set launch areas, activities are at your own risk. Riverview Park is home to an 18-hole disc golf course that has concrete tee boxes and water hazards aimed at beginners and pros. The skatepark has 4′ quarter and half pipes with bank ramps; 3′ spine; pyramid corner; flat wedge; stairs; grind box; rail; bench. Skateboards and bikes are welcome. A pump track and graffiti wall were added in 2018.

Located at the eastern section of Riverview Park is the popular dog park, which has separate fenced areas for large and small dogs — an ideal way to exercise canines when your yard is limited or non-existent.

The Children’s Discovery Garden at Mega-10 Park is often busy with youngsters playing with the outdoor musical instruments or taking in the beauty of the flowers.

The West End Park futsal courts in the historic 13th Street District feature three state-of-the-art lighted outdoor futsal courts. Court are available for usage from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Riverside Cemetery, home to Lake Woodmere, has been a popular place to picnic and watch the waterfowl for over 100 years.

While people are familiar with Grimes Farm and its activities, Marshall County Conservation oversees many other recreation areas as well.

Conservation Board President Mike Stegmann said fishing opportunities abound at Sand Lake and Green Castle Recreation Area. Recently, Sand Lake was stocked with 1,800 rainbow trout and 200 brook trout. Green Castle is home to swans and bison. Stegmann said the Iowa River, which had experienced flooding, is starting to return to normal levels, which increases fishing potential.

Warblers, wading birds, ducks and pelicans are some birds that people can expect to glimpse.

“It’s a little too early for mushrooming, but bird watching is in full-swing with the spring migration,” he said.

Carol Hibbs likes to take advantage of the warmer weather to do some spring cleaning.

“It may sound odd, but I really do like to do spring cleaning, especially getting windows done and cleaning up outside after a long winter,” Hibbs said.

Arlene Mohler said she is happy the weather has warmed up enough to see folks walk around wearing flip flops and T-shirts.

“I like spending time outside with family and working in the yard with my flowers,” she said. “I also like to go for walks.”

Regardless of athletic abilities, merely sitting outside on a warm spring day can be therapeutic.

“Pack a sandwich and go on a picnic to one of our parks — get some fresh air if nothing else,” Stegmann said.