Between Strawberry Point and Elkader, Iowa is the Osborne Nature Center. At one time, Osborne was a town and you can still see some of the old buildings there. The park also includes a interactive visitors' center, gardens, trails, and a live animal exhibit.
Each fall, Heritage Days are hosted in the pioneer village there. They have demonstrations related to pioneer life, activities, food, and various items for sale. We enjoyed some homemade root beer and bought apples and maple syrup. Levi enjoyed seeing pieces of history in action: a printing press, open-fire cooking, a steam engine, and blacksmithing. Not surprisingly, he enjoyed the train cars that are parked near the old depot.
Levi also was excited to see the animals at the nature center. The whole way up there, he talked about seeing the polar bear (even though we told him a million times it was a black bear). As soon as we got there, he wanted to see the polar bear, but we held off until we had gone to the Heritage Days. It was fun for him to see the animals fairly close.
Levi talked (VERY loudly) to each of the animals as we visited them, but I'm sure they're used to that.
This was a fun stop and a good choice for us. It was interesting for both the adults and the little ones, but didn't require a whole day to enjoy it. I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the area.
Osborne Nature Center
29862 Osborne Rd.