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Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

yellow prairie flowers appear against a blue sky in the background

One of the best places in Siouxland for outdoor fun is Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. Read on for full details on this scenic Siouxland park:

What is Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve?

the large white building housing the nature center sits in the background, while a sign in the foreground welcomes visitors to the Adams Nature Area

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is a 1500 acre park in North Sioux City, South Dakota, on the peninsula between the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers. The land was once part of the homestead of Stephen Searls Adams, whose grandaughters Mary and Maud Adams gifted the land to the state of South Dakota in the 1980's. 

Where is Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve?

The entrance to Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is at 272 Westshore Drive, McCook Lake, South Dakota, just a couple minutes from downtown Sioux City!

The Visitors Center

The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Visitors Center is a great place to start your trip. Inside the center, you'll find educational exhibits highlighting the history of Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. This is also the place to go for a modern restroom (there are vault toilets elsewhere in the park), to grab a trail map, request a golf cart for visitors who need mobility assistance, and chat with staff.

The Homestead

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is home to a number of historical buildings, which visitors can admire from the exterior anytime the park is open, and which are open to visitors to enjoy inside during special events. They're also open for field trips!

The historical buildings on the Homestead grounds include:

  • Lamont Country School
  • Shay/Adams House
  • Stavenger Lutheran Church
  • Brusseau Cabin

Outdoor fun at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

a girl in a blue dress and brown hat walks along a limestone path at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has about 10 miles of crushed limestone trails for hiking all year and cross-country skiing in winter, and the preserve is known for excellent bird-watching. According to their website, the grounds are home to more than 100 species of birds!
Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve recently updated their playground to make it safer, more fun, and more reflective of their dedication to conservation. The resulting playground is adorable and definitely a kid favorite.
There is also an outdoor archery range, available by reservation and occasionally home to archery instruction programs!
And during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has had a variety of fun scavenger hunts throughout the park!

Sonny's Acres

Sonny's Acres is a working farm, allowing community members of all ages to learn about animals in a hands-on environment! Some of the animals at Sonny's Acres include the namesake donkey, plus a sheep, duck, and more!

Events at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve frequently hosts events, including free historical and science-based educational events for kids, festivals like Christmas at the Homestead, and community events like cross-country races and charity 5k runs. 

What to bring when visiting Adams Homestead with Kids

Based on our experience, I recommend bringing:
  • Seasonally appropriate walking clothing (hiking boots not necessary)
  • Sunscreen, hats, and water as there are a lot of sunny portions of the trails
  • Diapering supplies, including a changing mat or blanket, as there are not changing tables available along the trails.
  • Benadryl if your family has insect sting allergies--one of our kids actually got stung by a little bee when we stopped at the Missouri River overlook! Luckily she didn't have a serious allergic reaction, but we really should've had some Benadryl on hand in case she had!
  • Bikes and bike trailers if you have them: the trails at Adams are wide and mostly flat and just generally a wonderful place to ride bikes! We saw several families having a blast with their kids on bikes while we were there walking. 
  • Carriers or jogging strollers: the limestone trails could definitely accommodate a jogging stroller, but might be a bit rocky for some standard strollers. The trails are long, so if you plan to go very far with little legs, you will likely want to bring your preferred means of transporting them once they tire out!

For more information 

yellow wildflowers appear against a blue sky at Adams Nature Preserve

To find out more about Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, visit their official website from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, or connect with Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve on Facebook.

the lime green cover of 100 Things to Do in Sioux City & Siouxland Before You Die appears against a blue sky background, and the title name appears in large block letters next to the book


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