December Park Bench Newsletter

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Park Bench Newsletter header Dec. 2018

Holiday Hours

Christmas Eve
Monday, Dec. 24
All facilities closed. 

Tuesday, Dec. 25
All facilities closed. 

New Year's Eve
Monday, Dec. 31
Buildings close at 5 p.m. Pools close at 4 p.m.

New Year's Day
Tuesday, Jan. 1
All facilities closed. 

Upcoming Events

Family Fun Night 
Friday, Dec. 7
6-8 p.m. 
Mercer Park Aquatic Center

Holiday Market & Potter's Studio Open House
Saturday, Dec. 8
8 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Eco Trivia 
Monday, Dec. 10
7-9 p.m.
Big Grove - Iowa City

Free Water Aerobics Class
Sunday, Dec. 16
11:15 a.m. - noon
Mercer Park Aquatic Center

Winter Solstice Celebration
Friday, Dec. 21
6-8 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

WERQ Cardio Dance Class
noon-1 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, Social Hall

Park Highlight

Waterworks Prairie Park

Tucked away between Interstate 80 and Dubuque St., Waterworks Prairie Park is one of Iowa City's most active parks. 

Hikers, bikers, joggers, and our furry friends enjoy this space together. This park boasts 200 acres of prairie and over three miles of multi-use trail connected to the Iowa River Corridor Trail. Parking, ponds, as well as a restroom and shelter make this park perfect for users year-round. 

Click the picture above to take a virtual tour of Waterworks Prairie Park in its sunnier days.

Did you know Iowa City Parks and Recreation oversees 50 parks? We will spotlight a different park in our newsletter every month

Staff Spotlight

Each month we will highlight a staff member from our parks, recreation, government buildings, or cemetery divisions. First up: Rae Lynn Schepers from the Forestry team!

Rae Lynn

Tell us about yourself: "I’m from Muscatine, and attended Iowa State University. For a short time, I worked in Idaho for the Forest Service marking timber and fighting forest fires. I moved back to Iowa and found my first city job in the Forestry Division. I decided to make Iowa City my home and have since surrounded myself with family and friends.

How long have you worked for the City of Iowa City? 30 years

What’s your favorite part of your job? Trees and my co-workers! 

Favorite Iowa City spot: Pagliai's Pizza 

One thing about you no one would guess:  I love to spook-out my yard for Halloween.  

Winter/Spring registration begins Wednesday, Dec. 12

winter spring activity guide cover

Take a look at all that Iowa City Parks and Recreation has to offer this season. The Winter/Spring Activity Guide is now available online at  

Online and in-person registration will open Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 6 a.m.

The Winter/Spring Recreation Guide is available in hard copy at several Iowa City locations: 

  • Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St.
  • Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Dr. 
  • Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn St. 
  • Iowa City City Hall, 410 E Washington St.

Registration opens at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Visit our activity registration page to sign up:

Winter Break Camp

Celebrate nature and all that is winter in Iowa at Winter Explorers Camp! Camp runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; however, supervised open play is available at no extra cost for families to drop off as early as 7:30 a.m. and to pick up as late as 5:30 p.m. Register for one day or many.

For more information, visit 

winter break camp

Update: Flooded parks and trails

After a very wet fall, Park staff is happy to report that all parks are above water! All trails are also open, with the exception of Court Hill Trail from 1st Avenue to Creekside Park. Staff is cleaning out creek sections along the trail with heavy, loud equipment. Trail work is expected to be complete by Friday, Dec. 14. 

Water is shut off to all park restrooms except the restroom near Fin & Feather H20 at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area and the red brick restroom in Lower City Park. 

As temperatures drop, we hope you will continue to enjoy the outdoors and all our parks have to offer during the colder months!

winter trail

Happy Holidays from our family to yours

From all of our parks, recreation, cemetery, and government buildings staff, we hope you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season. 

staff photo