New to exhibits: “Squish” the Turtle & Art Alcove Update

Two exhibits at Amazing Space have been updated with new features, including a newly named baby painted turtle in the Prairie Creek Nursery Water Feature and a new local artist in the Art Alcove!

Squish the Turtle

This summer we introduced Squiggles, a 10-year-old female painted turtle.

Painted Turtles are one of Iowa’s many types of aquatic or water turtles. They are adapted for aquatic life, with webbed feet and a streamlined body. Painted turtles are commonly seen in ponds and wetlands in spring and summer, either swimming or sunning on rocks and logs. Hatching at around an inch in size, adult painted turtles can reach up to 8 inches in size and live for up to 40 years in the wild.

Today, we invite you to meet Squiggles’ new friend, Squish!

Squish is a baby painted turtle, born sometime last spring. We don’t yet know its gender.

Squish was found by staff member Jean Wiedenheft during a torrential downpour this fall and was brought in to share a home with Squiggles.


Squish and Squiggles can often be found snuggling on the same rock in the exhibit hall, though Squish is still shy around people (friendly reminder to keep your distance — please do not touch the turtles or the fountain!).

Squish was named by Ava Junge, granddaughter to Tris Dows, who generously bid on the naming rights for the turtle during the fall Farm-to-Table dinner. We are extremely grateful for her donation, which directly impacts Indian Creek Nature Center’s mission to create Champions of Nature!

Just like all the programs and exhibits at the Nature Center, Squish and Squiggles fit right in with this mission by exposing people to animals native to Iowa.

It is important to note, however, that the Nature Center is not an animal rescue organization and does not accept animal donations.

Come visit Squish and Squiggles today during open hours* at Amazing Space!

Art Alcove: Mike Fredericks

New to the Art Alcove in Amazing Space’s auditorium are local artist Mike Fredericks’ beautifully intricate, life-like colored-pencil drawings.

Fredericks has been involved in the fire service for over 30 years as both a volunteer and career firefighter. He has held the positions of volunteer Training Officer, Career Shift Captain on both Engine and Truck companies, USAR Rescue Technician for Iowa Task Force 1, Honor Guard member, Fire Service Instructor and retired in 2015 as the Chief of Training for the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. He is still active in the volunteer fire service, a member of the Iowa All-Hazards Incident Management Team and an Adjunct Instructor in the Fire Science Program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

While he says he has been an artist most of his life, in 2011 he decided to dedicate more time to his drawings, which are so detailed and life-like that you may mistake them for photographs or real-life objects. While he has drawn a variety of subjects, including firefighters with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department and pets, he says the “raw beauty of the natural world caught (his) attention the most.”

“Within the simplest natural creations were the colors, forms, textures and imperfections that I sought to recreate in as detailed and realistic way as possible, using only colored pencil and paper,” his gallery’s description reads. “It takes many hours of work to accomplish this, but the finished product can hopefully draw us closer to an appreciation of the simple grandeur around us.”

Fredericks’ art will be at Amazing Space until January 28th. Visit today to see them in person!

* The Nature Center is now in winter hours (November-March). Amazing Space is closed to the public on Mondays, open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Trails remain open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 365 days a year. Questions? Give us a call: (319)362-0664

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