Adding to and Enhancing the CR Parks System

The CR Parks system is extensive but tax dollars cannot sustain and support growth to the Parks and local recreational opportunities. Everyone benefits from the Cedar Rapids Park Foundation’s work to add to and enhance our local park system.

Old MacDonald’s Farm

This is a picture of the old entrance to Old MacDonald's Farm. There is a brown wooden bridge that leads to the barn and there are two stalks of corn on either side of the bridge entrance. There are bales of hay next to the bridge and below the bridge as well.

The Bever Park Zoo and Old MacDonald’s Farm holds an iconic place in Cedar Rapids history. Generations of Cedar Rapidians remember waking to the roar of the lions and bear at the old Zoo, and the chattering of the chimpanzee building. But the age of exotic animals in Bever Park passed; and the Zoo had lost its place in the community. In 2003, Bever Zoo formally became Old MacDonald’s Farm with young farm animals rather than exotics. Modernizing and re-purposing the Zoo into an urban farm gave this historical space a new purpose in the community.

Old MacDonald’s Farm is special. It is the only facility of its kind in the Midwest. It is publicly owned by the Cedar Rapids Park system and admission is always free to all visitors. During the 2022 season over 34,000 people visited Old MacDonald’s Farm.

This is a picture of two children petting a rooster at Old MacDonald Farm.


This is a picture of the 2022 Beers in the Barnyard event. The Old McDonald Farm is in the background along with an Iowa Brewing Co. Tent. In the foreground is a table adorned with a Cedar Rapids Parks Foundation tablecloth. There are lights on the fencing, and people are scattered around the event.

5th Annual Beers in the Barnyard

Phase 1 was completed January 2020 thanks to our generous donors!

Phase 1:

    • Beautiful vegetable gardens, including raised beds that are all ADA accessible, allowing for programming in partnership with Linn County Master Gardeners.
    • Established a Pollinator Garden in the Old Bear Cage area.
    • Mural surrounding the Pollinator Garden.
    • Planted new native plants to enhance OMF entrance.
    • Replaced spring loaded playground toys.

Phase 2:

    • Phase 2 work begins Spring 2022.
    • Silo projects:
    • Silo 1 Farm to Table interactive exhibit—funding complete.
    • Silo 2 Birds of Prey interactive exhibit.
    • Adventure Play area—in planning and funding stages. Interactive play located near creek.

Beers in the Barnyard (BITB) is the major annual fundraising event of the Cedar Rapids Parks Foundation. The event was held the evening of October 6, 2022 at Old MacDonald’s Farm located in Bever Park.

Food and beverage were included with a ticket purchase:

    • Picnic meal provided by Winifred’s Catering
    • Domestic and local craft beer from:
      • Iowa Brewing Company
      • Clock House Brewing
      • Lion Bridge Brewing Company
    • Wine tastings from Vineria Wine Shop
    • Soft drinks
    • Live music by The Blake Shaw Quartet
    • Silent auction with a creative array of silent items and experiences

In 2022, the annual fundraiser event netted over $25,000 and attracted over 200 supporters. The philanthropic support for this event is growing and this year the net proceeds will be aimed in support of ReLeaf for Parks, an intentional, long-term plan to replant and care for over 8000 trees in our Cedar Rapids Parks system.

Plan to join us in 2023 for a fun night in support of our great CR Parks!

Other Projects

Rollin’ Recmobile

Rollin’ Recmobile I has completed its second summer bringing fun to 13 different CR Parks each week. During Summer 2021, over 3,298 youth were served by the program, a 35% increase over summer 2020. School supplies were distributed to 820 youth and 25 hot meals and snack meals were distributed daily with Friday numbers increasing to 40 each. Rollin’ Rec currently partners with 41 different organizations to provide crafts, recreational games and activities, and reading access and meals to families across Cedar Rapids.

Rollin’ Recmobile II hit the streets in Summer 2022. Thousands of Cedar Rapids citizens have enjoyed fun youth and recreational programming, food insecurity support and great collaboration activities with various community partners via their neighborhood park visits from the Rollin’ Recmobile team. The Rollin’ Recmobile fleet is another proud accomplishment supported by Cedar Rapids Parks Foundation and our Friends of CR Parks!

ReLeaf for Parks

The August 2020 derecho had a devastating and lasting impact on our entire community. Daniels Park is no exception as shown in these before and after photos.

ReLeaf for Parks is a concerted effort to not only replant but maintain 8,175 trees in 38 Cedar Rapids parks. It’s easy to overlook costly watering requirements for a tree to establish itself during the critical years after replanting so the reforest project has our full support.