about us

About Iowa Lakeside Lab

Lakeside Lab is owned by the state of Iowa and operated through the Board of Regents. Its mission is twofold: 1) to provide science classes and research opportunities for university students, and 2) to offer Outreach Programs and provide services through the state universities.

Lakeside's 147-acre campus is located on scenic West Okoboji Lake, on Little Miller's Bay. The bay and adjacent natural areas are used as outdoor classrooms for Lakeside's university courses and Outreach Programs. The campus is open year round, and visitors are welcome to visit during daylight hours.


Lakeside occupies 147 acres, including the entire shoreline of Little Miller's Bay of West Okoboji Lake. Most of the campus is natural land. The campus can be divided into three sections: 1) the Ecological Studies Campus, 2) the Residential Campus, and 3) the Teaching Campus.

The Ecological Studies Campus occupies more than three-fourths of of the land mass at Lakeside, including the entire northern portion. The northwest part, long called "The North 40" by faculty and staff, is being restored to prairie. Another 23 acres to the immediate east is reconstructed prairie, planted in 2002-03. A second-growth woods of box elder and other trees separates these areas from West Okoboji Lake and the Residential Campus to the south.

The Residential Campus includes the Lakeside Office, the Facility Manager's Residence, faculty and student housing, the bathhouse, the Mess Hall, and adjacent lawns. A ravine shaded by burr oaks and other trees separates this part of Lakeside from the Teaching Campus to the south.

The Teaching Campus features a high knoll that slopes down to Little Miller's Bay. The Waitt Lab, Mahan Hall, the Library, all laboratories, Tamisiea Cottage, and Main Cottage are located here. The landscape is very naturalistic, with prairie and meadows occupying the higher ground and oak woods/savanna growing near the lake. Native plant gardens are being developed near the Waitt Lab.

A group of dedicated volunteers helps maintain Lakeside's grounds and natural areas. Come join us and learn about conservation, native plants, and gardening while you work.