Children smile while sitting on a bench together. One young child is holding a basketball and looking at the camera. This image is the cover page of the Winter/Spring 2023 Recreation Guide
Winter/Spring 2023 Recreation Registration 

Iowa City Parks and Recreation Winter/Spring 2023 Recreation Registration begins at 7 am Wednesday, December 13 for Iowa City residents. Non-resident registration opens at 7 am on Thursday, December 14. In-person registration is available at the Robert A Lee Community Center and Mercer Park Aquatic Center. 

Winter/Spring 2023 Recreation Guide available now!


Interested in learning about financial assistance for our programs. Learn more and apply for our Rec Assist program!

There are a variety of classes and programs available to choose from. 

Registering for Activities

Complete class descriptions can be found online in the Activenet registration program. There are two easy ways to register for ICPRD programs.

  1. Register online at,
  2. Register in-person at Mercer Park Aquatic Center & Scanlon Gym or Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center. 

Cancelation Information

Iowa City Parks and Recreation uses Rainout Line to communicate cancelation information.

There are three ways to check or sign up for updates:

  1. Download the free app to your phone by searching Rainout Line.
  2. Visit and search for "Iowa City Parks and Recreation."
  3. Call 319-346-7080 and listen for prompts.

Please note that the app is only updated during regular business hours of operation. This does not include nights and weekends.

Rec Assist

Iowa City Parks and Recreation has something for everyone! We are accepting applications for Rec Assist, our income eligible discount program. One application for Iowa City residents is valid for the entire calendar year.

Follow link to application: Rec Assist Application

Rec & Ride

Iowa City Parks and Recreation offers free bus passes to residents when attending any recreation facility or any of our special events in our parks.

Transportation can often be a significant barrier for community members that want to participate in recreation-related activities. This can stem from of a variety of issues that may include, but are not limited to: vehicle access, parking costs, fuel costs, guardian’s ability and availability to transport, bus fare fees, and other considerations. Rec & Ride is a collaborative initiative from the Parks and Recreation Department and Iowa City Transit that strives to alleviate this barrier to experiencing the benefits of recreation. The Rec & Ride program offers free daily admission bus passes back home for any visitor of the Parks and Recreation Department’s recreation centers, swimming pools, farmers market, and special events in the parks. Anybody wanting to catch a bus ride home from these locations is encouraged to ask a customer service attendant or event staff for a free pass. The pass is valid for the day received and may only be redeemed on City of Iowa City busses. This is an ongoing program throughout the year.

For more information or to receive a pass, ask facility or event staff.

Special Events


Event title, Freeze Fest, is shown in the center of the graphic in front of baby blue background. Winter trees surround and create a border around the event title.
Freeze Fest
1-3 pm
Sunday, February 5
Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

Don't let freezing temperatures keep you from enjoying nature this winter. Freeze Fest is a fun, family-friendly outdoor exploration event for all ages. There will be indoor and outdoor activities including games, winter hiking, crafts, winter animal adaptation stations, bird-watching, and more. Snowshoeing will be included (weather permitting.)

All children must be accompanied by an adult. There is no registration fee and no pre-registration is required.


Event name, "Explore the Underground Railroad" is shown in front of a a white, blue, and yellow quilted background. There is also a reel of film to represent a movie being shown at this event.
Explore the Underground Railroad
3-6 pm
Sunday, February 26
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center- Social Hall

Learn more about the history of the underground railroad and join in community to create freedom quilts (paper and fabric options). The night will also include a showing of the movie "Harriet". Light refreshments available. This is a family-friendly event with no fee. "Harriet" is rated PG-13. This event will take care in the Social Hall at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.


Dog wearing silly sweater and hat with event title above it. Event title is Dog Sweater Pawty.
Dog Sweater Pawty
2-3:30 pm
Saturday, March 4
Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park

Bring Fido and friends to the annual Dog Sweater Pawty at Thornberry Dog Park! The dog sweater contest will include three judged categories - Most (P)ugly Sweater, Most Unique Sweater, Best Friends Costume (Dog+Human Combo)Sweaters and costumes may be homemade or store-bought, but as always, creativity will be key!Each dog may be entered into one category and will be registered upon entrance. There is no registration fee. A prize will be awarded to the winner of each category. All attending dogs must be current on their rabies vaccinations and must be capable of adhering to the rules of the dog park.


Event name, Spring Equinox Celebration, is displayed surrounded by photos of spring flowers and the moon.
Spring Equinox Celebration
1:00-3:00 pm
Sunday, March 19
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Celebrate the start of spring! At this family friendly event we will learn about the science of the equinox, plant seeds, and explore the awakening of the Discovery Garden.

All youth 11 and under must be accompanied by and adult 18 years or older.



Event name, Native Plant Symposium, is displayed surrounded by photos of native grasses and flowers.
Native Plant Symposium
9:00 am- 3:00 pm
Saturday, April 29
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Do you want to attract more pollinators and other wildlife to your yard? Maybe change up a landscape design by replacing invasive plants with native ones? Plan for your spring and summer gardening season while getting inspired by the power of native plants!

Participants will enjoy a keynote address, breakout sessions, a catered lunch, and a sense of community among other native plant enthusiasts. Whether you are new to gardening or you’ve got the greenest thumb in town, there will be something for everyone at this event.

Pre-registration is required. Follow the link to register: Registration Link

Gather Here Recreation Master Plan

Iowa City Recreation needs your help to reimagine recreation through the “Gather Here” Recreation planning initiative. This plan provides a study of the City’s current recreation centers to evaluate the conditions, and lifespan of the facilities, as well as providing a visioning component to determine what programs, activities, and events are desired by the community. The goal is to shape the facilities and programs to better serve the Iowa City community. 

Read more about the project by selecting a language below.

This plan will focus on the department’s facilities and programs, and not address the parks, playgrounds, or open spaces.

Berry Dunn was selected to lead this project geared at creating a prioritized plan to guide recreation programming and plans for recreation facilities. Learn about the project planning phases. Read the Frequently Asked Questions about the Iowa City Gather Here Recreation Master Plan.


View the 2022 Comprehensive Master Plan.

View the 2022 Master Plan - Executive Summary.

Donation Request Form

The Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department is pleased to support many community organizations and schools each year by donating recreational experiences that will keep people of all ages living a healthy, social, and active lifestyle. 

Donation request forms can be found online.

Contact Us

Questions? Please contact us at or 319-356-5100.

220 S. Gilbert Street
Iowa City, IA
Phone Number: 
Email Address: 
Office Hours: 
Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center &

Mercer Park Aquatic Center & Scanlon Gym Facility Hours

Monday - Friday, 6:15 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Saturdays, 6:15 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sundays 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.


For pool hours visit,