Bayliss Park and the black squirrels

Every town has its “thing” – and when you drive around Council Bluffs, Iowa, you’ll see that their “thing” is the black squirrel. It’s become their mascot and you’ll see them embedded into signs and logos throughout town. They were spotted in the area as far back as 1843 by John Jay Audubon and seem to have lived through everything since. In fact, I’ve heard there are local laws prohibiting ” to annoy, worry, maim, injure, or kill” black squirrels.

Bayliss Park is essentially the town square for Council Bluffs. The Park has a fountain, plaza, splash pad, and performance space. Immediately adjacent to the park, along Pearl Street is a Veterans Plaza.  

WinterFest is an annual event when they light the park up for the winter. I wasn’t able to make the event, but I did stop by to capture a few photos that show the highlights of the park.

Well Spring
This is a centrally located large fountain at Bayliss Park. During the summer, it’s flowing with water as well as a light display at night. During the winter, it’s decorated with holiday lights. It was designed by sculptor Brower Hatcher from Providence, RI.

Oculus, also created by Brower Hatcher, is a canopy over a performance area that is used for concerts and other events held in the park.

On the north side of the park is a 12-foot splash/spray area that is child-activated. Of course, the other highlight is the family of black squirrels, which are bronze sculptures made by Brower Hatcher.

Right across the street is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum , which has free admission and covers the history of the transcontinental railroad and the role that Council Bluffs played.
Watch out for those black squirrels!

Location: Bayliss Park, 100 Pearl St, Council Bluffs, Iowa

All photos by Brian Abeling / Iowa Road Trip

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