It was a beautiful evening for a hike at Saylorville Lake. We parked at the visitor center, hiked in that area and then walked over to the butterfly garden. It's a great kid-friendly place to visit because the total distance was less than a mile. The visitor center hiking trail starts just to the south of the building.
There are a lot of big rocks between the trail and the water, which my boys enjoy crossing. The water quality of Saylorville Lake is currently good, however the quality was poor many times this summer, so I strongly recommend checking before letting kids play in the water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facebook page has frequent updates with water quality reports.
After hiking, we headed inside the Saylorville Lake Visitor Center. It's open from March 1st to October 15th with varying hours and masks are currently required. There are a few displays inside and many maps and brochures. There are restrooms inside, but none are available in the area when the center is closed. After the visitor center, we headed to the paved Neal Smith Trail, which leads to the butterfly garden.