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Things to Do in Iowa

Discover Iowa’s agricultural side, then explore the Amana Colonies or Danish heritage. Des Moines, the capital, is home to the science center, zoo and state history. Nearby find railroad excursions at Boone, Ledges State Park’s rock formations, and covered bridges in Madison County. Two architectural attractions are Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cedar Rock and Stockman House. Other things to do include the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium at Dubuque, Herbert Hoover’s birthplace and presidential library near Cedar Rapids, the Great River Road with Effigy Mounds and lock/dam, Lewis and Clark’s westward journey. Restaurants salute Iowa’s heritage, serving hearty Midwest meals. Stay in hotels, lodges, inns, B&Bs and motels.
Things To & DoPlaces to Stay

Blank Park Zoo

7401 Ninth Street SW
Des Moines, Iowa
The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa's wildest adventure, strives to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation.

Zoo animals are clustered in the Discovery Center, a Great Cats exhibit, the Australian Trail and the African Boardwalk. At the Kid's Kingdom, children can come face to face with goats and llamas.
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission.
Photo by: Ryan Bickel. Photo Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

1434 316th Lane
Missouri Valley, Iowa
Situated on the Lewis and Clark Trail, the refuge straddles the Missouri River with Nebraska and Iowa on either side.

Located in a flood plan, it was initially created to serve as a stop for migratory geese and ducks traveling between the Artic and warm gulf waters during September and October and from March to May. Also find bald eagles in November, December and March. Wildflowers and prairie grass, as well an abundance of animals can be seen....
Hours & Admission
Park: dawn to dusk.

Visitor center: daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed federal holidays. Admission.
Photo by: Randy Mays. Photo Courtesy: DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

General Dodge House

605 Third Street
Council Bluffs, Iowa
The General Dodge House in Council Bluffs, is the restored 1870's Victorian-style home of former Civil War general Grenville M. Dodge and his family.

Dodge who came from the East Coast was an ambitious individual who worked in various railroad jobs before and after the war most notably as chief engineer for the Union Pacific railroad. Elected to Congress, he only served one term but afterwards continued to promote railroading and veterans affairs.
Hours & Admission
February to December, Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed holidays. Admission.
Photo Courtesy: General Dodge House

Birthplace of John Wayne

216 South Second Street
Winterset, Iowa
See where life began for this world-famous entertainer. The four-room home built in 1880 has been brought back to its 1907 appearance. While here, view memorabilia and photographs of the Duke's life.
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.

Court Avenue Entertainment District

Fourth Street and Court Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
In the heart of downtown, the district has great restaurants and many retail shops making it a wonderful place to stroll. When the lights go down, another Des Moines comes alive. Find a variety of musical entertainment venues, theater and dancing. Saturdays from May through October, a vibrant farmers market brings a wide variety of selection and products to the city.
Hours & Admission
24/7. Free.

Des Moines Art Center

4700 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
The art center complex is composed of three buildings situated at the entrance to Greenwood Park. Appropriately so, three internationally renowned architects designed each: Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier.

The permanent collection showcases contemporary works from the 19th century through present day and includes works by Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe and Francis Bacon, among others. Des Moines Art Center Downtown maintains a 5,500-square...
Hours & Admission
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free.

Historic Valley Junction

217 Fifth Street
West Des Moines, Iowa
At Historic Valley Junction find shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and antique haunts. Fun by day or night, this was one of the earliest settlements around Des Moines, dating from the mid-1840s when James C. Jordan first built and settled the area. Jordan went on to become a state senator. His home was a safe haven on the Underground Railroad and it was with money from Jordan that the Valley Railroad was born. Once a coal mining community, Des Moines quickly became a major railroad hub with the repair shops and switching yards of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroads.

Science Center of Iowa

401 West Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
Des Moines, Iowa
Devoted to lifelong learning, the center, seeks to entertain and engage. Visitors are invited to explore, experiment and to experience everything from the inner workings of the body to the far reaches of outer space.

Programs are offered in the John Deere Adventure Theater; the Star Theater, a 50-foot walk-through planetarium; and The Blank IMAX Dome Theater (fee).
Hours & Admission
Monday to Wednesday, Friday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:30 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.
Information subject to change without notice.
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