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Some people say...
"There's nothing to do in Iowa. Why would you want to live there?? Iowa is boring." Well, Iowa has lots of interesting things to see and do. Take a look (bookmark this page first because all these links lead to new web pages):
The Amana Colonies is Iowa's # 1 tourist attraction. Although most of the stores and restaurants are located in the town of Amana, there are 6 other towns that belong to the Amana Society: East Amana, Middle Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana, and Homestead, a combined total of 26,000 acres. Interestingly, Amana residents are not buried in "family" plots, each person is buried next to the last person who died. This is because they consider everyone in the Society to be part of their family.
The Amish, another religious sect, should not be confused with the Amana Colonies. There are Amish in Davis County, in the Hazelton area, in rural McIntire, and in Jackson County. The Amish in Kalona are a little more modern and offer tours. Generally, Amish stores are closed on Sunday. Also, out of respect for their religious belief, you should not take a picture of an Amish person's face.
Albert, the World's Largest Concrete Bull, has been guarding the peaceful streets of Audubon since 1964.
Anamosa, is where Grant Wood (most famous for American Gothic) was born and is home to the State Penitentiary (read about Wesley Elkins). It's architecture is unusual, along with some of its past inhabitants and the place is on the National Register of Historic Places, which gives it some glamour. You can't go inside (unless, of course, you know someone in there).
Here's something different, two murder mystery bed & breakfasts in Bellevue: Bellevue House Bed & Breakfast and Mont Rest Bed & Breakfast.
The Bridges of Madison County movie was filmed in and around Winterset; however, it is not the only covered bridge. There are six (out of an original nineteen) nineteenth-century covered bridges. Winterset is also the birthplace of Marion Robert Morrison, known to us as John Wayne. The John Wayne Museum may be of interest to you.
The Day the Music Died. The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake holds an annual Winter Dance Party in honor of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, who died near Clear Lake in a plane crash. The Winter Dance Party is internationally famous. Get your tickets a year in advance because its usually sold out! About 500 yards from a road 6 miles outside of town, is a small memorial, on the spot the plane came to rest. Take the quiz!
The Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville would be of interest to baseball fans. The Ghost Players, who were cast in the movie, make an appearance the last Sunday of each month (June-Sept.) from Noon to 2:00 p.m. As long as you're in Dyersville, you might as well visit The National Farm Toy Museum and some of the others places.
The Five Sullivan Brothers, mentioned in the movie, Saving Private Ryan, all died on the USS Juneau in WWII. They were from Waterloo where the Sullivan Memorial Park was erected to honor them. Their sister was also in the WAVES. Read the Navy's tribute.
This web site just wouldn't be complete without 45 Facts About Cows.
Even famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright left his imprint in Iowa. If you enjoy architecture be sure to visit The Old Capital in Iowa City, Iowa's first capital building and Plum Grove, the restored home of Iowa's first Territorial Governor, Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, and Salisbury House, (click here for pictures) a 42-room mansion in Des Moines.
Iowa State Fair: The Iowa State Fair inspired a novel, three movies, and a musical (all entitled - you guessed it - State Fair!). An old fair favorite is the Butter Cow. If you're really into butter, check here for a butter version of the American Gothic.
The Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua was made famous from the song. They hold an annual wedding reunion in August.
The Mesquakie Bingo & Casino is located in Tama if you enjoy gambling. It is run by the Mesquakie Indian Settlement. They recently added a hotel and entertainment theater
You may not believe it, but Iowa also has a Pecan Grove!!
Pike's Peak was named after Zebulon Pike who in 1805 explored the Mississippi Valley and selected locations suitable for military posts. Several years later, Pike was went westward again and named the other "Pikes Peak" in Colorado. Effigy Mounds National Monument contains burial mounds in shapes of mammals, birds, or reptiles and were built by the Eastern Woodland Indians from about 500 BC to 1300 AD.
You can visit some of Iowa's other Prairies or The Loess Hills. Or check the DNR State Park Directory for more state parks. Each park has something unique. Many of the parks contain a threatened or endangered species of some kind. Also, check the Linn County Conservation's Natural Areas and Wildlife Preserves.
The State Capital building in Des Moines has been renovated to its original beauty. The rotunda contains 135 Iowa battle flags from the Civil War. Iowa had over half of her male population (80,000) serve in the war (two of my ancestors served in the 15th and the 32nd Iowa Regiments). Terrace Hill is where the governor lives and is open for tours when the governor is not in residence. The Des Moines Botanical Center contains nearly 1,000 different species of tropical, subtropical, and arid region plants growing beneath a 80-foot-tall and 150-foot-wide plexiglas dome and has 14.4 acres of outdoor beds. Blank Park Zoo is a small zoo, but still fun for the kids. If you enjoy learning about pioneer life, visit Living History Farms.
What is RAGBRAI? It means the (Des Moines) Register's Annual Great Bike Race Across Iowa. Every year bicyclists get together and ride across Iowa (it takes about a week). They choose a different route each year. Click here for the Original Story or here for the history. There is more information on the RAGBRAI Home Page.
Did you know that Riverside, Iowa, is the future birthplace of Captain James Kirk, of Star Trek fame, on March 22, 2228? Riverside now has the daunting task of breeding James! The town has a birthday celebration and Trek Fest every year. "Real" fans will have to learn the Klingon language.
Here are more Iowa Links:
Iowa Calendar of Events
Iowa State Song
Iowa Travel Guide
On-line Guide from Iowa Division of Tourism
The Iowa Legend
The Iowan On-Line
Tour Iowa On-Line
Welcome to Iowa
You know what? Fun is where you find it--it doesn't matter where you live! Thanks for visiting!
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