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Ever consider visiting Iowa? If not, maybe you should. There are some great family stops and a lot to do.  These are a few of our favorite stops on our recent visit.


Amana Colonies

Located 20 miles from Cider Rapids are the Amana Colonies, 7 villages that were originally German settlements in Iowa. Settled in 1855 the colonies remained self-sufficient until the 1930’s. The Amanians operated independently as a community by farming and handcrafting to maintain their own local economy. Today you can visit the villages and shop at their craft stores, eat local fair, or drink a glass of wine or beer. Antiques, furniture, home decor, clothing, and gifts you will find nowhere else create a unique shopping adventure.

iowa food

The Colonies tradition of great food is available for visitors to explore in the restaurants or specialty shops. The Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse has over 160 years of experience offering ham, bacon, sausages, beef, and pork to visitors and online.  The Ox Yoke Inn is a fantastic place to stop for lunch, and has amazing German style food. The staff is gracious and the food is affordable and filling. The Broom and Basket Shop is exactly what you might expect, a store dedicated to selling locally handmade brooms and baskets. Another interesting stop is Iowa’s Largest Walnut Rocker, at over 650 lbs. and 11 ft. tall. Great for a family picture. These are just examples of some of the interesting sites you can wander through on a visit to the Amanas.

Adventureland Park

A land of adventure awaits visitors outside Des Moines for thrill seekers and amusement park goers. Water rides and roller coasters are just a start to the fun. Magic shows, circus acts, live music, and over 100 rides all make up Iowa’s largest tourist attraction, Adventureland Park.

iowa family travel

On a hot day nothing like a trip down the lazy river to cool off. Adventure Bay is a full waterpark experience. Water slides, wave pools, and Shipwreck Shores for the kids.

iowa water park

Science Center of Iowa

“Science rules” and no place is better proof of that than the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) Classes, hands on exhibits, and shows to engage visitors of all ages. Pint Sized Science offers programs for kids 3-5 like Superhero Science, Digging Dinos, and Sounds Like Science. These are amongst the classes that might interest the tiny learner in your family and there are option for older kids as well. Café Scientifique is a free program for adults and young adults.

iowa kids activities

Take a break and sit down in the SCI Blank IMAX Dome Theater to view a documentary film or even a Hollywood release. The dome is six-stories high, wrapping around viewers so the images fill your vision in every direction. Feel like you are inside the film while you get off your feet for a while.

Want to keep learning? Why not stay late? Overnight Adventures and Almost Overnights at the Science Center of Iowa are a whole new way to view SCI. Make the experience more than a  museum visit by staying after dark.

There is so much to see and do- so if Iowa wasn’t on your list of places to visit, jot it down. See you there!

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  1. Never knew Iowa had so much to offer, thank you!

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