Welcome to IOWA!

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!

Enjoy Your Vacation in Branson, Missouri

While everyone likes to break away from drudgery of life once in a while and opt for vacations, the choices can be quite varied. Nor everyone likes to spend the vacation days near a seaside quite destination, away from the crowd. For some people, the perfect idea of vacationing is enjoying every moment in boisterous atmosphere in travel destinations amidst events like carnivals, fairs and revelry. If you belong to the latter category, Branson, Missouri could be the perfect holiday destination for you. It is also known as Live Music Show Capital, owing to its numerous live shows, amusement programs and natural sights. On an average, Branson gets close to 7 million footfalls every year.

You can visit Brandon any time of the year but Spring and Fall are best suited for families to visit. While the majority of tourists get lured by the events and shows held in Branson, do not think the place is all about events and entertainment programs. There are shopping opportunities galore and you will also get options to satiate your taste buds with regional delicacies during your trip.

The good thing about Branson travel is that you can save a significant amount of transportation cost with careful planning. Flying to Branson from other parts of the USA or major European cities is easy nowadays, and majority of tourists choose Springfield-Branson National Airport . It is served by various budget airlines. Otherwise, you can also fly to newly built Branson airport, or nearby ST Louis and Kansas City airports. In Branson, you can find plenty of car rental and limo services for sightseeing and exploring nearby places.
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Fun Tours in Branson, MO


My son had a fantastic time in Branson.  There was a lot to see and do, and much to engage him while we were there.  Two of his favorite activities were the “Ride the Ducks” tour and the “Titanic Museum”.  He actually wanted to go back to the museum every day we were there- so that should really tell you something.

branson missouri

The Ride the Ducks duck tours are great family fun, with adults having a great time as well.  As you ride the amphibious  land and water Duck Boat through the Ozarks, to the top of a mountain, and into the beautiful Table Rock Lake (quacking all the while with your “Wacky Quackers”) your tour guide gives you fun facts about the area and you get a great view of Branson.  Once your duck gets on the lake, the children will all get the opportunity to drive the duck, and get a certificate when they get back to the station as well.

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These “ducks are built just for for Ride The Ducks and our partners to look like WWII DUKW vehicles. On the top of the mountains, you can see many retired (and unarmed) vehicles from the armed forces, which the kids loved and was quite interesting.   The ducks are safe, of course- according to the website, “The Ride The Ducks Duck uses the latest in marine design and safety.  They are regularly inspected, tested & certified by the United States Coast Guard to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for our guests.”  Can’t beat that!  There is also a museum of armed forces inside the tour center.

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Visit http://branson.ridetheducks.com for your tickets Memorial Day through Labor Day, or November 1 through Dec 8 for the Holiday Lights tours.

The Titanic Museum was awesome, my son’s favorite thing to do in Branson, and one of his favorite things he has done at all this year.  He talks about it all the time.  They have a special children’s exhibit and guided tour that is created just for a younger age group with aspects that will engage and entertain them, as well as keep them interested.  And it’s on their eye level, which is really helpful.
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