10 Best Things To Do In Iowa For All Types Of Tourists

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Mar 09, 2020
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The US state of Iowa covers an area between Missouri and Mississippi rivers and is bordered by six different states. It has also been a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana in the colonial times. These things combined have made Iowa an interesting place to explore for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and culture-seekers. From touring the striking Iowa State Capitol to hiking the Maquoketa Caves State Park, there are many things to do in Iowa. So, we have created a list of some of the best tourist attractions in Iowa that you must explore on your next trip. Read on and plan your Iowa vacation!

1. Tour the Iowa State Capitol

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The Magnificent Iowa State Capitol is not any simple landmark that you come across. It is the place that has shaped Iowa over the centuries. This gold-domed structure is perched on top of the hill and houses several government offices. Taking a tour of State Capitol to explore its modified Renaissance-style architecture and historic displays is one of the top things to do in Des Maine, Iowa. 

2. Explore interesting Amana Colonies

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A group of more than a century-old seven villages has become one of the popular tourist attractions in Iowa as Amana Colonies that open the door to the past. These villages were established by German Pietists in the 1850s and were known to create and stabilize the self-sufficient local economy. It has been listed as a National Historic Landmark and is a significant part of heritage tourism. 

3. Spend some time at Pappajohn Sculpture Park

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Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4-acre site that features and celebrates artworks of more than 25 different artists. Be it the well-designed landscape or the creativity of sculptures, the park makes for a unique place to explore for art and nature lovers. Pappajohn Sculpture Park is administered by the Des Moines Art Gallery, which in itself is another famous point of interest in Iowa. 

4. Stop by the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

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The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is the place that will introduce you to how rivers of the USA have shaped the land historically as well as culturally. The aquarium on the premises will show how the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico are home to rich underwater life. With such an interesting combination, when it comes to unique things to do in Iowa, this place ranks on top of the list.

5. Maquoketa Caves State Park

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The beauty of Maquoketa Caves State Park lies in its rugged land and scenic hiking trails. Home to more caves than any other US park, this place is a playground for nature lovers, hikers, and geologists. Some of the caves here can be entered without any problem, but most of the cave systems are advanced and can be found with thousands of years of stalactites and stalagmites formations. Your Iowa bucket list must include Maquoketa Caves State Park. 

6. Go to the unique Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption

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Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption is the site of religious as well as historical importance. You will find nine mineral-rich grottos here that are considered to be one of the largest in the USA. It took more than 40 years to complete the shrine as it is built from minerals, fossils, shells, and petrification. Attracting thousands of tourists each year, Grotto of the Redemption has become one of the best places to visit in Iowa. 

7. Soak in the natural beauty at Reiman Gardens

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Spanning over 17 acres, Reiman Gardens are considered to be amongst the largest public gardens in the state. It has an extensive collection that includes everything from specimens of insects and plants to arts and architecture. Its huge glasshouse has tropical plants and exotic butterflies on the premises. With all the interesting things it houses, it is one of the top-visited attractions in Iowa.

8. Visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

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The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library combines history and culture with its numerous thought-provoking exhibits. Providing you a glimpse of Czech and Slovak heritage, touring this museum is one of the best things to do with kids in Iowa. This museum is proud to tell the stories of human rights and dignity along with community and family as well as freedom and identity.

9. Witness the fascinating Effigy Mounds National Monument.

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The site that is considered sacred by many, Effigy Mounds National Monument is the place of archaeological importance. It has more than 200 prehistoric well-preserved mounds that are shaped like animals and were created by peoples of the Woodland Culture. As it has around 14 miles of hiking trails, it has become one of the top hiking spots in Iowa. 

10. Go to John Wayne House.

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The state of Iowa will give you a chance to get a glimpse of the life of famous American actor John Wayne. His birthplace-turned-museum is preserved in its original state, giving you a chance to understand how it was in 1907. An intriguing place for John Wayne fans and movie buffs, this museum also arranges shows of a documentary on Duke’s phenomenal film career. 

And when it comes to more things to do in Iowa, you can include Adventureland Park in Altoona, Pikes Peak State Park, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, and Field of Dreams Movie Site in your itinerary.

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