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Family Things To Do In Iowa City

Halloween At The Market

Hike Squire Point Trail

Iowa City Farmers Market is also getting in on the spooky spirit with Halloween at the Market on Saturday.

At 10 a.m., the farmers market will host a costume parade. Meanwhile, candy will be available at the different vendors for trick or treating.

People can also decorate pumpkins at the farmers market. Costumes are encouraged.

The farmers market is located at the Chauncey Swan Park and East Washington Street. It is free to attend.

Best Family Vacations In Iowa That All Ages Love

  • Christina Rado

With outdoor adventures, water parks and historic colonies, Iowa bursts with fun family vacation ideas.

Whether your family is fond of the outdoors or cultural wonders, youll find a plethora of pleasurable experiences in this state.

And, even better, its a cheaper destination, compared to other states.

So, the next time youre planning a getaway, check out our roundup of the best family vacations in Iowa.

Find The Top 10 Things To Do With Kids Near You

Trekaroo has hundreds of guides for locations all over the United States.

-Jody Halsted is a writer & photographer of captivating travel escapades, family foibles, and objective critiques. As madly passionate about Ireland as she is about her home state of Iowa, Jody divides her online time between her sites Ireland With Kids and Family Rambling. Spread across the internet, the easiest place to keep up with Jodys travels is to follow her on the Family Rambling Facebook page.

Lead image by: Bigstock/Virrage Images

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American Gothic House & Center

The American Gothic House & Center is a tourist attraction focused around the house in the world-famous painting, American Gothic by Grant Wood. Also known as the Dibble House, the American Gothic House is a quaint house in Eldon designed in the Carpenter Gothic style with a distinctive upper window that was featured in Woods famous painting depicting 20th-century rural Americana life. Built by Charles Dibble in 1881, the private residence was observed and used by Wood in his painting and is now part of a museum complex that includes the original house and a modern visitors center that houses exciting information about the house, the painting, which is one of the most recognized paintings in 20th century art, and the history of rural American. The center features an exhibition gallery, a media room, a gift shop, and prop costumes for visitors to enjoy role-playing.

9654, 300 American Gothic St, Eldon, IA 52554, Phone: 641-652-3352

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Things To Do With Kids In Des Moines Ia

12 Best Things to Do in Iowa City, Iowa
  • TripBuzz found 61 things to do with kids in or near Des Moines, Iowa, including 40 fun activities for kids in nearby cities within 25 miles like Urbandale, West Des Moines, Altoona and Ankeny.
  • From Blank Park Zoo to Plaza Lanes Family Fun Center, the Des Moines area offers 50 different types of family activities, including: Theaters, Amusement Parks , Movie Theaters and History Museums.
  • As Iowa’s capital city, the city of Des Moines offers a blend of urban cityscape, family-friendly suburbs and exciting attractions. Aside from the city’s many museums, historical structures and art centers, tourists frequent the area for its many festivals, including the annual World, Food and Music Festival, Des Moines Renaissance Faire and many, many more.

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University Of Iowa Stanley Museum Of Art

Amongst the best things to do in Iowa City is a visit to this Museum of Art. Also located in Iowa City on the campus of the University of Iowa, the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is home to one of the best university art collections in the United States.

This spectacular museum features about 15,500 arts and artifacts with different origins.

There are varieties of exhibits in the museum including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, silver-working, textiles, and photographs.

Among several other popular exhibits collection found in this museum includes the Stanley Collection of African Art containing over 2,000 African art exhibit, and the Elliot Collection which is made up of exhibits from post-impressionist European art.

This makes what to do in Iowa City for art lovers, the museum is open for tours by visitors, special group and class tours are also accepted.

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is open for visitors on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.5 p.m., on Thursdays from 10 a.m.9 p.m., and Sundays from 125 p.m. The museum is not open only on Mondays.

Address: 125 N Madison St, Iowa City, IA 52242

Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa

Explore the best places to raise a family based on public schools, crime rates, cost of living, and family-friendly amenities. Ranking based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other data sources. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

Showing results 1 through 25 of 2,324

  • Rating 4.6 out of 5 5 reviews
  • Current Resident: I like living in a small cultured tourist town such as Le Claire. There are things to do and local shops to see. I live in an area that has MidAmerican Energy which I enjoy having. There is also a consumer choice in Internet services which is nice. The amount of local business diversity is amazing!Read 5Reviews

  • Suburb of Cedar Rapids, IA
    • grade A+
  • Rating 3.53 out of 5 17 reviews
  • Rating 4.14 out of 5 71 reviews
  • Suburb of Des Moines, IA
  • Rating 4.38 out of 5 45 reviews
  • Suburb of Des Moines, IA
  • Rating 4.15 out of 5 165 reviews
  • Current Resident: My family just moved here a couple of months ago from another state and so far we are very pleased with what we have experienced here. There are a lot of similarities between where we used to live and Ankeny and that has helped make the transition to living here so much easier. We love all the local restaurants and businesses, we’ve asked our neighbors and friends where they love to eat and shop and we’ve found some really cool spots! So far I have loved living here and am looking forward to what the future brings here in Ankeny.Read 165Reviews

  • Suburb of Des Moines, IA
  • 6-12
  • PK, K-12
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    Fun Things To Do In Iowa: Adventureland Park

    Adventureland Park is an amusement park in Altoona. The family-owned park features over 100 rides, attractions, and shows. Some of the tallest and fastest rides in the country include The Monster and The Storm Chaser, which are sure to get the blood pumping in even the most thrill-seeking guest.

    Family-friendly rides include the classic Tilt-A-Whirl, a sky ride through the tree tops, bumper cars, a carousel and more. Even the smallest thrill-seekers wont be left out at Adventureland, with a variety of kiddie rides to keep them entertained for hours. Adventure Bay is the parks water section and includes the largest wave pool and longest lazy river in the state of Iowa as well as many other attractions.

    305 34th Avenue NW, Altoona, IA 50009, Phone: 515-266-2121

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    Explore The Loess Hills Scenic Byway In Iowa With Kids

    DES MOINES, IOWA – The TOP 10 Places you NEED to see!

    Loess soil, German for loose, is found only three places in the world: along the Missouri River, along the Rhine River Valley in Germany, and in Shaanxi, China. Created by departing glaciers, these hills rise 200 to 350 feet above the flat plains topped by razor ridges and cat step terraces.

    The Loess Hills Scenic Byway extends nearly 200 miles along Iowas western border with 10,000 acres dedicated as the Loess Hills National Natural Landmark. Visitors can view archaeological sites, enjoy bird watching, or wander the trails keeping a sharp eye for the many animals, including buffalo, that call this area home.

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    Contact Information All Travelers

    All air passengers to the United States will also be required to provide contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States. This strengthens a travel process already in place to rapidly identify and contact people in the U.S. who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19. Access to travelers contact information will allow U.S. federal, state, and local health departments, and agencies to share appropriate health and public health information necessary to help keep the public safe.

    Back In Time At The Amana Colonies

    Building at Main Amana | Photo by cwwycoff1

    In the east central part of Iowa are a series of eight villages, set in a circular pattern, each an hours ox cart ride from the next. Settled in 1856 by The Community of True Inspiration, this communal society was almost completely self sufficient, producing practically everything they needed for daily life.

    Today the Amana Colonies retain the charm of yesteryear, enticing visitors with homemade German food, wineries, craft shops, and relaxing B& Bs.

    Known for their excellent woodcarvers and woolens, even Hollywood comes calling for handcrafted period pieces. Nature trails, a challenging golf course, and a hand-made chocolate shop are only a few things that draw families for weekend getaways.

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    Who Should Vacation Here

    Dubuque is a dream come true for families looking for a mixture of historic sites and nature-based attractions. In Dubuque, you can fill your vacation days exploring natural and cultural wonders, like the Crystal Lake Cave and Mines of Spain Recreation Area.

    Whats more, the city overflows with fun-filled, kid-approved attractions. Our favorites include the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium and Vertical Jump Park. As a bonus, the city features some of the best family hotels in Iowa.

    Surf Ballroom And Museum

    Best Things to Do with Kids in Des Moines, Iowa

    The Surf Ballroom and Museum is located in Clear Lake and is a historic Rock and Roll landmark. The Surf was the location of the last performance of Rock and Roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson, also known as The Day the Music Died. The Surf Ballroom is almost 100% original, with some necessary additions for modern technology.

    The onsite museum features music memorabilia and a wall of fame which includes many of the artists who have performed at the Surf over the years. The Surf souvenir shop sells memorabilia and apparel related to the Surf Ballroom and the history of Rock and Roll.

    460 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake, IA 50428, Phone: 641-357-6151

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    Matchstick Marvel Museum Video

    Pull up a chair and watch the video in which the museums founder, Pat Acton, talks about how he first started with matchsticks.

    It was interesting to learn how one bad weather day he went to a local store and bought some matchsticks.

    Using only a razor, sandpaper and a bottle of glue, he built his first matchstick creation in 1977.

    It was a small church replica with 500 matchsticks.

    You can see how much he loves history and research.

    He is a true craftsman and artist.

    Also interesting is that for 10 years he cut the tops off of each and every matchstick.

    My kids really thought that was amazing.

    You can see there is lots to enjoy here and in this area, so be sure to plan a trip to see the amazing creations at Matchstick Marvels.

    Haunted Happenings At The North Liberty Community Center

    The lower level of the North Liberty Community Center is being transformed for Halloween on Thursday and Friday.

    The free event invites children, accompanied by an adult, to check out the spooky lower level, complete with a maze. Afterward, visitors can have their picture taken and receive a bag of treats.

    Costumes are encouraged.

    The North Liberty Community Center is located at 520 W. Cherry St. Haunted Happenings takes place from 5-8 p.m.

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    Food Vendors At The Fair

    Like any good festival, there are plenty of food options for people to choose from. Theres the delicious Caribbean flavors from Caribbean Kitchen, local favorite Hamburg Inn No. 2, fried chicken from Harolds Chicken, Indian cuisine from Masala, barbecue from Mosleys and Rodneys Jamaican Jerk and pizza from The Wedge. Those are just a few of the 15 food vendors who will be stationed throughout downtown for the festival.

    Iowa? I could have sworn it was heaven.

    That famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams resonates with many Iowans, both native and transplanted. But beyond our borders, many see us as a fly over state, or worse, confuse us with Idaho or Ohio.

    What many dont know is that there are so many fun things to do in Iowa with kids!

    It wasnt long ago- the mid 1800s- that Iowa was considered quite advanced and the last civilized stop before pioneers began their treks along the Oregon or Mormon Trails.

    Though Iowa is a very rural state, where pigs outnumber people and corn grows tall, visitors will be surprised by the unique opportunities and great places to visit in Iowa. Here is what you wont want to miss on your Iowa vacation.

    Devonian Fossil Gorge In Iowa City Ia

    25 Best Things to Do in Iowa

    To think we almost didnt stop here actually upsets me as this was one of the highlights of our entire month-long vacation.

    We were driving along I-80 toward Cedar Rapids when I read about the Devonian Fossil Gorge.

    Our kids enjoy fossils so when we saw a sign I told my husband to take the exit.

    It was almost dusk as we followed our way to the site.

    We saw some beautiful homes, lush landscape and several deer.

    Approximately 375 million years ago, the Devonian sea covered most of the United States.

    This site was uncovered in 1993 when flooding overtook Coralville Lake.

    You will be able to see, touch and even walk on the ocean floor covered in fossils from 200 million years BEFORE the dinosaurs.

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    Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

    Iowa Citys downtown area is a fabulous one, filled with many attractions. One of them happens to be the Ped Mall, alternatively known as Iowa City Pedestrian Mall. It stretches from Burlington Street to Washington and from Clinton Street to Linn Street and is quite close to the campus of the University of Iowa. One of the most preferred gathering places for students, locals and tourists, it is filled with restaurants, bars, stores and other businesses not to forget, a park for children, a beautiful fountain and shaded trees dispersed all over the place.

    This lively place gets even livelier at night, as lights, music and the delicious smell of food fill the air. Apart from Old Capital, the Ped Mall is undoubtedly the best gathering area in Iowa.

    Visit The Ice Cream Capital Of The World

    Its unlikely that you have heard of the north-western town of LeMars. But you may have heard of their most famous export- Blue Bunny Ice Cream. More ice cream is made here in one year than in any other single place in the world!

    Each year, over Fathers Day weekend, the town of LeMars swells as it celebrates Ice Cream Days, a four-day festival that includes live music, a kids cone-ival, competitions, a spectacular parade, and plenty of ice cream!

    Of course you can visit LeMars year round. Its a terrific community with plenty of parks and outdoor activities of all sorts. Dont miss the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor! With its retro soda fountain feel, a menu of tasty treats, and the Wells Dairy museum upstairs, its a great stop any day!

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    Enjoying Downtown Iowa City

    I was unsure what to expect when I arrived in Iowa City originally. This college town is a vibrant community with cultural and historical things to do. The downtown area is alive with the buzz of students and families who frequent shops and restaurants alike. Here, youll find locally-owned businesses selling things like sweets and sandwiches while others offer things like jewelry or skincare products.

    The Shorts Burger & Shine offers up a variety of things for burger enthusiasts. The Iowa City food truck scene is also thriving, with trucks offering everything from pierogi to barbecue sandwiches.

    The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall is a popular part of downtown Iowa City. This mall was originally an Old Capitol farmers market. It has since become a carless open-air shopping district where people can enjoy things like window shopping or dining while listening to live music from street performers. Many merchants have permanent displays here, along with kiosks from area businesses selling things from hot chocolate to handmade jewelry.

    I enjoyed walking around downtown during my visits. There are things to see on every block, whether its a restaurant or inviting window displays. No matter what youre looking for, I am certain youll find things to do in downtown Iowa City interesting and unique!

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