Hi everyone. Sorry about the hiatus, but I needed to have a couple days rest. But I’m back, baby and ready to do some exploring. Today, I thought we would discuss ten fun things to do in Des Moines, Iowa. I always try to make at least half the stuff on my lists free. So five out of the ten places listed here you can visit at no cost. So here we go:
Number 10 The Iowa Gold Star and Military Museum
The Iowa Gold Star and Military Museum honor the brave men and woman of the United States Armed Forces. There is a particular emphasis on the military history of Iowa. Uniforms, weaponry and some battle scenes from the 1800’s to today are depicted. The museum is on an army base so adults will need an ID to visit. Admission is free.
Number 9 Terrace Hill (The Iowa Governor’s Mansion)
The mansion sits on a hill overlooking downtown Des Moines. The estate has over 18,000 square feet including a 90ft tower. There aren’t many governor’s mansions in the United States that are open to the public or at least without attending some sort of official function, but Terrace Hill is open to the public. Most days, the Carriage House, first and the second floors are accessible to tours. The third floor is the Governor and his families private apartment and is off limits though. Admission is just Five Dollars and the visit last about an hour.
Number 8 The Pappajohn Sculpture Park and Des Moines Art Center and Gallery.
Number 7 The Des Moines Botanical Gardens
The park includes a geodesic dome that provides year-long greenery as well as nine outdoor gardens. The outdoor gardens include a water garden, roses, and wildflower fields. The grounds are lush and a great way to spend an afternoon. Admission is Ten Dollars
Number Six The Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden
If you have ever seen a lovely garden scene featured in Better Homes and Gardens, the picture was most likely shot in Des Moines. The test gardens are open to the public every Friday 10am to Noon. Admission is free.
Number Five Salisbury House
Number 4 The John Wayne Birthplace and Museum
Number 3 The Bridges of Madison County
Number Two The Iowa State Capitol
Number 1 The Living History Farms
The farms are open May through October. The most expensive option on the list but given all, there is to see and experience the admission is a good value.
Des Moines, Iowa is located about halfway between Kansas City and Minneapolis and about four hours west of Chicago. The city is located on both I35 and I80 so it is accessible from just about anywhere.