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Top Destination Spots in Iowa

Updated on October 16, 2015

10. Adler Theater

Formerly known as The RKO, The Adler Theater opened in Davenport, Iowa in 1931 and is Iowa’s largest theater. This theater is built with pure beauty and detail. Between the marble and ebony details to the gold leaf ceiling, the Adler Theater is a must see.

If you are a fan of Broadway, Broadway touring companies come through Davenport and perform at the Adler Theater. It is also home to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and the Ballet Quad Cities.

This historic theater hosts a number of other entertainment venues including concerts and stand up comedy among other genres of entertainment.

Designed by AS Graven, The Adler Theater was renovated in 2005 and 2006 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Have you ever visited the Adler Theater?

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Adler Theater in Davenport Iowa

The Adler Theater
The Adler Theater | Source

9. Snake Alley

Located in Burlington, Iowa, Snake Alley is a windy cobblestone paved road that was declared by Ripley’s believe it or not, as the crookedest road in the world.

The road was built by the German founders of the town in 1894 and it is worth taking a ride up.

While driving up this windy road you will see replica Victorian lampposts that line the cobblestone road. Winter months are closed due to ice buildup on the road.

Snake Alley is surrounded by the Heritage Hill District which includes; Cobblestone Alley and is the only street left made with original Burlington limestone. It was built in 1898.

Yes, its just a road, but if you are in the Burlington area, why not take a drive up the road and get a feel as to just how windy it really is?

Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa


8. Science Center of Iowa

Opened in 1970, and located in Des Moines, The Science Center of Iowa became the first interactive science center in the world. This science center has many things to offer.

The Blank IMAX Dome Theater is there along with many events and learning tools. This is a great place to take the family and is used for field trips for schools as well.

The Science Center of Iowa offers many live programs and demonstrations along with a variety of overnight adventures and activities to go along with it.

This is a great place to rent for birthday parties and other events and it even has a summer camp program.

Do you prefer a science center or a historical museum?

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Located at the Science Center of iowa

7. Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo, located in Des Moines Iowa is the only accredited zoo in the state. It offers an aviary along with an aquarium. It also houses big cats, giraffes and reptiles, etc.

They also have a red panda display along with many special events including; birthday parties and even weddings. Recently some of the red-necked wallabys decided to make a run for it and escape the zoo, but they made it back safe and sound.

The focus of this zoo is on education and conservation.There are many different programs gears towards these focuses and there are also plenty of activities the kids can get involved in.

This is another place that has a summer camp program where they can learn everything they want to know about the animals housed at the zoo and there are early education classes that give the kids a chance to get hands on with some of the zoo's activities which are included in the education programs available.

Blank Park Zoo

Are the red-necked wallabys something you would want to see at a zoo?

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Red-Necked Wallaby at the Blank park Zoo

Red-necked Wallaby at Blank Park Zoo
Red-necked Wallaby at Blank Park Zoo | Source

Swan Lake State Park offers both Summer and Winter activities. Which do you prefer?

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6. Swan Lake State Park

Swan Lake State Park is named after the reservoir, Swan Lake and offers campsites, trails and fishing.

During winter season it offers; ice fishing, snowmobiling, and sledding. Along with cross country skiing.

There are views of Raccoon River from Swan Lake State Park and there is also Farmstead Museum available to look at.

Ice fishing is a popular sport at Swan Lake.

The Sauk Rail Trail is a trail that connects Swan Lake Park to Black Hawk State Park which is also a must see.

This state park also has the Conservation Education Center which focus' on educational, recreational and cultural activities and even has a classroom to learn everything you want to know about Swan Lake State Park.

First Day of Spring at Swan Lake State Park

5. Pella, Iowa

Pella, Iowa is a unique Dutch town in Iowa.

A popular landmark in this quaint town is the Dutch Windmill which is fully functional and is still a used mill. It is the largest Dutch windmill in the United States and there is a museum close by as well.

Pella hosts the yearly tulip festival, "Tulip Time" every spring to celebrate their heritage.

Another spot in Pella, Iowa is the Pella Historical Village which houses the childhood home of Wyatt Earp.

Not far from Pella is the Red Rock Area. The Red Rock area has trails for biking or hiking which are along the edge of the Des Moines River which offer beautiful views of the river and scenery around it.

The Red Rock Lake is also located in this breathtaking area and is a popular fishing spot.

Red Rock Lake

Red Rock Lake
Red Rock Lake | Source

Pella, Iowa houses the largest Dutch windmill in the United States


4. Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines is the capitol of Iowa and has many things to do while visiting. The capitol building, Iowa state fairgrounds and the state historical museum are just a few spots to see.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a beautiful park full of big sculptures and a great place to visit. Des Moines offers many areas for shopping, food and entertainment as well.

In 2010 in Des Moines, a 7000 year old village was discovered and excavated.

During this excavation, many artifacts were found along with the remains of a woman and an infant and are the oldest remains ever found in the state of Iowa.

There were over 6000 artifacts collected and are in the process of a preservation plan.

The Palace

The Beautiful Des Moines, Iowa

By User:Raivena [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By User:Raivena [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

3. Reiman Gardens

Located in Ames, Iowa, on Iowa State University Campus, Reiman Gardens is a botanical garden full of plant life, flowers and beauty.

Over the year Reiman Gardens has become a top attraction in central Iowa. Every year the gardens are given a theme.

The herb gardens, the Christina butterfly wings and the rose gardens are just a few of the facilities that Reiman Gardens has to offer and there are many more.

There is also Helen Lake in the area. There are areas that have snacks for sale or you can bring a picnic to eat in the gardens.

Butterfly Roosting at Reiman Gardens

Butterfly at Reiman Gardens

Butterfly at Reiman Gardens
Butterfly at Reiman Gardens | Source

2. Bridges of Madison County

Madison County is located in iowa and has nineteen covered brides there.

The novel, “The bridges of Madison county” by, “Robert James Waller” mentions some of these bridges.

One of the bridges mentioned is Cedar Covered Bridge.

There was a motion picture with the same title starring Clint Eastwood that features Holliwell Bridge.

The oldest bridge remaining is Imes Bridge and was built in 1870.

Madison County offers self-guided tours, two hour personal tours or group tours.

I don't know about you but watching this movie trailer entices me to want to visit these beautiful covered bridges.

One of the nineteen covered bridges located in Madison County, Iowa

Roseman Bridge
Roseman Bridge | Source

1. Adventureland

I think I am safe to say that most people like amusement parks and can agree that there is something to do for the whole family.

Between the rides and water, Adventureland offers a variety of things to do.

Lodging is available at Adventureland as well as a trolley for guests to get them around.

Enjoy some food, fun and entertainment at Adventureland.

A carousel at Adventureland

The carousel at Adventureland
The carousel at Adventureland | Source

Here is a road map of Iowa to help you get around

show route and directions
A markerSnake Alley Iowa -
Snake Alley, Burlington, IA 52601, USA
get directions

B markerScience Center of iowa -
Science Center of Iowa, 401 West Martin Luther King Junior Parkway, Des Moines, IA 50309, USA
get directions

C markerBlank Park Zoo -
Blank Park Zoo, 7401 Southwest 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315, USA
get directions

D markerSwan Lake Park Iowa -
Swan Lake State Park, Carroll, IA 51401, USA
get directions

E markerPella Iowa -
Pella, IA 50219, USA
get directions

F markerDes Moines -
Des Moines, IA, USA
get directions

G markerReiman Gardens -
Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50011, USA
get directions

H markerRoseman Bridge Iowa -
Roseman Covered Bridge, Webster, IA 50273, USA
get directions


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    • April Dawn Meyer profile image

      April Dawn Meyer 4 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Thanks. I have a whole bunch that I am going to publish. :) I am new here and still trying to figure this whole thing out.

    • Iammattdoran profile image

      Matt Doran 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Nice hub April. I really don't know much about Iowa so this was all new and interesting to me. The only thing I previously associated Iowa with was the band Slipknot! Cheers. Matt