When contemplating a vacation, it’s easy to fantasize about leaving home for a far away location. Especially if we are in the midst of an epic winter storm season or are having a chilly and wet spring, those locations often provide
much better weather. But don’t book the plane tickets quite yet. Here are 10 Iowa tourist attractions we think you should consider visiting, even if you already call Iowa home sweet home.
1. The Grotto of the Redemption
Did you know that the "Eighth Wonder of the World" is right here in West Bend, Iowa? The Grotto of the Redemption is open 24/7. Each of the nine grottos portrays a scene in the life of Christ.
2. Blank Park Zoo
No need to travel deep into the rainforest to catch a glimpse of exotic creatures like this Wied's Marmoset. Just head over to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. There's a conservation center, concessions, train rides, and a petting zoo. It's home to more than 800 creatures.
Thrills await at this all-ages amusement park in Altoona. Adventureland offers a water park, variety shows, several lodging options, dining, and 11 heart-stopping rides especially for fearless park visitors. They also have kid-appropriate and family rides.
4. Manchester White Water Park
Located in downtown Manchester, this 800-foot white water course has six 18-inch stream drops, terracing, river access, and is a natural fish habitat. The public park is at 218 West Main Street and it attracts rafters, tubers, swimmers, and kayakers.
5. Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
Ride on a steam or diesel train through some of the most beautiful Iowa scenery at the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad depot. Check out their special Thomas the Train event or enjoy dinner on board a classic steam engine.
6. National Czech and Slovak Museum
Located in the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, the National Czech and Slovak Museum is full of fascinating stories, history and artifacts. It happens to be located within easy walking distance of some of the best breweries in the state, as well.
7. Lake Okoboji
Lake Okoboji, on Iowa's northern border near Spirit Lake, is part of Iowa's Great Lakes region. It's one of three lakes in the world classified as a "blue water" lake. There's plenty to do on this seven-mile body of water. If you crave the beach, this is Iowa's answer.
8. Ledges State Park
If cycling, fishing, canoeing, camping, and hiking are your idea of a great vacation, Ledges State Park in Boone County will make you very happy. Sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and beautiful views await.
9. The Surf Ballroom
If milkshakes and live rock-and-roll music sound like a great time to you, this iconic throwback dance hall from the '50s is just the ticket. Located in Clear Lake, The Surf Ballroom opened in 1948. The ocean beach club theme remains intact. Acts such as Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, Little Richard, Conway Twitty, and The Everly Brothers have all taken the stage, here.
10. Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies provide a look back in time to the old ways of this German settlement. Enjoy authentic German food, area-made wines, and peruse the antique shops and gift shops that line the quaint streets of this beautiful small town.
So….what do you think? Are you ready for your next staycation? Any other Iowa tourist attractions that are worth visiting right here in Iowa?