Places to Visit in Iowa

Iowa is one of our breadbasket states; because of its overall flatness and mild temperatures, it allows for the farming of a wide variety of products and thus keeps food on American tables, as well as forming the basis of a large amount of our exports to other countries, Because of this agricultural status, it’s seen as a boring state, with nothing to offer the casual tourist; this is not the case.

When it comes to visiting Iowa, it helps to have a sense of humor. There are all of the usual state and national parks, as well as historical landmarks (generally Native American sites of interest as well as where the pioneers passed through). Iowa also seems to have more than its fair share of local events, ranging from local crafts fair to the state fair. There is even some great fishing and decent hunting to be found if you do some checking around. However, that’s not the best reason to visit Iowa.

The best reason to visit Iowa is that it’s home to some of the most interesting tourism sites in the nation. Whereas most states can brag about their mansions or mountains, Iowa brags about such locations as the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk (Riverside, Iowa), the claimant in the crookedest road (Snake Alley (near Burlington, Iowa)), and the world’s largest strawberry (at Strawberry Point, naturally). And if the secular locations weren’t enough, there are locations of religious note such as Trinity Heights in Sioux City, which features a steel Jesus and Mary, and a wooden Last Supper, or the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, built by Father Paul Dobberstein from 1912 until his death in 1954.

There are places that worship forces of a different light such as the Ax Murder House (Villisca), where there were horrible murders by a still-unknown assailant. Cattleman can look forward to Albert, a replica of the perfect Hereford bull in Audobon, his perfection captured forever in concrete. If smaller animals are your thing, then there is the Battle Hill Natural History (Battle Creek), where the curator knows every fact about the stuffed animals in the museum. Of course, there is the Wandering Moose (also in Battle Creek), who many hope doesn’t end up in the museum. Even inanimate objects don’t escape veneration; there is the World’s Largest Frying Pan (Brandon), and there is the Smiley Water Tower (Adair), when 8-year-old Kim Forrero wrote to her mayor in 1972 and suggested that a bright yellow water tower with a smiley face would be more interesting to look at than a regular white water tower (apparently kicking off a trend of smiley-face water towers).

With a bit of additional planning, Iowa offers a wide variety of local events; in farming communities holidays are celebrated with a great amount of fanfare, and attract attention from even foreign countries. By taking advantage of the holiday schedule through excellent scheduling, it is possible to find quite a bit to do in Iowa, making it hardly the boring trip one thought it should be. After all, after tourism is Iowa’s second biggest industry, and for good reason.


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