The Iowa Arboretum captivates nature lovers and aspiring botanists with 378 acres of idyllic landscape. A family membership to the arboretum includes free admission year-round to the arboretum’s agricultural wonders and reciprocal privileges at more than 250 other North American gardens and arboretums. In addition, members receive a free yearlong subscription to Iowa Gardening magazine, a 10% discount on many gift shop purchases, and reduced class and workshop fees. Bring your brood to the arboretum to acquaint yourselves with 19 different plant collections showcasing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Amble along hiking trails through 330 acres of century-old oak trees or wander through the four-acre restored prairie.
More than a century ago, 216 S. Second St. in Winterset, Iowa, was the childhood address of John Wayne. Today, the four-room home houses the John Wayne Birthplace, a museum that celebrates the legendary actor's career and has attracted more than one million visitors to date. On display are rare photographs of Wayne, letters to him from fellow actors, and memorabilia from his films, including an eye patch he wore in True Grit .
When it first opened it doors in 1970, the Science Center of Iowa was among the first interactive science museums in the world. It engaged the community with hands-on exhibits and programs. In 2005, the center moved to its 110,00-square-foot downtown location, where it fills its halls with a variety of experience platforms, each demonstrating different scientific principles. The When Things Get Moving exhibit invites visitors to build rockets and conquer a domino obstacle course, and Why the Sky? demonstrates the science of space with a digital planet-exploration globe and the Cosmic Jukebox, which allows you to create your own show. Interact with exhibits that demonstrate the basic principles of physics in the themed scenario, the Eureka! Lab. The renovated Small Discoveries exhibit features Dahl's Produce Market and Edna's Kitchen, a favorite of younger visitors.
Built in the 1920s by Carl and Edith Weeks as a replica of the King's house in Salisbury, England, Salisbury House and Gardens drapes 22,500 square feet and 42 rooms of architectural reverence across the Iowa countryside. The historical landmark and public museum hosts cultural events year-round. During the gingerbread house making workshop, an expert Hy-Vee baker will teach you how to construct sweet, edible miniature abodes that dazzle as holiday dinner centerpieces and provide adequate shelter for smurfs. At the holiday decorating ideas event, a Pottery Barn decorator will impart DIY wisdom for inventive and bewitching seasonal garnishing. Both events are accompanied with generous samplings of wine, cheese, and amiable conversation.
Located a bit off of the beaten path, this museum is a haven for those who enjoy modern art. The architecture is world-class, and the exhibits within will exceed your expectations. Well-known artists from John Singer Sargent to Georgia O’Keeffe are available for viewing within the permanent collection, and temporary exhibitions are usually available to further enhance your experience. Donors keep admission to this fantastic collection free for visitors, so there’s no reason to miss it. For a bonus, check out the studio art workshops, which are available for all ages, to improve your own artistic abilities while learning from local art instructors.