The stately trees and blue grass fairways that line Cedar Rapids Twin Pines Golf Course have been flourishing since 1962, when the first golfers walked the course’s emerald alleyways. Eighteen scenic holes invite greenhorns to green-jacket holders to dig up divots while aiming their dimpled orbs around a quartet of ponds. Hole five presents a sharp dogleg left with a water hazard nestled in the crook of its elbow, forcing golfers to either tee off with masterful precision or keep the fairways lush with a steady stream of tears. Before facing the course’s unforgiving, undulating fairways or the tree-framed putting green of hole eight, players can warm up at any of the driving range’s 20 hitting stations. After a successful round, golfers can drop into the clubhouse to cool off hot putting hands with a frosty beverage and tell old war stories of facing off against rifle-wielding regiments with only their 9-iron.
Course at a Glance:
For more than 10 years, The Heart of Darkness has elicited scares from nearly 10,000 visitors every Halloween season with one of the largest haunts in Iowa. People from across the country and ghosts studying abroad brave nine separately themed areas on the terror-infested grounds, from a haunted playground to a maniacal-clown asylum. Each section crawls with grotesque creatures. A living scarecrow swipes at guests with a rusted sickle, causing them to flee right into the padded cell of Crispy, a demented arsonist whose victims gave him a taste of his own medicine by scorching his skin.
So committed to their duty to terrify, owners Kevin and Dolly Schults are affectionately known as The Halloween Family, as detailed on a 2009 episode of ABC's Wife Swap. Outside their spooky corridors, the Schults reward survivors with concession stands, a live DJ, and a photo booth that snapped the pictures Crispy uses for his online-dating profile.
Diamond Dreams Sports Academy's day camps drum up the athletic abilities of children aged 7–12 and encourage them to develop skills and camaraderie. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, aspiring all-stars run, pass, and swing their way through team sports, coached by top-level camp leaders whose encouragement extends beyond the screech of a pet goose’s neck whistle. Young athletes take to the diamond for baseball and softball, while feet meet rubber during kickball and pigskin passers summon sweat and confidence during football. Camp-goers learn the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship, gaining a healthy and positive attitude toward teammates, opponents, and directors of their impending shoe endorsements. Ping-pong games and arts and crafts round out the curriculum of activities, and DD Sports Olympics provide a celebratory culmination of the lessons and skills amassed during the eventful week.
Nestled in a remodeled bank that was built in 1905 by baseball player Jake Kimm, the Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway today chronicles the history of the American ballgame in Norway and the talented players who learned to catch, pitch, and give inspirational pep talks to baseballs in the town before going on to join the major or minor leagues. The old Norway High School’s odds-defying 1991 baseball team was featured in the film The Final Season, and the museum delves into the high school’s rich relationship to the sport over the years. Volunteers created or organized all of the displays, murals, trophies, and photos, turning each exhibit into a labor of love.
Inside the historic, renovated Waverly Palace Theatre, first-run releases splash across three screens as guests gobble snacks from the concession stand. Seats equipped with lumbar support prop up weary backs as the sounds of screeching tires, exploding fortresses, and wisecracking babies escape from the speakers of a Dolby Surround Sound EX system. As guests exit, they can take in the brick exterior of the theater, which maintains its classic, glowing marquee and art-deco façade.
Aspen Athletic Club amasses top-of-the-line equipment, seasoned trainers, and luxurious amenities within five gym spaces across Des Moines. A fleet of cardio and strength-training machinery from brands such as LifeFitness and Star Trac heavily populate the floors, allowing guests ample access to the equipment. In addition to a cardio theater, the Hickman gym boasts 12 onsite tennis courts and specialized studios for martial arts and women-only workouts. Visitors to the 14th Street location can sign up for aquatic classes or swim laps solo across the pool. Other amenities such as tanning, massage therapy, and gold-plated kettlebells vary from club to club.
Certified personal trainers plan out custom routines for clients, and highly qualified instructors lead Zumba steps, spinning seminars, and, at certain locations, fast-paced Les Mills classes. The professional staff also offer nutritional counseling at all locales.