There’s no turning back once visitors are wheeled via pallet jack into The Slaughterhouse, not unlike pigs being carried to their bloody end. Once inside, visitors must navigate a winding, cavernous fortress of solid steel, careful to avoid whirring chainsaws, murderous madmen, and adorable teething puppies.
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.
Nestled inside a two-story Victorian farmhouse, Garden Grove Eatery satiates stomachs with an ever-changing menu of seasonal eats, assembled often from family recipes and employing locally sourced produce, cheeses, and baked goods when possible. Diners can find mates for reluctant bachelor stomachs on the sandwich menu, which boasts the Turkey Bryan's roasted turkey, provolone, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado spread housed in a 6-inch focaccia hoagie ($4.49–$6.49). The Salinger blankets sourdough in hummus, pickles, and vegan mayo ($3.99–$5.99), and the signature philly cheesesteak celebrates moving away from home by topping its shredded roast beef with mushrooms and cream-cheese sauce ($8.29). Chefs also woo stomachs with sides of pepper-and-cheese-infused pasta salad ($1.99), and tap natural underground soup currents for chicken tortilla, creamy potato, and carrot ginger ($3.49–$4.99). The counter-display case showcases a variety of desserts such as cupcakes, pies, and tarts. Some restaurant produce traces its roots to the house's 2-acre garden, where staff practice traditional gardening methods without using harsh chemicals or non-union garden gnomes.
With cruises and rentals from Dubuque’s American Lady Yacht Cruises, you can set sail along the Mississippi River either as a relaxed passenger or an adventuresome captain. Aboard the $1 million American Lady yacht, passengers roam the vessel's two stories, slipping into the climate-controlled interior salons or enjoying the river breeze on the open bow and upper deck. The yacht has hosted weddings and corporate events, and it regularly departs on happy hour and sunset dinner cruises that treat passengers to fresh air, panoramic views, drinks, and refreshments from the ship’s caterer, Catfish Charlie’s River Club.
Sylvan 21- and 24-foot pontoon boats are also in the company's fleet.
Mike Mott and Cole Chaplin share more than just alliterative names; their mutual passion for promoting Iowa's tourism industry led them to found IA Segway together, and they continue to introduce visitors to the cultural richness of the Quad Cities with informative Segway tours. Mike and Cole command a fleet of Segway i2s—the company’s most current model—and teach tour groups how to safely operate the self-balancing steeds before blazing trails to spots of local and historic significance. Tours swing around scenic destinations such as the Figge Art Museum, McClellan Heights, and Credit Island, whose battlefield is strewn with denied credit cards that date back to the War of 1812.
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