As though scrawled by a member of the world's least-threatening street gang, the graffiti'd word "PENGUINS" on the stage's brick wall announces the venue's name. Nationally touring comics make that wall their backdrop every week, flooding the room with laughter as audience members accidentally flood their lungs with beer. The venue draws a number of recognizable industry names each month, with past appearances including Chris Kattan and Tom Arnold.
Kicking back with a beer in one hand and a brush in the other, visitors to Brush and Barrel can rest assured that visits will not only be relaxing, but fruitful, too. During classes, instructors provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on completing a colorful composition, with subject matter ranging from urban scenes to serene landscapes. Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon classes designed specifically for kids allow young artists to explore their creativity in a fun, encouraging setting.
Each hands-on exhibit at the nonprofit Science Center is rooted in the STEM system, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Here, visitors aged 5 and older can control intricate pulley systems, learn about the complexity of DNA strands, and even discover the science behind optical illusions. For younger guests, the center houses plenty of Legos to assemble into original structures, as well as a prehistoric tunnel to explore. Monthly events further stimulate curiosity about the sciences, and a forthcoming maker space will include tools and equipment for activities such as robotics and metalworking.
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.
Though it has pastures, cornfields, and livestock, Bloomsbury Farm isn't your average farm—in fact, it's an agritourism destination. The farm boasts more than 20 attractions, including a 10-acre corn maze and a giant jumping pillow popular with kids and flightless birds alike. For the more adventurous, a newly installed zipline speeds people across the farm at a height of 40–50 feet, offering bird's-eye views of the land below. Throughout the year, special events celebrate the seasons with wine tastings, concerts, and breakfasts with Santa.
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.