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.
The race's runners squirm and snort at the starting line. Ham Bone, Miss Piggy, and Pork Chop may just be piglets, but in the course of one fall season at Dan-D Farms, they'll transform into world-class swine sprinters. Approximately every two hours, they'll storm down a 100-yard improvised raceway, complete with a water obstacle. That's right––a water obstacle. "Our pigs," farm owner Debra Kearney confirms, "can swim."
These riotous races are just one part of the lineup of events that overtakes Dan-D Farms each fall. Guests flock to this family-friendly affair to scramble over hay bales, feed wooly sheep, or test their sense of direction in one of two hay mazes. Each year for their maze, Debra and her family––including dad, Dan––devise a new design, but try to stick to things that are Iowa related. Past mazes have included the image of iconic Iowans such as native son John Wayne, and the ISU Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes mascots, as well as a reproduction of the American Gothic painting by Anamosa, Iowa–native Grant Wood. Each June, they begin marking the design into the 20-acre field, painting and flagging rows like boxes on grid paper, and then cut out the tunnels before the corn grows knee-high or develops the ability to cry. While this intricate, artistic design requires huge amounts of time and labor, less energy is spent carving out the separate haunted corn maze, where the fear-factor relies on simple twists and turns, instead of fancy effects or animatronics. "It's really not too hard," Debra says, "to scare people in a dark, dusty corn field."
The Science Station illuminates the minds of children and adults on the workings of science, math, and technology with hands-on exhibits, puzzles, and games. Aspiring athletes can explore the science behind modern sports in Sportsology, a limited-time exhibit with hands-on challenges and special weekend events. Learn how the human body reacts to physical competition with a series of interactive trials, including “Action Reaction,” a soccer goalie trial that tests reaction times through blinking lights, and "Fast Ball,” in which aspiring sphere-lobbers can clock the speeds of their throws. The family pack admits everyone in a single immediate family to walk the museum's knowledge-packed paths. The Science Station is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
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.
Pleasantville Golf & Country Club's nine-hole course blankets the Marion County countryside with a circuit of tree-lined fairways. Originally opened in 1965, the course boasts the trademarks of a mature layout, with well-defined greens, tall timbers, and fairways that are starting to show flecks of gray. The semiprivate club also encompasses an outdoor swimming pool and Bogey's, a grill with a full-service bar and a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and other casual eats.:
The Amana Colonies are a National Historic Landmark, a conglomeration of seven villages known for their self-sufficient charm, local crafts, and plentiful libations. A sagacious guide takes guests on a sip-and-swig-filled comprehensive tour of the local wineries and brewery, and the Village Stroll grants a sauntering gander of the other visual and sonic sensations the Amana Colonies have to offer. Beginning at 11 a.m. at the Amana Colonies Visitors Center, the walking tour shuffles feet down a one-hour path through the history, architecture, and culture of the colonies. Visitors will learn all about which the once-communal home of the German Pietist settlers, farmers and artisans who disappeared over the horizon on an impossible golden dirigible in the mid-1930s.
The ebullient volunteer performers of the Iowa City Community Theatre have cultivated creativity and entertained audiences for more than half a century. Extracted from Colette's novel and the 1959 motion picture of the same name, Gigi shuttles theatergoers back to early-1900s Paris, when elegance oozed from city streets and an infamous apple seed sprouted into the Eiffel Tower. Patrons succumb to irrepressible toe tapping as the play's stars pirouette through classic tunes—including the solemn, inspirational hymn "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"—arranged by Lerner and Loewe, the masters of melody behind My Fair Lady and Camelot. While memories shared between two lovers unfurl on stage, the Englert Civic Theatre drapes each performance in a century-long history that has seen a disastrous fire, time spent as a movie house, and a modern renovation into today's gracefully curving display space for local and national talent.