Museums in Des Moines


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  • Science Center of Iowa
    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. Build and launch a rocket in When Things Get Moving, learn about Iowa's native animals in What On Earth?, and explore the night sky in the Star Theater planetarium. A favorite of SCI's youngest visitors, Small Discoveries exhibit features features a farm-to-table theme with a market and kitchen for interactive play. For the ?full experience?, catch a film in the six-story Blank IMAX Dome Theater.
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    401 Martin Luther King Jr Parkway
    Des Moines, IA US
  • Des Moines Art Center
    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.
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    4700 Grand Ave
    Des Moines, IA US
  • John Wayne Birthplace
    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 .
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    216 S 2nd St
    Winterset, IA US
  • Iowa Arboretum
    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.
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    1875 Peach Ave
    Madrid, IA US
  • National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum
    Each year, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum adds a little bit more to its history. New inductees?who make up the most iconic figures of the sprint-car world?enter the Hall of Fame's ranks, and awards are handed out in several categories, including Driver of the Year and Team of the Year. Visitors can learn about these racing luminaries, as well as view exhibits that profile the sport as a whole. The museum also houses an expansive store, which claims to have the largest selection of sprint-car-related merchandise in the world. The nearby world-famous Knoxville Raceway lets people view racing history as it's made in real time.
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    1 Sprint Capital Pl.
    Knoxville, IA US
  • Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum
    Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum?s campus features 9,000 square feet of exhibits, classrooms, and libraries dedicated to all eras of Iowa?s railway history. But the museum campus is one part of the organization?s attractions, since the it keeps actual 1920s-era coach cars coasting the tracks, chugging past sights and recreating the experience railway riders have enjoyed for nearly 100 years. The ancient engine follows the tracks in the Des Moines River Valley, taking visitors to old coal towns or allowing them to soak in scenic views. After their ride, travelers can return to the museum, where they can view track equipment, ogle dining car china, or learn why one has to wear coveralls to steer a train.
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    225 10th St.
    Boone, IA US

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