LET TRAVELKATZ PLAN YOUR IOWA VACATION PACKAGE
Travelkatz will put together an Iowa Vacation Package custom tailored just for you. We handle all aspects of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. We provide three options for every state in the USA. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
Iowa Gardens – Iowa, a Midwestern state, sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It’s known for its landscape of rolling plains and cornfields. Landmarks in the capital, Des Moines, include the gold-domed, 19th-century State Capitol Building, Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center.
Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens: This Arboretum and Botanical Gardens consists of 52 acres and was established in 1980. It is open, without charge, daily throughout the year and is the largest in the United States staffed entirely by volunteers. The grounds are open daily (holidays included) from 7a to dusk, and feature more than 60 different types of gardens (including Rose, Hosta, English, Japanese, and Herb to name a few) with the grounds continuing to grow and expand every year, they encourage and greatly appreciate all financial donations so that they can continue offering free admission while helping grow a more beautiful world! This garden is found in Dubuque.
Reiman Gardens: These Gardens are on a 17-acre university-owned public garden located immediately south of Jack Trice Stadium. Beautifully, well-maintained grounds, lovely walking paths, a super fun butterfly wing, and great indoor tropical conservatory make this an exciting place to visit! You’ll love coming here both to walk around and enjoy the beauty and to study (ISU students get in free!). You will especially love the indoor conservatory in the middle of Iowa winters, when you can get out of the cold and lounge in a lush green tropical oasis! Drive to the Iowa State University campus in Ames to find this garden.
The Brenton Arboretum: This 141-acre arboretum and public garden was established in 1997. The Arboretum displays 175 native Iowa trees and shrubs suitable to the site, as well as many other tree species including endangered ones which can grow in central Iowa. This adds up to include more than 2,500 trees and shrubs all labeled with their names, as well as expansive prairies and wildflower meadows. You will find this unique arboretum in Dallas Center.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: We recommend coming here to see the Dome After Dark. This is such a wonderful idea! It’s beautiful to see the plants quite literally in a different light. The restaurant was also open so that you can have refreshments as you walk around the gardens. They offer super relaxing, super beautiful evening excursions. We also recommend coming here during the day! Found on the east bank of the Des Moines River in Des Moines.
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens: Very beautiful gardens! It’s on the smaller side, but still worth the visit. The walking trail is very nice, and the kids’ section is fun. Make sure to buy fish food to feed the fish, that is lots of fun for the children and adults, and worth the purchase. If you are in area, it’s a great place to walk and enjoy some quiet, and amazing scenery. You can also try the fruits and vegetables that grow there. This Garden is a 40-acre public garden and was begun by a dedicated group of volunteers and has flourished into a wonderful display of flowers and trees. They have many beautiful gardens, including the Hillside Welcome Garden, the Rose Garden, Perennial Display Garden, Shade Garden, and an award-winning Children’s Garden! You will find this garden in Waterloo.
TravelKatz is looking forward to hearing from you so we can help you have a wonderful vacation in Iowa. Please call us at 352-277-7300.
Iowa State Parks:
Iowa State Parks – A midwestern state, Iowa sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It’s known for its landscape of rolling plains and cornfields. Landmarks in the capital, Des Moines, include the gold-domed, 19th-century State Capitol Building, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the Des Moines Art Center. This rather small state has: 63 State Parks, 5 State Forests, 3 State Wildlife Areas and 7 State Wildlife Management Areas. Let’s see what the State Parks have to offer.
Pikes Peak State Park: This is one of the most photographed places in Iowa. Pikes Peak is rich in natural, cultural, and historical resources, and famed for its majestic views of the Mississippi River. Stand atop the 500-foot bluff for a breathtaking view and see the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. The park is named after Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, sent by the government in 1805 to select a site for a military fort. Pike chose this site, but the government built the fort across the river. Pikes Peak officially became a state park in 1936. A half-mile wooden boardwalk guides you down one of the park’s glens to the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls. On your way to the fall, you will notice Bear Mound, an effigy built by ancient American Indians of the Woodland Culture, who inhabited the area from 800-1200 A.D. There are 63 mounds in the park. For the adventurer, take a longer, remote four-mile trail to Point Ann, a bluff that overlooks the Mississippi and the town of McGregor. Keep an eye out for the elusive pileated woodpecker or red fox. A portion of the trail is open to mountain bikes. The stone shelter may be reserved online. A playground located near the stone shelter offers fun for younger visitors. The sidewalk and shelter in the picnic-overlook area are accessible to the mobility-impaired as are the shower buildings, several overlook structures, and the effigy bear mound. The Park has an attractive campground with electric and non-electric sites, modern shower, and restroom facilities, as well as a trailer dump station. Found between the towns of McGregor and Marquette.
Waubonsie State Park: Equestrian, hiking trails and other outdoor activities are available at this campground with cabins. Great easy and moderate hiking trails, too!! You will love hiking at Sunset Ridge Trail, where you will come across many plants and trees of different types, as well as a spectacular sunset view. They have campgrounds, a kids play zone, well maintained picnic areas, shelters and overlook points as well as a boat ramp. A herd of deer may make your day! Be sure to take a trail map from entrance. In Hamburg.
Backbone State Park: This Park is Iowa’s oldest state park, dedicated in 1919. Located in the valley of the Maquoketa River, Backbone State Park serves the area as a wonderful weekend getaway. Trout streams are clear to the bottom with many places to cast a line. There are trails throughout the park, with a few challenging climbs. The campsites are clean, with and without electricity. There are spots that can be reserved. If you are in the area or just passing through, we would recommend the scenic drive, and a hike on the Backbone! Found in the town of Dundee.
Ledges State Park: The park contains a sandstone gorge carved by Pea’s Creek, a tributary of the Des Moines River. The gorge is 100 feet deep in places, with concretions jutting from the cliffs, located approximately 4 miles south of the city of Boone. Beautiful flat campgrounds with lots of mature trees. Adjacent trails, a Canyon drive, and the Des Moines River, with lots of activities to do when you camp. The camp hosts are friendly and helpful. Found near the town of Madrid.
Clear Lake State Park: This park covers 55 acres, with a beach, picnic grounds, a historic lodge, camping and lake activities. Great recreational trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trail circles the Pleasant Creek State Park lake all the way around. You can pick up the trail at several locations, but the easiest access is at the park entrance and is well-marked. You will find this park in Linn County.
If Iowa meets your fancy for a family vacation, please give TravelKatz a call at 352-277-7300 or a Chat at www.vacationnationradio.com or www.travelkatz.com . We will be happy to help you plan your vacation for summer fun in the outdoors.
Iowa Museums – A Midwestern state, sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers is known for its landscape of rolling plains and cornfields. Landmarks in the capital, Des Moines, include the gold-domed, 19th-century State Capitol Building and the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum: This library-museum commemorates the 31st President of the U.S. and the first born west of the Mississippi River. Exhibits track Hoover’s life and political career. The large temporary gallery has changing exhibits that relate to American history. The Museum sits on the grounds of the Hoover National historic site where visitors can tour Hoover’s birthplace cottage, blacksmith shop, Quaker meeting house, the local school and the Hoover’s gravesite. It’s a good place to take a break off of I-80 and soak in some history. You’ll be amazed at all the things President Hoover did and what he accomplished before and after being President. There is so many items of interest. His museum is found in West Branch.
Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center: Great exhibits as well as the history of watercraft and the Missouri River, which is a couple of hundred feet from a dry-docked boat. The visitors center is very engaging, and there are lots of brochures from the surrounding area. Really a jewel on the Missouri River. There is a great film of Lewis and Clark and how they are tied to the Sioux City history. The Welcome Center and Museum are located In Sioux City.
Iowa 80 Trucking Museum: This Museum was a dream of Iowa 80 Truckstop founder Bill Moon. His love for trucks and the trucking industry laid the foundation for this museum. Over 100 vintage trucks are on display, as well as antique signs and gas pumps. The museum also features a theatre where visitors can enjoy watching films about trucks and trucking. It is cool to see where the industry started out and what it has evolved into. This fascinating museum is located in Walcott.
National Motorcycle Museum: This is a motorcycle lover’s dream place. It’s a great history of most every type of bike ever made, and it has a couple of bikes from Evil Knievel and the movie Easy Rider; but the best part is that they have Steve McQueen’s bike. Aside from hundreds of vintage and unique motorcycles there are even more hundreds of pieces of memorabilia, videos, and truly unique items. visit in the town of Anamosa.
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum: Through 24,000 artifacts and 12 historic buildings, this Museum shares the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world and is a national center for folk-art classes. There are excellent displays throughout the main three-story building and the walking tour of the additional buildings are also interesting and well done. Found in the town of Decorah.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium: Part aquarium, part museum, part science center, this unique place inspires stewardship by creating educational experiences where history and rivers come alive! The 14-acre campus on the banks of the Mississippi River features two separate two-story buildings and an expansive outdoor plaza. The Museum & Aquarium is home to over 100 species of animals and thousands of historic artifacts and there’s always a chance to Explore Something New in Dubuque.
TravelKatz is looking forward to putting a special Iowa vacation together for you and your family. You can contact us by phone at 352-277-7300 or online at vacationnationradio.com. We are there for you.
Not only famous for the original four who put together the Original Hooters Restaurants, Iowa is a great place to visit. Not long after graduating college, the famous four sat around “mother’s kitchen table” deciding what should come next…well the rest is history. Let TravelKatz plan your vacation to one or more of these wonderful Iowa festivals and don’t forget to visit the Original Hooters in Clearwater, Florida!
Kosmic Kingdom Music Festival: Two Days of Music, Art & Camping in a Medieval Kingdom. Listen to: Dirt Monkey and DMVU who’ll be part of the festivities in the Sleepy Hollow Renaissance Park, Des Moines, IA, every year on Memorial Day Weekend!
3rd Annual Boone River Valley Festival: “The American Band”, Grand Funk Railroad is coming to the Boone River Valley Festival for their 50th Anniversary Tour, ‘50 Years of Funk,’ with special guest Blue Öyster Cult LIVE Memorial Day Weekend 2019. Boone River Valley Festival is named one of Iowa’s Top 10 Best Outdoor Festivals. Come enjoy a whole weekend of events for all ages. A portion of the proceeds benefit Camp Brave, specifically designed for kids affected by crime.
Des Moines Arts Festival is a 3-day event being held from June 28-30 at the Western Gateway Park in Des Moines, USA. This event showcases products like Juried Art Fair featuring 195 of the nation’s best artists selected from a competitive jury process, Interrobang Film Festival, Emerging Iowa Artists Program, Community Outreach Program, Live music on the Main Stage, Dance, music, acrobats, comedy acts and more on the Community Choice Performing Arts Stage, Jazz & Wine Pavilion presented by Meredith and the area’s best jazz, Green Arts Zero-Waste Sustainability Program, Artist Demonstrations presented by John Deere, a Photo-walk with the Des Moines Register, Over 30 Interactive Arts Activities, Best Film Festival, wide variety of beverages and craft beer; along with 26 Eclectic Food Booths and Trucks, a Sculpture Garden and more etc.
Big Horn Mountain Festival: is a 3-day event being held from July 19 to 21 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City, IA. This event showcases product from Consumer & Carnivals industry; products like premium craft beers, live music, foods, entertainments, crafts products & much more etc.
West Point Sweet Corn Festival: All the free sweet corn you can eat along with that World-Famous West Point Sweet Corn Festival Bar-B-Que Chicken! Many activities and fun for all ages! The typical festival with food, crafts, music, produce and more. West Point, IA. Aug 8 – 11
The Northside Oktoberfest: This fest benefits Iowa City area nonprofits and showcases the Bohemian nature of the Northside Marketplace with great craft beers, neighborhood food, beer games and much more! Join us as we take over the streets of the Northside, just blocks north of downtown Iowa City. This is an open festival – anyone can come in and enjoy the atmosphere, food vendors, activities, etc.; but only those with tickets will be allowed the tasting glass that will allow them to sample beers, ciders and wines. October 5th.
National Balloon Classic: Nearly 100 hot air balloons paint the Iowa sky with brilliant colors and playful Special Shapes! Cheer on skilled pilots as they compete for points and prizes, sit back and enjoy live music nightly, buy a balloon ride for a one-of-a-kind view, and prepare to be awestruck as dark skies come alive with a mystical glow during Dawn Patrol and Nite Glows. Kids Land, fireworks, fabulous food…experience all of this and so much more; July 26 – August 3rd in Indianola, IA
Iowa Soul Festival: This event will feature locally, regionally and nationally recognized artists. Activities will engage current residents while inspiring previous and future residents and students to explore learning, working, living and playing in Iowa. Aug 17 – 18, in Iowa City
Give TravelKatz a call at 352-277-7300 if you want to go to Iowa for some fun festivals.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Brucemore: Three families owned the Brucemore estate between 1884 and 1981-the Sinclairs, the Douglass, and the Halls. They were business and community leaders during a century of evolution in the Midwest. Caroline Sinclair, widow of pioneer industrialist T.M. Sinclair and mother of six, hired architects Josselyn and Taylor to build the mansion for $55,000 in 1884. In 1906, George Bruce Douglas, of the Quaker Oats and Douglas & Company fortunes, acquired the home with his wife, Irene, transforming the property into a country estate they named Brucemore. In 1937, their daughter, Margaret, inherited Brucemore with her husband, Howard Hall, founder of Iowa Manufacturing and Iowa Steel and Ironworks. The Halls added flair to the estate with famous guests, including Presidents Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman and their exotic pet lion, Leo.
Today, Brucemore’s 26-acre, park-like estate invites exploration of the site’s history, gardens, grounds, and 21-room mansion through a variety of opportunities. The Queen Anne architecture, 1925 Grant Wood Porch, 1929 Skinner pipe organ, and 1930s Grizzly Bar and Tahitian Room reflect the vibrant history of remarkable people. The changes they made to their estate, the impact they had on their community, and the stories they left behind shape our understanding of modern Cedar Rapids, eastern Iowa, and the American Midwest.
Czech Village / New Bohemia District: New Bo is what we call the New Bohemia District these days…across the Cedar River from Czech Village (historically significant area for the town of Cedar Rapids and for Czech people the world over) , a nice walk gets you from hip, fun restaurants and city happenings to the old world feel of Czech Village and the National Czech Slovak Museum.
Great gift shopping in Czech Village, wonderful food offerings and art happenings in New Bo. Great little neighborhood in the heart of Cedar Rapids. Near the river, lots of cute little shops and tasty looking restaurants. Area is really inviting and worth exploring.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library: The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is such a beautiful building and sets like a gem stone near the Cedar River. Be sure to view the video that shows the amazing move of the gigantic building after the floods of 2008 to its present location. Be sure to allow plenty of time to view the detailed and extensive exhibits in the museum. You will be treated to memorabilia from the daily lives of the Czech and Slovak people as well as the historical events and people which changed the world.
Don’t forget to go outside to see the 1890’s Immigrant House, which is decorated with an ever-changing display of antique furniture and artifacts from the past. It is fascinating to see how five generations of one family lived in this very small home for nearly 100 years.
One of the best things about the Czech and Slovak Museum is the never-ending variety of displays and pieces. If you have visited once, you really have much, much more to see! You must come back again and again to see the latest cultural and historical offerings which will delight you. Be sure to stop in at the gift shop for a memento of your visit. You will be excited to see the wide variety of books, toys, pottery, glassware, jewelry and other Czech and Slovak items.
Grant Wood Studio: Grant Wood’s Cedar Rapids studio is the second floor of a late 19th century carriage house. The modest red brick and wood building sits next to a large, elegant mansion that once housed one of Cedar Rapids’ most prominent families. It was in the Studio that Grant Wood painted one of his most famous works of art, American Gothic-a work that was shown at and purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930 for $300.
Grant Wood Window and the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium: Located on Mays Island in Cedar Rapids, is another Grant Wood item that’s a must see. Depending on the time of day, it is a beautiful window to see. Take your time and watch the different effects of light on the windows. Not only is the fabulous window worth the trip, but the rest of the museum is, too. Amazing exhibits of all wars, neatly and concisely done.
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: This art museum has one of the largest collections of Grant Wood art in the world. It is a must see in Cedar Rapids. It is in a beautiful old Carnage Library. They have done a really good job in restoring this building. Also, there is a nice gift shop inside.
Travelkatz will be happy to help you fly to Cedar Rapids and enjoy exploring the city and area. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300.
Iowa State Capital: Des Moines
The city of Des Moines is named for the nearby Des Moines River, but the etymological of origins of Des Moines River are contested: many believe the river took its name from a nearby Indian tribe called the Moingonas, but others think the name refers to a group of Trappist monks who once lived at the mouth of the river (moines is the French word for monks).
Linguist Michael McCafferty, who specializes in the Miami-Illinois language, meanwhile, claims to have come across a 330-year-old story that explains the name Des Moines just a little bit differently. According to that legend, Peoria Indians told French explorer Jacques Marquette that “Moingonas” was the name of a nearby tribe as a joke.
Today the capital city and cultural center of Iowa is revitalized. A versatile destination everyone will enjoy, Des Moines has an itinerary for almost every interest. Culture and art enthusiasts may want to roam through the Des Moines Art Center, spend the weekend museum-hopping or attend a Broadway-caliber performance at the Civic Center. Golfers can spend their time and energy teeing up at any of the area’s fine championship courses. The Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa State Fairgrounds should be on the list for families. And gardeners will savor the fantastic blooms at the Botanical Center and the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden. Mix it up a little and sample all this “big city with a small town heart” has to offer.
Capitol Building: This building is one of the most beautiful state capitols. The structure is very sound and there are so many beautiful ceilings in every area. It is amazing to get to go watch the senate and the House in session. The spiral stairs are amazing. The library is very beautiful. See the model battel ship Iowa while there, and have lunch at the cafeteria. The pioneer mural is worth viewing – you can see importance of pioneer women. Visit the legislative library. A jewel. Friendly staff, gorgeous interior and artwork, incredible history & well worth climbing up the 90+ circular staircase to view the floors below. Make sure to take the time to view the different memorials on the grounds. You can surely spend as much time walking the grounds to see everything as much as inside. So well worth it.
State Historical Museum: Very cool historical walk through Iowa. Amazing theater with excellent acoustics. Cool little cafe perched up top where they hold a concert series in the summer. You’ll enjoy going inside this building and walking up the stairs to the different levels to look out into the big open lobby. The displays change frequently. The historical items are very interesting and well preserved. The display cards explain the exhibits. There is also a very good cafe up on the top floor. The cafe has outside seating on the roof during warm weather. It takes several hours to see the whole museum. This museum is in the shadows of the Iowa state capitol building. If you visit there you must walk the short distance to this museum. The first thing you will see is the skeleton of a woolly mammoth, who says Iowa only has pigs and cows? Many fine displays are here but the favorite of most will be Iowa on film which highlights both movies filmed here and actors born here. Displays for John Wayne and Donna Reed were given the same amount of space as those for actors like William Frawley (I Love Lucy) and George Reeves (Superman).
The State Historical Museum on the East Side of the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines is easily accessible and fun to visit. The exhibits are changed on a regular basis and the whole family enjoys going to see what has changed every few weeks. There are performances by people from the community who portray historical figures and explain what their life was like. The portrayers we have seen are very professional and even answer questions from the audience while in costume.
Pappajohn Sculpture Park: The downtown Des Moines area opens with a 4-acre sculpture park that was gifted to Des Moines from the private collection of John and Mary Pappajohn. The art is set off beautifully with the surrounding landscaping and there is something for everyone. Tours are available April to October. You can also take a cell phone tour on your own. Then walk around and enjoy some of the wonderful restaurants. Don’t miss the East Village.
Iowa State Fairgrounds: The Iowa State Fair is among the best of state fairs in the country. It is large, diverse, clean, has lots of animals for kids to see, and has oodles of yummy foods – such as fresh squeezed lemonade, homemade taffy, roasted turkey legs, fried Twinkies, warm mini donuts (a must have), BBQ, and so much more. There is an Old Mill ride in boats on water through a dark tunnel (fun on a hot day), a chair lift that will take you for a nice high ride over the fair and save your feet (don’t recommend for old folks), and whole carnival of rides for kids if you want to spend the money. You do buy tickets for rides in this part. Otherwise your fair ticket gets you everywhere – Cultural Building, Agriculture Building (see the bees, butter cow & latest butter sculpture), the 4H building with neat projects to see, the Varied Industries Bldg. (tattoos for kids, freebies), Conservation Bldg. (fish etc.), under the Grandstand has various booths, up on the hill is Grandfather’s Farm and building with country entertainment and lots of antiques etc. and of course lots of barns full of horses, sheep, pigs, exotic animals, rabbits etc. etc. August 10-20, 2017 – If you haven’t been there try taking your family – you will enjoy it – kids love it!
Salisbury House: This is really a hidden Gem, the staff was extremely informative and the garden and grounds are just gorgeous! If you can catch a tour then do so. If you visit the Salisbury House during the Holly & Ivy Christmas tour, the mansion will be decked out for Christmas! This historic home in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa is a gem tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. The fascinating history and drama of the Weeks family and their climb to wealth is displayed in the astounding collection of art, literature, and architecture that was bought and shipped to make Salisbury House is fascinating! One of the premier private collections of literature in the U.S., the library is fascinating, as well as the bedrooms and bathrooms with extravagant tile. The grounds are sweeping and majestic and are used for special events like weddings. There is also an annual production of Shakespeare on the lawn of the mansion. The tour is a must see!
Getting to Des Moines from the Tampa area is easy with several flights available. Great name brand hotels in the area as well as rental cars. Let TravelKatz help you with your visit to Des Moines.
IOWA VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
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IOWA Natural Wonder: The Asperatus Clouds
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