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.
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
Another option for our Iowa Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
IOWA Natural Wonder: The Asperatus Clouds
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