See corn as high as an elephant’s eye and eat tender grain-fed pork from this Midwest U.S. state.
Iowa is bounded by the Mississippi River on the east and Missouri River on the west, with 300 miles (480 kilometers) of fertile farmland in between. Enjoy seeing the agricultural richness across the state.
Des Moines is both the state capital and a cultural center. Visit the Des Moines Art Center to see works by national and international artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore the outdoor installations of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. For a unique twist on a botanical garden, visit the Better Homes and Gardens’ Test Garden; the plant arrangements you see may later appear in the magazine.
Spend several days in August at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines for one of the country’s largest state fairs. Play on the midway, cheer on your favorites at a tractor pull, listen to big-name musicians and see prize-winning livestock close-up. Watch sheep being shorn, cows being milked and eggs hatching. You may even see the birth of a calf, lamb or piglet. On top of all that, look for the life-sized cow sculpture fashioned out of butter or taste the unusual preparation of deep-fried butter.
Dubuque showcases its location on the Mississippi River with the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Experience its touch pool, wetland trail, riverboat museum and a working dredge. Go to Eagle Point Park for some of the best views of the mighty Mississippi.
Bring kids of all ages to the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, west of Dubuque, to see models of farm vehicles from historical times to the present. In early June during the Summer Farm Toy Show, hundreds of collectors come to the town to trade and sell these toys. Watch the big parade of full-size tractors and other vehicles. Farther west, in Waterloo, take a tour by trolley of the John Deere Tractor Assembly Plant.
See some of Iowa’s cultural diversity in Cedar Rapids with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and the African American Museum of Iowa.