Iowa wasn’t always the “American Heartland.” In fact, it was originally a French territory until 1763, when it was transferred to Spain, and then back to France and Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800. Three years later it was sold to America as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It wasn’t until after the War of 1812 when James K Polk finally made Iowa the 29th state in 1846.
Now, Iowa is one of the safest states to live in, and certainly a safe place to visit. Visitors to Des Moines will have a blast at Adventureland Park, which has over 100 rides and attractions! Blank Park Zoo has over 800 animals on 22 acres of naturalistic environments. The Des Moines Botanical Center, which is close to downtown Des Moines, is one of the most popular cultural attractions in Iowa. Des Moines also features other smaller attractions like Trainland USA and Living History Farms.
Cedar Rapids is another popular destination with lots to do. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art features of 5,000 works of art and is a great place to be indoors on a hot day. The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History and Iowa Children’s Museum are wonderful educational places for curious kids.
Other attractions include the Indian Creek Nature Center, where kids can visit a butterfly garden, frog pond, bee hives, and Vermont-style maple sugar house, and the History Center which features over 35,000 artifacts from hat pins to electric cars.
Iowa features a long-standing human history.
With the arrival of the first American Indians over 13,000 years ago, there is a lot to learn about American heritage. By the time that Europeans arrived to settle Iowa, the American Indians already living there had learned to cultivate plants and had become farmers.
Gradually Europeans began to spread disease as well as trade goods and there was a large population shift. Some of the original tribes in the area were the Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Ioway and Otoe.
Kids and adults can learn more about Iowa before the arrival of Europeans by visiting historical museums like the Sioux City Public Museum.
For hungry vacationers and explorers in Iowa City, Oasis Falafel in was voted “Best Recession Eat” by IowaSource.com, and La Reyna was voted Best Ethnic Food. The award for Best Local Food was given to Devotay where the food comes from Iowa farmers.
In Des Moines, try Hickory Park for Barbecue and Miyabi 9 for sushi.
The Waterfront Seafood Market is a little pricier, but with fresh sea food, clean kitchens and good service, why not give it a try?
Hotels.bz will see you through your Iowa vacation with a great list of budget hotels and luxury hotels with more in the middle, too!