Here are suggested itineraries to consider when planning your group tour to Iowa!
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Iowa's Heritage: Footsteps of Time
Day 1: Des Moines
Tour Time - 8 hours
- Explore downtown and find out why New York Times noted Des Moines as a must-see cultural destination when you visit the sculpture park downtown. The 4.4 acre park has 27 different sculptures from the most celebrated artists worldwide.
- Eat lunch downtown at a healthy and socially responsible restaurant that serves the best homemade potato chips and your favorite lunch time sandwiches.
- Des Moines Performing Arts is home to some of the best Broadway plays you can find. With shows like Wicked, The Lion King and West Side Story hitting the stage, the Des Moines Performing Arts is sure to have something for everyone. This afternoon, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stage and see what goes into a production. If available, do a meet and greet with the cast beforehand.
- Travel to the hotel and freshen up before tonight.
- Contact the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau (GDMCVB) for downtown restaurant options. With plenty of restaurants to choose from, finding the right meal will be effortless.
- Tonight, enjoy a show at Des Moines Performing Arts.
Day 2: Des Moines - Pella
Tour Time - 8 hours
- Enjoy a delicious breakfast.
- Living History Farms is a one-of-a-kind self-guided tour through 300 years of agricultural history. Discover America's agricultural heritage as you walk through three working farms - each with authentic crops and livestock. Next, stop by the 1875 town of Walnut Hill. Join in the excitement of a bustling Iowa town with 14 shops and business including a general store, blacksmith shop, print shop, drug store, implement warehouse and two Victorian homes, including the Flynn Country Home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical interpreters work at each of the farms, homes and shops are ready to show you the whats, whens, hows and whys of everyday life in the past.
- Break for lunch at a farm-themed Iowa favorite. From the Homemade Chicken Pot Pie to the Ploughman Meatloaf all recipes are made from scratch using fresh ingredients. They still peel the potatoes themselves!
- Des Moines to Pella.
Drive Time - 70 minutes - 58 miles.
- Tour the Pella Historical Village Museum; a 23 building complex including Wyatt Earp's boyhood home, wooden shoe shop, log cabin, miniature Dutch Village display and an authentic 1850's working Windmill that stands 135-feet tall.
- Tour the Scholte House and Gardens. The home of Pella's founder features an impressive collection of valuable European antiques from the Netherlands. Stroll through the gardens, they feature two life-sized bronze statues and thousands of flowers.
- Finish the afternoon with a concert. Pella Opera House is one of Pella's most elegant treasures. Enjoy a tour of the restored 1900's Opera House, view the Barton organ, and enjoy a short organ concert.
- Check into your hotel and rest up for another exciting day.
Day 3: Kalona - Villages of Van Buren
Tour Time - 9 hours
- Pella to Kalona.
Drive Time - 96 minutes - 77 miles.
- Arrive at Kalona Historical Village and begin your tour with a cup of coffee or tea and fresh doughnut holes from Kalona Bakery as you learn about the fascinating whys and ways of the Amish Mennonite people. Travel the scenic back-roads with tour guides and experience a new sense of the hard work and family ethic that continues to mark the Amish way of life. See their homes, schools, farms, and beautifully manicured gardens as you pass by. View their magnificent, hand-stitched Amish quilts at the Kalona Quilt & Textile Museum and watch a noodle making demonstration at Kalona Bakery.
- Continue through the scenic countryside to a conservative Mennonite home for lunch and experience a culinary adventure in a living history setting. From home-baked bread to Amish Tapioca pudding the cook sees to it that you never leave hungry.
- Kalona to Villages of Van Buren.
Drive Time - 98 minutes - 86 miles.
- Begin your Villages of Van Buren tour at archeological site known for its pottery. Bonaparte The site has been recognized as a National Historic Archeological Site. Established in 1865, it produced a variety of stoneware until 1896. Archeological digging continues and several original pieces and molds have been unearthed. You’ll take a fascinating, guided tour through this historical wonder.
- Visit the town's historical riverfront district to browse through the several specialty shops and admire the beautiful architecture.