Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon
Des Moines, IA USA
October 20, 2013

Attractions in Des Moines

In picturesque Iowa there are many fine ways to wile away your time. Consider visiting some of the historic areas of Des Moines, Iowa, where the past comes alive and exciting local features can brighten your vacation.

For instance, why not check out some of the oldest historic homes in the Des Moines area? Jordan House, in West Des Moines, was one of the first homes ever constructed in the Des Moines area. Built by the noted James C. Jordan prior to the Civil War, this home was instrumental in the area's Underground Railroad activities.

There's also an open-air museum in Urbandale, Des Moines, where reenactment volunteers recreate the lifestyles of early Iowans for curious vacationers. This charming act is supported by several engaging and convincing historical sets such as frontier towns and Indian villages. Referred to as "Living History Farms," this impressive complex will give you all you need to know about the origins of Iowa and the people that lived there.

In Altoona, right next to Des Moines, is Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, where enterprising Iowans and visitors come to test their luck. Also in Altoona is the famous Adventureland amusement park, where three enormous roller coasters and other thrilling rides are located. These kinds of diversions offer a welcome break from the vintage Iowan environment often found around Des Moines.

Once you're ready to dive back into the scenic neighborhoods of Des Moines, consider a drive or a stroll through East Village, a fun and old-timey area full of eateries, intriguing clubs and classic Des Moines architecture. Every visit is an adventure to rival Adventureland, and you never know what you'll find next in this expansive neighborhood.

The Blank Park Zoo offers an enlightening menagerie of animals, both local and international species, for tourists to enjoy. This well-maintained emporium houses 22 acres worth of animal life and is situated on the south side of Des Moines. Any animal lover coming to visit should also consider the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, a facility specifically devoted to the preservation and study of monkeys and apes. While tours are only available on a seasonal basis and by reservation, it's worth the wait to see the 230-acre campus with its fun-loving and curious animals.

Finally, there's the West Capitol Terrace in the center of Des Moines. With wings adjoining Des Moines' luxurious Capitol Building, and a lush promenade and "people's park" to enjoy, Capitol Terrace is the height of recreational relaxation in the city. Don't miss this architectural playground and its stunning views of the city!

Overall, passing up Des Moines on your vacation would be to miss out on all these fun diversions. Pay the state a visit today, and see what Iowa can give you.