I love the bike trails in Cedar Rapids. They are very scenic, well maintained, and they take you all over town. Its really great to see parks like these, I hope the trend continues in Cedar Rapids and spreads to other towns.
The Paramount Theater was build in the 1920's. This 1901 seat theater hosts many events each year, from the Cedar Rapids Symphony ,ballet, broadway series, to local events and meetings.
The theater is listed in the National Register of Historic places which lists places of historical or architectual signifigance. The theather was build in a combination of baroque, and rococo style, giving it a high class look.
Ellis Park is on the Northwest side of Cedar Rapids. There are tennis courts, a public swimming pool, horseshoe pits, golf course, rose gardens, baseball fields, and walking trails. There are several shelters for picnics or parties.
Ellis Park is right on the Cedar River. There is a large population of both geese and ducks here and this last weekend we saw lots of babies. If you're into houseboating you will love this park. There are houseboat slips for rent, and there are currently at least 40 boats. Regular boats are also permitted on the river. During the winter months there is an ice skating rink.
Check out my Cedar Rapids Travelogues for more pictures of Ellis Park.
I remember going to this park as a child distinctly because of the zoo. It's changed over the years, and it's now Old MacDonald's Farm. There are pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks, donkeys, a cow, and prairie dogs.
There is a large playground area and lots of open space and big leafy trees. There is a public swimming pool at this park as well.
Once a month during the warmer months (May-September), you can gather with other fun wine lovers, taste and learn about wines, sample cheeses and party dips, and win door prizes! This outrageous tasting bash takes place in an outdoor venue at a quaint little boutique wine shop in Shueyville, Iowa: The Secret Cellar. Check out their website for details and party dates: what a blast!!!
Interesting place to study the culture and heritage of the Czech and Slovak settlers who me made a new home for themselves in the broad expanses of Iowa.
The Museum is a modern convenient facility with a good research library, gift shop, and an interesting permanent exhibit that details the general history of the Czech and Slovak lands, as well as the immigration of Czechs and Slovaks to America in the 19th century. Generally, Czechs were attracted to rural areas (of which Iowa has an abundance), while Slovaks concentrated in larger urban areas in the midwest - places like Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. So there's more about the Czechs here.
The museum also has space for temporary and travelling exhibits. When I visited in June 2006, there was an excellent exhibit featuring examples of traditional folk and peasant clothing. Beautiful embroidery, lacework, and fine linens in abundance.
This is a restored Pioneer town of 1905. The village includes all the major buildings (store, blacksmoth, etc) of a turn of the century town. The town is manned by volunteers in period costume who explain the way of life.
The Science station features hand on science exhibits for kids along with an IMAX movie theater. This downtown museum was renovated about 4 years ago and is a CR Landmark. It's definitely the place to go if visiting Cedar Rapids with kids.
Brucemore is a wonderful historic icon in Cedar Rapids. The Queen Anne style mansion was completed in 1886 on on ten acres of land for $55,000. This was the most expensive improvement in the city at that time.
Brucemore has been owned by three families: The Sinclairs, the Douglas' and the Halls. The Douglas' expanded the property from 10 acres to 33 acres. Then after the Halls took over the home they sold off some of the land surrounding the house and the property size was decreased 24 acres, which is is still today.
Brucemore is famous for it's resident lions. There were three of them, all named Leo!
There are daily tours of Brucemore, and special events are held there regularly. Check their website for upcoming events.
Cedar Rapids is the home of thousands of Czech nationality decendants, and I happen to be one of them. My grandmother was the first generation of her family born in the United States.
The Czech Village still carries over the Czech heritage. There is a Czech bakery, Sykora Bakery, and a Czech meat market, Polehna Meat Market, two Czech restaurants, plus some Czech gift stores, including the Czech Cottage.
The Czech & Slovac Museum and Library is also in Czech Village.
Since I grew up in Cedar Rapids and have alot of family history there I decided to check out the History Center. It's in a nice newly built or restored building on First Ave near downtown Cedar Rapids. The outside of the building is styled in a modern art look.
The History Center has a gift shop, a records library, and the main portion of the building has a collection items from the area's past and also has information about the history of Cedar Rapids. There is a virtual reality game that takes you back to the Cedar Rapids of 100 years ago. (You can actually pick from several different times in the past.)
This is the National Czech and Slovic Museum & Library. You can learn about the Czech & Slovic heritage, and how the two immigrated to the US, see beautiful Czech glass items, view old style Czech and Slovic ornate clothing. There is even an old Czech home on the property to tour.
Viist the National Czech and Slovak museum, and Czech Village in general. Also visit the mother Mosque of the United States. Finally, go for a walk or bike ride on the miles of city nature trails.
Czech and Slovak museum gives the history of immigrants from that portion of Europe to the United States. Much of Cedar Rapid's cultural life comes from this heritage - there is still a summer program for children to learn the czech language.
The Mother mosque, founded by Lebanese immigrants, was the first permanent mosque in the United States. In many ways, although it is a small city, Cedar Rapids is the focal point for Muslim heritage. (It was the voting point for Syrian expatriates for the entire Midwest.)
This turn of the century victorian mansion was once owned by the family of one of Iowa's early governors. It was and to some extent still is today the grandest mansion every built in CR.
The original inhabitants of the Cedar Rapids were Czechoslovakians and the area reatins this heritage. The National Czech and Slovak Museum is the premier museum in America celebrate Czech heritage.