Chichaqua Bottoms is a natural area about 20 miles north of Des Moines. The Skunk River runs through many acres of woodland with scattered ponds. There's a campground and the DNR sponsors different events like 'Catching Croakers', and the 'Freeskinner's Encampment'. Canoe rentals are also available.
I couldn't fit the entire websit URL in the box provided, so here it is:
Grab a camera and head west out I-80 to
Winterset. Turn south and the signs will point you to the various covered bridges seen in the movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. It is relaxing out there and seldom overcrowded.
Living History Farms is dedicated to preserving our knowledge of the past. You can see authentic reproductions from the 1900's, 1800's, and earlier. Local people dress up and go through their routines, but are more than happy to tell you what they're up to.
Living History Farms
2600 111th St.
Urbandale, IA 50322
The Salisbury House dates from the 1920s, but it was constructed to resemble English country homes of the 14th to the 18th centuries. It operated both as a museum and as a conference center, and the gardens are a popular place for weddings.
Salisbury House is a little slice of England right in Des Moines. Beautiful architecture with gardens and statues.
Here is the official blurb:
''When visiting the Salisbury House, one is struck by a feeling of displacement, as if walking into the heart of gothic Britain. These impressions are not the result of chance, but of an exacting process of construction involving two architects, hundreds of craftsmen, and a five year time span. A re-creation of a 500 year old house in Salisbury, England, the Salisbury House was built in Des Moines by a nouveau riche cosmetics mogul - an expression of his symbolic and financial power in his homeland. It was built to appear 100 years old on the day of its completion.''
Now that's one way of being a virtual tourist!
Salisbury House Foundation
4025 Tonawanda Drive
Des Moines, Iowa 50312-2909
Phone: (515) 274-1777
Fax: (515) 274-0184
South of Des Moines, in Madison County, there are several beautifully restored, historic covered bridges. The nearest town is Winterset and maps are available that point out where the bridges are and how to get to them.
Believe it or not but many people would consider the downtown area of Des Moines off the beaten path because there is little tourism there. However I enjoy Iowa's largest Downtown. Des Moines has a great skywalk system that wanders through most of the buildings and in the system you can find resturaunts, shops and even a few bars. However most people using the system are businesspeople.
p.s. It can become extremly crowded durring the Highschool wrestling and basketball tournament time, sometime in march I believe.
One thing that most people might miss is the Salisbury Faire. One reason it might get missed is because it is only on for one weekend out of the year. For locals, though, it is a definite must-see. The Salisbury Faire is the Des Moines version of a Renaissance Faire or Festival. It held to raise money to benefit the restoration of the Salisbury House. To see some pics of my visit this year, see my travelogue. Vsit their web site at http://www.salisburyhouse.org for more information.
In the us are many replica's of the Statue... Des Moines has one also it is located right in front of the State Capitol.
This replica was donated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950. It was a part of their annual service project.
The inscription reads:
With the faith and courage of their forefathers who made possible the freedom of their United States.
THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Dedicate this replica of the statue of liberty as a pledge of everlasting fidelity and loyalty
Picture taken June 10, 2004
Des Moines Menace.
Our local soccer team competes in the Premier Development League and is currently undefeated. There are special events at many of the games geared specifically toward kids, and the players hang out after the game to sign autographs.
Contact Information Follows:
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone: 515.226.9890
By fax: 515.226.1595
By mail: 6400 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Statue we saw at the fairgrounds in Des Moines. We were there long after the fair was over. I like going to fairs.
Blank Park Zoo is a nice little zoo. It is closed all Winter so don't plan to visit after October. It is a nice zoo but it is not very big.
Inside the dome for the Des Moines Botanical Garden. There are all kinds of plants and even a few birds and fish.