Behind the Scenes of the Travel Iowa Commercial Shoot

Sixteen hundred miles. Well, 1,601.7 miles to be exact. That’s what our crew racked up driving all over Iowa for the Travel Iowa spring campaign TV commercial shoot. Sure, it was the middle of winter and getting to these places proved to be a bit treacherous, but in the end it was totally worth it. Here’s where we went and what we saw.

Weekend #1: Choo-choos and butterflies of blue

We started the commercial shoot on February 1st by heading to Reiman Gardens in Ames. On that cold and snowy morning, the warmth of the butterfly garden raised everyone’s spirits. And we were in awe as dozens of butterflies fluttered just inches from us as the cameras rolled.

Reiman Gardens in Ames


From Ames, we headed to the Iowa State Capitol where we were blown away by its beauty. Seriously, have you ever seen a rotunda this incredible? We sure hadn’t.

Iowa State Capitol Rotunda

All aboard for Council Bluffs! The next day we made our way to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum where we learned all about rail travel in America. We also decided that we would definitely choo-choo-choose to visit this museum again.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum

Weekend #2: Commercial shoots just wanna have fun

On February 15th, we hopped over to Le Mars to visit the Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor. It’s old-timey ice cream fun at its most delicious!

Blue Bunny ice Cream Parlor

Next, we were off to Storm Lake for an H20 adventure at King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort. By the way, the river winding through King’s Pointe may be called lazy, but our commercial shoot there was anything but! It was amazing to see how hard everyone worked together to get just the right scene for the spot.

King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort

As we made our way to FunCity in Burlington on February 16th, we were all wondering…would FunCity be as much fun as the name implied? Turns out, the answer is an emphatic yes. Side note: Everyone on the shoot wanted to take the go-karts for a spin, but there wasn’t enough time. Hmm…looks like we’ll have to go back.


After Burlington, we moved on over to Dubuque to visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The stars of the shoot? The stingrays! They hypnotized the entire crew as they glided through the water.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Weekend #3: Art and sprinkles

On the 22nd we arrived at the Des Moines Art Center bright and early. Not only is the art there amazing, but it’s also really peaceful inside. Then just three hours after we set up, we were off to our next destination…

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…Gladbrook. You’ll never look at an ordinary matchstick in the same way after you visit Matchstick Marvels, which just happened to be our ninth stop of the shoot. Gladbrook artist Patrick Acton has used more than four million matchsticks to make one-of-a-kind sculptures that you have to see to believe.

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We couldn’t think of a sweeter way to end our trip than by going to Cedar Rapids to That One Cupcake Place in the NewBo City Market. We may or may not have sampled a few cupcakes loaded with sprinkles as we were filming. In fact, while we were there, all we could think about was how good the cupcakes were (which probably explains why we forgot to get a photo of them).

Next up: R&R!

We’re so glad we got to see a few of the places that make Iowa unique, but next on our list is some much-needed rest and relaxation. Thanks to all of the Iowa locations that opened their doors and let us film at their fantastic spots!

- Bob Delsol, Creative Director

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One thought on “Behind the Scenes of the Travel Iowa Commercial Shoot

  1. Helen Atkinson
    March 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I was really impressed with the photos and information you passed along from your tour around Iowa. Thanks for sharing!

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