I live with a husband and two sons, ages two and four. (Even our former cat was male.) As the family’s token woman, I’ve been indoctrinated into the world of Thomas the Tank Engine, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cars. In my life it’s all boy, all the time.
So when I planned our family’s Iowa vacation I knew I had to select testosterone-friendly destinations that would keep my little men busy and interested. Here’s what we discovered during our three-day Iowa adventure.
- Kinze Innovation Center, Williamsburg – My four-year-old has repeatedly told me that this was his favorite part of our getaway. This new state-of-the art museum tells the story of the family-run Kinze farm implement manufacturing company. My kids loved getting up close to real tractors and planters. But their favorite part was the computer kiosk that let them design and print their own crop wagons. Great material for the art show that is our fridge!
- University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum, Iowa City – My husband is a U of I alum and die-hard Hawkeye fan. While he poured over two floors of exhibits, the boys and I burned energy in a very cool, small rec room designed to replicate the court at Carver Hawkeye Arena. We shot hoops, ran in circles and laughed a lot.
- Iowa Children’s Museum, Coralville – We spent more than a few hours here enjoying interactive activities that let kids explore science, music, business and healthcare. We convinced our boys to leave the museum only on the promise that we’d return another day. We will.
- Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark, Dubuque – Did someone say waterpark? The multiple slides, lazy river, water squirts, activity pools and water cannons kept us coming back for more. We swam three times in two days.
- Fenelon Place Elevator, Dubuque – It took some well-worded encouragement to convince our boys to brave the world’s shortest and steepest railway. But once we completed the 200-foot ride to the top of the bluff and discovered the tri-state view, they were ready to ride again.
- Eagle Point Park, Dubuque – We headed straight for the portion of this beautiful 164-acre park that gives a birds-eye view of Lock & Dam #11 below. From there, we watched a barge lock through in two pieces. Great fun and a great opportunity to teach the boys about ecology, technology, commerce and history.
- National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque – Think this is a boring old museum about a river? Think again. The two-building, indoor/outdoor treasure showcases a variety of aquatic life (sharks, turtles, octopus, otter!), a 3-D/4-D movie theater and interactive kids area that helps children understand the dramatic impact of river ecosystems. Your kids will love it. So will you.
- National Farm Toy Museum, Dyersville – Red toy tractors. Blue toy tractors. Yellow toy tractors. Green toy tractors. Orange toy tractors. Two floors FULL of toy tractors. Need I say more?
So grab you guys and get traveling! Iowa has much to offer them.
Manager | Iowa Tourism Office