Northwest Iowa can get surprisingly hot (Sioux City's record high is 108 degrees), but there are plenty of fun ways to seek relief from the sun. Here are my top suggestions (in random order-they are too fun to rank in order of exactly how fun!) for family-friendly ways to cool down your Siouxland summer as the mercury rises:
Sioux City has four splash pads already open for the year, plus at least four more are planned for the area, and some of those are scheduled to open in summer 2018. The currently open splash pads are at Cone Park, Dale Street Park, Leeds Park, and a special needs friendly splash pad at Miracle Field in Riverside Park. All of them get rave reviews from local kids, and for visitors from out of town, my top recommendation is Miracle Field.
Sioux City has three public pools, at Lewis Park, Lief Erickson Park, and Riverside Park, and many neighboring communities like Sergeant Bluff have their own too! Riverside Pool also features a large waterslide and is my top suggestion for visitors. Also be sure to check out the list of Free Friday Night Swims—every Friday in June and July, the City of Sioux City Parks & Rec Department offers a “free swim” where residents and visitors can swim for free, and they rotate through the three city pools.
Get Active Indoors
It's always cool in the IBP Ice Center, which is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights all summer. Ice Skating isn’t a traditional summer sport, but maybe it should be! You can also go rock climbing or hit the batting cages in the Long Lines Family Rec Center, featuring a rock wall over 50’ tall and a 13’ free-standing boulder. Or play some lazer tag and get your ninja parkour on at Drop Zone.
Scream for ice cream
LeMars Iowa, about a half hour north of Sioux City, is the corporate headquarters for Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream. Their official ice cream parlor in LeMars, which is delicious any time of year, especially shines during summer. They have amazing ice cream creations of course, from a classic banana split to the kid-favorite Dirt & Worms Mud Puddle Sundae, and even a few dairy-free and sugar-free options for visitors with food allergies or intolerances or dietary restrictions! And they top almost everything with a cute and yummy bunny shaped sugar cookie-- I definitely recommend buying one if your order doesn't come with one already.
Head out on the water
Take a boat out on the Missouri River from the riverfront downtown or on the Big Sioux River at Riverside Park, or check out another river or lake, like Brown's Lake in Salix just south of Sioux City or Hillview Recreation Area in Hinton just north of Sioux City. Siouxland has some great fishing, and plenty of scenic views to boat along!
Head inside for fun (and free A/C!) at the Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City Public Museum, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Sioux City Public Library, and more. If you think you might go to eight different spots, be sure to pick up a Sioux City “Tourist in Your Town” passport—you can get stamps at many area attractions, and everyone who turns in a passport with eight stamps by the end of July 2018 will be entered in a drawing for one of 50 great prizes, mostly tickets or souvenirs to local attractions, plus the grand prize of a Sioux City Staycation/Vacation!
Image credit: Lindsay Hindman