Iowa State Capitol#4 in Best Things To Do in Des Moines
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The Iowa State Capitol is a favorite of sightseers and history buffs thanks to its grand exterior and ornate interior. Completed in 1886, the capitol building has undergone several restorations. Among its architectural highlights are 29 types of marble, 12 types of wood (all native to Iowa, except mahogany) and the 23-karat gold-covered dome that stands 275 feet above the capitol grounds. Not only is the building home to the governor's offices, the legislature and the old Supreme Court room, but it also shelters several artifacts, including a model of the USS Iowa battleship and several monuments and memorials.
According to past visitors, the capitol building should not be missed thanks to its impressive interior and artwork. Though you can tour the building on your own, some reviewers recommended opting for a guided tour, which can be prearranged by calling the Iowa Capitol Visitor Center.
The capitol is free to tour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Free guided tours are offered Monday through Saturday and can be scheduled by calling the Iowa Capitol Visitor Center. Public entrances can be found on the ground floor of the capitol on the south and west sides of the building. All visitors must walk through a security scan to enter. The capitol building is located in the city's East Village neighborhood across the Des Moines River from downtown. It is accessible via the free D-Line downtown shuttle. For more information, visit the official Iowa Legislature website.
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#1 Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Despite chilly Midwestern winters, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden remains a year-round top attraction thanks to the site's domed conservatory, which is kept consistently balmy to nurture the tropical plants housed within. Along with palm trees and a waterfall, the conservatory houses a variety of bright flowers, cactuses and succulents, among other plants. Outside the conservatory, there are numerous themed gardens interspersed with sculptures, including a rose garden and a water garden. In total, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden spans 7 acres.
According to recent visitors, the garden is a worthwhile stop year-round. Many who visited during winter referred to the conservatory as an oasis. Reviewers frequently used words like "beautiful" and "relaxing" to describe the garden.
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