Living History Farms#7 in Best Things To Do in Des Moines
Price & Hours
Learn all about Midwestern rural life at this outdoor history museum, which spans 500 acres. Among the attraction's four sites are a recreated Ioway Indian farm from the 1700s, an 1850s pioneer farm, a 1900s-era horse-powered farm and a 19th-century frontier town complete with several shops, businesses and homes. Each of the historical farms and the town of Walnut Hill are connected by walking trails and tractor-drawn carts. Along with the structures featured at each site, visitors will find historical interpreters performing the duties representative of the time period. For instance, at the Ioway Indian farm, visitors may see interpreters tan animals hides, demonstrate native crafts and tool making, and prepare food over an open fire.
Past visitors likened Living History Farms to Colonial Williamsburg and said the interpreters are knowledgeable, informative and fun to observe. Many reported that this is a great educational attraction the whole family can enjoy.
Living History Farms welcomes visitors Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's located in Urbandale, Iowa, about 10 miles northwest of downtown Des Moines. It's best reached by car. Admission costs $16 for adults, $9.50 for children ages 2 to 12 and is free for infants 1 and younger. Along with free parking, there is also a snack stand and gift shop. For more information, visit the official 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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