7 Top-Rated Attractions in Des Moines
For a state capitol, Des Moines is a relatively small city that is easy to navigate and get around, but still offers plenty of great attractions and all kinds of things to see and do. Visitors can take in a show, tour the state capitol, stop by the zoo, explore the Science Center or the Des Moines Art Center, or spend some time wandering through the boutiques for some interesting shopping. In summer the city hosts the Iowa State Fair and the bustling Saturday morning Farmers' Market.
The Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines was built between 1871 and 1886. It features different types and colors of marble, works of art, fixtures and carvings in both wood and stone. Copper-covered domes are located on every corner of the building, with smaller golden lanterns attached to all four domes. Paintings, statues, and a collection of war flags are exhibited inside the building.
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Center is housed within a geodesic dome that features free-flying birds and huge variety of species of plants that include a bonsai collection, orchids and other tropical plants. The outdoor gardens are also impressive as they change with the seasons.
One of the highlights of summer in Des Moines is the State Fair, which runs for 10 days in August offering. It offers a good variety of entertaining shows, along with a midway, games, contests, daily events, and hundreds of food stands. The fairgrounds offer camping facilities, picnic shelters, indoor and outdoor show rings, and a half-mile dirt track.
The Des Moines Art Center features an impressive collection of 20th and 21th century modern and contemporary art, as well as pieces from various style and cultures around the world. Temporary Exhibitions showcase a variety of themes.
The a 42-room Salisbury House was built by Iowans Carl and Edith Weeks between 1923 and 1928. It is modeled after the King's House in Salisbury, England. The house is filled with the Weeks' original furnishings and collection of rare objects of art, paintings, tapestries, books, and letters.
Blank Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of exotic and domestic animals, from big cats to seals and sea lions. Other favorites includes giraffes, ostriches, emus, and sloths.
The Science Center has hands-on exhibits that include physical and life sciences, a planetarium and laser light shows. Also on site is an IMAX Dome Theater. Interactive exhibits and live programs offer a fun and education approach to discovering the wonderful world of science. The Center is designed for all ages and is particularly entertaining for children.