Historical Attractions in Iowa with kids

You’ve heard the saying “History can be fun”…well, we think history IS fun (especially in Iowa!)

Iowa is filled with history, and what better way to learn about it with children than to experience the many places to visit in The Hawkeye State  that can actually take you back in time!

Historical attractions come in all shapes and sizes. There are landmarks where iconic events happened. There are homes of historic figures filled with treasures and artifacts from their amazing lives. There are historic buildings whose walls are filled with stories from Iowa’s past. 

The best way for kids to learn about history, is to actually visit the places where history happened. It makes sense! Kids can use their imagination as they read and hear all about events, people and places, and feel like they have gone back in time.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in Iowa when it comes to history, so what are we waiting for - let’s GO! 

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  • Science Center of Iowa

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    Parkway Des Moines

    Imagine. Experiment. Play! At the Science Center of Iowa, the experience is yours! From the inner workings of the human body to the outer reaches of the solar system, science surrounds you with ...

  • Herbert Hoover Historic Site

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    West Branch

    Whether you have half an hour or half a day, there are many things to see and do at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The future president was born in a small, two-room cottage in 1874. ...

  • Guthrie County Historical Village

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    Panora

    The Guthrie County Historical Village, located on a beautiful 4-acre complex near the Middle Raccoon River and old Lenon Mill Park on the southwest side of Panora, Iowa, features ten buildings and ...

  • Pella Historical Village

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    Pella

    Whatever your idea of a vacation is, you\\\'ll Experience it in Pella. Immerse yourself in the old-world charm of the Netherlands as you stroll along our brick streets visiting our Dutch storybook ...

  • Brucemore

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    Cedar Rapids

    You can't experience Brucemore by looking at a screen. Grab the family, take a tour of the mansion, stroll the gardens, pack a picnic, and attend outdoor theatre. Brucemore, a National Trust Historic ...

  • Grotto of the Redemption

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    West Bend

    The Grotto is a composite of nine separate Grottos, each portraying a scene in the life of Christ. The Grotto includes the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one ...

  • Living History Farms

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    Urbandale

    Living History Farms tells the story of 300 years of agricultural history through three working farms - a 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, 1900 Horse-Powered Farm and 1875 Town with eleven ...

  • Check out other fun things to do below...

  • Kids Club At MacNider Museum

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    Mason City

    Kids' Club is an activity-based exploration of the visual arts and the treasures of the MacNider Museum for children ages 5 through 12 ! The Charles H. MacNider Museum is a non-profit, municipally ...

  • Sanford Museum and Planetarium

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    Cherokee

    The Sanford Museum offers a variety of educational programs for groups on subjects including Astronomy, Geology, History, Natural History, and Prehistory.

  • Bluedorn Science Imaginarium

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    Waterloo

    Described as a 'playground for the imagination', this interactive science center provides fun hands-on exhibits that demonstrate how science affects everyday life.

  • Grout Museum of History and Science

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    Waterloo

    Unearth the treasures of the past and gaze into the future at the Grout Museum District. You'll be surrounded by history and astounded by what is yet to come as you explore the world through ...

  • Sioux City Public Museum

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    Sioux City

    The Sioux City Public Museum preserves and shares the heritage of Sioux City through a variety of exhibitions, programs and historic structures. We tell the stories of our community through ...

  • Family Museum of Arts and Science

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    Bettendorf

    he Mission of the Family Museum is to inspire life-long learning in children through interactive arts and science activities and exhibits. One of the many fun family places to go if you're looking ...

  • Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science and Imax Theatre

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    Davenport

    Founded in 1867, the Putnam is home to over 150,000 artifacts and specimens, the Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science offers permanent and changing exhibits,and houses Iowa's only 3D IMAX ...

  • National Farm Toy Museum

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    Dyersville

    The National Farm Toy Museum welcomes kids of all ages to explore the thousands of tractors, implements, farm dioramas, toy-manufacturing displays, and pedal tractors on exhibit around the museum! ...

  • Danish Windmill Museum and Welcome Center

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    Elk Horn

    The Danish Windmill Museum is for all people interested in Denmark, Danish Customs, Scandinavian traditions and, of course, windmills. Elk Horn's Danish Windmill is America's only authentic working ...

  • Iowa Aviation Museum

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    Greenfield

    A fascinating way to celebrate Iowa's aviation heritage, from 1910 through to modern day.

  • Old Capitol Museum

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    Iowa City

    A national historic landmark located in the center of Iowa City, Old Capitol served as the first state capitol from 1846-1857 and the University of Iowa's founding building. In 1976, Old Capitol ...

  • Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum

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    Oskaloosa

    Founded in 1844, the Nelson homestead is one of the premier historic attractions in Mahaska County. The property now features historic buildings from all over Mahaska County, providing visitors a ...

  • Railswest Railroad Museum

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    Council Bluffs

    The construction of the transcontinental railroad played a major role in the development of southwest Iowa, and vice versa. The history of this era is well preserved in the former 1899 Rock lsland ...

  • Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

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    Le Mars

    Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Iowa Cream Capital of the World, home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, in Le Mars, IA.

  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

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    Dubuque

    Fun and learning flow together along the Mississippi River! Hands-on features and interactive exhibits ready for kids to explore in both indoor and outdoor spaces!

  • Iowa Childrens Museum

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    Coralville

    A family fun attraction with kid friendly, hands-on fun with over twelve interactive exhibits and 28,000 square feet of space that inspires all children up to 12 years old to imagine, create, ...

  • UI Museum of Natural History

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    Iowa City

    Get to understand the planet and it’s wonderful nature in the UI Museum of Natural History with its five major exhibit areas: Iowa Hall, Hageboeck Hall of Birds and Mammal Hall, Biosphere Discovery ...

  • National Balloon Museum

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    Indianola

    Take a look at the fascinating history of ballooning at this Iowa museum, with over 200 years of history to explore!

  • American Gothic House Center

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    Eldon

    Explore the life of artist Grant Wood, and THE house that inspired the painting American Gothic! Creative and historical family day out in Iowa!

  • Blank Park Zoo

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    Des Moines

    The Blank Park Zoo manages 49 acres of land. Of that, 22 acres have been developed into animal exhibits or facilities. One of the many fun family places to visit if you're looking for things to do in ...

  • Adventureland Park

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    Altoona

    Theme Park and Water Park fun in Iowa for the whole family! Thrills, spills, and entertainment for your family day out - what more could you want!

  • Arnolds Park

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    Arnolds Park

    Classic amusement park FUN in Iowa for the whole family! Built in 1889, this historic theme park has classic rides and attractions, as well as dining, shopping, and live concerts - all on the shores ...

  • The Lost Island

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    Waterloo

    Water fun in Waterloo at The Lost Island! With slides, a lazy river, and even go karting and 18 hole mini golf! Great family fun in Iowa.

  • Kings Pointe Waterpark

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    Storm Lake

    Indoor and outdoor fun for all ages at this Iowa waterpark next to Storm Lake. All year round swimming fun!

  • Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark

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    Dubuque

    25,000 square feet of indoor waterpark in Iowa, with daily admission, and tons of water fun to be had!

  • Clarion Amana Colonies & Wasserbahn Resort

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    Williamsburg

    Get soaked and stoked on our frontier-themed custom rides and attractions! Make The Wasserbahn your personal family playground!

  • The Beach Ottumwa

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    Ottumwa

    13 acres of indoor / outdoor waterpark with exciting waterpark attractions, and great family water fun with slides, waves, and play!

  • Cascade Falls Aquatic Center

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    Ankeny

    A family friendly outdoor aquatic center in Iowa with heated water, kiddie slides, lap pools and water slides!