Destination Iowa: Visit to Des Moines

Destination Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — Summer is a time to hit the road in Iowa to explore our state. For many, a trip the Capital City can bring new things to see.

There are some celebrations planned this year, The Science Center of Iowa will mark its 50th Anniversary in October. It has reopened to visitors now, on Saturdays and Sundays.

Living History Farms will also mark its 50th season this year.

“We’ve got three different working farm sites, across three different periods in time, but we also have the town of Walnut Hill,” said Amy Day, Marketing Director for Living History Farms. “Our brand new gallery space we are calling it our Red Barn Gallery, so this is renovated believe it or not from a hog shed, so it really was a working building.” It is used to display the 50-year history of Living History Farms.

Also, at the frontier town of Walnut Hill, a change this year.

“It’s 1876, that’s new for us, its been 1875 for the last 30 years,” said Hanna Howard, who manages the town of Walnut Hill. “It’s also 1876, the centennial year, 100 years since the declaration, a fun opportunity how the whole country was celebrating that in the middle of a really contentious election year.”

The town also has its own General Store with groceries and supplies.

It’s primarily a grocery store, so even though our grocery section is now very big, those are the things people will be buying,” said Margaret Nervig, of the General Store. “Things like flour and sugar or canned items like peaches, but you can’t really grow in Iowa.”

Across town on Des Moines’ South Side is the Blank Park Zoo. Each year they normally welcome 480,000 people or so to the zoo.

This is the only place in Iowa you can come see rhinos,” said Ann Shimerdla, CEO of Blank Park Zoo. “Our rhinos are eastern black rhinos they’re endangered in the wild and that we participate in a species survival program with a goal of keeping the rhinos from going extinct. so we work with other zoos across North America.”

The Zoo is launching a new opportunity for people to feed giraffes there.

“We have the only experience in Iowa where you can feed a giraffe,” said Shimerdla. “We will be opening that up shortly for the summer and different times of the day people can actually feed a giraffe, and their tongues are about 18 inches long.”

For more information about visiting Des Moines click here.

For information on Blank Park Zoo, click here.

For more on Living History Farms, click here.

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