When you are traveling in the Des Moines, Iowa area, don’t miss the opportunity to see some Des Moines roadside attractions. Much of the terrain of Iowa is made up of farming land and rolling hills, but there are some fun and quirky attractions to see … if you know where to look.
Big Cow and Calf – Perched in front of the Anderson Erickson Dairy, located on the corner of E. University and Hubbell, you will find a giant statues of a cow and her calf. Aptly named Annie and Eric, don’t miss your chance for a snapshot with these larger than life bovine!
Iowa State Fair and Museum – If you happen to be in Des Moines in August, you may want to see if you are visiting during the State Fair. One of the most celebrated state fairs in the country even has its own museum. There are many interactive displays, including the opportunity to stage your own train wreck or test your test your livestock judging skills. The Fairgrounds are located just off I-235, due east of downtown Des Moines.
National Balloon Museum – The National Balloon Museum covers ballooning from the 1700’s to the present. It’s a unique exhibit that shows the evolution of gas, hot air, and smoke ballooning. Showcased are different airships, zeppelins, and much memorabilia that comes along with each experience. The museum can be found on the north edge of Indianola- just south of Des Moines. It is on the west side of US Hwy 65/69/N. Jefferson Way, a mile north of Hwy 92, at the corner of Orchard Avenue.
Crazy Sculpture Park – Unusual statues inhabit this art park include an egg-shaped UFO on 27-foot-tall legs (in a burn circle), an oversized clothespin, lightning bolts, a flying woman, and a six-foot target with a 25-foot-long arrow. The park can be found on the south side of the city, on the southeast corner of SW McKinley Avenue and SW 8th Street.
Pappajohn Sculpture Park – Another unique art park is located a bit to the west of Des Moines just off of Locust St. between 13th and 15th Streets. There are 24 sculptures including one nick named the ‘Alphabet Heads’ which is a 27-foot-tall hollow structure made of welded steel letters, in the shape of human heads.
Pulling Together – Two mighty hands clutch two pipe wrenches and combine their torque in a 2006 steel sculpture celebrating the Plumber and Steamfitters Local Union No. 33. You can find this large Des Moines roadside attraction west of Fleur Drive on Bell Avenue. It is on the north side of the road, in front of Plumber and Steamfitters Local Union No. 33.
As you travel through the Des Moines area, these unique roadside attractions are sure to break up your journey and provide some amazing photo opportunities. While you are on your Des Moines road trip, be sure to visit some of the fun and crazy attractions that make Des Moines one of the greatest cities in the mid-west!