15 Best Things to Do in Ames, Iowa

15 Best Things to Do in Ames, Iowa

The city of Ames is the ultimate aim for the students who want to pursue architecture, design engineering, or a degree in veterinary medicine. Home to the world famous Iowa State University, Ames is one of the most beautiful and well-structured cities in the USA. It is also one of the most important cities with respect to agriculture and hosts various sites related to agriculture, such as the AAPIH is which is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the National veterinary services laboratory and also the National animal disease center. With the bustling neighborhood, and a keen eye for the arts and culture, the city is a delightful place to visit.

Watch the butterflies flit about at the Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa
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The Reiman Gardens are home to a huge butterfly case or pavilion where you can watch thousands of butterflies flitting about spreading their colorful and beautiful wings. A variety of exotic and endemic flowers are grown at the greenhouse here, which makes for a colorful backdrop. It is open year round, except on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. You can also opt for a guided tour and attend some of the educational events or programs and lectures related to nature and its conservation which are conducted here.

There are at least a dozen distinct garden areas showcasing a variety of species alongside many beautiful green houses. A nominal admission fee is charged. You can visit the garden any day of the week between 10 to 4:30 pm. There is also a quaint little gift shop where you can shop for some really cute souvenirs. Another interesting aspect is that every year a theme is decided by the garden wherein they showcase pieces and conduct educational programs related to it. For example the theme for this year, i.e. the year 2020 was wild and whimsical. Some special areas that we would definitely recommend for you to visit are the Mahlstede building, the Jones rose garden, the herb garden and Lake Helen.

Admire art pieces at the Brunnier Art Museum

The Brunnier Art Museum is one of the most prestigious art museums in Ames and is located on the second floor of the Iowa state center building. Founded by the art connoisseur, Henry J. Brunner and his wife, this beautiful museum houses a variety of artworks and show pieces to enthrall the public. The whole museum is a part of the National Historic Landmarks and there is also another museum on the campus. The sculpture garden exhibits some really beautiful sculptures by famous artists and constitutes one of the largest Campus Public Art in USA.

The temporary exhibits keep rotating and the permanent exhibits are also really pretty. Some of the décor and art items that you can look at here include furniture, textiles and silver objects. The admission is free but you can donate a little to maintaining this pretty museum. It is closed on Mondays.

Pay a visit to The Farmhouse

The Knapp-Wilson house, better known as The Farmhouse is a very important and major landmark in the history of Ames, Iowa. This is because it is the oldest building on the campus of the prestigious Iowa State University and is part of the model farm which went on to become the great state of Iowa. After its inception in the historic landmarks list in 1964, it was open to the general public as a public Museum.

Two famous agriculturists and teachers Mr. James Wilson and Seaman A. Knapp used to live at this very farmhouse thus giving it a historical importance.
It can also be a great place to visit if you're into looking at beautiful pieces of architecture. The three story house is primarily a brick laid structure and the bricks are made from locally sourced clay. The lobby and interior are very beautiful to look at as well.

Play with your kids at the Brookside Park

This cute little park is a lovely space to spend some quality time with your kids. With various sports fields and courts like volleyball, basketball and tennis, you can spend a fun evening with your kids teaching them how to play and running about. There is even a baseball field if you want to polish some skills.

Pack along a beautiful little picnic with some sandwiches and cola and you're set for a fun afternoon followed by a family lunch date with your loved ones in this open space. With lush green lawns and tall green trees, this park is everything that you can ask for. For Children of the younger age group there is even a Skating Park and a Wading pool. The park remains open only till 5pm daily.

Visit four museums together by visiting the Boone County Historical Society

Yes, you read it right. This wonderful Historical Society houses as many as four museums on its campus itself. Also on campus is the childhood home of Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady and a beautiful park. Look at a resourceful school, called the Hickory Grove School which also finds a place on this campus, and is just a small little one room schoolhouse.

Try camping at the McFarland Park

This is a highly recommended spot if you're planning to visit with friends since the youth camping site here is one of a kind. There is a long trail for hiking with as many as 5.5 miles. Cycling is also another awesome option. A huge 6.5 acre lake also awaits where you can do some quaint fishing. The best part about this park is that it covers a variety of geographical areas including prairie and the woodlands. There is also a special trail where a variety of different plant species are planted.
The Conservation Center is also beautiful and houses a lot of endemic and rare species. The park is open only from Monday to Friday, between 830 to 4:30pm.

Learn about fashion at the Textiles and Clothing museum

Fashion is something that has always fascinated the human race. And so it's no surprise that this humble museum has reached a great height today from being a small space in the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences to getting a huge area for itself.

Built painstakingly by students over the years, what started as a small space, today is spread over three collections with as many as 9500 pieces of clothing from various eras of history. You can look at some pretty clothing, which focuses on fashion during the Roman times to also modern fashionista pieces. The cultural aspects of the United States and all over the world are also kept in mind by showcasing the displays. Though essentially built as a teaching tool for teachers, the museum remains open for the public as well.

Watch a performance at the Stephens Auditorium

Stephens Auditorium, Iowa
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The pretty little Stephens auditorium is another place to visit by on the campus of the Iowa State University. Established by Clifford Y Stephens in 1969, it was built to encourage a spirit of love and affection for the performing arts among the students. A variety of theatrical performances are hosted here, including musical concerts, plays and dances. There's also a sports arena and theater which has been built over the years. It sometimes acts as a venue for the local students as well as for artists from all around the world. You can check out the auditorium website to buy tickets and to know about the upcoming shows.

Relax on the farm at the Alluvial Brewing Company

A farmhouse is where this Brewing Company is located. With the humble beginning in a small farm this Brewing Company has come a long way because of its unique brand. But what makes the brewery extra special is that a slow process is followed by using some really unique ingredients, like coffee, maple, and peanuts in its brews. The taproom is located on the farm itself so that you can grab a drink and enjoy and relax while sipping on it peacefully. Stroll about with the lover’s hand in hand on the peaceful grounds or play a relaxing board game with them.

Have fun at the Inis Grove Park

Another fun place to visit with your family is the Inis Grove Park. With all the typical courts like the basketball and tennis court, this park is great for a fun picnic and playtime. There are playgrounds and trails available where you can hike or cycle. Another specialty is that the children's area is separated for the younger and older kids. The restrooms and other amenities are also clean and well maintained.

Dog lovers should definitely visit the Ames dog park

A publicly owned Park, this park is a playing spot for various different varieties of breeds and many dog lovers throng this park all the time. You'll find a variety of pet parents using this facility to take their dogs for a walk. It is compulsory for the people who enter the park with their dogs to show that their dogs are protected against rabies and are properly vaccinated or they are not permitted to enter. This ensures a friendly and safe atmosphere for all those who visit this lovely park.
There is also a walking path to take a peaceful stroll. Drinking fountains are also placed at various corners to quench your and your pet’s thirst.

Boating at the Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake

Ada Hayden Park, Ames
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Another one in the long list of parks available at Ames is the Ada Hayden Heritage Park. It is especially famous for the boating that you can do here. Rent a boat and have a soothing afternoon ride on the calm blue waters. Short, quaint walking trails are also available alongside some biking paths. You can also follow it up by having a picnic at one of the many picnic areas. Fishing is also allowed on the lake and you can fish for some local species.

Watch a movie at Boone Theater

A hot favorite among the Boone community is the Fridley theaters, which showcases many popular Hollywood titles. It is a family friendly place and the movies shown are also usually on the family watch list. With multiple movie screens, you're bound to get a seat when you visit. There is also a service bar where you can opt for a tub of popcorn and also choose some candies from the candy bar alongside.

Skiing at the Seven Oaks recreation

This recreational facility is a hardcore favorite if you want to play in the snow or enjoy some games related to the snow like skiing and snowboarding. Another exciting game that you can play is snowshoeing. The immense list of winter activities that are conducted and played here will surely make you tick a lot of winter experiences off your wish list. Rentals are available for skiing and other games, which are not very expensive and totally worth it for the fun that you will encounter.

Enjoy skating at the Prairie Ridge Skate Park

Skating is one of the many exciting sports that you can watch and play at the same time. Even if you're not into skating or do not know how to skate it's fine since it’s also a delightful experience to watch people as they go about grinding on the rails.
There is also a diameter bowl which is 15 feet in diameter and a four foot pyramid located. Quarter pipes are also present for those who want to have some adventure while skating. The benches are cute and placed nearby so you can enjoy a show. The drinking fountain is also placed on site.

Have a fun night out at the Cabaret Bar and Patio

The Cabaret bar and patio is one of the many places in the city where you can enjoy a lavish dining experience with live performers and DJs at the house throwing some rock music. Order some delicious food from the long menu and pair it up with your favorite drink and enjoy a night. Private rooms are also available if you're going as a whole group which you can rent out.