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Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

Castle Rock, CO
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Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

My best friend and I and 5 of our 6 kids will soon be embarking on a road trip from Denver-Mt. Rushmore, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Kansas City, Russell,KS and back to Denver. We are looking for suggestions of what to do and where to stay with our kiddos while we are in Iowa. My kids and I went to the Living History Farm a few years ago( it looked just as it did 30+ years ago when my grandparents took me.) We are open to staying in the city or within an hour of the city in a smaller town. Also, any suggestions of fun or unique family friendly places to eat would be great. ( I remember going to some great small town places as a kid when my grandparents took us on the annual roadtrip to Iowa- Conrad, Knoxville, Osceola, Chariton, Des Moines. Thanks again.

USA
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1. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

DW says that with 5 kids you are bound to have fun. I am withholding judgement. My first suggestion was going to be Living History Farms. You ruined that by already visiting. The nearby Machine Shed offers good family dining.

A number of our friends have taken their kids to Adventureland amusement park. I think it is better for the 12 and under crowd that does not need massive, gut-wrenching roller coasters. It is in the Des Moines area. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g37835-d25…

Buddy Holly fans (probably not the kids, but you could drag them along) enjoy the Surf Ballroom. Tour the museum or see if there is a suitable show. https://www.surfballroom.com/location.html Just off I-35 from Minneapolis.

The Bridges of Madison County would be worth a short detour from I-35. You could drive by John Wayne's birthplace in Winterset, too.

Count the hawks on the drive between Des Moines and Kansas City, I always see a bunch of them on that route. Forgive me, you are probably too young for Buddy Holly and John Wayne. I am not coming up with anything else, but I live a good way east of your route.

Castle Rock, CO
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2. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

Thanks for your input. The bridges serm like a good option. I wish we had time to go further east as we have extended family in the quad cities area.

Des Moines, Iowa
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3. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

How old are your kids? And when exactly (early July?) are you coming? What are their interests, and yours?

There are some really fun, kid friendly seasonal events like the Iowa State Fair (in Aug.) or some of the local festivals. The downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market on Sat. mornings is a "must do" and is entertaining for all ages, as there is much more to do and see than just to buy vegetables. We have great bike and walking trails in the Des Moines area, so depending on your kids' ages and activity levels, it can be fun to set a goal of walking or biking from one attraction or town to another. Ankeny, West Des Moines and Clive (all Des Moines suburbs) have some nice waterparks, if that's of interest to your kids. If you'll be here later in July or in Aug., there are corn mazes in the area that some kids enjoy.

There is a very nice garden (Reiman Gardens) with a walk-in butterfly exhibit in Ames. More information is available at http://www.reimangardens.iastate.edu.

Let us know more information and we'll send more ideas.

Castle Rock, CO
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4. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

The kids are 15,13,9,9, and 5. All are pretty active. The older 2 are distance runners and the younger ones play soccer, basketball, ski, gymnastics. It looks like we will be in the Des Moines area either June 30 or July 1st. Water Parks sound like a good option. I will look at the butterfly exhibit as well. Is it is at the university? We might be able to tie in a look at the university as well as the older one is entering his jr. year in high school and we are starting to look at schools. Thanks for the suggestions.

Spery, Iowa
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5. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

not sure of your budget, but there is a unique hotel in Perry, near Des Moines. Theme rooms, bowling alley. Hotel Fort Des Moines is downtown and a unique old building, might be a different kind of place to stay . In Des Moines, for Iowa food & kids, I would agree with the Machine Shed. So far, it is a hot summer, so a water park might be a good idea. Iowa also has a lot of great state parks, with trails, etc. that might make good breaks from all the driving. Check out IPTV's Iowa's Simple Pleasures for some other ideas on food, lodging, fun stops. http://www.iptv.org/simplepleasures/

midwest
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6. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

Take the kids to Gray's Lake park in Des Moines. There you can rent canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and bikes, walk on the bike path around the lake, play on the playground, have a picnic, see the bald eagle nest (or the bald eagles!) and swim at the beach. The prices for the rentals are very reasonable. There is always a breeze there so it is cooler and suitable for flying kites too! Beware of swimming though: the water is not clear and there is no lifeguard, so you have to keep a sharp eye on the kiddos. I let my kids wade, but not swim at this lake. But on the whole, the park is fantastic.

Dublin, Ohio
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7. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

In addition to the above suggestions, the Science Center downtown is a nice attraction and has an IMAX theater.

www.sciowa.org/

Cascade Falls is the aquatic park in Ankeny, admission is $7 per person it includes a kiddy pool, a lazy river & 3 slides, a large pool with 2 diving boards & a drop slide and a flowrider (surfing). You can find more information here:

www.ankenyiowa.gov/index.aspx?page=1040

Seven Oaks in Boone has rafting & canoeing on the Des Moines River

www.sevenoaksrec.com/

For Dining, some non-chain options:

Drake Diner

Americana is a downtown restaurant that will have kid friendly choices but a more sophisticated atmosphere, it is right across the street from the Papa John sculpture park, you could take a pre or post meal stroll

Gusto Pizza has typical and adventureous options by the slice.

Star Bar has great food and a patio where you can enjoy it.

If you do go to Grey's Lake Gateway Market has great sandwhiches and salad if you wanted to picnic it is very close to the park.

Have a great visit.

Des Moines, Iowa
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8. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

Reiman Gardens and the butterfly exhibit are part of the university and close to the main campus area, so it would be a nice way to work in a college visit.

Have a great trip!

9. Re: Road Trip 2 moms, 5 kids

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