Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Celebrate Spring - plan your Iowa getaway today!

Spring is in the air and thoughts are turning to weekend getaways and warm-weather excursions. If the open road is calling you to an Iowa adventure this spring or summer, it’s never too early to begin planning. Order a free Iowa Travel Guide or view the digital version and get started today.

Want to get in on a special celebration? Take your pick of anniversaries and grand reopenings across the state! The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, closed in 2008 due to flooding, is reopening on higher ground July 14-15 and starting a new chapter in their fascinating story. Whenever you visit, be sure to wander the Czech Village district, sample Czech specialties at the bakery or local restaurants, and visit the Kosek Building to see the exhibit “Rising Above: The Story of a People and the Flood.”

Much of Iowa’s history is tied to the railroad, and 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Union Pacific. The UP Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs unveils a brand-new exhibit May 12 titled “Building America.” Cutting-edge technology will immerse travelers in the experience of building the transcontinental railroad. While in town, make tracks to the RailsWest Railroad Museum to view steam engines and other vintage rolling stock along with a large operating model railroad.

The only U.S. president to hail from Iowa, Herbert Hoover, attended the opening of his presidential library and museum in 1962 and 50 years later the West Branch site remains a relevant and interesting place to delve into political history from many eras. Learn about the development of the museum complex, imagine what it might be like to dine on White House china, or draw parallels and contrasts between the 20th century president and Abraham Lincoln, whom Hoover greatly admired.

Take new inspiration from the Grotto of the Redemption as it turns 100 years old. Off the beaten path in small-town northwest Iowa, it has nevertheless welcomed pilgrims from around the world to explore precious stone and gem-encrusted formations and admire the work of many faithful hands. Festivities in West Bend June 22-24 include tours, a parade, children’s activities, and Christian concerts.

You’re sure to find your own way to celebrate on your next Iowa trip.

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