Inexpensive and quick family getaway

The Corridor is ideally located for quick weekend getaways. Recently, we each packed a bag and headed just two hours west to Des Moines.

We stayed at Adventureland Inn in Altoona because our 4-year old loves waterparks and the hotel has two pool areas with play features. If we had never left the hotel and just played in the water, he would have been satisfied.

One of our first stops was Graziano Bros., a family-run Italian grocery store just south of downtown. I remember visiting the store as a child and being smacked by the delicious aromas of oregano, garlic and olive oil as you open the door. I definitely wasn’t let down! Here, you can purchase olive oil in gallon containers. Delish!

Our son thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Science Center of Iowa. I grew up in Central Iowa and an annual elementary school road trip was taking to the older facility. The building now located in downtown Des Moines is a kid’s dream come true. Our son started on the top floor, playing games that demonstrate various principals of physics. Visitors can build and launch a paper rocket, race a car down an incline, drop an egg to see if it is sufficiently padded to protect it from the fall, among others.

We also watched, while lying on our backs, a charming little movie in which the narrator travels through the solar system in a cardboard rocket. The movie is projected onto the domed ceiling of a circular room with a great effect. During those elementary field trips, we used to see projections of the galaxy on the ceiling and when the view was rotated, we all swore that they moved the entire room. It was cool then and still is today.

Back on the ground floor, we tested our strength in an area with a variety of pulleys, levers and vacuums. Finally, we wrapped up our visit with a stroll through the Center’s traveling exhibit about dinosaurs.

Others might want to take in an IMAX movie at the center or enjoy a meal. A full day could easily be spent at the Science Center.

We wrapped up the day at Principal Park for an I-Cubs game. This is the first ballpark that I’ve been to with an eye toward its younger audience. On the concourse within the park’s gates is a huge, three-story tunnel, slide and swing system. For $5, kids get unlimited play. Our little boy loved it and was sufficiently worn out to actually watch the game when it started.

Principal Park is a beautiful minor league facility. Located on the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines, visitors are treated to a stunning view of the state capital over the outfield wall. We even had a picture taken with the I-Cubs’ mascot, Cubbie Bear.

Sadly, we were unable to visit Blank Park Zoo and the downtown farmer’s market due to rainy weather. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a quick – and inexpensive – weekend away from home.

posted by: danaengelbert


1 Comment

Filed under Daytrips and Getaways, Why it's great to live here

One response to “Inexpensive and quick family getaway

  1. Leslie S.

    Wow, you guys had a fun trip. My family goes to Adventureland every year but I never thought to do some of these other things. Thanks for the ideas. Especially the science station!

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