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Top Rated Attractions in Des Moines

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Des Moines Art Center

A temple for art lovers and learners, the Des Moines Art Center houses artworks like Edward Hopper's Automat, which was reproduced as a postage stamp. Other artists included in the permanent collection are Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, and Roy Lichtenstein. The building is considered a work of art in and of itself, first built in 1948 and later redesigned in 1968. The art center even has a reference library, restaurant, and gift shop. It also has arrangements for seminars and workshops on regularly.

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Iowa State Fairgrounds

The Iowa State Fairgrounds was originally the Charles Thornton Farmstead and has been the home of the rewnoned Iowa State Fair since 1886. Spread across 435 acres (176.03 hectares), these sprawling grounds also have historic buildings and are registered on the National Register of Historic Places. These include structures like the primary house and barn, the 1902 Livestock Pavilion, and the 1904 Agriculture Building. Around half of the open space is used for the annual fair and the remaining is enjoyed as a campground. The entire area is divided into departments, which host concerts, flea markets, livestock exhibitions, and antiques, auto, and trade shows. If you're in Des Moines during the Iowa State Fair, put it at the top of your to-do list.

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Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Eye-candy for botanists and admirers of nature, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden prides itself on its beautiful plantations, exotic flowers, and manicured hedges. You'll find an incredible variety of tropical plants, as well as features like small waterfalls to help set the scene. Beyond creating visually stunning experiences, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden also endeavors to create awareness among visitors about horticulture and the environment through its several educational tours. Plant lover or not, head here to soak in the lovely atmosphere or simply for a breath of fresh air.

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Wooly's is a music venue in Des Moines, lauded by some as the best place in the city to take in a live show. Its name is a wink to the Woolworth Store that once occupied the building, and while its new owners have developed a modern space, they have retained certain elements of the original structure. Wooly's is a spacious venue, capping at around 800 guests. Its shows typically feature indie-rock artists, both locally and nationally recognized singer-songwriters, though various genres are welcome. Check the website for upcoming performances.

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Blank Park Zoo

With 49 acres (20 hectares) of land inhabited by 104 different animal species and 1,484 animal specimens, Blank Park Zoo is the only accredited zoo in the state of Iowa. It also boasts the widest range of botanical collections in the state. The zoo aims to inspire an appreciation for nature, particularly among its younger visitors. It's open between November and February, so make sure you don't miss out on the opportunity to see all the exciting animals at Blank Park Zoo when you have the chance. For further booking details please visit the website.

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Iowa Hall of Pride

The Iowa Hall of Pride chronicles the achievements of Iowans across a myriad of vocations, from academics and art to athletics and cinema. Its multi-media exhibitions are an interesting and fun way to learn about the history of the community. Shoot baskets, play football, watch videos, take science lessons, or sing with the state choir for a unique museum experience. The Iowa Hall of Pride is a must visit for families looking to combine entertainment and education.

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