Wonders of Iowa

8 fun things to do in 2021


Isabella Lopez

Did you know Iowa is home to the world’s largest popcorn ball? 9,370-pound popcorn ball can be found in Sac City, Iowa, only 139 miles from Des Moines. The stereotype of farmers and corn as far as eyes can see is all false. Beyond Des Moines there are many places you must visit and still stay safe during the pandemic. Keep reading to find seven amazing places you should visit.  

Upstream Garden and Orchard 

This little garden is in Altoona, Approximately a 17-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa. Since COVID19 you must make reservations online to pick from the garden. Starting in the spring, everything from strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, honey and later in the season pumpkins and apples are all available to pick. All fruits and vegetables have a different growing time so you can check the website to see what’s available. There is nothing like picking fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the plant. 

Thomas Mitchell Park 

This park is located in Mitchellville, Approximately 16-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa. This park is open to the public with a park for kids, hiking, and camping. There is a little stream that runs through the park which has many little creatures inside but is shallow enough walk in. Perfect for warm days bring the bug net to catch tadpoles, frogs and crawfish. The trails are small but a fun way to be active outside.  

My experience at Thomas Mitchell Park was great, I’ve been there a couple times, but the most memorable time was when I went with my family. We flew kites, took a walk and just had a nice time looking at the beautiful park.” Junior Ashlynn Hudrick said 

Edge of the Woods Raspberry Farm 

This berry farm is located in Warren County, Approximately a 22-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa. With COVID19 it is open to the pubic with some reservations required on their website. Red raspberries, black berries and blue berries are just a few of the berries you can pick. During the summer months this is a perfect place to get fresh berries for pie or just a yummy summer snack.  

Ledges State Park  

This park is in Boone County, Approximately 49 minutes from Des Moines, IowaThere are several trails to choose from. If you are looking for an activity to cool you down. Bring some water shoes and walk in the creek. During warmer weather this is a perfect activity to do with your family and friends. There are many trails and water streams throughout the park. Also located on one of the trails is a giant rock ledge that looks over the Des Moines RiverSince the constant flooding of the park, it caused the rock to erode from the cliffs leaving the beautiful layers of rock. 

“I have had plans to go again, but with COVID-19 we didn’t get a chance to go last summer. I would recommend the Ledges to a friend because I have heard such great things about it” East High teacher Ashley Forrester said  

High Trestle Trail Bridge 

This amazing bridge is in Madrid, Approximately an hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa. This bridge has amazing views of the Des Moines River during the day but after sunset an awesome light show. If you’re looking for new bike trail defiantly consider making this your next trail. The bridge itself is half a mile long with many amazing views. During dark the cool illusion lights your path on the bridge. If heights are not your thing this might not be the trail for you. The bridge is 130 ft high over the river.  

“It is absolutely soothing and relaxing… I went to High Trestle Trial at night to see the lighted bridge during the summer” Junior Nelson Castellano said. 

World’s Largest Popcorn Ball 

This giant popcorn ball is in Sac City, Approximately a 2 hour and 5-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa. This is a bit of a long drive but if you are on a long road trip and in the area, this is a cool place to visit. In the center of a small town holds the giant 9,370-pound popcorn ball. Surrounding the building which holds this ball are many little buildings showing what the town would look like 100 years ago. Including a school, doctors officepost office and more. 

Lovers Leap Swinging Bridge 

This swinging bridge is in Columbus Junction, Around a two hour and ten-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa. This 262-foot bridge is defiantly worth taking a trip to. Now, they wouldn’t call it a swinging bridge If it didn’t swing so hold on to the rails. This bridge is eight stories high and has a little movement to it. The bridge has amazing views of the trail and after you pass the bridge there is a trail tfinish off the hike. 

Explore beyond the trails  

You don’t have go to one of these places to explore Iowa. Geocaching is a fun way to get out of the house whether it’s a walking distance or on a road trip. Download the free app Geocaching and it will show you caches near you. Choose the cache you want to look for and push start then follow the compass. It will give you a description of what you are looking for it could be a small box, jar or a little pill containerSometimes there is little trinkets you can take, and a paper to add your name to the list of people who found it. This is like a giant treasure hunt available 24/7 every day of the year. Some are easy and some are hard but a great way to get out if you don’t like being in a crowded public area.