Iowa – The Hawkeye State

State of IowaIf you’ve never been the Hawkeye State, you’re missing out on the charming small-town feel of the state’s big cities, state fairs, and fruitful harvests. Of course, Iowa offers more than ample farmland and good manners. They are also home to an abundance of natural attractions, dynamic seasons, and star-filled skies. Their official model is “Fields of Opportunities,” painting a clear picture of the states low-cost of living, generous resources, and diverse population.

Nestled in the center of the Midwest, Iowa is cradled by six other U.S. states. It’s the birthplace of the world’ largest strawberry. What’s more, the state’s east and west borders are made up entirely of water. It is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east side and the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers on the west side. In addition to natural wonders and cultural attractions, Iowans have access to amazing in-home entertainment through satellite providers like Dish Network.

Read along to learn more about the Hawkeye State and everything it has to offer!

Des Moines, Iowa

With a growing population of over 200,000 residents, Des Moines is Iowa’s bustling capital city. While the city functions as a hub for many of the state’s industry leaders, it is also a popular vacation destination for people from around the world. While Iowa is known for its sprawling farmland, a small suburb outside of Des Moines just happens to the home of many of Facebook’s servers. On that note, Des Moines is also the birthplace of Pinterest’s founder, Ben Silbermann.

While Des Moines is the center of Central Iowa’s metropolitan area, but sure to stop by nearby cities like Altoona and Windsor Heights to experience even more enriching microcosms of the Midwest region. Altoona, for one, is home to several fashion outlets as well as the Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel. Meanwhile, Windsor Heights is home to Colby Park, a public outdoor space that welcomes people and their four-legged friends.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Botanical GardensThe Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens include an abundance of sustainable horticulture presented in the form of indoor gardens, lush conservatories, and outdoor landscapes. Visitors are welcome to indulge in the center’s lush plant collections or enjoy a light snack at the onsite Trellis Café. The gardens boast a large collection of donated bonsai trees, green and purple Coleus and Plectranthus sprouts, and colorful orchid hybrids.

The city’s Botanical Garden offers an enriching educational and entertaining experience. It’s open all seasons, ensuring that guests can experience the invigorating smells and sights of fresh seasonal blooms. Stop by and expand upon your knowledge of horticulture. One of the Gardens’ coolest and most popular attractions is the Corpse Flower, which weighs over 200 pounds, smells like death, and perishes after 36 hours.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Yet another popular pitstop, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park encompasses nearly 4 1/2 acres of downtown Des Moines. Sprawled across the manicured yet whimsical outdoor landscape are large sculpted works of art that were created by 22 of the nation’s most heralded artists. There are 29 pieces altogether. While visitors are welcome to schedule a guided tour, the carefully curated sculpture available for public enjoyment.

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is the perfect spot for an afternoon walk, though visitors are welcome to visit from sunrise to midnight. When you are there, be sure to seek out the fun shadows created by Mar di Suvero’s industrial creations and find inspiration in Keith Haring’s bright and energetic figures. Many of the pieces in the park are larger than life and offer a unique perspective of Iowa and the world beyond.

Blank Park Zoo

Rounding off our list of Des Moines attractions, the Blank Park Zoo offers an unlikely glimpse at some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Whether your group consists of curious kids or adults, this zoological park offers engaging hands-on education opportunities you won’t want to miss. Lions, tigers, pandas, and sea lions are just a few of the park’s most beloved inhabitants.

One of the things that sets Blank Park apart from other zoos is its focus on conservation. Blank Park employees Ugandan Chimpanzee Ambassadors that monitor the human impact on these majestic animals. They also host many endangered species and are responsible for conservation outreach.

After a long day exploring Des Moines, your couch will probably be calling your name! Of course, with a satellite provider like Dish Network, you can actually bring the entertainment home with you. Ranked number-one nationally in customer service by J.D. Power, Dish Network isn’t your average cable provider. While Iowa isn’t home to any major league sports teams, you can definitely catch the Drake Bulldogs or Iowa State Cyclones with Dish Network’s 24/7 Multi-Sport package.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa. It’s home to a long stretch of the Cedar River as well as a tight-knit yet diverse population. There are many unique attractions within this urban area, including a thriving art scene, countless restaurants, and entertainment for the whole family.

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa, about 100 miles northeast of Des Moines. Nearby metropolitan areas include Mount Vernon and Coggon.

National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library

One of the coolest places to visit in Cedar Rapids is the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (NCSML). This sprawling educational facility explores the history and culture of the Soviet Union. With expansive artifact collections and engaging research, it comes as no surprise that the NCSML is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Of course, there’s plenty of entertainment for visitors of all ages. Exhibits include Roma photography, immigrant stories of Iowans, and artifacts from Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution. Enjoy a comprehensive tour, make your very own screen-printed poster, and stop by the museum’s eclectic onsite gift shop.

Brucemore

Brucemore

Brucemore is yet another can’t-miss stop in this beautiful riverside city. Enjoy a guided tour of the historic brick mansion and learn more about Iowa’s 130 years of history. There are 21 fully refurbished rooms as well as expansive outdoor gardens. Each year the museum hosts a wide range of events, including live theatre, music, and festivities.

It’s hard to believe this expansive home was built for just $55,000. Of course, that much money went a long way in 1884. If you get the chance to explore this historically accurate site, be sure to prance across the Grant Wood Sleep Porch and perk your ears for a tune played out on the Skinner player pipe organ. The sights and sounds will be sure to transport you back to a time when Iowa was on the brink of expansion.

Iowa Masonic Library and Museum

Looking for a more enigmatic adventure? Cedar Falls just happens to be the home of the world’s first Masonic library. The Iowa Masonic Library and Museum offers a wealth of Masonic books and resources. The best part is that you don’t need to be a Mason to visit.

It’s worth noting that the current marble building was built in 1955. After years of rapid expansion, the original library proved to be too small. With 150,000 volumes of rare Masonic publications as well as additional Iowa-themed collections, the library is easy to get lost in. If books aren’t your cup of tea, there are also plenty of artifacts worth checking out.

With so much to see and explore, your bound to miss some of your favorite shows and television specials! Fortunately, Dish Network’s Hopper is an HD DVR program that enables you to pause, rewind, and record live TV Now you enjoy the nightlife of Cedar Falls without skipping out on the newest episode of Game of Thrones or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. What’s more, with 2,000 hours of recording space, there’s no need to argue about who gets the TV during primetime hours.

Davenport, Iowa

Yet another gorgeous riverside city, Davenport, Iowa, offers many interesting Hawkeye State attractions. Located along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, Davenport is a hub for entertainment and culture.

Davenport’s artsy and musical vibes are clear to see during the vibrant summer music festival season. If sports are more your thing, they are also home to a popular Class A minor-league baseball team, called the Quad City River Bandits. Whatever you are into, Davenport offers no shortage of all-ages entertainment.

Davenport is on the border of Iowa and Illinois, making it the largest member of the famous Quad Cities. The other cities in the group consisting of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island, Illinois. Yes, that’s five cities, not four! Go figure!

Figge Art Museum

One of the must-see attractions located in Davenport is the Figge Art Museum. Figge’s comprehensive Frank Lloyd Wright collection has put it on the art world’s map. However, it is worth noting that they also boast extensive Asian, Haitian, and Mexican Colonial collections.

Figge Art Museum offers family fun and entertainment. They even have an onsite cafe where visitors can grab lunch, snacks, wine, and coffee. Figge boasts art that ranges all the way from the 15th century to modern times. With 334 donated paintings making up the bulk of their permanent collection, it comes as no wonder Figge has been allowed to grow and thrive.

Putnam Museum and Science Center

Dive into the mysterious world of science at Davenport’s Putnam Museum and Science Center. This interactive space allows visitors to explore science, history, and the natural world. If you are traveling with young kids, be sure to check out the hands-on Uwe’ Warumi, or trading place, for an enjoyable afternoon of immersive learning.

Putnam is well-known for their community-engaging exhibits, such as “Race: Are We So Different” and “Back to the Jurassic”. They also pride themselves on their many in-house and outreach education programs for both children and adults.

Vander Veer Botanical Park

Vander Veer Botanical ParkWhen you are done at the Putnam Museum, stop by the Vander Veer Botanical Park for a tour of their miraculous outdoor gardens, greenhouses, and pond. You will find an extensive collection of plants and trees that date back as far as the early 1890s. Don’t forget to snap a photo in the Grand Allee or in front of the Stone Fountain located at its end. Keep in mind that the Vander Veer gardens are open all year long, offering everything from Azaleas in spring to Poinsettias in winter.

The park encompasses 33 acres of this Iowa city. It is located within Davenport’s Central Park. When you’re there, you’ll probably see many joggers and walkers enjoying the .9-mile walking lap. The park’s Municipal Rose Garden and Hosta Glade are just a few of the local favorites.

While Davenport is a wonderful place to explore, its always a good idea to have a backup plan during flood season. By purchasing an affordable television and internet bundle from Dish Network, you can indulge in some of your favorite programs from the comfort of your own home. As an added bonus, new customers get three free months of HBO®, Cinemax®, and Showtime®.

Sioux City, Iowa

Located in northwest Iowa, Sioux City is a cultural crossroads for the region around it. With plenty of educational museums and art spaces, the city’s cultural roots are plain to see. Sioux City is home to over 80,000 people, a population that is growing at a rapid rate.

Sioux City is located in the northwest region of Iowa. Nearby cities include Ames, Ankeny, and Bettendorf. Of course, Billings and Missoula, Montana are only a car ride away as well.

Stone State Park

Stone State Park is a lush nature reserve and nature center squared away within the Sioux City. Visitors can enjoy the park’s many trails, which are lined with noteworthy geological features, fauna, and flora. What’s more, visitors are welcome to reserve one of the park’s rustic cabins or campsites for an overnight stay any time between May and October. Picnics and outdoor recreation are also popular daytime activities enjoyed by the visitors of Stone State Park.

No matter what you choose to do, don’t miss the incredible displays located at the onsite Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. The nature center has several educational displays, including a scale model of a prairie, a 400-gallon freshwater aquarium, and many historical dioramas. In addition, the park has over 26 miles of equestrian, mountain bike, snowmobile, and hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.

Sergeant Floyd Monument

Sergeant Floyd Monument is an eye-catching 100-foot obelisk located on 23-acres of park land. The skyscraping obelisk is made out of local Kettle River sandstone. The sky-high monument marks the final resting place of Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr. For those who don’t know, Floyd was a member of the infamous Lewis and Clark Expedition. He also happens to have been the only member of the expedition to die along the journey.

The Sergeant Floyd Monument is a great place to learn more about early American exploration, pioneer journeys, and the areas original inhabitants. The park consists of a rich natural landscape that overlooks the Missouri River Valley.

Sioux City Public Museum

The Sioux City Public Museum is a state-of-the-art facility with loads of hands-on activities concerning local and regional history. There are programs for children and adults alike, including popular bring-your-own lunch events and engaging group tours. Not sure if you will enjoy the collections? The museum lets you look through the artifacts online.

Did we mention that admission is free? Also, the museum is split into three different locations, including the Public Museum, the Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center, and the Pierce Mansion. The Sergeant Floyd River Museum is a popular spot, as it is actually a dry-docked motor vessel called the M.V. Sergeant Floyd.

Floods Galore

Iowa FloodsWhile there are plenty of amazing places in Iowa, the Hawkeye state isn’t all fried dough and flowers. Runoff from rivers, increased precipitation, and harsh winters typically result in harsh, extensive flood seasons. As a matter of fact, the current flood season alone has turned 59 of Iowa’s 99 counties into declared disaster zones.

If floods aren’t enough to sway you away from this otherwise lush agricultural hub, the desolation blues may be. While urban Hawkeye State inhabitants may enjoy the rich cultural experiences of city life, the Iowan suburbs and towns beyond them are often incredibly rural and isolated.

While rural communities get a bad rap for their limited resources and lack of connection to the outside world, expanded home internet and television services have bridged the gap that once left them in the literal dust.

Iowa’s a lovely state, but the winters can be snowy and harsh. Why shut yourself in without any entertainment when you could lock in Dish Network’s low monthly rate? This satellite provider offers unique programming for all sorts of people. It’s not surprising that it was ranked number one by J.D. Power.

Home Services in Iowa

CenturyLink

If you are looking for a reliable internet, TV, or phone service in Iowa, CenturyLink is a popular and inexpensive option. They offer high-speed internet and cable bundles in many cities and towns throughout the state. Their rates are as low as $45 a month for 40 Mbps.

ViaSat

Another popular internet service in Iowa is ViaSat. ViaSat is a popular option for both urban and rural customers throughout Iowa. Internet plans start as low as $40 a month with free installation and 2-year guarantees. ViaSat is a popular internet provider for homeowners who live beyond the reach of traditional cable.

Dish Network

Dish NetworkDish Network is an extremely popular direct broadcast satellite home television and internet service. Dish Network provides customers with over 200 HD national and international channels. Not to mention, their on-demand library includes over 20,000 television shows and movies. On top of that, the company offers 24/7 customer support.

Not only does Dish Network have state-of-the-art award-winning HD and DVR technologies, but they offer several unique programming bundles that set them a bar above the competition. A few of Dish Network’s countless customer benefits include:

  • 24/7 sports coverage with the Multi-Sport Pack
  • DishLATINO Spanish and English programming
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Award-winning HD DVR compatible with Alexa-enabled devices

Call 1-855-289-5328 to learn more about Dish Network’s customer-pleasing programs and bundles!

Final Thoughts

The Hawkeye State is ripe with cultural and natural resources. With its many river valleys, Iowa is home to some of the country’s most fertile patches of farmland. Meanwhile, its cities boast a wealth of culture and art that represent people from around the world. Still, most residents will tell you that you will be welcomed by small-town hospitality and midwestern charm no matter where you settle in the state.

Of course, when long winters set in and seasonal flooding soaks the otherwise smile-lined streets, it’s nice to have a reliable television service to fall back on. Dish Network offers over 200 HD channels for you to enjoy.

Since the streets of Cedar Rapids and Des Moines are bound to beckon you at one time or another, Dish Network’s Hopper HD DVR is the technology that lets you record and playback hours upon hours of live TV. With 2,000 hours of recording time, you can record favorite shows, movies, and sporting events without having to delete a thing.

Nationally ranked number one in customer service by J.D. Power, Dish Network can make your Iowa home the favorite spot to catch playoff games and favorite programs. Whether you are enjoying Dish Network’s 20,000 TV shows and movies, deep-fried cheese curds, or a walk through the capital city’s botanical gardens, you’re sure to make the most of your adventure in the Hawkeye State!