Located in Story County, Iowa, Ames is a great weekend getaway from Des Moines, just 30 miles away. You will not want to miss Reiman Gardens, especially in the spring and during the fall foliage season. The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens is home to 800 live butterflies. Iowa State University is renowned for its engineering, agriculture, design, and veterinary medicine colleges. Other great attractions in Ames include the Brunnier Art Museum, the Octagon Center for the Arts, and the Textile and Clothing Museum.


We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens
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Reiman Gardens covers 17 acres and is dedicated to the education and appreciation of plants and butterflies. For over 100 years, this university-owned public garden has been a part of the Iowa State University campus.

The garden contains a wide variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs. Some are native to Iowa and others have been imported from all over the world. The site also houses the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, which contains 80 species of live butterflies. Guided tours for adults and children are available. Special lectures and activities can also be added to the tour for an additional fee.

Intersection of University Blvd. and S. 16th St. Ames, IA 50011, Phone: 515-294-2710


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2.Brunnier Art Museum, Ames, Iowa

Brunnier Art Museum, Ames, Iowa
© Brunnier Art Museum

Founded in 1975 by Henry J. and Ann Brunnier, the Brunnier Art Museum is located inside the Iowa State Center on the Iowa State University Campus. The ISU contains the largest collection of public art on any campus in the United States as well as four campus art museums.

The Brunnier Museum contains a large and ever-changing collection of decorative art objects and paintings, sculptures, textiles, prints, silver objects, and furniture. Admission is free. A donation is suggested.

295 Scheman Building 1805 Center Drive Ames, IA 50011


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3.McFarland Park, Ames, Iowa

McFarland Park, Ames, Iowa
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Just north of Ames stands the 200-acre McFarland Park. Visitors to this park can explore a variety of habitats, including prairie and woodlands. The park contains picnic areas, a youth camping site, 5.5 miles of trails for hiking and cycling, and a 6.5-acre lake stocked with fish.

The “Touch-A-Life” trail takes visitors past a variety of plant life and onto a deck overlooking the lake. There is even an observatory supervised by the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers. The park is open all year round until 10 pm daily.



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4.Boone County Historical Society, Ames, Iowa

Boone County Historical Society, Ames, Iowa
© Boone County Historical Society


The Boone County Historical Society is four museums in one! Visitors to Boone County can start their journey through the past at the Historical Center. They will learn about the natural history of the county and of the importance of the railroad and the military to the area.

They can also visit the childhood home of first lady Mamie Eisenhower and the small railway depot and park dedicated to local heroine Kate Shelley. Finally, visitors can view the Hickory Grove School, a one-room schoolhouse that has been restored and furnished with period-specific books, tools, and desks. Museum hours vary by site.

602 Story Street Boone, IA 50036, Phone: 515-432-1907


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5.Things to Do in Ames, Iowa: Stephens Auditorium

Things to Do in Ames, Iowa: Stephens Auditorium
© Stephens Auditorium


The Stephens Auditorium was built in 1969 on the campus of Iowa State University. The goal of its benefactor, Clifford Y. Stephens, was to foster an appreciation for the performing arts in the university’s students. Today, the complex also contains a sports arena and theatre.

The auditorium hosts a variety of performing arts acts, including dance, musicals, concerts, and plays. Stephens is home to the ISU theatre and music departments, but also hosts acts from around the world. Information about upcoming shows can be found on the auditorium’s website. Tickets can be purchased at the website or at the ticket office.

Corner of Lincoln Way and University Blvd. Iowa State University Ames, IA 50011, Phone: 1-877-THE-CENTER


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6.Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa

Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa
© Octagon Center for the Arts

Experience the arts in downtown Ames! The Octagon Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art and supporting artists in the area. The center includes exhibits on art and artifacts that change throughout the year as well as a gallery shop where customers can view and purchase items made by local artists.

Items in the gallery include clothing and textiles, paintings, photographs, and pottery. The Octagon Center also offers special art classes for children and adults and art-themed events throughout the year.

427 Douglas Ave Ames, IA 50010, Phone: 515-232-5331



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7.Textile and Clothing Museum

Textile and Clothing Museum
© Textile and Clothing Museum

Part of the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences, the Textile and Clothing Museum grew out of a small collection used to help teach students. Today, the museum is made up of three separate collections which contain over 9,500 unique items dating from the Roman period to the present day.

These items represent clothing styles from the Midwest to the rest of the United States and all over the world. The museum’s textiles are still used as teaching tools, but are also open for the public to view. Things to Do in Iowa

603 Morrill Rd Ames, IA 50011, Phone: 515-294-4999


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8.Things to Do in Ames, Iowa: Torrent Brewing Company

Things to Do in Ames, Iowa: Torrent Brewing Company
© Torrent Brewing Company

The Torrent Brewing Company was founded by Ames homebrewer Andy McCormick. Today, Torrent occupies a large former warehouse building and serves a variety of brews from their taproom. Guests can sample a 5 oz. brew for only $2.00, and flights of four-beer samples are only $8.00.

The brewery also sells inexpensive snacks, such as popcorn and candy, and offers games such as foosball and pool. Guests can bring in their own food if they want a larger meal. Special events such as concerts are sometimes held here. Torrent is open Wednesday through Sunday, with hours varying by day.

504 Burnett Ave Ames, IA 50010, Phone: 515-233-3155


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9.Alluvial Brewing Company, Ames, Iowa

Alluvial Brewing Company, Ames, Iowa
© Alluvial Brewing Company

The Alluvial Brewing Company was started on a small farm in Franklin Township, north of Ames. Their goal is to create quality craft brews with great taste while celebrating all things Iowa. Alluvial’s beers incorporate unusual ingredients such as rye, dry-hopped sour, coffee, maple, and roasted peanuts.

The result is a truly unique taste experience. Their public taproom is located on the farm and encourages social drinking and relaxation. Guests can drink outside while strolling the farm’s grounds, or come inside for a brew and a board game.

3715 West 190th St Ames, IA 50014, Phone: 515-337-1182


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10.Brookside Park, Ames, Iowa

Brookside Park, Ames, Iowa
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Brookside Park is a beautifully landscaped park located in Ames, Iowa. The park contains lots of open green space full of tall trees, lovely flowers, and shrubs. Squaw Creek runs through the park, and a walking trail winds through the property and over the creek. Park amenities include picnic shelters and tables, grill spots, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds.

There is even a skate park and a wading pool for young children. Brookside Park is open daily until 5 pm. Shelter houses can be rented out by calling the park directly.

1325 6th St Ames, IA 50010, Phone: 515-239-5350


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10 Best Things to Do in Ames, Iowa



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