Adair County is a destination for people wanting to experience the bounty and beauty of rural Iowa in the state’s Garden County. The Wallace Country Life Center highlights the passion that Henry A. Wallace had for innovative and quality farm production and boasts a beautiful landscape of outdoor sculptures and restored prairie. There’s plenty of nature to explore and outdoor recreation to be had at places like the Sidey Nature Area, Middle River Forest Area, and the Lake Orient Recreation Area among many other things to do in Adair County in Iowa. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Jesse James Historical Site, Adair County, Iowa

Jesse James Historical Site, Adair County, Iowa
© Joaquin Corbalan/

The Jesse James Historical Site in Adair County is the site of the first train robbery in the American West. This area has had passing trains since the railroad’s earliest day. In July of 183, the infamous outlaw Jesse James found out about a massive shipment of gold passing through Iowa. The train’s cargo was worth a total of $75,000, which was quite a sum during that time. Jesse James and his gang scouted the area and planned their historic train heist. Unfortunately, for them, the gold was delayed, but they still made off with over $3,000.

1469 State Hwy 925, Adair, IA 50002

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2.Adair County Fair, Adair County, Iowa

Adair County Fair, Adair County, Iowa
© Adair County Fair

Located in the city of Greenfield, the Adair County Fair takes place every year, beginning on the third Wednesday of July, and is one of the main events year for the area. In addition to a number of live music performances, the county fair also hosts a variety of other events and attractions, such as a rodeo, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derby, and a lumberjack show among others. The Adair County Fair also features several FFA and 4-H events, youth activities, and fair vendors throughout the multi-day fair. Camping is also allowed at the county fair in designated areas.

900 NE Elm St, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-743-2856

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3.The Ken Sidey Nature Area, Adair County, Iowa

The Ken Sidey Nature Area, Adair County, Iowa
© naka/

Situated around 2.5 miles outside of Greenfield, the Ken Sidey Nature Area is more than one hundred acres of timberland and offers three miles of trails. The area is the site where Kenneth H. Sidey, who wrote columns for the Adair County Free Press newspaper in the 1930’s and 1940’s called “Nature Notes,” used to hike and gather information for his writings. The Ken Sidey Nature Area is actually part of a larger four-park complex in Adair County, which also consists of Lake Greenfield, Land between Two Lakes, and Nodaway Lake. The entire complex provides ten miles of trails for hiking.

2521 Lewis Ave, Greenfield, IA 50849

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4.Middle River Forest Area - Adair County

Middle River Forest Area - Adair County
© kichigin19/

The Middle River Forest Area of Adair County in Iowa is a 38-acre park with access to the Middle River, walk-in primitive tent campsites, and a hiking trail. Located in Dexter, the forest area acts as a trailhead for the Middle River Water Trail, which offers opportunities for several recreational activities, such as wildlife viewing, canoeing, hiking, and fishing. There is also a canoe access ramp. The major fish species found in the Middle River Forest Area are carp and channel catfish, however, other fish like walleye, bullhead, and flathead catfish can be found in the area as well.

3234 200th Street, Dexter, IA 50070

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5.Lake Orient Recreation Area - Adair County

Lake Orient Recreation Area - Adair County
© New Africa/

Home to the 24-acre Lake Orient, the Lake Orient Recreation Area offers outdoor recreation for all ages and features a walking trail, a playground, shelter houses, modern restrooms and shower house, campsites with water and electrical hookups, and fishing opportunities. A marker can be found in the area commemorating Henry A. Wallace, who was born nearby and served as United States Secretary of Agriculture, United States Secretary of Commerce, and United States Vice President. While the park is open year-round, electric and water service at the campground, as well as the restroom/shower house facility, is only open May to September.

Orient, IA 50858

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6.Adair County Heritage Complex/Museum

Adair County Heritage Complex/Museum
© Greenfield Chamber Main Street

The Adair County Heritage Museum, established in 1986, is a complex measuring five acres dedicated to the display and preservation of Adair County’s history. Situated at the western edge of Greenfield, Iowa, the Adair County Historical Society-operated museum complex consists of eight different buildings surrounded by native wildflowers and grasses. These buildings reflect the history of the county and house an array of historical artifacts and displays. Open daily in the afternoon from May through October, the Adair County Heritage Museum features a main museum building, recreational cabin, century-old country church, railroad depot, one-room school, agricultural history museum, and more.

2393 Lakeview Dr, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-743-2232

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7.Bridgewater Farm, Adair County, Iowa

Bridgewater Farm, Adair County, Iowa
© Bridgewater Farm

A certified organic, small family farm, the Bridgewater Farm offers a variety of organic fresh produce, meats, and aggs in the town of Bridgewater, Iowa. The mission of the farm is to provide the local community and surrounding area with a local, sustainable food source and Bridgewater Farm takes pride in being able to offer multiple food options to people every year. Among the numerous types of produce available at the farm, crops include peppers, peas, pumpkins, onions, potatoes, leeks, kale, herbs, corn, grapes, garlic, greens, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, cantaloupe, cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, broccoli, beets, beans, asparagus, and apples.

2409 Brown Ave, Bridgewater, IA 50837, Phone: 641-745-5368

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8.Greenfield Public Square Historic District

Greenfield Public Square Historic District
© Anna Efetova/

The Greenfield Public Square Historic District of Greenfield, Iowa is an area of Adair County with local Criterion A significance. 43 of 45 resources within this historic district are directly related to commercial development from the year 1856 to 1869, starting with the town’s platting in 1856 with the Lancaster square and ending with the picturesque square being selected as a film location for “Cold Turkey” in 1969. These historic buildings housed the amenities, services, and goods that were vital to the growing community of Greenfield. The Adair County Courthouse is the Public Square’s centerpiece, encircled by commercial buildings.

Public Square, Greenfield, IA, Phone: 641-743-8444

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9.Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center

Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center
© The Wallace Centers of Iowa

The Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center in Orient, Iowa is the birthplace farm of Henry A. Wallace and offers self-guided tours seven days of week. Born in 1888, Wallace served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Vice President, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 1999, he was named as the “Most Influential Iowan of the 20th Century” by The Des Moines Register. Visitors can explore forty acres of the Wallace farm, produce and orchard gardens, the sculpture walking path, a pond and restored Iowa prairie, the Gathering Barn, and the Restored Farmhouse featuring a gift shop.

2773 290th Street, Orient, IA, Phone: 641-337-5019

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10.Iowa Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame

Iowa Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame
© scentrio/

Housed at the Greenfield Municipal Airport, the Iowa Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame is a facility dedicated to preserving the aviation heritage of Iowa. Started in 1990, before the museum was opened, the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame was established to honor Iowa native who have significantly contributed to aviation’s growth and the museum features a tribute for each of the inductees. There are nearly a dozen civil aircrafts on display at the museum, including a few rare examples of earlier flying machines from the 1920’s through the 1940’s, such as the 1941 de Havilland Tiger Moth.

2251 Airport Rd, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-343-7184

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11.Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm

Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm
© scharfsinn86/

The Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm in the Adair County city of Greenfield is operated as a satellite farm of Iowa’s Armstrong Research Farm. The beginnings of this farm date back to the formation of the Wallace Foundation in 1990, which was founded to enhance agricultural education and research within southwest Iowa. In 1994, the Neely-Kinyon Research Farm was established after Margaret and Wayne Neely donated a farm measuring 160 acres in size. The farm today demonstrates and researches alternative approaches to agriculture. 40 quarter-acre plots in a block of 17 acres at the farm is dedicated to agricultural research.

2557 Norfolk Ave, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-435-4864

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12.Saints Center for Culture and the Arts

Saints Center for Culture and the Arts
© Saints Center for Culture and the Arts

The Saints Center for Culture and the Arts, formerly the historic All Saints Church, is a public gathering place for the local community of Stuart, Iowa and hosts conferences, family gatherings, weddings, school events, concerts, and many other events and activities. Housed within the Saints Center is a museum featuring interactive kiosks with information about the various religions in the world, explained in an unbiased non-promotional format. During the self-guided video tour, visitors can learn more about Chinese Traditional, Indigenous, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity reglions, as well as Non-Religions. The goal is to foster respect for other religions.

320 N Fremont St, Stuart, IA 50250, Phone: 515-205-6202

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13.Schildberg Antique Car Collection

Schildberg Antique Car Collection
© Mariusz Blach/

The Schildberg Antique Car Collection is a museum of antique cars in Greenfield, Iowa. This small, yet varied antique car collection comes from Dennis Schildberg, an auto restorer and collector from the local area who needed a place to house his extensive collection. Schildberg, along with his wife Marlene, began collecting cars during the early 1960’s and built a collection of more than fifteen antique vehicles. The Schildberg Antique Car Collection exhibit is open to the public by appointment, as well as used in community events. Those visiting the collection should plan on spending around an hour at the museum.

107 E Iowa St, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 515-327-9213

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14.Sixteen Oaks Event Center

Sixteen Oaks Event Center
© Sixteen Oaks Event Center

The Sixteen Oaks Event Center in Fontanelle, Iowa is an event venue boasting beautiful grounds and spacious architecture providing a climate-controlled space for events with as many as 400 people. Situated on approximately forty acres of a family farm in Adair County, Sixteen Oaks offers all of the expected modern conveniences of an event venue, yet still retains its country atmosphere. A large portion of the farm’s original, century-old barn has been salvaged and recreated inside of the center’s new structure. The grounds offer plenty of photo opportunities as well, such as the natural, tree-covered amphitheater and the vineyard.

1308 Main St, Fontanelle, IA 50846, Phone: 641-745-5087

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15.Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: Warren Cultural Center

Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: Warren Cultural Center
© Warren Cultural Center

Located in the Historic Greenfield Square, the Warren Cultural Center is a community destination for commerce, culture, and art. Stage shows presented at the center include both local talent and national touring acts., showcasing the performing arts and its diversity within an intimate, beautiful setting. A visual arts display featuring artwork by professionals and students can be seen in the Lobby Gallery, while Ed & Eva’s offers original artwork from around 100 Iowa artists available for purchase. The Gallery is open during events and regular operating hours and is free to the general public. Spaces can also be rented for private events.

154 Public Square, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-343-7337

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16.Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: The Original Freedom Rock

Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: The Original Freedom Rock
© The Original Freedom Rock

The Original Freedom Rock in Adair County, Iowa was established in 1999 and is a huge boulder weighing over sixty tons that’s repainted each year with a different “Thank You” to honor veterans in the United States and thank them for their service to the country. Inspired by the film “Saving Private Ryan,” artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II wanted to give a unique recognition to veterans on Memorial Day. Sorensen paints the iconic Freedom Rock every year on his own through the support of friends, family, and donations. The artist has also painted many murals throughout the country.

1199 IA-25, Menlo, IA 50164, Phone: 641-343-7110

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17.Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: Hotel Greenfield

Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa: Hotel Greenfield
© Hotel Greenfield

Built back in the year 1919, the Hotel Greenfield first opened in the Greenfield community in 1920 and its lobby still looks much like it did more than one hundred years ago. The entrance, windows, pocket doors, staircase, brick, front desk, woodwork, and tile are all original features of the building. The Hotel Greenfield is rich in history and has been used over the years for several historic events. Today, guests can stop by the HG Loungeseven days a week from 7:00am until 2:00am. The full-service lounge serves a variety of domestic and local beverages.

110 E Iowa St, Greenfield, IA 50849, Phone: 641-221-0034

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17 Best Things to Do in Adair County, Iowa

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