Family Fun Getaway to Des Moines - Day Three

Monday, July 31, 2023

 It's our final day in Des Moines. It was an overcast morning, with a chance of rain later in the afternoon, but that didn't stop us from heading to the Blank Park Zoo. The original children's zoo, Des Moines Children Zoo, opened in May of 1966. It was designed around a nursey rhyme theme featuring a castle with a moat, Noah's Ark, and an animal petting area. In 1982, the zoo closed for renovation and reopened in 1986 as the Blank Park Zoo. This all new 22 acre zoo was no longer considered a children's zoo. And since its reopening, there have been several larger additions made such as the seal and sea lion pool and a major expansion to include Jamaa Kwa Africa. And the newest exhibit is the Alpaca Acres which opened in May of this year. Come along for a tour of the Blank Park Zoo!

As we make our way to David Kruidenier's Australia Adventure, we found beautiful flamingos! These stately pink birds are some of my favorites. Did you know that flamingos are born white? It isn't until they are adults, and from the nutrients found in their diet, that they turn their familiar pink hues. These graceful creatures are simply stunning!

This little otter was so playful and had us all entertained! A swimmer, explorer, and showman as it splashed around the exhibit. The otter had us all moving back and forth to keep an eye on his every move. 

Inside Australia Adventure, Wallaby were everywhere! And they were on the move. 

We saw some of the most beautiful birds!

Penguins, sea lions, tortoises, monkeys and more....

The Alpaca Acres is an extra fee. It's $6 for non members, $5 for members, and it's $2 a cup to feed the animals. They are sweet, and furry, and very photogenic. We really loved hanging out with them for a bit.

The lions were massive, the giraffes tall. The zebras had stripes and the baboons fought. Like the Simon and Garfunkel song goes, "It's all happening at the zoo."

After the zoo, we drove to find the Jordan House. The Jordan House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as it was a stopover on the Underground Railroad. Freedom Seekers would hide out in the fields, outhouses, and barns of the property. Owner James Jordan was considered the "chief conductor" for Polk County. In addition to assisting the freedom seekers, the Jordan House was also open to travelers seeking accommodations on their way out west. It was also a gathering place for local politicians and business leaders. Jordan became a business man and prominent civic leader within Polk County. The Jordan Home remained in the family for nearly a century, but was sold in 1947 to the Church of the Nazarene. In 1978, the West Des Moines Historical Society purchased the home to renovate it as a period home and create the existing museum.

I would have loved to take the time to tour the home, but it is an hour plus guided tour only available on Friday's and Sunday's. They have two different tour times, 11:00 and 1:00, and they require a 24 hour notice. The tours are $5. If you would like more information on this museum, head here

The rain began falling while we were walking the zoo, but it was nothing but a slight drizzle. As we were leaving, the rain picked up. By the time we took the photos of the Jordan Zoo, the rain had settled in. It was nearly 1:30 and we needed to get back on the road. Again, it's a nearly three and a half hour road trip. And we didn't want to get tangled up in five o'clock traffic! A quick pit stop to grab lunch and we were headed home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our family fun getaway to Des Moines. Thank you so much to the city for having us! We will definitely be back as there is still some things on our to-do list! If you get a chance, make sure you Catch Des Moines! 



*This was a sponsored post, but all photos and comments are my own.

Family Fun Getaway to Des Moines - Day Two

Monday, July 24, 2023

 It's day two in Des Moines and I need coffee! Lots of coffee! After an amazingly fun first day, I woke up exhausted! Anyone else do that on vacation? After running down to grab coffee, and some breakfast for the fellas, we were fueled up and ready to take on day two. We spent the entire day at Adventureland Resort and I can't wait to share more on this amusement park that is packed to the gill with fun!

Adventureland Resort opened in 1974 and has grown to more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions, adding two new rides this season. They offer Adventure Bay (a water park), the Adventureland Inn and campground, and the amusement park which is all on property. They offer stay and play packages, if you chose to stay on site, but a regular day ticket is just under $45 when purchased online prior to your visit. (When purchased at the park, the ticket is just under $70.) They even offer cabana rentals within Adventure Bay! Get all pricing details here. And I'm not sure if this is normal, but the line to get inside the park was long! I mean long! We did go the week of July 4th, so people could still have been on vacation with the holiday in play, but the Adventureland crew had everything under control and the line moved smoothly and we got in sooner than I thought. Allow for that when you arrive. I should also mention that parking is easy. 

A large courtyard that features a train station greets you at the opening gates just like that of Disney World. And the oversized downtown buildings, once inside the park, made me nostalgic for Disney! And the grand carousel is right in the middle of parks entrance as well. Remember that crowd I was telling you about waiting in line to get in? I swear they all disappeared the minute we walked into the park. I never felt crowded and could walk main street and grab video without anyone in my frame. Once outside of Main Street, the fun truly began!

We hit up the brand new Flying Viking rollercoaster. For a brand new ride, the line wasn't as long as I expected and moved seamlessly. We got first car on our first ride and it was awesome! Smooth as silk. Perfect for the rollercoaster novice and expert alike, the Flying Viking was the perfect way to start our journey around the park. Next up was Tornado. Tornado is a wooden coaster that entered the park in 1978. It got its name from the tornado that rolled through Altoona, delaying the grand opening. In true wooden rollercoaster form, it was a little rough but manageable. The first drop was the biggest of the ride and the rest was hilly and twisty and awesome! McKinley and I loved it and added it to our top ten rides to date. 

The next wooden rollercoaster we tackled was the Outlaw. This intense coaster was just that! Large drops, sharp turns, and shaking your body during the whole ride. I was sure I would have bruises on one of my hips! I didn't. We rode it later in the day as well, but by the time I finished my second ride, I was sure I was done riding this one. If you are not a fan of the rough wooden coaster, this could be your one and done. McKinley felt the same way. Outlaw Gulch was a very fun western inspired town and where we had lunch. Hot dogs, fries, and soft drinks all the way around. We sat at a picnic table under a large wooden structure and had a birds eye view of those riding Outlaw. There is also a fun water ride called the Saw Mill Splash right next to the Outlaw. And splash it did! We didn't feel like getting super wet on our trip, but had it been a hotter afternoon, we might have changed our mind. And McKinley chose to ride the Chuck Wagon, a cute Ferris wheel inspired ride. Outlaw Gulch was a fun pocket of the park.

Want to play games? There are so many to choose from! Standard fair games, arcade style, and so many prizes! Big and small, there is truly something for every child. We partook in Skee Ball, a fun bowling ball strategy game, a version of Plinko, a water target game, and a pick a duck game. Everyone wins on that one! 

We rode all the classics like the Parachutes, the carousel, Bernie's Swing is an oversized swing, airplanes, and the kiddie version of a slingshot ride called the Lighthouse. If you get to the Adventureland this summer, let your kids ride it's. This is the last year for this fun lowkey thrill ride. 

We took a small break and strolled down Main Street. We were in needed of a treat and decided that ice cream sounded best and stepped inside of Main Street Creamery. It's modeled after an old fashion ice cream shop complete with shiny red vinyl booths. We had a chocolate scoop in a waffle cone, McKinley's first. And now a waffle cone is the only acceptable housing for ice cream. I don't blame him. But the parlor was freezing so we opted for a seat along the sidewalk. And I much prefer outdoor seating. You can people watch and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing amusement park. 

After ice cream, we played one more game and decided to call it a day. But not before we took one last ride on the Flying Viking. You've got to ride the new coaster as many times as you can! And you can't leave the park without taking a ride on the A-Line train. A quick little trip around the park before leaving. Oh, and we snagged some souvenirs from the Adventureland Store. An Adventureland tee for McKinley and a hilarious version for Joel. Adventureland Amusement Park far exceeded our expectations! This park, though small, was mighty! The amount of rides in one space was incredible and there was truly a ride for all size riders. We felt as though there were more rides suitable for who aren't really into the mega rides like Monster and Dragon Slayer. We wish that our own hometown park had as many options as Adventureland. The park was unbelievably clean and the staff was friendly. All things that add up to an incredible fun family getaway! 

But our day isn't really over. We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and decide on what to do for dinner. To be honest, no one really wanted to leave. But, if we didn't, we would have been asleep by 6:00 and that wouldn't have been good for anyone. So, we changed to add some layers, it was a chilly evening, and headed out to the Truman's KC Pizza Tavern. 

Truman's KC Pizza Tavern is located in downtown Des Moines and it's truly like being back in Kansas City. Seriously! We drove three hours to getaway and we wound up surrounded by everything Kansas City Chiefs. I'm not kidding! The interior has framed autographed jerseys and tables coated with photos of Arrowhead and other KC notable locations. Out on the patio, which is where we sat, Chiefs flags fly. There are other KC teams referenced, but Chiefs Kingdom is definitely represented. And no, the owner does not have Kansas City ties. He just happens to be a huge fan.

With Truman's being a pizza tavern, we ordered just that! A personal cheese pizza for McKinley and a special order one for us. We always go for pepperoni, black olives, and mushroom. So good! It's thin crust style pizza and it was just what we needed after a day of fun. And I had to go for some local Iowa brewed beer. I am a light pilsner or Blue Moon girl. I was able to sample a couple and landed on Ruthie, Iowa's #1 craft lager brewed by Exile Brewery out of Des Moines. If I could have take some home, I would have! It's definitely number one for a reason! And you can't have a vacation meal without finishing it off with dessert. Again, we walked a lot earlier in the day. McKinley and I ordered the Fudgey Brownies which were two molten ganache filled brownies with whipped cream and powdered sugar. O-M-G! They were divine! A recipe I need to try and recreate.

Once back at the hotel, McKinley decided he needed to get a swim in before we left the next day. I don't know where he gets the energy. Maybe it was the brownies! Joel and I sat at a nearby table and talked about the day. He still talks about Adventureland. He was so impressed. As was I. We had yet another jam packed day of fun.

So what did day three, our final day in Des Moines, have in store for us? Come back next week to find out more!!



*This is a sponsored post, but all photos and comments are my own. 

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