10 Free Iowa Attractions for a Day trip from Omaha

Western Iowa Has Plenty of Attractions to Please All

Need a day trip get-away?  Things to see and do within 60 minutes of Omaha?
Kids need some summertime entertainment?
Load up and head east on I-80.

Visit these family friendly attractions in Western, Iowa.
Be sure to click on links for additional attractions and information.

Shelby, Iowa

1. Agri-Symbol Park with the World’s Largest Corn Stalk
Address: 12 East Street Shelby, Iowa
Exit 34 off I-80 East-NW side of highway, next to gas station
76-foot structure (Agricultural symbol) represents corn, beef and pork produced in this area. You will also find a paved Old Stone Arch Nature walking trail around a lake, sitting benches, a picnic table, gazebo and a must-visit Corn Crib Restaurant/convenience store filled with antiques.

Avoca, Iowa

Town named after Avoca in Ireland. Known for turret architecture.

Visit:

Farmall-Land USA $
Address: 2101 North Lavista Heights Road Avoca, Iowa
International Harvester (IH) collection of retired dealer.

April through October. Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday Noon-5 pm. The museum is closed on Monday. From November through early April, the museum operates on winter hours with tours available by appointment only. Admission fee is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 13-18, $3 for ages 5-12 and free for under age 5.

2. Spider Bug
Address: Intersection of South Chestnut and West Washington in Avoca, IA
Visit and take photos, keeping in mind this attraction is on private property.

 

Danish Villages

The two largest Danish rural settlements in the USA are in Elkhorn & Kimballton, Iowa. Elkhorn is off Interstate 80, Exit 54-6 miles north.

3. Danish Windmill

Address:  4038 Main Street Elkhorn, Iowa

This windmill is the only authentically operating Danish Windmill in the USA.

There is a $3 fee to watch 15-minute video and tour the 60-foot working mill where you can climb to the top to see the grinding stones and watch the sails (being repaired early May 2018).

There is no fee to visit the Danish import retail shop and see the 4. Tiny Morning Star Chapel built by a Danish immigrant to Iowa or the scale replica of the village of Ebeltoft, Denmark.
Electric car charging stations are available.
The Tivoli Fest is held each Memorial Day Weekend while the Julefest happens on Thanksgiving Weekend.
Call ahead for Elk Horn restaurant hours. Most closed on early May Monday.

Old Danish Workshop $
Gene Thomsen’s incredible woodworking talent is on display at his shop across the parking lot from the Windmill. Stop in. Visit. Purchase a piece of his work.
For an appointment, call Gene at 712.249.5983.

Kimballton, Iowa

5. The Little Mermaid and Hans Christen Andersen Park
Address: 310 North Main Steet Kimballton, Iowa
East side of north Main Street south of Highway 44, Three miles from Elk Horn.
This park honors Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” fairytale with a replica of the famous Little Mermaid statue of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Troy Muller, Art Director of New Century Art Guild in Kimballton, designed and created eight sculptures based on short stories written by Hans Christian Andersen.
To hear a 3-minute summary of each fairytale, you can call 712-773-4267 (HANS).
The Little Mermaid Park also includes the Audubon County Freedom Rock.

Hamlin, Iowa

Darrell’s Place Restaurant $
Address: 4010 First Street Hamlin, Iowa
Family owned business since 1980
Voted #1 Breaded Pork Tenderloin by the Iowa Pork Producers
Homemade pies and ice cream sandwiches, the best!

Audubon, Iowa

Address: I-80, Exit 60 North on Highway 71 for 16 miles
Half-way point between Omaha, NE and Des Moines, IA.

6. T-Bone Trail is 20 plus miles of trail suitable for walking, biking and hiking.
This Trail is a portion of the route of the CROSS–USA “American Discovery Trail,” a proposed biking and hiking route from Delaware to Oregon.
The Trail head in Audubon is at 7“Albert the Bull” Park.
Address: East Division Street-seen from Highway 71 on your right coming into town from the south.
Albert, a Hereford bull, is a tribute to the nation’s beef industry, standing 30 feet tall and weighing 45 tons.
The Park includes a water park, playground, camping and picnic areas.

8. John James Audubon (City Square)
This picturesque park includes a John James Audubon statue, stage, picnic areas, and bird mosaic tiles.

9. Plow in the Oak Roadside Park

Address: US Highway 71, Exira, Iowa
I-80 Exit 60, North on Highway 71 for 6 miles. On West side of road (Easy to miss)
This attraction sits along the highway in front of multi-story log style home.
There is a picnic table by the attraction. Outdoor restrooms are present.

Different tales have been told as to how the plow got in the burr oak tree.

10. Scenic Overlook of Two States

Climb 72 steps to the top of this wooden tower, providing fabulous vistas of both Iowa and Nebraska. Accessible only I-680 Westbound near Honey Creek, Iowa. Two miles east of I-29.

 

 

 

 

Bonus Links

Visit Western Iowa
Audubon County, Iowa

Audubon County, Iowa Tourism

Museum of Danish America in Elkhorn, Iowa

Genealogy Center in Elkhorn, Iowa

High Trestle Trail Bridge near Madrid, IA [More than a 60 minute drive from Omaha.]

 

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.

©Copyright. May 2018. Linda Leier Thomason

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