What are the best farm-related attractions near Des Moines?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Michael Ream

Located in the heart of America’s corn and hog belt, Iowans are justifiably proud of their state’s agricultural output. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you get a glimpse of Iowa’s long farming history at Living History Farms, but if you really want to feel the farm dust under your shoes, head out to one of the many farms surrounding Des Moines that welcome visitors. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, many farms offer corn mazes, pumpkin patches, tractor rides, and other all-American fun. Check out Geisler Farms, Howell’s Pumpkin Patch, Patch’s Pumpkins, and Pumpkinville, each of which has its own unique attractions, including a pumpkin cannon!
Another way to see Iowa’s farms, as well as the flat, wide-open landscape that surrounds them, is via RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across the state. Every July, thousands of cyclists come from all over to ride from “river to river,” dipping their rear tire in the Missouri, pedaling across the state, and then dipping their front tire in the Mississippi. The route changes every year, but always runs through small towns and farming communities that welcome cyclists with stands purveying food and drink. Nighttime means a giant campout and entertainment from some top national acts, including Counting Crows, Smash Mouth and Barenaked Ladies.

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