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Iowa State Capitol

Indoor Free
Historic Sites, School Trip, Educational, Historical
1007 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA
URL: Iowa State Capitol  Phone: 515-281-5591

Activity Overview

The Iowa State Capitol is a historic landmark and government building located in Des Moines, Iowa. This iconic building is the only five-domed capitol in the United States, and is known for its beautiful central dome that is covered in 23-karat gold.

The Iowa State Capitol sits atop a large hill, making it visible throughout the city. As a result, it provides impressive views of Des Moines and the surrounding areas for visitors. In addition to being a fascinating architectural site, it's also a great attraction for families who want to learn more about Iowa's history.

Things to Do

  • Explore the building and look at its remarkable architectural features. Its most famous aspects include the impressive interior of the golden dome and the beautiful rotunda beneath it, the marble grand staircase, and the large Corinthian columns on the building's exterior.
  • Look at the paintings placed throughout the building. They include Westward, a large mural that represents how people came to live in Iowa.
  • If your kids love dolls, make sure they see the Capitol's porcelain doll collection in the south hall. They depict over 40 Iowa First Ladies in replicas of their inaugural gowns. New dolls are added each time Iowa has a new First Lady, making it a great way to learn about past and present fashion trends!
  • Head to the west hall if your children are fascinated by ships. There are a number of great displays in this area, including a model of the USS Iowa battleship which weighs over 1,300 pounds!

Iowa State Capitol Insider Tips

  • Don't miss the many monuments and memorials that surround the outside of the building. One of the most famous works of art is Lincoln and Tad, a bronze statue which depicts President Lincoln with his youngest son Tad. It is the only sculpture of Lincoln that portrays him in a fatherly way.
  • Go on a free guided tour of the Iowa State Capitol. It's a great way for the entire family to learn more about this fascinating building and the artifacts inside it, as well as how the Iowa state government functions.
  • Stop by the gift shop at the end of your visit to buy an Iowa-themed souvenir.

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