Iowa Ag-Venture & the Iowa State Fair

Enjoy the best agricultural experiences Iowa has to offer. Take in a cattle show, try your hand at woodworking and help out with farm chores.

This getaway is sponsored by the Iowa State Fair, held annually in August.

Iowa State Fair, Des Moines

At the Animal Learning Center, learn about the animal birthing process, witness a live birth or hold a newborn piglet. Next, visit the Agriculture Building, home to agricultural commodities, an apiary exhibit and the World Famous Butter Cow. As you head south on Rock Island Avenue, stop in the Livestock Pavilion and watch the finest livestock compete for the coveted blue ribbon.

Head to the Dairy Parlor where you can watch the process of fresh cow's milk become ice cream. Continue to the Cattle Barn to see the Super Bull, often weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds. Next door you'll find the Swine Barn and the Big Boar. In the northwest corner of the building, you'll find the Avenue of Breeds with many different breeds of ducks, chickens, horses, cattle and fish on display. Finish your barn tour at the Sheep Barn, home to more than 1,000 bleating examples.

In the afternoon, browse the 500 exhibits at the Varied Industries Building, take in a show at one of the five free stages of music and entertainment and eat some famous Fair foods.

Picket Fence Creamery, Woodward

Sample country living and food at this family owned dairy farm, creamery and country store. The Burkhart family milks 80 Jersey cows and bottles the milk at their on-site creamery. Tour the grounds to see cows, calves and the organic vegetable garden. The store offers Iowa-grown food from nearly 90 different farms.

Hotel Pattee, Perry

Spend the night in one of the historic Hotel Pattee's 40 individually-themed and decorated guest rooms while enjoying the amenities of this boutique hotel. With a full-service restaurant, gourmet cupcake counter, bowling alley and spa on-site, you're guaranteed to find relaxation.

Living History Farms, Urbandale
Tour 300 years of agricultural history as you walk through three working farms - each with authentic crops and livestock. Next, stop in the 1875 town of Walnut Hill, with 14 shops and businesses. Historical interpreters are at each stop and ready to show you everything about everyday life of the past.

RVP~1875, Jefferson
This working museum shows you how to build superior-quality utilitarian furniture with only the tools, techniques and finishes of the 1800s. One of the largest assortments of period woodworking tools is on display, including an 1860s foot-powered lathe.

Hickory Park Restaurant, Ames
An Ames tradition since 1970 and famous for their hickory-smoked selections, ice cream parlor desserts, generous portions, modest prices and exceptional service.

Berry Patch Farm, Nevada

The sustainable farm has grown strawberries, raspberries, vegetables and apples since 1970. Tour the farm, see how it operates and treat yourself to your favorite fruits.

Story City Antique Carousel, Story City
Take a spin on the 1913 Hershell-Spillman Antique Carousel.  The splendid wooden figures are hand-carved and include 20 horses, two chickens, two pigs, two dogs, two chariots and a whirling tub.

Farm House Bed & Breakfast, Fredericksburg
Make reservations at this quaint B&B, where after a restful night, you'll start your day with chores and a full-course farmer's breakfast. You'll also see cows, goats, chickens, peacocks, llamas and donkeys.

Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch, Fredericksburg
Participate in a Native American blessing ceremony before boarding the wagons for a ride out to see the buffalo herd. The giant shaggy beasts will eat ears of corn right out of your hand. Enjoy a lunch of tasty bison meet and purchase some buffalo jerky for the road.

John Deere Tractor Assembly Plant, Waterloo
Enjoy a trolley tour of the plant and see how the famous green tractors are manufactured. The trolley takes you through the complete process until the tractor rolls off the assembly line. Afterwards, shop in the "Deere Crossing" gift shop.

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