Once the snow falls and the weather turns cold, there are still plenty of ways to find entertainment and thrills across the state. Embrace that inner child with a thrilling visit to one of these indoor or outdoor attractions and watch the stress of life melt away like it never existed. From flying down a sledding hill and mastering ice skating to racing around a go kart track or competing with friends in a laser tag match, here are the best ways to take a break from being an adult.
10 Outdoor Attractions
1. Cone Park
Escape winter boredom with a visit to Sioux City's Cone Park. Race friends and family down the 700-foot tubing hill, practice ice skating around the 54,000-square-foot rink, warm up by the outdoor firepit and grab a snack from the concessions stand. For private parties, reserve the tubing hill at night for a Glow Party and slide down the brightly lit chutes.
With over 20 scenic trails for all levels, two terrain parks, two mountaintop lodges and a vertical drop of 475 feet, visitors are sure to find some thrills down Dubuque's hills. Sundown Mountain provides fun for all ages, including beginner lessons, a kid's park and tasty treats, making it a great place for some family fun. Visitors can purchase tickets and rentals by noon the day before their visit using the SmartPASS.
This family owned and operated attraction offers fun year-round. Once the snow falls, skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing attract visitors to Boone from throughout the Midwest. With 11 slopes for varying skill levels, a terrain park, rail yard, beginner area and free lessons, this is the perfect spot for learning and mastering winter activities.
This ski resort in Honey Creek is the best way to enjoy Iowa's Loess Hills in the winter. With 2,400 feet of slopes for all levels and a Swiss-style lodge and sundeck, this destination is one of Iowa's best winter getaways. Visitors can now pre-purchase tickets, rental equipment and lessons online, enjoy additional seating and an additional food and beverage "snack shack."
Dedicated to providing a fun, recreational experience for all ages, Brenton Skating Plaza is a great destination for joining up with friends to ice skate under the stars. From November to March, the venue offers open air skating alongside sweeping views of the downtown Des Moines skyline. Reservations are recommended to get time on the ice, so register online to guarantee a spot.
Sledding or tubing? Visitors don't have to choose just one! Sleepy Hollow in Des Moines offers multiple 1,000 foot runs for snow tubes and zipfy luge sleds for extra speed. An added bonus is that sledders and tubers never have to walk up the hill. Hop on the quad chair lift to be whisked to the top instead.
Visitors of all ages are invited to Okoboji's Horseshoe Bend to grab a sled, fly down the tubing hill and be towed back to the top. Take a break in the warming house or grab a snack at the concessions stand.
The winter beauty of the Loess Hills passes in a blur when visitors sled down the .18-mile Chute Trail at Hitchcock Nature Center. But the steep hike to the top gives visitors plenty of time to appreciate the scenery. Just steps from Loess Hills Lodge, the Chute Trail snakes and twists between steep ravines for a hang-on-tight ride in Honey Creek.
8 Indoor Attractions
1. Smash Park
Experience the ultimate year-round backyard party at Smash Park. With no cover, no membership and no entrance fee, visitors can enjoy an affordable outing in West Des Moines with plenty of food and drinks and fun games like pickleball, ping pong and some assorted yard and arcade games.
Experience the speed and thrills of the fastest racing track in Iowa. Professionally designed, this indoor go kart track in Council Bluffs offers a thrilling and competitive outing for all adrenaline junkies.
Rev up the engine and get ready for a fun-filled experience for adventure-seekers of all ages. Visitors of all skill levels can learn and master the art of racing at this indoor karting track located in Cedar Rapids.
Featuring high-performance European indoor go karts capable of reaching almost 45 mph, this 1/4 -mile road course offers some of the best thrills in the area. Choose from several karting options and packages for racers of all skill levels and try out several different racing formats and competitions for a unique karting experience found only in Grimes. Customers who are borrowing the raceway's helmets will be required to purchase their own full face balaclava at $3 each.
Step back in time with a step through Up-Down’s doors. Here, visitors will find over 40 arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s, pinball machines, skee-ball alleys and Nintendo and Sega console gaming, each for only 25 cents. This 21 and up Des Moines arcade also offers an extensive craft beer selection with 20 beers on tap along with 80’s and 90’s inspired cocktails.
With 24 state of the art bowling lanes, a kids’ zone, a two-story laser tag arena, mini golf, an arcade and a sports bar and restaurant, Perfect Games in Ames is the perfect getaway for the whole family. Visitors can participate in the variety of games or enjoy their favorite sporting events playing on one of the facility’s 30 T.V.’s and 15 giant screens.
This 3,200-square-foot arena features a laser tag course and game mode that changes every week. Players can compete in various game simulations with friends and family for the ultimate competitive outing in Sioux City.