A new year means new opportunities, and Iowa has plenty more to offer in 2023. See what's new for thrill-seeking adventures, curious history buffs, serious foodies and every type of traveler in between.
Adventureland, an Altoona amusement park with rides, shows and events for the whole family, will be bringing new thrills to visitors in 2023. The Flying Viking is a family-friendly coaster, spanning 1,200 feet and offering just the right amount of excitement for adults and children alike. Draken Falls is a log flume, voyaging riders through a river and plunging them down two waterfalls. The two rides will be intertwined, making for a unique experience that all members of the family can enjoy. In addition to the two new rides, the resort is investing millions of dollars in refurbishments ahead of its upcoming 50th anniversary (in 2024).
Iron Tee Golf, Bettendorf
Guests of the new three-level golf entertainment venue in Bettendorf will experience TopTracer Range technology in climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, chef-driven menu items, top-shelf drinks, music and year-round entertainment. The facility will also include a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art video gaming space with an immersive virtual reality platform. Estimated completion: Fall 2023.
African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids
Celebrate the grand reopening and 30th anniversary of the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI). Educating more than 30,000 people each year, AAMI is the only statewide museum devoted to preserving, exhibiting and teaching African American history and culture. Following an extensive $5 million renovation project, AAMI plans to reopen in fall 2023. The Cedar Rapids museum will feature a new and welcoming façade that complements the community aesthetic, a redesigned lobby and main level with added accessibility and a vapor barrier to improve the environment for exhibits. These changes represent a chance to solidify AAMI’s place in the future of the state and region.
Indian Creek Nature Center 50th Anniversary, Cedar Rapids
The Indian Creek Nature Center promotes sustainability for the future by nurturing individuals through environmental education. Visitors explore miles of trails through 200 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, maple sugarbush, tallgrass prairies and oak savannas outside of Cedar Rapids. Across the different habitats, guests enjoy hiking, trail running, bird watching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fishing and more. As part of the 50th anniversary, Indian Creek will host a Bio Blitz — a week-long deep dive by dozens of volunteers to discover and catalog the complete biodiversity of the grounds. Fully understanding which plants and animals share the ecosystem will better inform plans to responsibly manage the land. In October, the anniversary celebration culminates with a gathering of volunteers, members, staff, supporters and community members.
The Last Picture House, Davenport
Spearheaded by Iowa-bred filmmakers Scott Beck & Bryan Woods, who created the critically acclaimed $640 million global franchise A Quiet Place, this European-inspired cinema and social lounge in Davenport will blend mainstream, arthouse, cult, classic and social important cinema programming with a high-end cocktail lounge, rooftop bar and exclusive social events. Target opening date: March 2023.
Vesterheim Commons, Decorah
Vesterheim, The National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, is preparing the Decorah campus for an exciting new building, called Vesterheim Commons, that will offer an inspiring community gathering space, a beautifully integrated museum campus on the city block and a connection to folk-art traditions. Completion is anticipated in early 2023.
SingleSpeed Brewing, Des Moines
The third location for the brewery is set for Des Moines and will be located in a renovated Tire and Auto Repair Shop along the Des Moines River. It will serve as both a satellite taproom and a research and development brewery. The facility will also include a kitchen, dining room, beer hall and large trailside outdoor space. The facility plans to be open in Summer 2023.
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Dubuque
Part aquarium, part museum and part science center, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium has been a family favorite for generations, known for entertaining and educating visitors with innovative and interactive exhibits. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, the Dubuque museum and aquarium will have even more exciting surprises and experiences in store for guests. A reimagination of the Rivers to the Sea Gallery will open in time for spring break in 2023, highlighting 100 new animal species and the global connections between the rivers of America and the one big ocean. In summer 2023, the museum welcomes “POPnology,” a fantastic blend of science fiction and science fact from pop culture — featuring icons like R2D2, the DeLorean and more. This interactive experience encourages visitors to explore how innovative thinking, inspired by popular stories and movies, has led to technological advances that revolutionize the way we live and work.
Bike North Iowa, Mason City
These Mason City projects include new single track trail areas that will add many miles of new riding to existing mountain bike trails, a new large bike park and pump track, plus multiple connector sections and a pedestrian bridge. Trail project will open on a rolling basis starting in Spring 2023.
Alsop Art Gallery, Oskaloosa
The Alsop House in Oskaloosa is a Frank Lloyd Wright property designed for the Alsop family in 1947. It was recently purchased by Mia Reed, founder of The Art Deck LLC. With the mission of returning the house to its former glory, Reed has restored the original flooring, windows, doors and more. Even the unique and rare original furniture designed specifically for the house by Wright is being cleaned and returned to the home. In fall 2023, the house will open to the public for the first time, serving as The Alsop Art Gallery, with Usonian recognition, featuring architectural archives of Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles C. Reed, Jr., Mia’s father and a contemporary of Wright. The Alsop Art Gallery will also highlight well-known one-person art exhibits.
American State Bank Sports Complex, Sioux Center
A joint venture between the City of Sioux Center and Dordt University, the American State Bank (ASB) Sports Complex debuts on January 2, 2023. The 75-foot-high dome includes a 118,000-square-foot indoor turf facility and will be the second largest facility of its kind in Iowa. The ASB Sports Complex is the perfect anchor to Sioux Center, which offers a great variety of local eateries, retail and lodging. The facility serves as a place for the community to come together and enjoy various sports and recreation activities. Events planned range from youth baseball, softball tournaments and adult league soccer to concerts, expos and other community celebrations.
RAGBRAI 50th Anniversary, Statewide
Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of bringing people from all over the world together for an epic annual eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie and community. Founded by Des Moines Register reporters who decided to go on a bicycle ride across Iowa and write about their experience, the event has turned into the oldest, largest and longest recreation bicycle touring event in the world. The 2023 route and overnight communities will be announced in January. The ride always starts in western Iowa, with eight communities hosting the riders on their journey to eastern Iowa. The event runs July 22-29 with exciting surprises in store for this anniversary year – like pop-up concerts at each stop, special anniversary memorabilia and much more to be announced leading up to the event.
Iowa Eats Food & Drink Festival, Waterloo
The Iowa Eats Food & Drink Festival will premiere on April 1 at the newly renovated Waterloo Convention Center. Presented by Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, the festival is a one-day celebration featuring all Iowa food and drink products, chefs, artisans and agriculture-related products. Attendees will enjoy food and beverage tastings, cooking demos, live entertainment and more.