Are you looking for fun and exciting things to do in Independence, Iowa? From great outdoor activities to fascinating museums, plenty of amazing attractions are sure to keep you entertained. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best places to experience in Independence, Iowa. First up is Cedar Rock State Park – home to the iconic Lowell Walter Residence, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. This breathtaking structure is nestled into a peaceful, lush terrain, with scenic trails leading through the park. At Heartland Acres Agribition Center, you can explore the history of agriculture in the area while learning all about the tools and techniques used on the farms here. History buffs will love visiting Wapsipinicon Mill and Museum – where they can take a guided tour through this restored flour mill built in 1857. Then there’s Captain D. S. Lee Mansion – a stunning historical mansion built in 1898 that has been meticulously restored over the years. And last but not least, no trip to Independence would be complete without checking out Stacy’s Checkered Flag and Pat’s Tap – two popular bars serving cold drinks since 1957!
Cedar Rock State Park (Lowell Walter Residence)
Cedar Rock State Park, located in Independence, Iowa, is a must-visit destination. It is home to the historic Lowell Walter Residence, built in the 1940s and designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The residence offers stunning views of the Cedar River Valley and lush landscaping that showcase Wright’s commitment to nature-inspired architecture.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the residence and explore its two levels. They will be able to admire the house’s unique design, with its cantilevered roof lines and natural materials like brick and limestone. Inside, visitors will find an abundance of windows offering great views of the surrounding countryside and hillsides. The house also features numerous built-in furnishings, such as seating areas, cabinets, and shelving.
The grounds are also worth exploring during your Cedar Rock State Park visit. You can meander along the winding pathways through gardens filled with trees, shrubs, flowers, and other foliage – carefully chosen for their beauty and ecological value. Other highlights include a reflecting pool at the entrance to the property and a wildflower meadow near the house itself.
Be sure to appreciate this beautiful home during your visit to Independence!
Heartland Acres Agribition Center
Heartland Acres Agribition Center is the perfect place for a day trip in Independence, Iowa. Located just outside town, this farm-themed entertainment center offers something for everyone – from mini golf to animal viewing and petting to an outdoor theater, barbecue grills, and a playground.
The centerpiece of the center is its expansive indoor exhibit area which features various animals such as pigs, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, and more. Guests can tour the petting zoo and feed the animals with food sold onsite. Children will also enjoy watching shows at the outdoor theater, which includes musical performances each night during the summer months.
When not checking out all of the farm-related activities, visitors can also play a round of putt-putt golf or head over to one of two batting cages where they can practice their swing. Those looking to relax can picnic on one of the many tables or recline in several rocking chairs scattered throughout Heartland Acres’ grounds. If hunger strikes, there’s no need to worry; snacks are available at concession stands throughout the park.
Whether it’s a family outing or just a day away from home, Heartland Acres Agribition Center has something for everyone in Independence, Iowa!
Wapsipinicon Mill and Museum
Experience history as you tour the Wapsipinicon Mill and Museum in Independence, Iowa. Built-in 1864, this gristmill has been lovingly preserved to show visitors what life was like in the 19th century.
The museum offers guided tours of the mill and its grounds, including a blacksmith shop, mill house, and other historical artifacts from the time. During your tour, you’ll get an up-close look at the still-functioning millstones used to grind wheat into flour for over 100 years. You’ll also learn how water power was used to operate the mill and see other unique features, such as the wooden gears and pulleys that made it all possible.
When you’re done exploring the grounds, peek inside the museum’s gift shop, where you can purchase souvenirs or gifts inspired by Iowa’s past. The gift shop contains handmade items like jams, jellies, or even locally-sourced honey!
Take some time out of your day to explore this fascinating piece of Iowa history. With its beautiful views of the Wapsipinicon River and well-preserved artifacts, it’s no wonder many people consider the Wapsipinicon Mill and Museum one of Independence’s best attractions.
Captain D. S. Lee Mansion
The Captain D. S. Lee Mansion is an impressive piece of history in Independence, Iowa. Built-in 1898 by the prominent local banker, David S. Lee, it was one of the first buildings in town to feature electricity. Today, the mansion serves as a museum and event venue, welcoming visitors to its rich past and beautiful architecture.
The exterior of the building features intricate Victorian-era decorations and a wrap-around veranda that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can wander through ornately decorated rooms filled with vintage furniture and period decor from the late 19th century. Special displays showcase artifacts from Captain Lee’s time spent in service during the Civil War and his role as a leader in the community after his return from battle.
Outside, guests can stroll through the formal gardens, which feature colorful flowers and manicured hedges that reflect Captain Lee’s penchant for perfectionism. These grounds are perfect for small events or simply enjoying peaceful moments among nature on a sunny day.
Whether you’re interested in exploring history or just looking for something fun outdoors, there’s plenty to discover at the Captain D. S. Lee Mansion!
Stacy’s Checkered Flag
Stacy’s Checkered Flag is the perfect destination for those looking for a fun, family-friendly activity in Independence, Iowa. Located right off Highway 151, this go-kart track offers a wide range of thrilling experiences for those looking to get their adrenaline pumping. With three different tracks and plenty of karts to choose from, you’ll find something that suits your speed level and age group.
The smallest track is great for beginners or younger drivers—it’s geared toward providing an entertaining yet safe experience at a slower pace. The medium track is ideal for older drivers and those seeking more of a challenge; it features longer straightaways and tighter turns. Finally, the advanced track has sharp corners and high speeds, perfect for more experienced go-kart racers.
No matter which tracks you choose, you can be sure that Stacy’s Checkered Flag takes safety seriously. All the karts come equipped with adjustable lap belts, roll cages, brakes, and steering wheels that can be tailored to individual riders’ needs. And don’t worry if you’ve never been behind the wheel of a go-kart before; staff members are always on hand to provide instruction and answer questions.
On top of all that, Stacy’s Checkered Flag also rents out private party rooms so you can celebrate special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries in style! So whether you’re looking for some friendly competition or just an exciting afternoon out on the track, visit Stacy’s Checkered Flag when in Independence!
Pat’s Tap is a great place to stop in Independence, Iowa. Located downtown, this bar was established in the late 1970s and has been a fixture of the town ever since. Pat’s Tap offers a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff to make you feel at home.
You can enjoy classic pub food such as burgers, wings, and nachos while watching your favorite sports teams on one of the many TVs in the bar. There are also plenty of craft beers, including local favorites like Toppling Goliath and Exile Brewing Company.
In addition to drinks and food, Pat’s Tap hosts live music events weekly. These range from open mic nights to full-band jam sessions. Whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll or country music, there’s something for everyone here at Pat’s Tap!
Independence, Iowa, has various exciting attractions for visitors of all ages. From Cedar Rock State Park (Lowell Walter Residence) and Heartland Acres Agribition Center to Wapsipinicon Mill and Museum and Captain D. S. Lee Mansion, there is something special to enjoy in this vibrant city. For those looking for a night out on the town, Stacy’s Checkered Flag and Pat’s Tap are great options for catching live music or celebrating with friends. So no matter what you’re in the mood for, Independence, Iowa, is sure to have something that will make your visit one to remember!