With its moniker of "Jewel of the Prairie," Grinnell was incorporated as a city in Iowa in 1854. Along with its rich history and many landmarks, the central Iowa city has a number of other attractions. From a cultural museum that focuses on Grinnell's past to parks that display the natural beauty of the area, the city has attractions for people of many tastes.
Guests interested in Grinnell's history should check out the Grinnell Historical Museum (grinnellmuseum.org) on Broad Street. Open for tours throughout much of the year, this museum is located in the fully restored McMurray House and showcases the furnishings and fashions of early 19th-century Iowa. Tour guides also discuss the history of the house during free, guided tours. Visitors should note that as of 2011 the house is closed to tours in January and February, and large group tours are available only by appointment. Also in Grinnell, the Iowa Transportation Museum (iowatransportationmuseum.com) focuses on the history of automobile, train and other types of transportation throughout the state. The train-station-turned-museum also features the stories of some of Iowa's most notable transportation moguls.
Those with an appreciation for the arts might enjoy the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College (grinnell.edu/faulconergallery). This art gallery displays more than 5,000 works of art, ranging from German expressionist paintings to graphic works from the Baltic states and even work by Pablo Picasso. The gallery hosts periodic events for those who want a deeper look at certain styles. Grinnell also offers opportunities for visitors to explore local artworks, and the city is home to a few galleries, where visitors can purchase these pieces. The Sarah Delong Gallery, for example, features opportunities to purchase paintings, photographs and greeting cards by the Grinnell artist Delong.
A few attractions in Grinnell provide family entertainment, including Carroll's Pumpkin Farm (carrollspumpkinfarm.com), a farmer's market and activity center that specializes in autumn festivities. With a pumpkin patch, gift shop and corn maze, Carroll's is poised to entertain kids and adults of any age. Children can even celebrate birthday parties complete with hay rides, a cow train and a pumpkin catapult. Grinnell also features a movie theater with independent and commercial films.
Parks and Recreation
Grinnell offers opportunities for those looking for outdoor recreation, including a skate park, still developing as of 2011, located at Bailey Park on the corner of Prince Street and Eighth Avenue. The park had been more than 10 years in the making as of 2011 when professional skateboarder Tony Hawk gave his approval to new plans. Currently, it features half-pipes, ramps and rails. Grinnell also offers nine public parks with recreational opportunities. Among these, Arbor Lake is the largest, with numerous picnic areas, nature trails and access to a 14-acre lake. Here, guests can wade, fish, boat and canoe.
- City of Grinnell: About Grinnell
- Grinnell Historical Museum
- Spaulding Center for Transportation: Iowa Transportation Museum
- Grinnell College: Faulconer Gallery
- Marketplace on Main: Sarah Delong Gallery
- Carroll's Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell, Iowa
- Fridley Theatres: Strand Theatres Grinnel, Iowa 50112
- Grinnell Iowa: Grinnell Skate Park Project Overview
- Grinnell Iowa: Arbor Lake Park
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