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Engineer Reveals Top 5 Fun Picks for the Des Moines Area

MSA Technical Expert | with 0 Comments

Engineer Reveals Top 5 Fun Picks for the Des Moines Area

Following up to the post “Why I Love Des Moines,” let’s expand on what’s fun to do in Central Iowa. 
Plan your next fun activity at one of these five locations near Des Moines: 
  1. McGrath Amphitheatre – Cedar Rapids. Jam packed with several summer concerts and events, the McGrath Amphitheatre, located near downtown Cedar Rapids, overlooks the scenic Cedar River. The City moved to redevelop flood-prone areas of their City, and the amphitheater idea took shape. Come and enjoy the events while appreciating the beautifully designed steel structure’s architecture.
  1. Historic Valley Junction―West Des Moines, Iowa. Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, one of the Des Moines metro communities hit hard by the floods of 1993, transformed the natural disaster into an opportunity for revitalization. Check out this slice of “Main Street Iowa” that brings an iconic small-town feel to a large metropolis, with lots of summer activities. You’ll find Farmers Markets, music and more.
  1. SummerFest– Ankeny, IA. Carnival rides, live music, talent shows, sports competitions, and a parade are the makings of any good fair or festival…especially when located within the Des Moines metro area. Ankeny is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and is one of the top locations for families in Central Iowa. If you were a fan of your engineering school’s concrete canoe competition, then you would love SummerFest’s cardboard boat regatta! Put this event on your schedule for next year.
  1. Iowa State University Campus – Ames, IA. Ames has been attracting those interested in design work for over 100 years, so it should come as no surprise that Iowa State would grab the attention of this engineer in Iowa. While most soon-to-be engineers are out for the summer, there are still plenty of things to see on campus. Besides the Campanile that invades the skyline of campus, there is also the Marston Water Tower, which was the first elevated steel water tower west of the Mississippi. Another great place to visit while on campus is the Reiman Gardens, a tribute to the University’s horticultural program.
  1. Iowa State Fair – Des Moines, IA. For the past 100 years, one of the top attractors to Iowa is the State Fair held each August in Des Moines. Billed as one of the largest and greatest fairs in the country, it has been the setting for novels, movies, and musicals and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Besides hearing a favorite band, seeing a cow made from butter, or getting any kind of food “on a stick,” there is one piece of Iowa State Fair history that blew my engineering mind. Back in the 1800s, the State Fair was having financial trouble in bringing in the admission-paying public, so organizers were in search of an idea to draw in the crowds. Their idea: Lay a section of railroad track in front of the grandstands and create a head-on collision of two locomotives that ended in a fireball explosion. The wild success of the first performance led to two more, with the last being a “Presidential Showdown” with a train named for Roosevelt and another named for Hoover.
Are you interested in joining the MSA Des Moines, Iowa team? Check out our Careers page for more information.

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