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“A Midwest Gem Shines!”

Living History Farms
Ranked #1 of 11 things to do in Urbandale
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Living History Farms is located in the western suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa in Urbandale and is conveniently located right off Interstates 35/80. It is an interactive outdoor museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences. 300 years of agricultural history are represented including a 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, 1900 Horse-Powered Farm and an 1875 town. Tours are self guided and historic interpreters are at each farm site are dressed in clothing from each era to explain what it would have been like to live in that time. The general touring season is May 1 through October 14th. Many special events and historic dinners take place in the off-season. Visit the website for details.
Reviewed 6 July 2009

I visited Living History Farms on July 3rd. Not having been to 'the Farms" in years, I was interested to see what had changed. In a word I was wowed. Talk about FRIENDLY and INFORMATIVE! Everyone I experienced was well versed, full of background information and downright cheerful. The farms are authentic, and I was very happy to see oxen, chickens, ducks, pigs, horses in authentic settings. Let there be no doubt, these are happy animals. I don't know why it's was so long between my last visit, but after being there a few days ago, I'm already wanting to go back. Don't miss the corn plants! And if you're lucky you will run into a caretaker who really puts perspective on the history of corn growing. That alone is worth the low price of admission.

Thank Craig O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"tractor ride"
in 11 reviews
"school groups"
in 6 reviews
"the barn"
in 5 reviews
"des moines area"
in 7 reviews
"small town"
in 9 reviews
"general store"
in 11 reviews
"learning experience"
in 3 reviews
"an absolute gem"
in 2 reviews
"special events"
in 5 reviews
"metro area"
in 2 reviews
"native americans"
in 3 reviews
"admission price"
in 3 reviews
"great family place"
in 2 reviews
"dirt trails"
in 2 reviews
"field trip"
in 2 reviews
"rural iowa"
in 3 reviews
"step back in time"
in 3 reviews
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Reviewed 12 August 2008

I visited the Living History Farms with my parents (60+ in age) while we were in Iowa for the state fair. We were staying next door so we decided to check it out. For $11/person (less for them) it was well worth it.

The center is divided into 2 sections, the farms and the town. We enjoyed the farm area the best (we liked the town but felt that we had visited enough "historically accurate" towns in our time that we did not need to spend much time in this one). The farm area is further subdivided into an Indian farm from 1700, a farm from the 1850s, a farm from 1900, and the Wallace Exhibit Center.

We thought that the interpreters were excellent. They did a good job of tailoring their presentation to their audience (for example, encouraging the children in the group to crawl in or peek in places, while speaking to us about crop development and the importance of landscape).

My parents particularly enjoyed the 1900 farm and the Wallace Exhibit Center--they recognized lots of "stuff" in both places. I found the Wallace Exhibit Center interesting, especially the state fair interactive exhibit, where you could find out how standards for cattle, eggs, hens, etc. have changed over the years.

Overall, we found it a great way to learn about farming in Iowa and a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning.

2  Thank Newfound1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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