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Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is named after the Des Moines River, which may have been adapted from the French Rivière des Moines, literally meaning "River of the Monks."
The City of Des Moines is a cultural center for Iowa and home to several art and history museums and performing arts groups. The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines routinely hosts the best Broadway shows and other live professional theater. The Temple for Performing Arts and Des Moines Playhouse are other venues for live theatre, comedy, and performance arts.
The Des Moines Metro Opera has been a respected cultural resource in Des Moines since 1973. The Opera offers award-winning educational and outreach programs and is one of the largest performing arts organizations in the state. Ballet Des Moines was established in 2002. Currently performing two productions each year, the Ballet also provides opportunities for education and outreach.
The Des Moines Symphony performs frequently at different venues. In addition to performing seven pairs of classical concerts each season, the Symphony also entertains with New Year's Eve Pops and its annual Yankee Doodle Pops concerts.
Metro Arts Alliance produces 'Jazz in July' every year, that offers free jazz shows daily at various venues throughout the city during the entire month of July.
Wells Fargo Arena
Wells Fargo Arena is the Des Moines area's primary venue for sporting events and concerts since its opening in 2005. Named for title sponsor Wells Fargo Financial Services, Wells Fargo Arena holds 16,980 and books large, national touring acts for arena concert performances, while smaller venues such as the Vaudeville Mews, People's, and the House of Bricks book local, regional, and national bands.
The Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater is an outdoor concert venue located on the east bank of the Des Moines River which hosts music events such as the Alive Concert Series. Blues on Grand is a venue for live blues music and was awarded with Blues Club of the Year from the Blues Foundation in 2002; Blues on Grand closed on Dec. 31, 2010.
Des Moines Art Center, with a wing designed by architect I.M. Pei, presents art exhibitions and educational programs as well as hands-on studio art classes. The Center houses an internationally renowned collection of artwork from the 19th century to the present. An extension of the world-renowned art center is located downtown in an energetic urban museum space, featuring three or four exciting and fresh exhibitions each year. A Museum shop offers unique gifts, jewelry, cards, and books. Other notable art galleries include Salisbury House and Gardens and Hoyt Sherman Place.
Salisbury House and Gardens is a 42-room mansion on 10 acres (4 ha) of woodlands named after the King's House in Salisbury, England. Built in the 1920s by the Weeks family, the home contains authentic 16th century English oak and rafters dating to Shakespeare's days and a world-class collection of original art, tapestries, and rare books. Special events include Shakespeare on the Lawn, Salisbury Auto Classic, and the Holly and Ivy Tour.
Built in 1877 by prominent pioneer businessman Hoyt Sherman, Hoyt Sherman Place mansion was Des Moines' first public art gallery and houses a distinctive collection of 19th and 20th century artwork. Its restored 1,250-seat theater features an intricate rococo plaster ceiling and excellent acoustics and is used for a variety of cultural performances and entertainment.
Dedicated September 27, 2009, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park located in Western Gateway Park from 10th to 15th Streets and between Grand Avenue and Locust Street showcases a collection of 24 world class sculptures valued at more than $40 million donated by Des Moines philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn. Resting on 4.4 acres (2 ha) of green space, the sculpure park is designed as an outdoor art museum. Nearby is the beautifully restored and historic Temple for Performing Arts, reborn as a cultural center for the city. Next to the Temple is the 117,000-square-foot (10,900 m2) Central Library, with its ultramodern, freeform architecture and "organic" roof designed by renowned English architect David Chipperfield.
The Iowa State Capitol, completed in 1886, is the only state capitol to feature five domes, a central golden dome surrounded by four smaller domes.
The Iowa State Capitol is among the most beautiful state capitols in the country. Arising in the east and facing westward toward downtown, the capitol building with its 275-foot (84 m), 23-karat gold leafed dome towering above the city is a favorite of sightseers. Four smaller domes flank the main dome. The Capitol houses the governor's offices, legislature, and the old Supreme Court Chambers. The ornate interior also features a grand staircase, mural "Westward", five-story law library, scale model of the USS Iowa, and collection of first lady dolls. Guided tours are available. The Capitol grounds include a World War II memorial with sculpture and Wall of Memories. Other monuments include the 1894 Soldiers and Sailors Monument of the Civil War and memorials honoring those who served in the Spanish-American, Korean, and Vietnam Wars.
The West Capitol Terrace provides a stunning entrance from the west to the state's grandest building, the State Capitol Building. With its picturesque views, the lush, 10-acre (40,000 m2) "people's park" at the foot of the Capitol complex includes a promenade and landscaped gardens, in addition to providing public space for rallies and special events. A granite map of Iowa depicting all 99 counties rests at the base of the terrace and has become a popular attraction for in-state visitors, many of whom can be seen walking over the map to find their home county.
Iowa's history lives on in the State of Iowa Historical Museum. This modern granite and glass structure at the foot of the State Capitol Building houses permanent and temporary exhibits exploring the people, places, events, and issues of Iowa's past. The showcase includes native wildlife, American Indian and pioneer artifacts, and political and military items. The Museum features a genealogy and Iowa history library, museum gift shop, and cafe.
Terrace Hill, a National Historic Landmark and Iowa Governor's Residence, is among the best examples of American Victorian Second Empire architecture. This opulent 1869 home was built by Iowa's first millionaire, Benjamin F. Allen, and restored to the late 19th century period. It overlooks downtown Des Moines and is situated on 8 acres (32,000 m2) with a re-created Victorian formal garden. Tours are conducted Tuesdays through Saturdays from March through December.
The 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) Science Center of Iowa and Blank IMAX Dome Theater offers seven interactive learning areas, live programs, and hands-on activities encouraging learning and fun for all ages. Among its three theaters include the 216-seat Blank IMAX Dome Theater, 175-seat John Deere Adventure Theater featuring live performances, and a 50-foot (15 m) domed Star Theater.
Exterior of the Des Moines Botanical Center building and dome.
The Des Moines Botanical Center is an indoor conservatory of over 15,000 exotic plants, one of the largest collections of tropical, subtropical, and desert-growing plants in the Midwest. The Center blooms with thousands of flowers year-round. Beautiful and extensive exterior gardens are also located here.
Blank Park Zoo is a beautifully landscaped 22-acre (89,000 m2) zoological park located on the south side. Among the exhibits include a tropical rain forest, Australian Outback, and Africa. The Zoo offers education classes, tours, and rental facilities.
The Great Ape Trust of Iowa was established as a scientific research facility with a 230-acre (0.93 km2) campus housing bonobos and orangutans for the noninvasive interdisciplinary study of their cognitive and communicative capabilities. The Trust offers small public tours on a seasonal basis and only by reservation.
Locust Street looking east from 4th Street toward the Iowa State Capitol in East Village.
The East Village, located on the east side of the Des Moines River, begins at the river and extends about five blocks east to the State Capitol Building, offering an eclectic blend of historic buildings, hip eateries, boutiques, art galleries, and a wide variety of other retail establishments mixed with residences.
Adventureland Park is an amusement park in neighboring Altoona, just northeast of Des Moines. The park boasts more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions, including three great roller coasters. A hotel and campground is located just outside the park. Also in Altoona is Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a popular entertainment venue for gambling and horse racing enthusiasts. Open 24 hours a day, year-round, the racetrack and casino features live racing, plus over 1,750 slot machines, table games, and concert and show entertainment.
Living History Farms in suburban Urbandale tells the story of Midwestern agriculture and rural life in a 500-acre (2.0 km2) open-air museum with interpreters dressed in period costume who recreate the daily routines of early Iowans. Open daily from May through October, the Living History Farms include a 1700 Ioway Indian village, 1850 pioneer farm, 1875 frontier town, 1900 horse-powered farm, and a modern crop center.
Wallace House was the home of the first Henry Wallace, a national leader in agriculture and conservation and the first editor of Wallaces' Farmer farm journal. This restored 1883 Italianate Victorian houses exhibits, artifacts, and information covering four generations of Henry Wallaces and other family members.
Historic Jordan House in West Des Moines is a stately Victorian home built in 1850 and added to in 1870 by the first white settler in West Des Moines, James C. Jordan. Completely refurbished, this mansion was once part of the Underground Railroad and today houses 16 period rooms, a railroad museum, West Des Moines community history, and a museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad in Iowa.
The Chicago Tribune wrote that Iowa's capital city has "walker-friendly downtown streets and enough outdoor sculpture, sleek buildings, storefronts and cafes to delight the most jaded stroller."
Festivals and events
The Grand Concourse, located between the Grandstand and the Varied Industries Building, during the 2006 Iowa State Fair.
Des Moines plays host to a growing number of nationally-acclaimed cultural events, including the annual Des Moines Arts Festival in June, Iowa State Fair in August, and the World Food Festival in October. On Saturdays from May through October, the popular Downtown Farmers' Market draws visitors from across the state. The Court Avenue Entertainment District is the city's preeminent downtown restaurant and nightclub destination.
Among other annual cultural festivals include: ArtFest Midwest, Celebrasian Heritage Festival, Des Moines Pride Festival, Des Moines Renaissance Faire, Festa Italiana, Festival of Trees and Lights, Interrobang Film Festival, Latino Heritage Festival, Rib America Festival, Winefest, Wild Rose Film Festival, and the 80/35 Music Festival. Making its debut in 2008, 80/35 celebrates music, artists, and fans with such acts as The Flaming Lips.
* Des Moines Art Center
* Des Moines Police Museum & Historical Society
* Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center
* Jordan House Museum
* Salisbury House
* Science Center of Iowa
* State Historical Society of Iowa
* Terrace Hill – Official residence of the Governor of Iowa
* Wallace House Museum
Des Moines in Iowa.
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