Looking for a unique day trip this summer? Des Moines may not be anywhere near Hollywood, but Iowa has played host to a variety of movies. Summer is the perfect time to visit some of these legendary movie sites, that are real-life places to visit, and relive a bit of cinematic history. Whether you and your kids are cinema buffs or just catch the occasional flick, you’ll have fun exploring these film locations in Iowa.
If you’re looking for more ideas for fun family adventures, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide.
Here’s where you can visit a movie landmark in Iowa:
Before heading out of town be sure to learn about Iowa’s movie history at the Hollywood in the Heartland exhibit at the Iowa State Historical Museum of Iowa here in Des Moines. Admission to the Museum is always FREE.
Movie: Twister (PG 13) – released in 1996
Site to Visit: Old Victorian Twister House, Eldora, IA
This old Victorian lady located just outside of Eldora was in the final scenes of the movie “Twister”. While there have been a few renovations over the past few years, it’s NOT currently open as any kind of official tourist attraction… it’s just a neat big, old house that’s a part of Iowa film history.
Movie: Bridges of Madison County (PG 13) – released in 1995
Site to Visit: Covered Bridges, Winterset, IA
This wonderful and scenic love story introduced the world to the beauty of Madison County. The bridges seen in the movie are the Roseman Bridge, built in 1883 and the Holliwell Bridge over Middle River, southeast of Winterset.
Movie: Field of Dreams (PG) – released in 1989
Site to Visit: Field of Dreams Movie Site , Dyersville, IA
The most iconic of all films made in Iowa…”Field of Dreams”. You can visit the farm, tour the baseball field and schedule a home tour, where Ray Kinsella created his magical baseball diamond out of a corn field.
Movie: Star Trek (PG -PG 13) – multiple movies and TV shows
Site to Visit: The Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk, Riverside, IA
2019 marks 40 years of Star Trek movies. A young James T. Kirk, from Riverside, Iowa, adventures his way into captaining the Enterprise. Trek to where he’ll be born in 2228.
Movie: The Music Man (G) – released in 1962
Site to Visit: Music Man Square, Mason City, IA
River City, Iowa is a fictional town based on Mason City, Iowa, the hometown of playwright Meredith Willson. Even though the movie was filmed at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, CA, you can still be a part of the story by visiting the Music Man Square in Mason City. Enjoy tours of the streetscape, Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home and the Meredith Willson Museum.
Do you have a favorite kid-friendly movie landmark, in Iowa, that’s not on the list? Let us know about it!
Featured photo source Field of Dreams Movie Site.