On February 8, National Iowa Day recognizes The Hawkeye State.
The 29th state to join the United States is known for fertile prairie, rolling hills, raising innovative people and some nostalgic movie moments. From the Mississippi River to the harvests in Plymouth, Harrison or Fremont counties, Iowa’s history, beauty and hospitality flourish.
The state was named for Iowa Native Americans who populated the area when European settlement forced Eastern tribes westward.
Acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Iowa Territory settlement didn’t start to take place until around the 1830s.
State Capital – Des Moines
State Nickname – The Hawkeye State
State Motto – Our Liberties We Prize
State Language – English
State Bird – Eastern Goldfinch
State Vegetable – Sweet Corn
State Soil – Toma Soil
State Crop – Corn & Soybeans
State Rock – Geode
State Tree – Oak
State Song – Song of Iowa
Other Fascinating Faces and Places
One of the later settlements that remain today is the Amana Colony. A congregation of the Community of True Inspiration, their faith and persecution in Germany led them to immigrate to America for religious freedom. Iowa supplied fertile farmland and a home for them to practice their skills and their beliefs. Today, they open their community to the public. Shop for handmade gifts, homemade baked goods, wine and stay for a home-cooked meal.
In the southwestern part of the state, Madison County boasts beautiful covered bridges which were featured in the movie by a similar name. While touring the bridges, be sure to stop by Winterset and take in the birthplace of John Wayne.
Not far from the Mississippi River, The Field of Dreams home is just outside Dyersville. They built it so that you would come.
For fantastic performances in a historic rock and roll venue, check out the events at the Surf Ballroom. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper played their last concerts at the Surf Ballroom the night they perished in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
Nature lovers will find plenty of adventure in Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Park will satisfy those with a mystical and historical curiosity. Rockhounds should seek out Geode State Park. The Corps of Discovery’s Louis and Clark Trail come through Iowa, too.
Iowa Sweet Corn
Stertzings Potato Chips
A & E Chip Dip
Blue Bunny Ice Cream
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalIowaDay
From the Quad Cities to Shimek Forest, Iowa offers city and country to explore. Join us as we examine the 29th state’s dynamic people and pioneering history. Travel byways and discovery Iowa’s stunning scenery! Use #NationalIowaDay to share on social media.
For a complete list of Iowa State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Dolliver Memorial State Park – Lehigh
Geode State Park – Danville
McIntosh Woods State Park – Ventura
Shimek State Forest – Farmington
Viking Lake State Park – Stanton
Iowa Old Capitol Building – Iowa City
Salisbury House – Des Moines
Effigy Mounds National Monument – Harpers Ferry
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum – Decorah
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library – Cedar Rapids
Union Pacific Railroad Museum – Council Bluffs
MacNider Art Museum – Mason City
American Gothic House – Eldon
Living History Farms – Urbandale
Sergeant Floyd – Iowa
Museum of Danish America – Elk Horn
Western Historic Trails Center – Council Bluffs
Little Brown Church – Nashua
Historic Squirrel Cage Jail – Council Bluffs
Bentonsport National Historic District – Bentonsport
Beedle Park Heritage Train – Cresco
Amana Heritage Museum – Amana