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Attractions

Council Bluffs, Iowa, has a remarkable array of things to do. With one of the richest histories in the country, the central location of Council Bluffs makes it an ideal and fascinating destination. Attractions that celebrate our role as the leading edge of 19th century expansion west, are just blocks from glittering casinos, hotels, and fine dining. From big-ticket events to intimate gatherings, Council Bluffs has the venues, the views, and the vitality sure to please. So venture out to Council Bluffs where visitors quickly realize why we are Iowa's Leading Edge.

During your travels, you may encounter a small, black, furry critter leaping from tree to tree. The black squirrel over the years has become the unofficial, yet highly regarded, mascot of Council Bluffs. It has been said that no other city in the country is more populated with black squirrels, and their distinction has even led to a city ordinance. We are excited to announce that our black squirrel now has a name, "Chipper." We invite you to say hi to Chipper as you meet him around town!

Museums of the Bluffs
Council Bluffs Attractions Map
Pottawattamie County Attractions Map

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Acorn Feed & Supply
329 16th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 325-9282
Recipient of one of 27 winners of the Rand McNally 2004 Best of the Road awards- this place will keep your toes tapping. Every Saturday for the past 20 years visitors have been treated to "down-to-earth hospitality" while listening and dancing to country, blue grass, and western music. Bring your instrument and join the jam session or just pull up a bale of hay and enjoy the music.
Bayliss Park & Veterans Plaza
1st Avenue and Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA
This park has been a focal point of the downtown Council Bluffs area since the mid-1800's. Samuel S. Bayliss donated the 2.15 acres in 1853. The park received a facelift in 2006/2007 - including a new state-of-the-art fountain and plaza. Monuments to the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and Veterans Plaza honor those who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, and to those serving today from Pottawattamie County. In the park are several Purple Martins as Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County is the Purple Martin Capitol of Southwest Iowa.
Beresheim House
621 3rd St.
Council Bluffs, IA
Home built in 1899 for banker/state legislator, August Beresheim. Gift shop.
(Inquire about historic neighborhoods.)
Blockhouse Site
Pierce/Franklin & Union Streets
Commemorative marker stands in honor of the first building in Council Bluffs. Built in 1837 by U.S. Dragoons to thwart threats of war among Native Americans, site became the center of our growing city.
Boys Town, National Headquarters of Girls & Boys Town
137th & W. Dodge Road
Omaha, NE
Phone: (800) 625-1400
Founded in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan. Today its 900-plus acres house and educate more than 550 troubled boys and girls. Visit Fr. Flanagan’s restored 1920s Georgian Revival home, Garden of the Bible, Dowd Memorial Chapel, Leon Myers Stamp Center, Rose Garden and museum.
Breezy Hills Vineyard & Winery
31735 Tamarack Road
Minden, IA
Phone: (712) 485-2083
Brickyard Orchard
1414 Nishna Avenue
Harlan, IA 51537
Phone: (712) 755-5882
Broadway Fountain
Broadway & Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA
The restored cast iron fountain was built in New York in 1890 and was once the centerpiece of Bayliss Park, the city’s oldest park. In 1962, plans developed to build a larger, lighted fountain. The old, seasoned beauty was dismantled and placed in storage. In May 2000, a dedication ceremony was held for the completely refurbished “Old Rusty” (as it had affectionately come to be known). An old-fashioned looking clock tower, cottage blue lampposts and flowerbeds have since joined the fountain area.
Take a walking tour through the Bayliss Park area and view 16 picturesque mosaic inset sidewalk tiles illustrating historical scenes of our city, such as Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 visit with local railroad construction engineer, Grenville M. Dodge.
Butterfly Farm
16720 275th Street
Treynor, IA 51575
Phone: (712) 487-3062
California Gold Rush Trail Historic Site
Pioneer Trail
Hwy. G 66 at Dumfies Rd.
Drive Time:Approx. 8 Miles S.E. of Council Bluffs
Memorial marker and National Park Service interpretive panel tell the story of 1849 Gold Rushers and pioneers.
Carstens 1880 Farmstead
32409 380th Street
I-80 Exit 34, South
Shelby, IA
Travel back in time to an 80-acre working farm exhibit, featuring the machinery, tools and primitives of an authentic late 1880’s farmstead. The farmstead grounds include the original Carsten’s family home complete with furnishings. Annual Carstens Farm Days is held the weekend after Labor Day.
Children's Square, U.S.A.
N. 6th St. & Ave. E
Phone: 712-322-3700
Hours:Guided Tours by Appt.
Since 1882, the Christian Home Association – Children’s Square, U.S.A. has been serving children/families of the community. They have a display of memorabilia in the Lemen Visitor Center and a playground at Discovery Park.
Commemorative Air Force Museum
Old Hwy. 6 & McPherson Ave.
16803 McCandles Rd.
Phone: 712-322-2435
Hours:Wed. 5:00 PM- 9:00 PM, Sat. 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM, Sun. 12:00 PM- 4:00 PM (Sunday hours April-Sept.)
Admission:Donations Accepted
The museum features three World War II airplanes, including the famed P-51D Mustang “Gunfighter II,” a Stinson L5 and an Aeronca L3, 2000 pieces of period military artifacts.
Danish Countryside Vines & Wines
1397 280th Street
Exira, IA
Phone: (712) 764-2991
Danish Immigrant Museum
2212 Washington Street
Elk Horn , IA
Phone: (800) 759-9192
Founded in 1983, the museum is dedicated to preserving the culture and history of the Danish people who immigrated to America. Extensive collections of artifacts, such as family heirlooms from Denmark, examples of needle work, tools of early immigrant tradesmen and memorabilia, as well as special temporary and traveling exhibits, are on display in a striking, modern, half-timbered building situated on a 30-acre site in the rolling hills of western Iowa. Velkommen!
Danish Windmill
4038 Main
Elk Horn, IA
Phone: (712) 764-7472
Elk Horn’s Danish windmill was built in 1848 in Norre Snede, Denmark. This mill and others like it, in Denmark and throughout Europe, were used to grind grain into flour for farmers in neighboring communities. Money was raised to bring the 60-foot windmill to Elk Horn in 1976. Three hundred volunteers reassembled it. This is the only authentic Danish working windmill in the United States.
De Soto National Wildlife Refuge
1434 316th Lane
Missouri Valley, IA
Phone: (712) 642-4121
• This site includes a wildlife viewing area, nature trails, visitor center, steamboat exhibit and fishing. The museum/visitor center holds the remains of the steamboat “Bertrand,” which was stuck and sank April 1, 1965. Buried in mud for over 100 years, the cargo was excavated and is now on display. There are over 200,000 items; this unique treasure trove offers a glimpse of frontier life at the end of the U.S. Civil War.
Ditmars Orchard
19475 225th Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Phone: (712) 256-7053
Dodge House
605 3rd Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 322-2406
See the listing for Historic General Dodge House
Earth Lodge/ Mills County Museum
Glenwood Lake Park
Lake Drive
Glenwood, IA
Phone: (712) 527-5038
• Native American Earth Lodge showcases a collection of artifacts from early Native American Indians, who lived in the area between 800 and 1200 A.D. Museum features antique agricultural equipment, one-room school, restored century barn, military display and two-cell brick jail.
Fairview Cemetery
308 Lafayette Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
Council Bluffs' oldest cemetery, high east end of the grounds holds Mormon pioneer graves. Also at this location, Kinsman Civil War Memorial and the gravesite of Amelia Bloomer, famed suffragette credited for popularizing Turkish-style pantaloons or "bloomers" for women.
Frontier Heritage Library & Museum
622 4th St.
Phone: 712-325-9368
Hours:Tues. & Thurs. 1:00 PM- 4:00 PM, Sat. 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM & by appt.
The Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society owns/operates the library, which contains hundreds of books and periodicals members have placed on indefinite loan. The collection also contains old county court books, death records, wills and more than 4,000 abstracts and probates.
Gary Small Orchard and Fruit Market
1829 Hwy 127
Mondamin, IA 51557
Phone: (712) 646-2193
General Crook House Museum
5730 N 30th Street
Building 11B
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 455-9990
Elegantly restored 1879 Italianate style home, adjoined by a Victorian heirloom garden that overlooks Fort Omaha’s parade ground and historic buildings. Gen. Crook served in the U.S. Calvary during the Civil War and as the Commander of the Platte, from 1878-1882.

Glen Robin Orchard
14922 535th Street
Griswold, IA 51535
Phone: (712) 778-4256
Gold Rush Historic Site
Pioneer Trail at Dumfries Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
Marker stands to tell the story of 1849 Gold Rushers and pioneers who followed the Mormon Trail from 1849-1868.
Golden Spike Monument
South 21st Street & 9th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
This 56 foot concrete "Golden Spike" was erected in 1939, marking the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Grand Encampment
1600 Hwy 275
Council Bluffs, IA
A marker stands where pioneers reached the Missouri River on June 14, 1846. They made camp near what is now the Iowa School for the Deaf. The Grand Encampment was where the Mormons met after traveling across Iowa. The parties split up, forming communities in Iowa and Nebraska, before moving on to Utah. Twelve days after they arrived at the Encampment, the U.S. Army was seeking volunteers to fight Mexico. Five hundred men volunteered, known as the Mormon Battalion, and began their trek to Southern California, which became the longest sustained military march in U.S. History.
Grant Wood Painting
Iowa Western Community College
I-80 Highway 6 Exit 8
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 325-3200
Original Grant Wood, “The Early Days of Kanesville,” hangs in the lobby of the Looft Continuing Education Center.
Harrison County Historical Museum & Welcome Center
2931 Monroe Avenue
Missouri Valley, IA
Phone: (712) 642-2114
The Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center is located 3 miles northeast of Missouri Valley on Hwy. 30 (5 miles east of I-29, Exit 75). The complex is straight out of the 1800s, with an original log cabin, schoolhouse. Its Iowa Products Store offers food, beverages, clothing, crafts and a wide variety of souvenirs, general store, and one-room
Historic General Dodge House
605 3rd Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 322-2406
• This three-story, 14-room, lavish Victorian home, is one of Iowa’s premier historic homes. Built in 1869 by Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War veteran, was dubbed “greatest railroad builder of all time.” The mansion is historically authentic, complete with the majority of original furnishings. Events include a garden walk in July, annual fall tea and a five-week Christmas celebration where the house is decorated in Victorian splendor with more than 25 themed holiday trees.
Historic Squirrel Cage Jail
226 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 323-2509
This 1885 three-story Victorian-Gothic styled brick structure is extremely unique as it is only one of three left in existence. The cylinder pie shaped cells were able to rotate, like a Lazy Susan, which made it easier for one jailer to guard the prisoners.
Historic Wickham Home
616 S 7th Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 328-1872
1888 Queen Anne home with authentic menus, the Wickham Home is the next best thing to time travel. Enjoy British afternoon teas, lunches and dinners on request. Unique lunches and dinner include Murder Mysteries and various themes.
Hodge Greenhouse
2615 Monroe Avenue
Logan, IA 51546
Phone: (712) 644-2713
Homeside Farm Market
15155 390th Street
Carson, IA 51525
Phone: (712) 484-3375
Hyde Park
11200 Dumfries
Council Bluffs, IA
Marker stands where Orson Hyde’s farm site and a Mormon encampment stood. This is the site where Brigham Young was elected, by a quorum of twelve, president of the LDS Church. Hyde was one of the original leaders of the Mormon Church. He also established the “Frontier Guardian” newspaper in Council Bluffs (Kanesville).
Iowa West Public Art
Council Bluffs, IA
Since 2004, Iowa West Foundation is reenergizing Council Bluffs through a high quality, integrated public art program.
Joslyn Art Museum
2200 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE
Phone: (4002) 343-3300
The Museum was built as a gift to Omaha from Sarah Joslyn in memory of her husband George, a prominent community leader and businessman. The 1931 pink marble structure is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the nation. It houses unique works from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th century. There is a permanent installation by glass artist, Dale Chihuly; one of the largest watercolor collections by Karl Bodmer; also fine examples by several European artists as Degas, Renoir, Monet and more.
Kanesville Tabernacle
222 East Broadway
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 322-0500
This authentic replica was built and dedicated in 1996, near the site where Brigham Young was sustained president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1846. Bronze statues depict Young, his two counselors and a pioneer family.
Kenefick Park
100 Bancroft Street
I-80 Exit 454
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 346-4002
Two of the Union Pacific Railroad’s behemoth locomotives sit majestically on the southwest corner of Lauritzen Gardens’ property, highly visible to the westbound traffic on I-80. The display features the Centennial No. 6900, aptly named in honor of the UPRR’s 100th anniversary. This locomotive had 6,600 horsepower provided by two diesel engines on one frame. Built in 1944, the “Big Boy” No. 4023 (4-8-8-4), the world’s largest steam locomotive, could singularly pull a 3,600-ton train.
King's Crossing Vineyard & Winery
53086 260th Street
Glenwood, IA
Phone: (712) 526-2873
Kinsman Monument
308 Lafayette Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
Civil War memorial built to honor Col. William Kinsman, commanding officer of the 23rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment and veterans of the Civil War. Civil War cannons on display. Fairview, the city’s oldest cemetery, includes the grave of Amelia Bloomer, famed suffragette credited for popularizing “bloomers.”
Lauritzen Gardens
100 Bancroft Street
Omaha, NE 68108
Phone: (402) 346-4002
115-acre Lauritzen Gardens creates a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, and includes 11 outdoor garden areas, an indoor floral display hall, educational programs for children and adults, a café and gift shop.
Lewis & Clark Monument
29385 Monument Road
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 328-4650
This site, north of Big Lake Park, was dedicated in 1936 honoring the 1804 expedition of Lewis & Clark and their historic meeting with Otoe and Missouria tribesmen. The attraction, with its expansive view of the Missouri River valley, features a mountain bike trail, motor coach/tour bus parking, picnic area and restrooms.
Lincoln Monument
Lafayette Avenue
Near Fairview Cemetery
Council Bluffs, IA
This impressive pylon was erected in July, 1911 and commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s visit to the site in 1859. From this site, Lincoln, along with Grenville M. Dodge, viewed and selected the location for the eastern terminus of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.
Loess Hills National Scenic Byway
Phone: (712) 482-3029
Loess Hills Vineyard & Winery
1120 Old Lincoln Highway
Crescent, IA
Phone: (712)545-3054
Mincer Orchard
2549 State Hwy 239
Hamburg, IA 51640
Phone: (712) 382-1014
Mormon Battalion Marker
1600 Hwy. 275
Council Bluffs, IA
The “mustering in” site of 500 Mormon pioneers who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1846 to fight in the war against Mexico. These “Saints” marched more than 2,000 miles (longest recorded infantry march in U.S. history) from the Missouri River to San Diego, Calif., building road and bridges along the way, paving the way for hundreds of thousands of pioneers.
Mormon Site Fairview Cemetery
308 Lafayette Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
See Fairview Cemetery
Mormon Site Grand Encampment
1600 S Hwy 275
Iowa School for the Deaf Campus
Council Bluffs, IA
See Grand Encampment
Mormon Site Hyde Park
Hyde farm Site 11200 Dumfries Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
See Hyde Park
Mormon Site Kanesville Tabernacle
222 E Broadway
Council Bluffs, IA
See Kanesville Tabernacle
Mormon Site Mormon Batallion Marker
1600 S Hwy 275
Iowa School for the Deaf
Council Bluffs, IA
See Mormon Batallion Marker
Mormon Site Mormon Trail Historic Site Pioneer trail
Hwy G55 & 240th St
Council Bluffs, IA
See Mormon Trail
Mormon Trail Center Winter Quarters
3215 State Street
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 453-9372

Winter Quarters was used by the Mormons from 1846 to 1848 before leaving for Utah. This 15,000-square-foot museum is filled with state-of-the-art exhibits depicting the historic migration, a log cabin and covered wagon, ox team artifacts, and a bronze monument at the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, in memory of those who perished during the winter of 1846.
Mormon Trail Historic Site
Hwy G55 & 240th Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 322-0500
Commemorative marker describes the 1846 arrival of the Latter-Day-Saints and the 80 farming communities established in southwest Iowa.
Museum of Religious Arts
2697 Niagra Trail
I-29 N Exit 75 E
Missouri Valley, IA
Phone: (712) 644-3888
Midwest’s largest collection of religious artifacts reflects diverse history, culture, symbols and icons of various denominations. Exhibits include: the artwork of child artist Akiane Kramarik, 20,000-square-foot “King of Kings” display, portraying the life of Christ, replica of early Southwest-style mission chapel, library, theater and gift shop.
Omaha Children's Museum
500 S 20th Street
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 342-6164
This unique museum was designed especially for children. It is a hands-on adventure for the entire family. Visitors learn while playing in the museum’s huge ball machine, miniature supermarket, construction site and many other traveling exhibits year-round.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
3701 S 10th Street
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 733-8401
Home to the America's largest indoor rain forest, Lied Jungle; world’s largest indoor desert, Desert Dome; world’s largest nocturnal exhibit, Kingdoms of the Night; Scott Aquarium, cat complex, bear canyon, giraffe complex, Wild Kingdom Pavilion and Hubbard Gorilla Valley and Orangutan Forest.
Philip Meyer
341 Woodland Drive
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Phone: (712) 322-0253
Pioneer Trail Orchard and Pumpkin Patch
21534 Chestnut Road
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Phone: (712) 366-1505
Prairie Crossing
31506 Pioneer Trail
Treynor, IA
Phone: (712) 487-3812
RailsWest Railroad Museum
16th Avenue & Main Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 323-5182
Hours: Apr. 1-Oct. 31 • Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. or by appt., closed Monday, Tuesday & holidays • admission fee
www.thehistorical society.org/Depot.htm • Restored 1899 Rock Island Depot, railroad artifacts and operating HO gauge model railroad depict a world where passenger and freight trains are still king. Outdoor railcar display includes two engines, including the UP’s 814, a Northern class 4-8-4 steam locomotive, and five cars dating from 1901-1969.
Ruth Ann Dodge Memorial
Lafayette Avenue & N 2nd Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Known locally as the “Black Angel,” this solid bronze statue was inspired by three visions experienced by Mrs. Dodge in the fall of 1916, before her death. This prominent Council Bluffs resident was the wife of Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, chief construction engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad.
After her death, two of Mrs. Dodge’s daughters commissioned Daniel Chester French to sculpt a likeness of the angel in their mother’s vision. The statue took approximately two years to complete, at the cost of $40,000. French created the seated statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. He subsequently said he felt the “Angel” was his best work. It is signed and dated by him on the bottom of the statue. The monument was dedicated in 1920 and has three Biblical inscriptions.
In June 1984, restoration of the monument, along with additional landscaping began. Corrosion was cleaned off the statue and water began to flow again from the Angel’s vessel. The stone aggregate basin was rebuilt and the original steps were reset. Lighting, walkways and wrought iron fencing were also added around the monument.
Small's Fruit Farm
1844 194th Street
Mondamin, IA 51557
Phone: (712) 646-2723
Squirrel Cage Jail
226 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 323-2509
See Historic Squirrel Cage Jail
Strategic Air & Space Museum
I-80 Exit 426
Omaha, NE
Phone: (402) 944-3100
The museum is regarded as the nation’s foremost facility of its kind. The 300,000 sq. ft. building features a glass atrium, which encases a suspended Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, two aircraft display hangars, a traveling exhibit area, children’s interactive gallery, 200 seat theater, gift shop, aircraft restoration gallery, and snack bar. A unique feature of the Museum gives visitors the opportunity to watch the restoration of warplanes as technicians prepare them for display.
Sugar Clay Winery & Vineyards
1446 270th Avenue
Thurman, IA
Phone: (712) 628-2020
Union Pacific Railroad Museum
200 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 329-8307
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sunday, Monday & holidays, free admission • www.uprr.com • The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is housed in the former 1903 Carnegie Library. The Beaux Arts style building holds one of the oldest corporate collections in the nation. Artifacts include photographs and documents that trace the development of the railroad and the American West. The collection dates to the mid-1800s, featuring original editions of reports from survey teams that searched for the best land route to join the nation, east to west. The museum takes visitors on a journey through 141 years of American history. Innovations and technology in the modern rail business are featured, with displays on modern track laying equipment, the railroad’s use of Global Positioning Satellite technology, and the nation’s largest privately owned communication network. Interactive exhibits help explain the role of the Union Pacific in the nation’s economy and the railroad industry’s contribution to modern technology.
West Farms
30727 175th Street
Honey Creek, IA 51542
Phone: (712) 545-9019
Western Historic Trails Center
3434 Richard Downing Avenue
I-80/I-29 Exit 1B South
Council Bluffs, IA
Phone: (712) 366-4900
Summer-daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. • closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Years Day • donations accepted www.iowahistory.org/sites • Two hundred plus sculptures by artist Timothy Woodman interpret Lewis & Clark, Mormon Pioneer, California and Oregon trails. Hiking/biking trails wind through 400 acres of prairie along Missouri River. Join us for “Jam and Bread,” a music jam session for musicians/listeners, Thurs. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Free samples of homemade bread. Join your friends for a cup of coffee and visit with a western historian the first Friday of each month at “Campfire, Coffee and Conversation.” History comes alive with reenactments, music/lectures and Native American food and dance during “White Catfish Camp Living History Weekend,” held the fourth weekend in July. “Holidays on the Trail,” the first weekend in December, offers free sleigh rides, refreshments, holiday shopping, and holiday movies/presenters in the theater. An expansive gift shop awaits you. The Center hosts new events throughout the year, so call ahead to see what’s happening.
Williams Orchard
2704 M Avenue
Denison, IA 51442
Phone: (712) 263-3529
Wright Orchard
1302 Argyle Street
Hamburg, IA 51640
Phone: (712) 382-1146