Living History Farms

Step back in time on a visit to Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa. Learn about Iowa’s history and what life was like in a small midwestern town, farm or homestead.

Living History Farms: An Open-Air Museum

Check out the 1875 town of Walnut Hill, with its cute storefronts like the pharmacy and the bank. Talk to the characters working in the shops and find out how they do their business. The lady who makes hats will show you her wares, and the lawyer will tell you how he sleeps in the back of his office. Maybe the banker will show you the safe!

Hop on a tractor to take a ride to the farm. See horses and pigs, cows and chickens. Go inside the houses and see how people lived back in the day. Learn about how the farm used horse power to grow and harvest their crops.

Take a walk or ride the tractor back in time to 1700 and learn how the Ioway Indians lived on this land. Check out their dwellings and find out what foods they ate.

One of my favorite areas is the Pioneer homestead. Look inside the cabin, maybe you’ll find the residents eating their lunch! They’ll show you around their small but cozy home and tell you what life was like around 1850.

The Living History Farm is popular with kids and families but adults interested in history will enjoy it as well. The property is beautiful and there is a lot to discover. Make sure to give yourself enough time to explore inside the houses and structures and take a walk around the large property.

This open-air museum often hosts special events. We visited during an exhibit on quilting. I’d love to go back and enjoy one of their historic dinners. Meals are prepared in an old fashioned style and served inside one of the houses on the property. The themes are varied and all seem really fun and interesting!

Living History Farms
11121 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50322


If you like open-air museums you might also want to check out Avebury Manor in England.

avebury manor


Exploring Iowa? Why not do it by bicycle? There are plenty of beautiful greenbelt trails to discover. And why not bike between breweries? Be sure to also visit the Des Moines Art Center too. It’s free!

And if you’re in Iowa be sure to also check out the famous Bridges of Madison County.

Are you a fan of living frugally so that you can retire early? Is Mr Money Mustache a friend of yours? You might like this website that finds affordable places to live within your budget, around the globe!

The Earth Awaits gives Des Moines high scores when it comes to living a good life on a budget. Something to think about if you are considering a move to Iowa! It may not be the most walkable city but it has miles and miles of cycling paths.

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