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Old 06-06-2016, 09:08 AM
 
195 posts, read 146,659 times
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Many excellent suggestions here; the Driftless area is beautiful, but they'll all take you several hours out of your way. Having made the trip dozens of times, I'd suggest Avenue Of The Saints: 35 to 18 to 218, which isn't as dull as 63 and travels very well. Stop in Clear Lake where there's an excellent Mexican restaurant, or Culver's for the kid. Or continue on to Waverly which has an awesome wooden "castle" type playground where the little legs can stretch, grab some Subway or Taco John's for a picnic. Cedar Falls is also a nice stop with loads of parks but maybe farther south than you'd want.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,546,622 times
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Just east on Mason City, you can go fossil hunting. Some kids really get a kick out of this...especially if they are into dinosaurs.

Fossils
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:39 PM
 
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I always like to try to follow up after requesting advice, so here's what we ended up doing. We got off mid-morning, and after a couple construction detours, made it to the Spring Valley area around lunchtime, so we stopped for a quick bite before heading on to Forestville State Park. By that point, we were a little later than I intended, so we just did the cave tour without and hiking in the main park. The cave was great though, something very new and different for the kiddo, and 48 degrees on a 90+ degree day didn't hurt! A little time running around before and after the hour-long tour was just the ticket and my daughter fell asleep a little while later and slept the rest of the way down 63 and 380.

The way home was a little crunched for time after seeing The Little Mermaid in Cedar Rapids and wanting to get home before midnite. We only stopped for a quick burger on the way out of CR and then briefly in Jaynesville, which actually has a pretty nice little playground by the school and close to the gas station.

Thanks for all the advice! I'm quite certain it won't be our last trip down there as our friend seems like he's there for the long haul.
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