AMES, Iowa — Experience and explore Iowa in ways never before thought possible. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach extends this invitation to educational travel courses. Adult learning vacations include insights and history from experts about each community while opening doors to private homes and places typically not accessible to the public.
The courses are created and taught by Diane Van Wyngarden, tourism specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “We provide unique learning experiences about Iowa, and at a lower cost than visiting these sites on your own,” Van Wyngarden said. Each learning adventure has a theme of study, and for a week participants travel together as a group via boat or motorcoach to a different community each day.
Registration is now open for “The Best of the Upper Mississippi River,” to be held Sept. 9-15. The 500-mile itinerary begins/ends in the Quad Cities and includes a special “beyond the gate” Mississippi lock and dam tour and U.S. Army pass onto Rock Island, a private home visit with John and Joan Maxwell on their Cinnamon Ridge robotic dairy farm, and exploring the underground tunnels of a Galena lead mine. Also included are a private river excursion into the Mississippi wildlife refuge backwaters with a former clammer, hands-on learning with experts and local specialty farm-to-table meals. The week’s finale features captain narrations during a daylong excursion down the Mississippi on a “floating palace” riverboat.
Hotel stays are in Moline, Ill., and the historic Hotel Julien in Dubuque. This small group adventure is limited to 24 people, providing entry into private spaces and group interaction.
“Your study leader travels with you the entire week, weaving your river and overland excursions into a memorable adventure,” Van Wyngarden said.