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How to entertain guests in Ames over the holidays

December 2, 2022

Entertaining out-of-town guests this holiday season? Add these 10 fun-filled activities to your to-do list to treat them to the full Ames experience!

  1. Walk through a real-life winter wA lit-up walk-through tunnel at Reiman Garden's Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show. onderland at Reiman Garden’s Winter Wonderscape Light Show. This is more than just a light show – the seasonal attraction features 17-acres of glittering lights, walk-through tunnels, giant laser-lit disco balls, and beautiful photo ops throughout. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DEC. 22-24 DUE TO A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY. It is scheduled to be held Dec. 29-31.
  2. Take an afternoon trip to Seven Oaks Recreation, located just 15 miles west of Ames in Boone, Iowa. With skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing available, you’ll find winter fun for the whole family. New to winter recreation? No worries – Seven Oaks even offers free mini skiing and snowboarding lessons. You’ll be a pro in no time. 
  3. Stop at Marmalade Moon while shopping on Main Street in downtown Ames for uniquely delicious ice cream flavors and one-of-a-kind gifts, like creative puzzles, quirky home décor and beautiful jewelry. Make your guests try the lemon butter biscuit ice cream. They’ll crave it forever. 
  4. Little ones visiting Ames? Take them on a trip they’ll never forget – a train ride to the North Pole! Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s Santa Express is a one-hour and 15-minute train ride featuring the storytelling of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride and other interactive activities for the whole family. Psst…we hear the big man in a red suit even makes an appearance.
  5. Head to Perfect Games for an afternoon of fun (and warmth). Perfect Games offers 24 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, a two-story laser tag arena, a massive arcade, and a full-service restaurant and bar. Perfect for cold, Iowa winter days!
  6. Bring guests with a sweet tooth to Chocolaterie Stam for delicious, hand-crafted European-style chocolates and candies. These treats are an Ames staple! If your guests enjoy them enough, send them home with a souvenir of chocolates – bringing a taste of Ames to their home. 
  7. Bundle up in your warm winter gear for a day of ice skating at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Rent a pair of skates, lace them up tightly, and hit the ice! 
  8. Have a coffee drinker on your hands? Caffeinate them at Burgie’s Coffee with a hand-crafted espresso latte, cold brew, or hot mocha. With two locations in Ames, this little coffee shop packs big flavor. A classic banana split from Hickory Park.
  9. Dine with your guests on delicious barbecue at Hickory Park, an Ames tradition since 1970. Start off with a basket of home-fried potato chips for the table, then try one of their dinner platters featuring a wide variety of smoked-to-perfection meats and fall-off-the-bone ribs. To finish it off, try a classic old-fashioned sundae specialty. 
  10. Lastly, the most beautiful Christmas tree in Ames resides on Iowa State University’s central campus across from Beardshear Hall. Each year, during Iowa State’s WinterFest celebration, the tree is lit up in dazzling rainbow colors. Bundle up for a stroll on central campus to see the tree (and campus) in all its glory!
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