Discover Ames

Group Tours


Explore the heart of Iowa and immerse yourself in Ames, where unique flavors, hidden gems, vibrant culture, and unforgettable experiences await you around every turn.



Spend a full day at Reiman Gardens, or tour both Reiman Gardens in Ames and the Iowa Arboretum & Gardens in Boone County.

  • Tour Reiman Gardens, a 17-acre botanical center. No matter the season, Reiman Gardens serves up a bounty of colorful flowers, creative displays, special events, and a butterfly wing. Reiman Gardens has been named a “Top 10 North American Garden Worth Traveling For” in 2024. Don’t miss Elwood, the world’s largest concrete gnome!
  • Reiman Gardens’ 2024 theme is “Living Landscape” and features garden playhouses and special places. Check out the Garden Art Fair in July and Garden Quilt Show in August.
  • Pro tip: Book in advance and request small-group behind-the-scenes tours of the butterfly enclosure.
  • Visit Iowa Arboretum & Gardens and immerse yourself in a world of tranquility as you explore the colorful gardens, open-planted tree areas, and native woodland and prairie trails. Opening this summer: Treehouse Village, an eye-popping area for children and adults to play and explore nature.



Visit Iowa State University art museums, Octagon Center for the Arts, and the Ames History Museum.

  • Take a guided Art on Campus walk, courtesy of Iowa State University Museums. You’ll find an extensive collection of public art outdoors as well as inside many campus buildings, including Parks Library’s Grant Wood murals.
  • Enjoy a tour of Iowa State’s exceptional Brunnier Art Museum. The museum features a decorative arts collection and ever-changing exhibitions of prints, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and other works of art. Tour guides will further the interpretation of these fine objects.
  • Also on campus: Step back in time in the ISU Farm House Museum, a monument to early Iowa State history and culture. And located inside historic Morrill Hall, the Christian Petersen Art Museum exhibits works of art by Christian Petersen, plus a rotating schedule of contemporary and public art.
  • Visit the Octagon Center for the Arts, located in the heart of downtown Ames. The art center features exhibitions by regional artists and has an outstanding shop filled with one-of-a-kind works of art.
  • Across the street, you’ll find the Ames History Museum. The museum’s renovated and expanded exhibit spaces will re-open in summer 2024.



Sample the best of Ames’ restaurants, breweries, and a winery or wine bar! The Ames food and drink scene is, at turns, sophisticated, casual, and just plain fun, with plenty of local favorites and indie restaurants. Make your own itinerary from these Ames favorites:

  • At Great Plains Sauce & Dough Co., order the thick, Denver-style pizza, and be sure to save some of the rolled-edge crust to drizzle with honey for dessert.
  • Try Hickory Park, Cornbred, or Jethro’s for the best of Ames barbecue. Pro tip: Hickory Park also specializes in ice cream creations!
  • For farm-to-table freshness, enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at The Café or Provisions Lot F.
  • Special occasions call for special places. In Ames, that place is Aunt Maude’s!
  • Fans of sports bars and casual dining will enjoy Brick City Grill, Wallaby’s, and Dublin Bay.
  • Ames has the best brews: From fresh-roasted coffee to Iowa-brewed beers to a pastoral winery, you can’t beat the taste of local. Find Alluvial Brewing, Prairie Moon Winery, Torrent Brewing Company, and more than a dozen coffee shops during your visit to Ames. Pro tip: Ask for behind-the-scenes tours!
  • Taste wines from France, Italy, California, and beyond at Della Viti, a self-serve wine bar on Main Street.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at European-inspired Chocolaterie Stam and small-batch ice cream shop Marmalade Moon, both located on Main.
  • For more dining suggestions, go to com/eat-drink/. Please note that some of these restaurants may not always have space for large groups, and not all take reservations.



Explore art, architecture, and athletics at Iowa’s land-grant university.

  • No visit to Ames is complete without walking on the Iowa State campus, withits central green space, public art, iconic campanile, and stunning architecture.
  • Schedule a behind-the-scenes tour of ISU Athletics venues, including Jack Trice Stadium, Hilton Coliseum, and many other state-of-the-art Division I facilities.
  • Additional specialized tours may include the Student Innovation Center, ISU Research Park, Veterinary Medicine facilities, University Museums, Reiman Gardens, or other campus destinations.



Tour the Iowa State University Dairy Farm, Horticulture Farm, and BioCentury Research Farm to experience sustainable practices and cutting-edge technology.

  • Tour the 27-acre ISU Dairy Farm, with 400 dairy cows and 400 heifers. You’ll experience the milking process, then move to the milk room and into the barn. Sustainable farming is practiced, beginning with the manure-handling system.
  • Explore the Iowa State Horticulture Farm and get an in-person demonstration of some of the latest conservation efforts taking place in Iowa. The research station features extensive horticultural planting and projects, including apple orchards, vineyards, demonstration home gardens, vegetables, hops, turfgrass, and ornamentals.
  • Visit ISU’s innovative BioCentury Research Farm, the premier biomass-to-fuels-and-products production and processing facility in the nation. This modern facility aids research activities including biomass feedstock and cropping systems; harvest, storage, and transportation logistics of biomass feedstocks; and biomass conversion.

The Discover Ames team assists in scheduling the BioCentury Research Farm tours and collecting payment. All other agriculture tours are coordinated through the visitor and the farm. To schedule a tour with BioCentury Research Farm or get connected to the others, contact Veronica Tarello at Discover Ames (515.817.6314) or email


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