Travel & Tourism
More Thrills with Midway Discounts at the 2012 Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:15

DES MOINES, IA (07/13/2012)(readMedia)-- "Nothing Compares" to the heart-stopping thrill rides on the Midway at the 2012 Iowa State Fair. With a new ride and a variety of amusement savings packages, Fairgoers can enjoy even more entertainment. The Fair is set August 9-19.

Fairgoers can save big at the Midway by planning ahead for this year's Fair. Purchase a set of five Midway tickets for $13; each ticket is good for one ride. For an even bigger day of Midway excitement, purchase a Mega Pass wristband for just $25. It includes unlimited mechanical rides any one Fair day from open to close, including weekends. These Midway special savings must be purchased by August 8 and are available while supplies last at or the Iowa State Fair Ticket Office, as well as statewide Walgreens and Des Moines area Hy-Vee stores.

The Iowa State Fair welcomes back Belle City Amusements for 11 days of twists, turns and thrills that are guaranteed to delight Fairgoers of all ages. New this year, ride the Space Roller and experience lateral G Force and head-over-heel action with massive hang time and horizontal flips as the enormous boom rotates the satellite to heights of 70 feet. Young Fairgoers can experience age-appropriate thrills on two mini coasters, take a spinning carousel ride, soar through the air on the Yo-Yo Swings and more.

For more heart-pounding action, try the thrill rides located, west of the Varied Industries Building. The Area 51-Scare Zone will be on site to test Fairgoers' level of thrill. The haunted attraction will send Fairgoers into a neon-green trailer for a variety of amusement and freights while inside. The Crazy Mouse rollercoaster returns sending riders speeding down a zig-zagging track while simultaneously spinning each car around in a complete circle. Fairgoers' thrills will reach new heights with the other returning rides Sky Scraper, Ejection Seat, Turbo Trampoline and Climbing Experience. Ride costs may vary.

"Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair set August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Grand Canyon River Rafting – The Ultimate Braincation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Janice McInnis   
Friday, 13 July 2012 12:42

By Wendy Rubicam

Everyone needs a braincation now and then, and some of us more than others!  Urban Dictionary defines a braincation as “a vacation for your brain to escape stress.”  There is no better escape from the stresses of everyday life than a Grand Canyon rafting trip on the Colorado River.  Imagine a vacation full of incredible natural wonders, relaxation, reconnection, a splash (or two) of exhilaration and adventure, time for both introspection and interaction, and absolutely none of the stresses of your life back home.

There are no cell phones or pagers, no emails, no traffic, no bad TV shows or noisy neighbors.  You don’t have to decide what to cook for dinner or how to entertain the kids for another week this summer.  You don’t have to answer the phone, or worry about the bottom line of your business.

Arizona River Runners has been operating on the Colorado River since 1970, and has seen the restorative effects of those taking a braincation on a rafting trip. One recent Arizona River Runners customer summed up his river rafting braincation, saying, “The moment I stepped onto the raft, the river had a decompressing effect from all the tension built up by work and the modern world.  Not a care in the world except what hike or adventure awaits you around the next river bend.”  He goes on to say, “My fellow passengers, although strangers, became instant friends. The peace and relaxation I got while I was on the river was astounding! I plan on making this a yearly pilgrimage."

Believe it or not, all you need to do for a fabulous river rafting experience is show up and just relax.  The rafting outfitters and guides do the rest for you – from camping gear to incredible meals to river and canyon know-how, you will be in good hands.  You are free to decide whether you’d rather take in a side-hike or simply chill out on the beach.

Asked to define braincation for those considering a Colorado River rafting adventure, the veteran outfitters at Arizona River Runners came up with the following explanation:

B is for the Brilliant blanket of stars that fills the Grand Canyon night sky

R is for the exhilarating Rapids of the mighty Colorado River

A is for Awe-inspiring rafting experiences and Grand Canyon scenery

I is for Incredibly delicious, fresh food enjoyed in the great outdoors

N is for Nature’s many gifts on a Grand Canyon river trip

C is for Camping along the shores of the Colorado River

A is for Amazing vistas and sights

T is for Terrific guides to lead you on your adventure

I is for the Invaluable friendships you’ll make

O is for the Outdoor activities on a Grand Canyon rafting trip – and there are many

N is for Native American history and canyon folklore

This summer, instead of planning a plain old vacation or a “staycation”, where you try to relax but really can’t, do something great for yourself.  Colorado River rafting trips are perfect for singles, couples, families, friends, extended families that want to reconnect, or anyone who wants an unforgettable experience that benefits not only the brain, but the heart and soul as well.

About Arizona River Runners
White water rafting through the Grand Canyon offers a unique view of one of the most popular natural wonders of the world. Experience the vacation adventure of a lifetime on a Grand Canyon rafting trip with Arizona River Runners.  Since 1970 they have provided all-inclusive Grand Canyon whitewater trips with customized rafts, all the camping and rafting gear, and food for your Colorado River trip.
Contact Information
Arizona River Runners
P.O. Box 47788
Phoenix, AZ 85068
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New Civil War Display Features the Rare and the Routine PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by National Guard PAO Illinois   
Friday, 13 July 2012 12:41

Military Museum Offers a Closer Look at Lives of Soldiers in Blue and Gray

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/13/2012)(readMedia)-- A new Civil War display at the Illinois State Military Museum offers visitors a view of rare rifles and revolvers as well as a sampling of other equipment that many Confederate and Union Soldiers carried.

"This addition to our Civil War exhibit gives you the opportunity to get a closer look at the lives of the Americans on both sides of the battle lines," said Bill Lear, curator of the museum. "We're showcasing the almost one-of-a-kind weapons from our collection as well as featuring weapons and equipment that Soldiers routinely used. The result is that you get a better feel for the life of Soldiers."

Located two blocks north of the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and North Grand Avenue, the Illinois State Military Museum tells the story of the Illinois National Guard from 1723 to the 21st Century.

Rare Union weapons on display include:

A Colt revolving rifle: Before the Civil War, the U.S. government purchased 765 of these Colt revolving rifles, but most were shipped to southern locations and were used by the Confederates. The Union later purchased more than 4,000.

The Model 1855 Harpers Ferry (Type I) rifle: This is one of only 374 that were manufactured in 1858 with a rear sight.

The Allen & Wheelock revolver: While this was one of the most advanced handgun designs of the 1860s, only 1,000 pistols were produced due to a patent infringement case between the Allen & Wheelock and Smith & Wesson companies.

Rare Confederate weapons on display include:

The Tallassee carbine: Only 500 were produced and this is the only officially adopted Confederate cavalry weapon.

The Bilharz, Hall & Co. breechloading carbine: Only 100 of these rising breech carbines, popular because it was smaller and lighter weight, were delivered to the Confederacy.

As examples of more common Soldier items, the Union display case holds a Sharps carbine found in many Union cavalry units, and the 1851 Colt Navy revolver, the most widely used pistol in the Civil War. The Confederate display includes a Model 1862 Enfield rifle and a straw hat from a Confederate Soldier. Enfield rifles, produced in England, were the second most widely used weapon among Union and Confederate Soldiers. Found on the battlefield at Gettysburg, the hat is an example of how many Soldiers, especially Confederate, pieced together their own uniforms.


The Illinois State Military Museum displays the history of the Illinois National Guard from 1723 to the 21st Century. Located two blocks north of the intersection of MacArthur Blvd. and North Grand Ave. in Springfield, Ill., the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For further information about the museum call (217) 761-3910 or visit . Like the museum on Facebook at www.facebook.Illinois.State.Military.Museum. To learn more about Illinois National Guard history visit

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New Food and Fun at the 2012 Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:05

DES MOINES, IA (07/10/2012)(readMedia)-- The Iowa State Fair will offer a plethora of new attractions to try, taste and watch this year. New Fair foods, attractions and contests are available in addition to the many traditional Fair favorites. "Nothing Compares" to this array of new excitement that awaits Fairgoers August 9-19.


Experience the Fair's new zipline, located west of the Jacobson Exhibition Center. Leap from the 28-foot tower and fly 130 feet across the grounds. Buy your tickets now and save $4. A two ticket zip pack is $10 through August 8. Details at

Get your adrenaline pumping with the BMX Pros Trick Team, also located west of the Jacobson Exhibition Center. This BMX show features the world's most extreme bicycle stunt riders in a spectacular, non-stop, action-packed event. Visit the Bengal Tiger Encounter in Kids' Zone for an inspirational program featuring the Bengal Tiger. On display all day with three shows every day of the Fair, these tigers are helping to educate the public on the loss of habitat and the killing of tigers for profit in India and Africa.

The eco-friendly transformation of Expo Hill will be complete for the 2012 Iowa State Fair. The latest additions include a uniquely-designed covered structure which provides a new location for free entertainment and solar panels worked into the design of the structure which will provide a portion of the venue's power needs. Expo Hill will feature the Red Trouser Show each day at noon, 2 and 5 p.m. This duo amazes audiences with their flawless combination of acrobatics, juggling and comedy.

Ag Education

Sheep Stop joins our other agricultural education stops Pig Place, Horse Haven and Cattle Corner; each located in its respective barn. In this newest exhibit, learn how many sheep there are in Iowa and how much wool they produce.

Learn about Iowa's agricultural commodities with the AgVenture Discovery Trail. Explore ten stops by starting at the USDA booth in the Agriculture Building or the Canstruction exhibit in the Varied Industries Building. Learn about plants and what makes them grow with Seed Survivor. This interactive display is located in the John Deere Agriculture Building. The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center will also be expanding its programming for the 2012 Fair by adding an aquaculture exhibit.


The Elwell Family Food Center will house a life-size moose made of Dutch chocolate. This delectable creature, crafted by the master chocolatiers at Chocolaterie Stam, will stand more than 9 feet tall. The building is also home to the largest foods department in the nation with 893 contests, 43 of which are new this year. New contests include A Taste of Ireland, Seattle's Best Coffee "Search For Deliciousness," Best Pizza in Iowa, Gramp's Bacon and more.

New mouthwatering foods to join the list of Fair favorites include:

• Gourmet s'mores, available at Beaverdale Confections in the Shoppers' Mart;

• Peach, apple or cherry crisps, available at Iowa Orchard located inside the southwest entrance of the Agriculture Building;

• Caribbean-style crab fritters, available at Ollie's Crab Fritters west of the Jacobson Exhibition Center;

• German chocolate funnel cakes, available at The Best Around on the Triangle;

• Carrot cake funnel cakes and blue sapphire funnel cakes from Westmoreland Concessions, located south of the Riley Stage;

• Chocolate chip cannolis and chocolate chip cookie dough pops, both dipped in chocolate and on a stick, will be featured at Oasis Concessions on the southwest corner of the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion;

• Deep fried pickle "dawgs," available at the Dawg House on the Triangle.

Also, look for our new Fair Square flavor made with marshmallows, crisped rice cereal, pretzels, potato chips, Oreos, toffee and M&Ms®. Find the Fair Square stand on the northwest corner of the Administration Building.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. A complete listing and details of all daily programs is available online, for more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Iowa State Fair Ticket Office Opens July 9 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:22

Print at Home Tickets Offer Convenience

DES MOINES, IA (07/05/2012)(readMedia)-- "Nothing Compares" to affordable family entertainment at the Iowa State Fair, August 9 – 19. For Fairgoers planning ahead, the State Fair Ticket Office will open July 9 and is offering discounted tickets for admission, rides and more. Or purchase online and choose the print at home option for an even easier way to get admission tickets.

Advance Admission

Save up to 30 percent off gate admission with advance admission tickets, on sale through August 8 or while supplies last. Adult admission tickets are just $7 in advance (regularly $10), and children's admission tickets are only $3 in advance (regularly $4). Fairgoers can print advance admission tickets at home when purchasing them online at This fee-free option is easy and convenient. Tickets may also be purchased at participating Hy-Vee and Hy-Vee Drugstores, Dahl's Foods and Fareway Stores. Tickets are good any one Fair day. Children 5 and under are admitted free every day.

Fair Play Packs

These value-packed kits are good any Fair day and are perfect for employee incentives or Fair-loving families! Fair Play Packs are available at the State Fair Ticket Office or online at (5 percent processing fee applies) through August 8. Three different packages provide visitors of all ages with plenty of food, fun and entertainment. The three packs include:

  • Ages 12 and older, $19 (up to a $29.50 value): Includes one adult gate admission; one Giant Slide or Ye Old Mill ride; one Sky Glider ride; one Snakes Alive, Butterfly House or Train Exhibit admission; one Area 51 – Scare Zone admission and five $1 food and beverage tickets.
  • Ages 6-11, $18 (up to a $28.50 value): Includes one child gate admission; one Giant Slide or Ye Old Mill ride; one Sky Glider ride; one Snakes Alive, Butterfly House or Train Exhibit admission; one midway ride; one pony or camel ride and five $1 food and beverage tickets.
  • Ages 5 and under, $15 (up to a $24.50 value): Includes one Giant Slide or Ye Old Mill ride; one Sky Glider ride; one Snakes Alive, Butterfly House or Train Exhibit admission; one midway ride; one pony or camel ride and five $1 food and beverage tickets.

Punch Cards

Buy a convenient Punch Card with 11 days of adult Fair admission for just $77. Each punch is good for one admission to the Fair. Cards may be used by individuals or families. Punch Cards may only be purchased through the State Fair Ticket Office or online at (5 percent processing fee applies).

Zipline Tickets

Experience the Fair's new zipline. Buy two tickets (regular single tickets $7) for $10 and save $4. Available at the State Fair Ticket Office or online at (5 percent processing fee applies). Must be purchased by August 8. Available while supplies last.

Midway Savings

Save on the midway with a Midway Play Pack - a set of five midway ride tickets for only $13. Each ticket is good for one ride. Available through August 8 at the State Fair Ticket Office or online at (5 percent processing fee applies). Or purchase a Midway Mega Pass wristband, good for unlimited mechanical rides any one Fair day from open to close including weekends. Mega Passes are $25 (does not include gate admission) and are available through August 8 at the State Fair Ticket Office, online at (5 percent processing fee applies) or statewide Walgreens and Des Moines-area Hy-Vee stores.

Food Tickets

Buy a set of five $1 food tickets good for food or beverage purchase at any Fairgrounds concession, excluding the midway. Cost is $5 per set, and they may be purchased through the State Fair Ticket Office or online at (5 percent processing fee applies).

Fairtime Savings

Enjoy these special offers only available during the Fair. Visit for rules and details.

• On Opening Day, August 9, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., enjoy free gate admission with the coupon from the Sunday, August 5 Des Moines Register or the Wednesday, August 8 Des Moines Register full page Hy-Vee ad.

• Save with half price gate admission after 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

• On Older Iowans' Day, August 15, gate admission is just $7 for Fairgoers ages 60 and over.

• On Extreme Sunday, August 19, take advantage of half-price admission all day and free parking for carloads of five or more in the Fair's north parking lot.

• During the Fair, purchase a midway wristband any weekday for unlimited mechanical rides from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wristbands are $25 and are available during the Fair at midway ticket booths only.

• Purchase two zipline tickets for $12. Regular price single tickets are $7.

The State Fair Ticket Office, located in the Administration Building on the Fairgrounds, is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Online orders placed after 4 p.m. on July 27 will not be mailed but will be held at will call. Walk-up orders will be available until August 8. Cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover are accepted. All offers good while supplies last.

Fairgoers can enjoy an even bigger benefit when buying early: advance admission tickets have a coupon for a free small Potato Olé® at participating Iowa-area Taco John's. Coupon expires 9/30/12. See store for details.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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