Des Moines County Heritage Center – This historical museum located in downtown Burlington features exhibits highlighting the agriculture, musical culture, military history, and economical growth of Des Moines County. Explore all nine galleries on this three-level museum and travel back in time.The Des Moines County Heritage Center Museum opened in 2009 in the former Burlington Public Library, which was built in 1898. There are nine galleries on three levels in the Museum, each one addressing a different aspect of county history. The 19th Century Gallery illustrates the growth of the small frontier territory into a lively and bustling city of the gaslight era. The 20th Century Gallery, on the upper level, displays changing exhibits that address the events and social changes of the 1900s. Military, agriculture, and music are all also showcased throughout the museum, as they are all very influential and important aspects of the county’s history.
Mosquito Park - Named for its size, this park provides a bluff-top look at the massive river. Mosquito Park is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River just north of downtown and boasts one of the most beautiful views in the area.
Phelps House Museum – This three-generation house features furnishings dating from 1774. The mansion offers stunning and dramatic views as it is located at the top of Snake Alley. Explore century-old history with a guided tour of Burlington’s Phelps House. William Garrett, an early Burlington merchant, built a home at the top of the hill overlooking downtown Burlington and the river in 1851.As his family grew and his business became successful, Mr. Garrett enlarged and remodeled the house in 1870. Three generations of his family lived in this home through many tragedies and triumphs.The interior showcases the furnishings and belongings of the Garrett and Phelps families who lived here for more than 100 years. The ballroom on the third floor features Medical Memories, which highlights the years this home served as the first Presbyterian Hospital. Walk around this exclusive gallery to view the unique medical instruments, uniforms, and photos of the healthcare industry through history.
Snake Alley – This famous winding street received its name from Ripleys’ Believe It or Not in 1940 when Robert L. Ripley saw the limestone and blue clay street in person.The Alley, constructed in 1894 with intensions to link the downtown district to the shopping area on North Sixth Street, consists of five half curves and two-quarter curves with a 58 foot drop over a distance of 275 feet. If you’re feeling brave, take a walk down the “crookedest street in the world” and our motorcoaches will pick you up at the bottom of the alley to continue your tour.
Capitol Theatre - Tour this 1930 Art Deco Theater and learn of its rich history. The theater which was the center of the town for decades, went through many years of deterioration as the city struggled economically. Today, the theater stands proud in its former beauty, once again a popular location for visitors and residents to explore. The theater was a grand and beautiful asset to the city of Burlington throughout the century. Burlington, Iowa's 1937 Capitol movie theater sat for years in deterioration. Once the center of activity in a bustling downtown, the Capitol Theater shut its doors in 1977 and faced the wrecking ball within the next decade. Luckily, it was spared and fully restored to its opulent form. Today, films and live performances are still being offered here and visitors can admire the beauty of this historical piece of Burlington.
Port of Burlington Welcome Center – Tourism information about the area and the state of Iowa is available. The Burlington Welcome Center is located within a historic building on the Mississippi River, dedicated in 1928 as the Municipal Docks and features historic displays of the area and souvenirs in the Iowa Store. The Port of Burlington Welcome Center has vast amounts of information on this area as well as the rest of the state. A scenic plaza area on the east side of the Port showcases the Mississippi riverfront. An outdoor stage located at the south end of the building is the site of Burlington Steamboat Days American Music Festival, which attracts crowds in excess of 100,000 visitors every third week in June. Explore the unique gift shop to pick out the perfect souvenir of Burlington. The store offers a wide selection of one-of-a-kind trinkets, jewelry, and art pieces handcrafted by local artists!
Burlington Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Explored in 1673 by Pere Jaques Marquette and Louis Joliet, the land that is now Des Moines County changed hands from France to Spain, back to France and finally to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. After Lt. Zebulon Pike’s expedition landed at what is now Crapo Park in 1805, it was part of several territories – Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan. In 1834, residents named the land “Burlington” after trader John Gray’s Vermont hometown. When Iowa was named a territory in 1838, Burlington remained the capital. Today, visitors enjoy the sights and attractions of the town as the hills and valleys, prairies, and the Mississippi River create the perfect scenic backdrop.
PREMIUM EXPERIENCE EXCURSION
Live Cabaret Show in the Bart Howard Room
Composer and songwriter Bart Howard, a Burlington native, has been described as “elegant, urbane and smart in business matters.” “Lena Horne” included Howard's “Let Me Love You” in her repertoire. Howard was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999 and at the end of his life saw his music regaining popularity. Today we can enjoy a live cabaret show of his music and other cabaret standards in the room named in his honor. This hour long show will take you back in time when Sinatra, Martin, Horn and others ruled the airwaves.
APPROXIMATE DURATION 2 hours
CAPACITY 50 Guests
9:45 AM – 11:45 AM
SIGHTS YOU WILL SEE
Rare Bart Howard Memorabilia
THINGS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE
Live Cabaret show of Bart Howard music