ISD Road Trip: Whirl through history in Story City

Children whirl around on Story City’s famous antique carousel, located in North Park. Story City is also home to the oldest continuously operating theater west of the Mississippi.

Frances Myers

With all the things summer has to offer, occasionally you may come across that day where you miraculously have nothing to do and actually are experiencing some boredom.

Or maybe you just have a couple hours with nothing to do and you have to be back for work or another function in the evening. You don’t want to go all the way to Des Moines, but you don’t want to hang around Ames either. So what to do?

Well… there’s always Story City.

For this trip, the Daily checked out the famed carousel of Story City. The 1913 antique wooden carousel is in North Park, conveniently located next to the swimming pool and the tennis courts. No worries; it’s not just for little kids.

“We have many different ages come in on different days,” said Zachary Stewart, a second-year employee of the carousel. “Just last weekend, we had Scandinavian Days, and it was varied. Younger children were coming in earlier in the day, and we saw a lot of college-aged people later in the evening.”

Stewart said on some days the carousel sees three people come in, whereas on others, such as Scandinavian Days last weekend, they will see as many as 2,000 visitors.

For food, we checked out a local café just down the road on Broad Street called Dinners by Dawn. It serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, and for lunch there’s always a daily special. Dinner is served until 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Story City also offers a golf course, disc golf, many different bistros and cafés, as well as “the oldest continuously operating theater west of the Mississippi,” the Story Theatre/Grand Opera House, “offering a rich history of performing arts and movie magic, located right in the heart of downtown Story City. The building is part of the Historic Hotel Block on the National Register of Historic Places. Movies shown Friday, Saturday, Sunday evenings for only $3.”