Students launch website inspired by adventure

Ellen Bombela

Four Iowa State students’ love of exploring and photography inspired them to create a website showcasing different places to explore around Iowa.

Dylan Thomas, junior in political science; Grant Parks, sophomore in pre-business; Jonathan Kreye, sophomore in child, adult and family services; and Ian Jamieson, sophomore in software engineering, are the masterminds behind Exploring Iowa. The group has been exploring different places around Iowa together for the last year and a half, compiling information about the different locations to put on their website.

“We drove around to a lot of unique locations that not a lot of people think would be in Iowa,” Kreye said. 

At, people have a few options to begin exploring. Guests can navigate through a series of tabs including articles, adventures, and a map.

Information on the website includes what to expect, the best times to go and things to be aware of at each location, along with photos.

“Around the state there are just so many different places to discover,” Parks said. “There’s a stereotype of Iowa being just cornfields, but there’s so much more to it than that.”

The website, which launched on Tuesday, currently has information on almost 30 locations including Ledges State Park, the Grotto of Redemption, the High Trestle Trail Bridge, and the Lunde Barn southeast of Ames.

“There are always going to be more locations added and more places to explore,” Jamieson said. “Those locations will be added incrementally.”

While most of the locations are near Ames or in Central Iowa, the group ultimately plans to expand the site and reach out to all parts of the state.

“Our goal is to reach every corner of the state,” said Jamieson. “We really want to make this a huge thing with every part of the state, and get every county involved in this.”

Another goal is to build the website’s community.

“It has culminated into building a community in Iowa that share these same interests, and we’re just hoping to further build that community,” Thomas said. 

That community, they hope, will spur traffic to the site and allow them to grow.