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Des Moines, Iowa - not so trivial

© By Adam Southwood
  Skyline There's nothing trivial about Des Moines, but if you are playing Trivial Pursuit, it would make a good topic.
     Des Moines is the third largest U.S. insurance center, as well as a hub for publishing, manufacturing, agribusiness, finance, government, retail and wholesale trade.
     The National Bar Association was founded in Des Moines on August 1, 1925. The Iowa Caucus is the first step in the U.S. presidential candidate nomination process for both Republicans and Democrats, with national and international media descending upon Greater Des Moines during this time.
     Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino was the first racetrack in the nation to have slot machines. There are 29 different kinds of marble in Iowa's State Capitol Building. The Iowa State Fair was the inspiration for the book, "State Fair," by Iowan Phil Stong. Three movies have been filmed with the same name. The Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical adaptation of "State Fair" debuted at the Civic Center of Des Moines during the 1995 Fair and officially opened on Broadway in March of 1996.
     The Great Ape Trust, North America's largest research center dedicated to the study of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orang-utans, is located in Des Moines. The Science Center of Iowa contains the only fully functional clear toilet in the Northern Hemisphere. (I'm not so sure I'd be proud of that one.)
     There are 665 Plexiglas panels in the dome of the Des Moines Botanical Center. There are over 800 animals at the Blank Park Zoo. Tornado, Super Screamer, Flitzer, and Dragon are the names of Adventureland's four roller coasters. The Iowa State Capitol Dome contains 100 ounces of gold. Waveland golf course in Des Moines has been rated one of the top in the nation. The first sports director for WHO Radio was President Ronald Reagan. He held that position for four years.

Balloon Classic  Botanical Center  Crusoe Umbrella  Governors Residence  Grays Lake Bridge  Hoyt Sherman Theatre

     Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, built in the 1920s, was the first high school in the country to cost over a million dollars. Iowa State University is the oldest land-grant college in the world. The University of Iowa was the first public university to admit women as well as men. It opened the first college-level education department in the nation. WOI-TV was opened by Iowa State University in 1950. It was the nation's first educationally owned television station. The electronic digital computer was invented at Iowa State University by John Vincent Atanasoff, with the assistance of Clifford Berry.
     Pianist Roger Williams got his start at Babe's restaurant and he also attended Drake University. Roy Halston, the famous fashion designer, attended Roosevelt High School in Des Moines
     Are you ready to play Jeopardy yet? No, well here are a few more facts. The name "Des Moines" comes from the river of the same name. Indians called the river Moingona, meaning "river of the monks." A four mile-long skywalk system - the largest per capita in the world - connects meeting facilities, shopping, hotels, restaurants and entertainment.
     There's an array of restaurants - over 850! - to choose from. Everything from Thai to sushi to authentic Mexican cuisine. Des Moines boasts hundreds of miles of trails and is perfect for walking, biking, jogging and cross-country skiing. Once in Greater Des Moines, enjoy convenient transportation with the D-Line (a free downtown shuttle), the mass transit system, taxis and limousine companies.

Simon Estes Amphitheatre  Marriage 1961  Normade 2007  Poet Balzac - 1990  Spider Sculpture Park   We Lost - 1962

     The Western Gateway Park is now home to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. The park showcases a collection of sculptures worth an estimated $40 million. John and Mary Pappajohn, well-known philanthropists in the community, donated the sculptures. The 25 sculptures (by 19 internationally acclaimed Modern and Contemporary artists) purchased by the Pappajohns is the largest single public gift in Des Moines' history and the largest public gift of art in Iowa history. The collection is expected to expand as the Pappajohns have indicated they will add to it in the future. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located from 10th to 15th Streets between Grand Avenue and Locust Street in Downtown Des Moines.
     Now you are ready. Phone Alex Trebek!

Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history and has produced several educational programs for TV.

Photo Credits
Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Des_Moines
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Des_Moines
Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau: http://www.seedesmoines.com/

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/




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