I am here! I have been gone for a while I know, but spring sprung up on me with a rush of kids activities, wrapping up the year at school and getting our summer started. Despite all my best efforts, I did not get any blogging done.
My goal this summer is to spend some time working on taking pictures, and taking my kids to visit some IOWA sights before they fly the nest and I never showed them how to appreciate their home state. We travel yearly and we have seen much of the United States and we are very blessed to have those opportunities, but…. I still think my children should spend some time visiting the sights Iowa has to offer.
The first stop for me was to take the kids to a sight I visited when I was a child. I can remember my grandpa and my dad on separate occasions taking me up to the top of the Mahanay Bell Tower in Jefferson, Iowa. The bell tower was a sight that was known to everyone who lived in SW Iowa and you didn’t live in Greene County unless you went up to the top.
According to Wikipedia and the tour guide who took us to the top, the bell tower will be celebrating its 50th year this year. It was built in 1966 by the Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Mahanay estate. It has 14 bells in the top that play on the quarter and full hour and has a whole listing of songs it will feature seasonally. It is located on the city square right next to the courthouse. The views of the sprawling Iowa countryside are spectacular and the price is unbeatable. $3 for adults and all children are free. How can you beat that?
The bell tower is on the city square and right across the street was a Ben Franklin… anyone remember what Ben Franklin is? The old five and dime type store was a fun stop that reminds me of summers growing up when making a trip to Ben Franklin was a huge deal. We would go by various colors of floss to make friendship bracelets, hook pictures and yarn. It was so much fun going up and down the aisles, and although my memories are alive and intact, I think I found our stop there more fun than my children did.
After a stop to the Ben Franklin store we crossed the street and boarded the glass elevator for our ride to the top of the tower, timing it just right so we would hear and see the bells toll.
This is a picture I took of downtown and the streets that lead out of town to the country. You can see multiple towns from the top after riding up the 120 feet by glass elevator. The great part is that once at the top they offer the popular game “I spy” for the kids. They have to find all kinds of things such as a tractor, something yellow, a bicycle, etc.
So if you are looking for something to do with the kids that is cheap and offers a glimpse at Iowa history, check out the Mahanay Bell Tower in Jefferson Iowa! It is worth the trip… and bonus- there is a Twin Shoppe Ice Cream shop right across the street which makes a great place to stop after 🙂