The Reiman Gardens are adjacent to the Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. We found it because we were looking through http://roadsideamerica.com and saw a pin for the largest concrete garden gnome in the world.
Expecting to find some kind of kitschy road side stop, we were pleased to find this rare gem among a state of cornfields. The gardens and facility were gorgeous and worth more than the price of admission.
We started in a butterfly garden. I have visited several of these at zoo’s and fairs, but they are usually in much rougher shape as they pump people in and through them all day long. This butterfly garden was pristine and the researchers were happy to tell you all about the butterflies while you spent time there.
Continuing down the hall of the main building, we saw this really cool hydroponics room.
Next, we went through a garden and miniature farm made just for kids. This was a great spot for the kids to play and learn a little agriculture. One of the best parts was a kaleidoscope that pointed at some very colorful annuals.
Suddenly, we heard some music. Not from a speaker, but from a sculpture! We continued on toward the music and weaved our way through several sets of gardens full of trellis’s and structures until we finally saw it. It was a multi-story tower with pingers which made all of the music by hitting the structure’s different surfaces.
We continued through Reiman Gardens, past a pond with aquatic plants and into a more arboretum type garden. We finally found our gnome. He was chilling next to a small amphitheater for all to gaze upon his world record holding beauty. It was all that you can expect from a pile of concrete painted and formed into a garden gnome.
Of all of the great gardening at Reiman Gardens, I was most inspired to go home and build myself an apple tree tunnel. How cool would this be in your back yard! I bet in five years, a tunnel like this would be stunning … and delicious.
Reiman Gardens is worth a stop if you are driving through Ames. It was easy to find and a great way to stretch your legs.
If you are coming to the midwest, make sure to contact Freedom Getaways for your travel plans. freedomgetaways.com