Things to Do

Things to Do in Denison


Aquatic Center

The Aquatic Center is located at 710 North 16th Street and includes a large six-lane indoor pool, complete with easily accessible stairs. Also featured is our climate-controlled Sauna and Spa with hydro jets. The outdoor area includes Children's Activity Pool with a Frog Water Slide, a fountain, and five bubbly Geysers, a spacious sun deck, two 150-foot Water Slides . The slides plunge into a roomy pool that waterfalls into a beach area which slopes down to the swimming area and diving boards. There is also a 18 hole miniature golf course and a sand volleyball court. The Aquatic Center is handicap accessible and Certified Life Guards are always on duty.  For more information about the Aquatic Center, please call 263-8130.

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City Parks

Denison has eight city parks located in each neighborhood, Little League Complex, and Northside Rec all in city limits.  All parks equal 86.2 acres.  The parks include Doty Park, Johnson Park, Maxwell Park, Morningside Park, Tuckers Park, Tuckers Pond, Union Park, and Washington Park-featuring Kids Kastle.  The Little League Complex is 9 acres with two baseball fields and is located at 2210 Parkview Drive.  Northside Recreation Complex is a state of the art facility located on North 16th Street. 

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Crawford County Athletic Association

The association organizes adult women and co-ed volleyball in the fall, men's basketball in the winter, and summer men and women's softball leagues.

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Crawford County Cinema 4

Four state-of-the-art movie theaters located on Highway 59 South at 309 Chamberlin Drive. For more information or show times and movies please call (712) 263-8777.

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Crawford County Speedway

The Crawford County Speedway was once a horse trace and was transformed into a half-mile premier dirt racetrack. Crowds from all over Iowa gather to come to the races with featured cars and trucks.  The is one of Iowa's finest with its recent renovations and future renovations to improve the grandstands and concession areas.  For more information, please call (712) 263-8221.

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Donna Reed Performing Arts Center

The Donna Reed Performing Arts Center contains The Donna Reed Theatre, The Donna Reed Museum, and Reiney's Soda Fountain at the corner of Broadway and Main Street uptown.

The building was originally built in 1914 as The Deutsche Operahaus Gessellschaft von Denison. In 1912 a group of investors raised $50,000 to build the opera house.  Many celebrities of the time, including Mary Pickford, entertained area residents from the Operahaus stage.  The Operahaus was later converted into the Ritz Movie Theater, but in the late 1980s the building was in extreme peril.  Plaster was falling down from the ceiling because of an out of town owner refused to repair the roof.  Grover Asmus (the widower of Donna Reed) and a local business each donated $55,000 to acquire the building in 1988, then local citizens raised over $600,000 to restore it to its former glory.  Volunteers donated thousands of hours of their time to restore what is now the Donna Reed Performing Arts Center.

The Donna Reed Museum is now operated by the Donna Reed Foundation, and has a memorabilia shop within.  Many unpublished photos, personal items, and movie mementos from Donna Reed's life are also on display.

Even before the Deutche Operahaus was built, a soda fountain was operating on this central corner of Denison.  While the building was closed for a period in the 1980s, unfortunately, the original soda fountain was sold.  Later, when the building was being renovated, some citizens of Denison learned of a 1907 soda fountain for sale in downtown Chicago, in Fat Moe's Deli.  The owner wanted it to go where it would be reinstalled as a working soda fountain, so within a week, a purchase price was established and paid.  The citizens rented a truck, traveled to Chicago, and shipped it back to Denison.  It was reinstalled in the exact location of the original soda fountain in the Donna Reed Theatre and was renamed Reiney's Soda Fountain.  It now houses The Bake Shop and Hollywood Cafe.

Building tours are available, which often include personal stories from long-time area residents.  For more information on the Donna Reed Performing Arts Center please call (712) 263-3334.
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The Little Red Schoolhouse
The Little Red Schoolhouse, formerly known as Soldier #4, was moved to the Jim and Ramona Laubscher ranch in 1975.  The building has been restored and furnished with pieces dating back to the early 1900's.  The schoolhouse opened in 1882 and closed on May 29, 1953.  The Little Red Schoolhouse was located at 2781 Highway 59 South for many years with Ramona Laubscher offering tours (see the photo below). The Little Red Schoolhouse has been moved to a new location with Eric and Terri Martins as its new caretakers. The schoolhouse is getting settled into its new home, and will be ready to have tours again soon. For more information, contact Terri Martins at (712) 269-8945.

Little Red School House

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Lucky Lanes Bowling

The bowling alley consist of twelve lanes, automated scoring and rental balls and shoes are available. There are Men's, women's, mixed, and junior leagues available also.  For more information please call, (712) 263-9850.

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The McHenry House

The McHenry House was built in 1885.  It is owned and maintained by the Crawford County Historical Society and appropriated as a museum with Crawford County Memoriabilia, including the Academy Award won by Donna Reed for her performance in "From Here to Eternity." It is located at the corner of 15th Street and 1st Avenue North in Denison.  Tours are available to the public on Sunday and Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment, Memorial Day to Labor Day.

McHenry House 1

West Parlor or Drawing Room, features the original fireplace and mirror, brass chandelier, and parquet wood floor.  Donna Reed's Oscar is also on display.

McHenry House 2

Bedroom features a bedroom set of Birdseye Maple with Chiffonrobe.  This room was originally the dining room that had a built in buzzer system to the kitchen for summoning servants.

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Majestic Hills Golf Course

The Majestic Hills Golf Course is located at 2505 Boulders Drive and is the in the lower level of the Boulders Conference Center.  It is a challenging 18 hole golf course in the rolling hills of western Iowa.  The well-groomed golf course features a panoramic view with watered fairways and large rolling greens.  Five different tee settings provides a challenge for golfers of all abilities.  Along with an 18 hole golf course, you will find a driving range and a friendly atomsphere.  For more information, please call 263-5194.

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The Neal Moeller Environmental Education Center

The Neal Moeller Nature Center houses exhibits and various displays, all promoting environmental education. A full-time Naturalist devises programs to educate area youth and the general public on how to respect and conserve the environment in which they live. Call (712) 263-3409 for more information.

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Norelius Community Library

The Norelius Community Library is located at 1403 1st Avenue South. It was founded in 1904 as a Carnegie Library, continues to meet the changing needs of a growing community. It offers a wide range of exciting programs, helpful services, internet access and a collection of more than 50,000 books, tapes, CDs, DVDs and periodicals.  For more information, please call 263-9355.

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Open Gym

Open gym is scheduled for weekend use the Middle School and High School during months of November, December, January, and February.  There is evening use at the High School during June, July, and August. Open gym is open to students and adults.

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Sherri and Julie's Dance and Gymnastics

Dance classes are offered in tap, jazz, and ballet. Instruction in gymnastics with a full set-up. There are many different age groups and skill levels such as, pre-school through high school and beginners through advanced. Adult classes are available. For more information, please call (712) 263-6677.

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Walking Tour of Homes

Take a walk past the historic homes in Denison featuring the varied architectural designs dating from 1870 to the early 1900's.

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West Iowa Martial Arts

Instruction in Tae-Kwon-Do self defense classes. The classes are organized and there are many demonstrations. West Iowa Marshal Arts is located at 1335 1st Avenue North. For more information, please call (712) 263-5355.

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Yellow Smoke Park

Yellow Smoke Park is located one mile east and one-half mile north of Denison.  It is a 358 acre recreation area.  Yellow Smoke Park has been developed for picnicking, hiking, camping, swimming, boating, canoeing, sailing, and fishing.  It has a 61 site campground with modern conveniences, such as sanitary dump station and hook ups.  A primitive tent camping area is also available.  The lake, with depths up to 35 feet, is stocked with bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, and largemouth bass and has a large beach, bathhouse, concession stand, and volleyball facility.  There is a handicapped accessible fishing pier, swimming bench, bathhouse, concrete boat ramp, a four mile paved bike trail, and six trail bridges.  Winter activites include ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing.
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