Living History Farms

Living History Farms, Urbandale: Hours, Address, Living History Farms Reviews: 4.5/5

Living History Farms
4.5
Historic Sites • Farms
Read more
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Write a review
About
Living History Farms is located in the western suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa in Urbandale and is conveniently located right off Interstates 35/80. It is an interactive outdoor museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences. 300 years of agricultural history are represented including a 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, 1900 Horse-Powered Farm and an 1875 town. Tours are self guided and historic interpreters are at each farm site are dressed in clothing from each era to explain what it would have been like to live in that time. The general touring season is May 1 through October 14th. Many special events and historic dinners take place in the off-season. Visit the website for details.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
222 reviews
Excellent
149
Very good
49
Average
16
Poor
6
Terrible
2

lisa
Rossville, IN1 contribution
May 2022 • Couples
We traveled to Iowa and this was on our list of the top things to do. When we arrived we found out there were multiple school groups coming that day. The reenactors at the different buildings and sites were not interested in being friendly or kind. It was as if they just wanted to rush everyone through as fast as they could. The Farmer’s wife at the log cabin was friendly and after she had finished telling the children their stories she asked us if there were any questions that we might have, sadly she was the only friendly employee there. Not every building was open, which was very disappointing. The entrance fee was outrageous considering that this is run down and in some spots very dangerous to walk because of the ruts that have not been fixed and the broken boards on the boardwalk. I would not recommend this to anyone.
Written May 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barbara L
Punta Gorda, FL99 contributions
Sep 2021
I loved this place. I could easily have stayed there an entire day. There is a lot of walking involved. It is not readily accessible if you are not mobile. I really enjoyed talking with the staff. The day I was there, they had killed 2 chickens and were in the process of plucking them. For those of us who did not grow up on a farm, this is really interesting and educational. The buildings do give you a good insight into life in earlier times.
Written October 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jim & Bea
Southern Pines, NC920 contributions
Jun 2021
We came here with friends and it was both interesting and fun. Saw blacksmithing and other talents that are not used anymore. Well worth a visit.
Written September 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John M
2 contributions
Aug 2021
Nice tractor driver. Blacksmith gave a really good presentation. That’s about it on the positive side. Sorry, love the idea of this place but it has obviously seen better days.
We went in August and the place felt deserted (other than customers) Main house closed. Snack bar closed. Vending machines empty or didn’t work. Place looks like they are running out of money. Really sad. Buildings completely run down and grounds neglected. They need to close down until they can do some major fundraising and spruce this place up.
Written September 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

hjhorvath379
Elkhart, IN8 contributions
Jul 2021 • Family
Seeing the progression of farms from different eras from the 1700s through the late 1800s was interesting and somewhat educational. I felt the staff, dressed in period costumes could have been more interactive. It is a lot of walking as the building and farms are spread so far apart. It was disappointing to find the only snack shop closed an hour and a half before the farms closed. This was a huge blow to us on a 91 degree day! The buildings themselves seemed run down and not maintained well. Felt it wasn't worth the price we paid.
Written July 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JeanMarie
Cherokee, IA14 contributions
Jul 2021
The blacksmith was absolutely wonderful today (July 20, 2021) as was the banker! The blacksmith was excellent in addressing my 11 yr old grandson who is VERY interested in blacksmithing! Even my 9 yr old granddaughter wanted to return to the blacksmith!!! The tractor path desperately needs to be graded! The buildings are in excellent condition and look to be well maintained. I read the "Covid" limitations, however I really expected at least a few more period-dressed presenters in more of the buildings. When I visited many years ago, it was bustling with them and they were VERY interactive with visitors. Today only the banker and blacksmith acted like they wanted to be there. The other two not at all! After driving a good three hours with kids (5, 9 & 11), I was extremely disappointed as I had shared with them what I experienced years ago. The Machine Shed restaurant onsite is an excellent place to eat!!!!
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ginnyfromkansas
Kansas182 contributions
Jul 2021
Excellent step back in time touring the pioneer village. If you go out on the tractor and cannot walk or are handicapped, I would talk to staff. It is a bit of walking in the woods. The trail is not difficult if you are able bodied. The village is interesting and the re-enactors are very informative. This is our second trip here.
Written July 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelingmomma
1 contribution
Aug 2020
Had a great time visiting the town and farm. Lots of great interactions and neat exhibits. Seeing the animals on the farm was the highlight. The people/employees were great, except the lady in the gift shop. Please have a talk with this employee. She was rude and had a major chip on her shoulder. If you’re going to be working with the public, then you need to be courteous and at least attempt to have some enthusiasm. She was a downer at the beginning and end of our visit, which was on Friday, 8/28. You don’t want this person representing such a great place.
Written August 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Juliewz
Saint Paul, MN44 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
Wow this place was great,they actors gave a lot of info about the time period they are recreating and the buildings are well stocked with cool old things. Well done!
Written August 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brian H
26 contributions
Aug 2019
Located just outside Des Moines. A bit like Williamsburg in VA, the Living History Farms is a recreation of a historical small town of the late 19thC, complete with people in period dress who man the shops, blacksmith, etc. Not as elaborate as Williamsburg, but some of the buildings are actually authentic. Also on-site is a restored mansion that lets you see how the uber-rich of the 1870s lived. A tractor-pulled trailer ride takes you across (under) the highway to an area where you can walk through what farms looked like in 1700 (native American), 1850 (human powered), 1900 (horse powered), and 1950 (tractor powered). Spent about 4 hours. Educational and fun.
Written September 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 222
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Living History Farms

Living History Farms is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Mon - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Restaurants near Living History Farms: View all restaurants near Living History Farms on Tripadvisor