Get out of the house this holiday weekend: Area museums, theaters offer plenty of holiday diversions

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Had your fill of turkey and football, but don’t know what to do with all those leftover holiday guests? Here are some local sites with sights to behold, ready to welcome all ages with open arms. For even more ideas, go to


l Tannenbaum Forest, Festhalle Barn, 4707 220th Trl. Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 24 and 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26; continues various hours through Dec. 17; or (319) 622-7622. Admission: $3 to benefit The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Features: Santa, St. Nick’s Cafe, reindeer, carolers, children’s corner and more than 40 Christmas trees decorated by local businesses.


l National Motorcycle Museum, 102 Chamber Dr. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Sunday; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: free to $10; or (319) 462-3925.

Features interpretive exhibits built around a fine collection of machines and historical objects from around the world.


l African American Museum of Iowa, 55 12th Ave. SE. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Nov. 23 and 24, Dec. 25 and 26, Jan. 1 and 2. Admission: free to $5; or (319) 862-2101.

Exhibits: “If Objects Could Talk”: See how everyday objects turn into invaluable historic records. Each object, photograph, and document has a story to tell about Iowa’s history and the contributions African Americans have made to the state.

“Endless Possibilities”: Trace Iowa’s African American history from its origins in western Africa to the present — through slavery, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, segregation and the Civil Rights Movement.

l Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr. SE. Holiday hours begin Nov. 24: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Tours free to $12, or (319) 362-7375.

Cedar Rapids’ own Downton Abbey, at the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a 19th-century mansion, filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families. The Visitor Center in the 1911 Carriage House, examines more than a century of the estate’s history with home movies, rare photographs and artifacts.

l Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 Third Ave. SE. Open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday Friday, Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: free to $7, or (319) 366-7503.

The museum holds the world’s largest collection of works by Grant Wood, with pieces featured in “Grant Wood: From Farm Boy to American Icon.”

Other exhibits: “Figure Study: The Body in Art”; “Living Proof: Visualization of Hope,” featuring works by regional cancer survivors; “Malvina Hoffman: A Sculptor’s Journey”; and others, including works by Marvin Cone, Mauricio Lasansky, Midwestern artists and pieces from ancient Rome.

Museum Store Sunday: noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 26; part of a global celebration, includes 20 percent discount for museum members and a free ornament-making activity from 1 to 3 p.m., while supplies last.

l National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Pl. SW. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Closed Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and 25, Jan. 1 and Jan. 8 to 19. Admission: free to $10; or (319) 362-8500.

The museum celebrates Czech, Slovak and American life, through exhibits, events, activities and gift shop.

Featured exhibit: “The Art of Accessories”: beaded bags, decorated shoes, fanciful hats and jewelry, including 22 pins on loan from the collection of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.


l University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, 11 Macbride Hall, UI Pentacrest. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays and national holidays. Admission: free;

Exhibits: 500-million-year adventure through Iowa’s geological, cultural and ecological history; “Taking Flight: The World of Birds”; Biosphere Discovery Hub; Laysan Island Cyclorama; Mammal Hall; Diversity of Life.

l University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum, 21 Old Capitol, downtown. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays and national holidays. Admission: free; Oldcap.uiowa.ed

Featured exhibit: “Faces of Iowa Through the Early Lens,” with rare daguerreotypes, original photography equipment, and images of early Iowa City residents.


l Granger House: 970 10th St. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Admission: free to $10; or (319) 377-6672.

The only restored middle-class family home in the Cedar Rapids area, the Victorian Italianate home was occupied by a single family for nearly 100 years. The house contains many of its original furnishings and is arranged to reflect the lifestyle of a successful, late 19th-century middle-class family. Behind the home is an 1879 brick carriage house, the only one of its kind in the Midwest, with artifacts revealing the owner’s involvement with Morgan horses, dairying and farming.

Black Friday Break: 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 24; snacks, beverages, Christmas gift shop, self-guided tours; $5.

l Marion Heritage Center, 590 10th St. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, closed major holidays. Admission: free, donations accepted; or (319) 447-6376.

Exhibits: “Good Roads: Bicycles, Motorcycles & Automobiles on the Transcontinental Highway” and “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marion Ties.”


l Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum: 210 Parkside Dr. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: free to $10; or (319) 643-5301.

Holiday exhibit: “Tales of the Sea”: Christmas trees decorated with a nautical theme, plus children’s activities in the museum galleries.


l “A Christmas Carol”: To Dec. 17, Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave., Amana.

This retelling of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors is brought to life by a small, imaginative cast. Witness Scrooge’s transformation from a stingy miser to a man who celebrates the spirit of the season all year long.

Times: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Tickets: $10 ages 18 and under, $19.50 college students, $31 adults; Old Creamery Box Office, (319) 622-6262 or

l “Annie”: To Dec. 10, Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 Third St. SE.

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie wins everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago at the orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie charms her way out of the orphanage and helps a wealthy man learn that money isn’t everything.

Times: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $40 adults, $31 students, TCR Box Office, (319) 366-8591 or

l “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”: Nov. 24 to Dec. 17, Giving Tree Theater, 752 10th St., Marion.

A couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids — probably the most inventively awful kids in history. Mayhem — and fun — erupt when the Herdmans collide head-on with the Christmas story.

Times: 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $26, (319) 213-7956 or

l “Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook”: Nov. 25 to Dec. 16, Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave., Amana.

Something terrible happened to Junie B. Jones at school today: Someone stole her new furry mittens. So when Junie B. finds a wonderful pen of many colors, she should be allowed to keep it, right? Because finders keepers, losers weepers. It is OK to keep it, right? Junie B. Jones is not a crook — or is she?

Times: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9, 16. Tickets: $10; Old Creamery Box Office, (319) 622-6262 or

l Comments: (319) 368-8508;

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