While traveling from West Des Moines, Iowa to St. Louis, we decided to take a slight detour on our road trip to check out the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa.
If you are ever in the area, I recommend you take an hour from your road trip to stop and check out this unique destination as well!
American Gothic House Background
Eldon is a small town in Iowa that has become famous for the house that is the background for Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting.
I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to art pieces but one that I do always recognize is the painting of two people in front of a house with a pitchfork.
This painting is one that most people have seen somewhere in their life. Even my two young sons recognize it.
Grant Wood painted this painting in 1930, and today it can be found in the Art Institute of Chicago.
While I have not seen the actual painting in real life, I felt that it was very cool to see the house that inspired it.
Once in Eldon, the American Gothic House is fairly easy to find.
It has a large parking lot and visitor center. Outside of the visitor center is a statue that resembles the farmer and his daughter that is in the painting.
There is a paved path that leads up to a sidewalk circle in front of the house with signs that provide more of its history as well as a marked photo op area.
Currently the American Gothic House Visitor Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Luckily we were there on a Friday so we were able to check out the visitor center.
The American Gothic House Center has so much interactive and educational information about the artist, the painting, and so much more.
This visitor center is also very kid friendly. There are numerous hands-on activities for kids of all ages.
Our kids had such a fun time that we could hardly get them to leave.
Even more, the staff is super friendly.
They have a media room where they play movies about American Gothic. They even put on a cartoon about it for the kids.
The visitor center has a nice restroom and gift shop as well.
They even have pitchforks you can use to take out to pose for your own American Gothic photo.
Must Know Information
- The Visitor Center is NOT open on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you can plan your visit on a different day, I would highly recommend it! Seeing the visitor center really adds to your overall experience at the American Gothic House.
- Always check the hours on its website before visiting the American Gothic House Visitor Center. It does close fairly early so make sure you arrive in plenty of time to give yourself about an hour to visit.
- There is a small admission fee of $5 for anyone ages 13 and over.
- The inside of the American Gothic House is very rarely open. Sometimes it is open on the second Saturday of the month. On your visit, be prepared that you will not be able to tour the actual house unless you are there on one of the rare days it is open. Check their Facebook page before your visit to see if it will be open.
Don’t miss the American Gothic House
I definitely recommend a stop in Eldon, Iowa to check out the American Gothic house.
We all enjoyed ourselves and taking a break on our road trip.
The kids really loved the interactive children’s activities in the visitor center and of course, posing with the pitchfork.
The American Gothic House is the perfect stop on your road trip through Iowa for both kids and adults!
Looking for another road trip stop? Check out the giant Superman Statue in Metropolis, Illinois!
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