All Aboard for Budget-Friendly Family Fun in Siouxland!

For families, cost can be a major barrier to planning travel. But you don’t have to break the bank to create lifelong memories for your family in Siouxland. There are plenty of budget-friendly and free options to entertain all generations that your crew will be talking about for years to come. Explore Siouxland by adding these free family-fun attractions to your vacation itinerary.

Take a step back in time and learn about Sioux City’s rich history at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Permanent exhibits detail the Lewis and Clark Expedition up the Missouri River through Sixouland when disaster struck for Sergeant Floyd, leading to an unplanned docking of their ship and, ultimately, Floyd’s death due to appendicitis.

At no cost, your family can hear how the events panned out “firsthand” through animatronic mannequins, audio reenactments, interactive displays, and statues.

Catch a screening aboard The Keelboat Theater – a 55-foot-long recreation of a Lewis & Clark Expedition ship. Grab a seat and learn about the expedition itself, Native Sioux cultures, and Siouxland history through the daily rotation of videos on board.

Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center

Located along the Missouri River, hop aboard The M.V. Sergeant Floyd, a decommissioned inspection boat and home to the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center. This riverboat is dry-docked, but the views and surroundings will make your family feel like they are floating along the river in an authentic diesel towboat to transfer goods and grow Siouxland just as our founders did.

Permanent exhibits at the museum include a focus on the Lewis & Clark Expedition as well as chronicling Sioux City’s role as a major shipping route along the Missouri River. The museum is home to many rare and one-of-a-kind finds, including the largest display of scale Missouri River steamboats and keelboats.

Stop by the gift shop for a fun souvenir to remember your visit to this unique museum along the river. Afterward, relax (or let the little ones burn off some energy) at the nearby Chris Larsen Picnic Center and Playground. 

Sioux City Public Museum 

Keep the educational family fun going and stop by the Sioux City Public Museum in the heart of downtown. Start with the 12-minute orientation video, “Spirit of Sioux City,” to get a fun and educational overview of our history. You’ll learn about farming, railroads, corn palaces, mob ties, and tragedies leading to Siouxland as we know it. The video is full of interactive surprises to kick off your family’s museum experience.

After getting a general background of Siouxland history, you can set forth into the museum packed with videos, interactive displays, and iconic Sioux City memorabilia from yesteryear to today.

The Public Museum also hosts rotating exhibits, events, and workshops. Keep an eye on their calendar to plan around the events that fit your family’s interests.

The Railroad Museum

Located at the former Sioux City Engine Terminal, The Railroad Museum has unique, educational fun for all ages. The rails are much quieter than they were in the late 1800s, but you can feel the history while onsite.

Get your family face-to-face with Ironhorse – Sioux CIty’s iconic steam engine, officially named Great Northern 1355. Sioux City’s Railroad Museum is one of the largest remaining steam locomotive servicing terminals in the nation. After seeing the full-size trains, the whole family will enjoy the huge display of miniature train sets with incredible detail. In a new exhibit, see a replica of a Holocaust train car and educational displays focused on Holocaust survivors.

Sioux City Arts Center

At The Sioux City Arts Center, each member of your family will find themselves inspired and enthralled by the arts. The building itself is a work of art!

There are over 1,000 works from nationally and internationally recognized artists in the permanent collection, emphasizing artists from the Upper Midwest and many with direct ties to Sioux City. The Arts Center also hosts rotating exhibitions by contemporary artists connected to the Upper Midwest.

Kids love The Hands On! Gallery, where they can tap into their artistic side through age-appropriate interactive activities to foster creativity.

Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe

The whole family can agree on adding something sweet to your trip. Take a step back in time and add a stop to the iconic Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe. Simply stopping by is an activity all of its own.

Palmer’s has roots in Siouxland dating back to 1878 and has been gracing us with their well-known Twin Bing candy bars since 1923. If you’ve never had one, Twin Bings are a unique, handmade midwest favorite made of cherry nougat, roasted peanuts, and chocolate. 

But Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe is much more than the Twin Bings alone. The shop feels like a museum of vintage photos, retired candy-making equipment, and various food items beyond candy. Scoop up your favorites in the bulk candy section to indulge on the ride home.

Family vacations don’t have to break the bank to ensure lifelong memories. Plan your cost-efficient family trip to Siouxland!

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