Herbert Hoover National Park – West Branch

Place/Event: Herbert Hoover National Historical Site 
Location: 110 Parkside Dr, West Branch, IA 52358
Cost: Historical Site Free. Library has a entry fee.  
Grade/age range: All ages.
Group size: small or large 
Hands-on: Limited
Stroller friendly: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Food: No

A national treasure is hidden just beyond the slope of the I-80 Exit 254 in West Branch Iowa. The Herbert Hoover National Historical Site encompasses around 200 acres with over two miles of trails wandering through tall grass prairie. Several historic homes are open for public viewing, including Herbert’s birthplace cottage, a one-room school house, blacksmith shop, and our favorite, a Quaker Meeting House. 

Plan to spend several hours visiting the site to fully enjoy all the features offered, including the Junior Ranger Program. Don’t forget your National Park Passport books to get your stamp. 

Note: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library is actually operated by the National Archives, not the National Park Service, and therefore has a separate entrance fee.  

Visitor Center 

As with any good tour, always start at the Visitor Center for maps, location information, original artifacts in the museum, and more. We got a jump start for our visit by watching the short film about Herbert Hoover online. You can find the video link here. This was the perfect complement to our early 20th century American history study. 

We brought along our National Park Passport books to receive our stamps and the kids participated in the Junior Ranger Program. The kids think they are getting a little too old for the program but I love the value that the activity book adds to our visit. 

Historical Site Grounds

The Herbert Hoover Historical Site has a lot of ground too be covered. We enjoyed completing the scavenger hunt as we walked through the birthplace cottage, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and Quaker Friends Meeting House. 

I didn’t realize how extensive the property is and all the options so unfortunately we didn’t plan enough time to see all the sights. We are definitely planning a return visit. 

History in Iowa

Iowa is full of rich history and many places to explore. For more location ideas check out our list of over 20 Historical Field Trips in Des Moines Iowa, and the Cedar Falls Historical Society

A second National Park can be found in northeastern Iowa at Effigy Mounds

Did you know that Iowa has 70 State Parks4 major State Forests90 State preserves, 6 National Wildlife refuges, and 99 county parks, most with nature centers and educational programs?

 

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