Salisbury House & Gardens – Des Moines

Title page for Field Trip Iowa post on Salisbury House

Place/Event: Salisbury House & Gardens
Location: 4025 Tonawanda Dr, Des Moines, IA 50312
Cost: $2-12 (see website)
Grade/age range: All ages are welcome, older students will receive the most benefit
Group size: small or 20-60 people for guided tour
Hands-on: No and touching of everything including walls is prohibited
Stroller friendly: No. Babywearing for front carriers only, no back carriers allowed.
Bathrooms: Yes

Food: No

We visited the Salisbury House & Gardens on their Homeschool day. The unique architectural character of the home and the historical collections are a perfect complement to our renaissance study in the Story of the World vol. 2.

Salisbury House & Gardens Balcony above the Great Hall

I wanted the children to have the sense and “feel” of a castle.  When building their home, the Weeks found their inspiration during a trip to England and Salisbury House reflects elements from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries.

The Salisbury House has an impressive collection of artifacts, art work and furniture that are centuries old. My young students don’t have an appreciation for the value and rarity of these items, but this is just our first visit. We will be back for many more trips in the future.

The Salisbury House website has additional information and photos of their collections on their website. This is a great resource if you would like to study or prepare before a visit.

Exploring the Salisbury House is easy and enjoyable. There is a self guided tour or a guided group tour. The parking lot is on a hill and it can be a long walk to the house for little children. Strollers are allowed outside on the grounds but not in the house.

Salisbury House & Gardens Elevator in hallway

Salisbury House & Gardens parking lot on a slope and sign with hours

A scavenger hunt provided by Salisbury House helps keep little hands busy. My children enjoyed searching for the items.  With no hands-on activities and a limit for my children’s appreciation of the family history, our visit was around an hour. Older students could enjoy a couple hour visit to the house.

 Several informational display boards throughout the upstairs bedrooms provide fascinating facts.   Salisbury House & Gardens Hud's bedroom with a few peices of furniture and informational display board

Charles’s bedroom is full of displays and information. Film clips from old black and white movies which were filmed at the house play on a loop.

Salisbury House & Gardens Charles Bedroom

I asked my kids lots of questions about how they would feel if they lived in a home like this. Do they think the boys used to bounce balls in the hallway? How would they feel if they slept in a room like this one? My children thought it was strange that the house does not have a “living” room.

Salisbury House & Gardens children look out window into garden


It takes a lot of resources to maintain the Salisbury House & Gardens. Signage throughout the house remind you to thank the businesses and public who sponsor the house.

Salisbury House & Gardens sign thanking sponsor

Salisbury House & Gardens children running on lawn



Every County in Iowa has historical homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Find a place to visit today!

In Western Iowa, visit Joslyn Castle in Omaha NE.


Everything you need to know to take your students on a field trip to Salisbury House & Gardens and experience an English inspired Castle in Central Iowa!


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