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top FREE things to do in Sioux City with Kids

This post was inspired by a great question the other day from a reader--thanks for asking! I realized that while I wrote an entire book about (affiliate link ahead:) the top 100 things to do in Sioux City and Siouxland, I didn't actually have a more curated list of specifically the top free things to do in Sioux City with kids. So here is that list, nothing more and nothing less! All of these places I have been personally with my kids and they are FREE to visit, and within Sioux City itself. I'll make another list soon of free places in other parts of Siouxland!

in the background, colorful translucent wheels at the Sioux City Art Center hands on gallery. In the foreground, the post title.

Get outdoorsy at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and Stone State Park

a preschooler with curly hair plays a musical toy in the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center's nature playscape

4500 Sioux River Road

At the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, visitors can learn about the natural environment of Stone Park, Siouxland, and the Loess Hills more broadly, plus enjoy naturalist-led programming for all ages, and hit the trails for a hike. A favorite feature for young visitors is the nature playscape, just a short walk from the back of the nature center. And don't miss the rescued hawk and owl who live behind the center! And the rest of Stone State Park is pretty great too, with tons of trails waiting to be explored.

For more information on the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, visit the Woodbury County Conservation website. For more information on Stone Park, check out my post about Stone Park, or visit the Stone State Park page on the Iowa DNR website.

Dive into history at the Sioux City Public Museum

prehistoric display at the Sioux City Public Museum

607 4th Street

The Sioux City Public Museum provides a comprehensive look at the history of Sioux City and Siouxland, from coprolites (fossilized dino droppings) to Gateway computers! There's also rotating exhibit space, bringing great exhibits from around the world to Siouxland, and the annual favorite fourth grade history model-building exhibition. The museum also holds history and cultural education events for all ages.

For more information, visit the Sioux City Public Museum website.

Play at Miracle Field at Riverside Park

brightly colored, accessible playground at Miracle Field in Sioux City's Riverside Park

1301 Riverside Boulevard

Riverside Park has Siouxland's best public pool, multiple ball fields, playgrounds, and the historic Bruguier cabin, but the star of the show is Miracle Field. Arguably one of the best inclusive playgrounds in the nation, the Miracle Field Complex at Riverside Park offers playgrounds, splash pads, baseball fields, and a wheelchair-accessible mini-golf course! While the pool at Riverside is not free to use, everything else at the park is, including the Miracle Field facilities.

For more information, check out my post about Sioux City's Miracle Field, or visit the Miracle League of Sioux City. website.

Enjoy masterpieces--or make your own-- at the Sioux City Art Center

a toddler with curly hair peeks out from a cube at the Sioux City Art Center hands on gallery

225 Nebraska Street

The Sioux City Art Center displays a wide variety of works from local and regional artists, and from artists around the world. A highlight for kids is the Junior League of Sioux City's Hands-On Gallery, with immersive fun to help kids explore color, shape, perspective, light, and more!

For more information, check out my post about the Sioux City Art Center or visit the Sioux City Art Center website.

Explore the expedition at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

animatronic York at the Lewis and Clark Interpetive Center in Sioux City, Iowa

900 Larsen Park Road
Find out about the historic Corps of Discovery expedition launched in 1804 by President Thomas Jefferson and led by William Clark and Meriweather Lewis. The Corps went through Siouxland on their journey west, and a highlight of the museum is animatronic version of several of the key people involved in the expedition. The center is also known for its excellent programming for all ages!
For more information, check out my post about the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center or visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center website.

Take an inspirational stroll at Trinity Heights

a statue of Mary with outstretched arms at Trinity Heights in Sioux City

2511 33rd Street
Trinity Heights is a peaceful oasis on Sioux City's northside. Nestled atop a bluff, visitors find indoor exhibits including a life size wood carving of the Last Supper and a mini-museum to the former Trinity College that once stood on the same site. But outside is what really takes your breath away: the grounds of Trinity Heights have statues and plaques to dozens, if not hundreds, of Catholic saints, all set amidst beautiful plants and a decorative stream. And the real stars of the show are statues of Mary and Jesus, each over 30 feet tall, by noted artist Dale Lamphere. 
For more information, check out my post about Trinity Heights or visit the Trinity Heights website.

Climb aboard the Sergeant Floyd Riverboat Museum

Sergeant Floyd Welcome Center Riverboat Museum

1000 Larsen Park Road

Boat-loving kids will adore this museum housed in a dry-docked historic riverboat. The exhibits dive deep into the history of aquatic navigation in Siouxland, from dugout canoes to 19th century steamboats, with a variety of exhibits to look at, plus the upper decks are set up as realistic period rooms for a glimpse into the past, and kids can play captain themselves in the wheelhouse.

For more information, visit the Sioux City Public Museum website.

Celebrate at a Sioux City parade or festival

A girl works on an art project at the Sioux CIty Art Center's Art Splash Festival

Locations vary

Sioux City has a variety of great FREE parades and festivals. Some of the best parades include St. Patrick's Day (March), Rivercade (July), and Christmas season (November), all held in downtown Sioux City. Two of the best festivals are Saturday in the Park blues festival held in Grandview Park the first Saturday of July, and Art Splash art festival (pictured above) hosted by the Sioux City Art Center. Its location has rotated in the past to locations including Riverside Park and the riverfront but has recently been held at the Sioux City Art Center itself.


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