Vintage Trucks, Mammoth Bones and Root Beer Floats

Saturday, May 14  is Iowa Museum Day! With the weather gods dashing any hopes for a warm and sunny weekend, museum-hopping might be just the ticket.  Many are offering free or reduced admission, and some have special one-time only events.

Take the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, for starters.Free admission and balloons for the kids. Here’s what you can do: watch vintage trucking films! See antique trucks dating back to 1910! Peruse memorabilia like antique signs and gas pumps! Walcott, Iowa 563.468.5500

In Cedar Falls, the University Museum of Nature and Culture hosts a free scavenger hunt. While you’re there, see the mastodon bones and tusk found locally in the Cedar Valley.

The Muscatine Art Museum has free admission to its new exhibitions, "Salley Mavor: Pocketful of Posies" and "The Recent Gifts of Sarah King Wilmer." 1 to 5 p.m.

In lovely Decorah (NE Iowa), Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum houses over 24,000 artifacts of early settlers’ lives. For a mere 5 bucks, you can browse through 16 historic buildings and feast your eyes on folk arts, wood carvings, colorful textiles, rosemaled trunks, bridal crowns, and a boat that crossed the Atlantic.

The National Sprint Car museum has a one-time exhibit honoring three Iowans who made their mark on sprint car racing. In a free reception from 3-5 p.m., hear Mike Brooks and Bob Trostle reminisce about the 1980 Knoxville Nationals. 641-842-6176

If you care to trek to the other side of the state, they’re handing out free root beer floats (1-5 pm) at the Plymouth County Historical Museum, in Le Mars  (Ice Cream Capitol of the World), north of Sioux City. It houses five floors of stuff and it’s one of the Iowa’s largest county museums. Admission is free.

Science Center of Iowa: Open 1 hour early at 8 a.m. The first 200 visitors get a free cupcake! (515) 274-6868 401 W Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway,
Des Moines

Sign up for a vault tour at the State Historical Building and see what sort of treasures are housed underground in climate-controlled storage. 515-281-5111. “Museum Mayhem” 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

Free admission, special family events and new exhibits on display at the National Balloon Museum, Indianola, 515.480.3611