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Unusually Ames: A different kind of off-roading


With winter in full swing, it’s not unusual to hear reports warning to “Stay off the roads.” In the Ames area, though, that’s a call for fun, not fear. Check out some of the tremendous opportunities for “off-roading” activities available this winter.

Back on track. Winter turns steamy with a ride on the rails. At the Boone & Scenic Railroad treat your true love with a journey that warms the heart and the stomach! The popular Valentine Dinner Trains fill up quickly (February 8, 9, 14, 16), so make your reservations right away and start the tough decision between Ribeye Steak, Iowa Chop, Spinach/Ricotta Stuffed Chicken, Honey/Chipotle Salmon or Homemade Vegetable Lasagna. Check out the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center while you’re in the station.

These boots are made for hiking. Get that cool, crisp air in your lungs with a hearty hike through the winter wonderlands of Central Iowa. Whether it’s a trek through the snow-topped trees of McFarland Park or a trail along West Indian Creek of Robison Wildlife Acres, Story County Conservation and the Outdoor Alliance have weekly hikes planned through mid-February to get you off the beaten path.

Ready to Run ® Iowa. Before you start beating the pavement, register to attend this fantastic, biennial, nonpartisan campaign training program to encourage women to run for elective office, position themselves for office, work on a campaign or get involved in public life as community leaders. Since 2007, the Catt Center at Iowa State University has offered the affordable day-long program ($25 including lunch!) which draws participants from all over the state and nationally-known speakers.

Dive in. Get off the roads and into the pool! Check out the Iowa State Cyclone Swimming & Diving Team when they take on West Virginia (January 26), the Super Bowl Pre-Party at Ames Municipal Pool, or book yourself a mini-holiday for the family at one of Ames’ finest hotels that have great pools to get your mind off winter driving and colder temps. Consider the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center or Quality Inn & Suites Starlite Village Conference Center for full-service amenities that will allow you to stay entertained & inside the whole weekend long.

Sidewalk Soiree. ‘Tis the season of the Sidewalk Sale, and there’s no better place to treat yourself than all the retail therapy options in Ames. From the January Dollar Days throughout the boutiques and specialty shops of Downtown Ames (January 24 – 26), to your favorite name brand stores and national chains at North Grand Mall, you’ll be happy to get off the roads and into the deals.

With so much incentive to stay off the roads in Ames, there’s no need to spend a lot of time worrying about those snow tires or chains this winter! For more great CYtes to see, check out our calendar and offerings on