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Top Five Destinations of Des Moines

When I went to broadcast journalism school, a moment I still remember clearly came during a lecture on local pronunciations. The lecturer discussed how in mid-Missouri, the city name Versailles is not pronounced like it would be in France, but rather a very Midwest “Ver – sales.” Everyone chuckled, but if I’m honest, I didn’t get the joke until later. As a kid growing up in southeast Missouri, I didn’t have much knowledge of the palace for the monarchy of France. St. Louis was never “San Louie” except as a weird type of slang that sauntered into singing the classic Kingsmen song.

desmoines3Looking at the city name Des Moines, I see another French city name that has changed. Not that I’m criticizing, I just think it’s interesting how words change. Television is spelled with the same letters in English, French and Spanish (with an accent or two added to the vowels in the other languages) and all three get pronounced differently.

I’m sure the list goes on and on for words that change in each language and each region. I always have problems with the changed version of Los Feliz, and there are many other Spanish words that have undergone transitions in my new city, Los Angeles.

Anyway, as I drive to Des Moines to explore it, that name will tumble over and over from my lips with several different pronunciation possibilities as I check out these five interesting locales.

Eat at Django

Speaking of French, I looked at the menu for French restaurant Django, and my eyes immediately fell on the Monday special – steak au poivre sandwich. Add onion soup to one of my favorite steak/sauce combos and that is a nearly perfect lunch.

Check out the sources of pride at the Iowa Hall of Pride

As a baseball fan, I knew that Bob Feller came from Iowa. What I didn’t realize is that there is a museum devoted to him and other native Iowans called the Iowa Hall of Pride. The museum had me the moment I read, “You won’t want to miss Nick Collison talking about what it’s like to play in the NBA!”

Catch an Iowa Cubs game at Principal Park

I kid Nick Collison because he went to the University of Kansas, the archrival of the Missouri Tigers. On the baseball side of things, the St. Louis Cardinals biggest rival is the Chicago Cubs. Even though that is the case, I still would like to go see a game at Principal Park where the Iowa Cubs play. The Cubs top prospects are at lower minor league levels right now, but still, a chance to see the bat of Josh Vitters this summer could be fun.

See George Washington’s hair at the State Historical Museum

I love to discover what different museums have to offer as far as their exhibits go. The State Historical Museum has the aptly titled “Rarely Seen: Cool Stuff from the Museum” that includes George Washington’s hair and Abraham Lincoln’s glasses. I can’t wait to see the other cool stuff.

Tour the Test Garden of Better Homes and Gardens

I had no idea there was such a thing as a test garden, but once I read about Better Homes and Gardens test garden, it made sense. Why find the perfect photo for a magazine cover, when you can build it yourself?

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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