The upcoming holiday is expected to be the busiest Independence Day weekend for travel nationwide in nearly a decade, and state tourism officials say Iowa will see an increase in visitors too. Shawna Lode, a spokeswoman for Iowa’s Division of Tourism, says thousands of Iowa residents will be out and about while many out-of-staters will be exploring the Hawkeye State. While Iowa’s state parks, festivals and many other attractions will be luring in visitors over the holiday, Lode says Iowa has several -new- tourist spots that’ll also be bringing in busloads this weekend. They include the new America’s River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque which just opened last weekend and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs opened in May. Another new attraction is the Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook, which also just opened. It’s a permanent home for the artistic works of Pat Acton who built a number of scale-model structures like the U.S. Capitol all from wooden matchsticks. The project became reality through the Vision Iowa fund, which is chaired by Michael Gartner.Gartner was in Gladbrook for last weekend’s ribbon-cutting as was Governor Vilsack and Iowa’s First Lady.
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