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Iowa: Wheelchair Accessible Fun in America's Heartland

Actor Ashton Kutcher is from Iowa, and he once famously said, "I'm from Iowa. We don't know what cool is." Not so! The Hawkeye State has plenty of cool accessible attractions for vacationers in wheelchairs, as well as family and friends who come along. And where else can you go but the Iowa State Fair to enter uncommon competitions like the Senior Spelldown, Fly Tying, Hog Calling, and Women's Rubber Chicken Throwing? The fun doesn't stop there, as you'll see when you visit these terrific wheelchair accessible attractions!

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque

Mississippi River Boat

You've known about the mighty Mississippi River since grade school, when you learned that the Mississippi River is the fourth longest river in the world, and its banks were the playground for Mark Twain's immortal characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. This museum celebrates the historic waterway with not one, but six aquariums filled with river creatures that call the river home. The permanent exhibits include RiverWorks, where fascinating hands-on activities immerse you in the life of a river. Speaking of immersion, the wheelchair accessible museum also houses a theater with large-format 3D sights and 4D special effects that include enhanced sound, mist, wind, smells, and seat movement to intensify the on-screen action. Here's your chance to go "rollin' on the river!"

Dubuque Arboretum, Dubuque

Butterfly on Orange Flower

Take time to stop and smell the roses—and hundreds of other aromatic flora—at the accessible Dubuque Arboretum! Besides a rose garden, the 52-acre arboretum features an English Garden (dotted with formal paintings), a Hosta Garden (one of the largest public hosta gardens in the US!), Japanese Gardens, an Herb Garden, a Children's Garden, and several others. Best of all, it's free! Take your camera to get close-ups of the insects, butterflies, and beautiful birds that enjoy the beauty of the gardens as much as the people who visit this enchanting spot. As you explore Mother Nature's handiwork in Iowa, keep in mind that this is the only all-volunteer arboretum in the country. On Sunday nights in summer, you can enjoy a free concert surrounded by the sweetest of sights, sounds, and scents!

Iowa State Fair, Dubuque

State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is truly one-of-a-kind—so much so, that it's worth planning an Iowa vacation around it! For 10 days in August, Dubuque hosts one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in America. Promoted as "the true heartbeat of the Midwest, unequaled and unduplicated," this amazing state fair is worth at least a day's visit and more. Wheelchair accessibility is a priority for organizers. An iconic butter cow (yes, a full-scale cow made completely from butter) is sculpted each year for the event. You'll see demonstrations of pottery-making, quilting, embroidery, intricate wood carving, art photography. Check out the food competitions. Take in some livestock competitions, feast on fabulous fair food, enter yourself into a beard-growing contest or a Ladies' Husband Calling Contest. Pure fun!

Living History Farms, Urbandale

Living History Attraction

Here's a living history farm so delightfully wheelchair accessible that they have tractor-drawn carts with ramps for wheelchair boarding! Living history attractions, like Williamsburg in Virginia, connects visitors to the past or a moment in time by surrounding them with the sights, sounds, smells, attire, and activity of another day and time. Living History Farms, an interactive outdoor museum, focuses on Midwestern rural life with authentic replication of a small town and farm life from several historical time periods that saw major changes in technology and, of course, rural life. Visit the 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, an 1850 Pioneer Farm, and the 1900 Horse-Powered Farm. See quilting, cooking, spinning, blacksmithing, gardening, and other day-to-day activities before life got a little easier.

Field of Dreams Movie Site, Dyersville


For those of you who loved the movie Field of Dreams (and it's hard not to!), you won't want to miss the opportunity to experience the real thing, take your own tour around the bases, and decide for yourself if "this is heaven.". Of course, it's right here in Iowa, just a 33-minute drive from Dubuque. If you check their calendar of events on the web site, you'll notice a few summer Sundays called "Ghost Sunday." On those dates, the Field of Dreams Movie Site invites you to bring lawn chairs and sunscreen when "the ghost players once more will emerge from the magical corn" and play a baseball game and fulfill your fantasy! It's free, accessible fun you'll be telling friends about for years to come. You may just find yourself "talking to the cornfield," too!

Orpheum Theater, Sioux City

Stage Performance

A part of the worldwide "Theatreland" collection, the Orpheum Theater was built in 1927 and has undergone several renovations to become the glorious theater experience that it is today. As you walk in, you'll marvel at the crystal chandeliers, African mahogany doors and handrails, terrazzo baseboards, and historically recreated drapes and fabric wall coverings. Check their web site to see what's on the bill during your Iowa stay. Past performances include musicals like West Side Story, Dream Girls, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Riverdance, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, musical artists like Joe Bonamassa, Tony Bennett, Motley Crue, and Alice Cooper, symphonies, and other stellar performances. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening of top-tier entertainment!

Iowa City Literary Walk, Iowa City

Books on Shelf

Book lovers will be enthralled by Iowa City's lasting tribute to the written word. The Literary Walk is a well-paved sidewalk that celebrates works by 49 acclaimed writers with ties to Iowa. As you traverse both sides Iowa Avenue, you'll come upon a series of uniquely designed bronze relief panels featuring authors' words with attribution. Perhaps you'll come upon a few of your favorite authors as you read quotes from memoirs, dialogue from plays, passages from children's books and paragraphs from short stories, all accompanied by brief biographical information about the author. Homegrown writers like William Shirer, W.P. Kinsella, and Amy Clampitt are joined by Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O'Connor, and other notable wordsmiths on the walk. It's free, and it's simply the "write" thing to do in Iowa!

Amana Colonies, Iowa City

Barn and Houses

Go for the fabulous food and handcrafts! Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Amana Colonies are seven distinct villages originally settled by German Pietists in Iowa, after having moved from the Buffalo, NY area during the mid-1850s in search of a more isolated location to live out their beliefs. For almost 80 years, they lived a communal, self-sufficient life, dependent only on their local economy, thanks to their German-inspired, specialized handcrafts and farming practices. You'll see some of the same old-world technologies still in use today in the food, furniture, art, basketry, weaving, and toy-making enterprises found in the more than 60 shops awaiting you in the Colonies. Sample chocolates, wines, beer, cheeses, smoked meats and other yummy delights made the old-fashioned way. Don't forget to day "Danke!"

Harrah's Casino, Council Bluffs

Dice and Chips

One of more than 20 casinos at your pleasure in Iowa, the accessible Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs offers all the activities of a typical casino. Play a day or night away at the gaming tables for poker, blackjack, roulette, or settle in front of a slot machine to test your luck. Build a plate of international food delights at the Fresh Market Square Buffet or dine at one of the other in-house restaurants. Spend some of the cash you've acquired in the casino to spend an evening at one of the spectacular shows. Past performers include Willie Nelson, Gavin DeGraw, Counting Crows, and Pat Benatar. When you feel the need for a little sunshine, nearby attractions like the Old Market (in historic downtown Omaha, Nebraska—only 16 minutes from Council Bluffs!), the lovely Laurizen Gardens (also in Omaha), and the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. It's a safe bet you'll have fun in Council Bluffs!

National Balloon Museum, Indianola

Hot-Air Balloons

Did you know that several U.S. states have hot air balloon-ride companies that offer flights for people who use wheelchairs? Even if you've never been hot-air ballooning, you'll be fascinated by the museum dedicated to the world's oldest form of flight, which includes airships, dirigibles, and Zeppelins created as far back as the early 1780's. The wheelchair accessible attraction is open year-round, though summer hours and winter hours differ. Inside the Balloon Museum you'll find the U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame and exhibits that depict the history of ballooning and the invention of the modern hot-air balloon (including the original gondola /basket from their inaugural flight,) an interactive Children's Learning Center, and a weather station that determines if conditions are safe to soar up and away in a hot-air balloon!

As Iowa-born Johnny Carson, iconic host of The Tonight Show," might say, "Heeeeeeeeeeere's Iowa!" And all these cool accessible attractions are waiting for your visit!

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

2013 Used 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L w/DVD Wheelchair Van

USED Honda Odyssey EX-L w/DVD
NEW AMS Legend H Conversion

$41,495 $41,995

  • Stock #: 008640
  • Mileage: 74,244 Miles
  • Ramp/Lift: Side Entry Bi-Fold Pwr
  • Features: 3YR/36K Conv Wrty
2017 New 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Wheelchair Van

NEW Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
NEW AMS Legend Conversion

$43,495 $44,995

  • Stock #: 855461
  • Mileage: 28 Miles
  • Ramp/Lift: Side Entry Bi-Fold Pwr
  • Features: Backup Camera, Bluetooth, Leather, 3YR/36K Conv Wrty, Remote Start, Driver Pwr. Seat Base
2011 Used 2011 Toyota Sienna LE Wheelchair Van

USED Toyota Sienna LE
NEW AMS Vans Exodus Conversion

$27,495 $28,190

  • Stock #: 125021T
  • Mileage: 87,801 Miles
  • Ramp/Lift: Rear Entry Short
  • Features: Backup Camera, 3YR/36K Conv Wrty, Driver Pwr. Seat Base, ADA Compliant

Vehicle Exterior

Exterior Appearance Inspection

  • Panel alignment/fit
  • Headlamp, taillamp/lens condition
  • Windshield/glass condition
  • Paint chips and scratches
  • Body damage/dents/dings
  • Trim and moldings

Vehicle Identification

  • In place and matching
  • Inspect certification label (federal requirement)
  • Check VIN label to paperwork
  • Check for non-completed recalls

Exterior Lights Function Properly and Illuminate as Designed

  • Headlights hi/low (including aim)
  • Parking lights/fog lights
  • License plate lights
  • Side marker lights
  • Tail lights / backup lights
  • Turn signal and cornering lights
  • Brake and high-mount stoplights
  • Emergency Flashers


  • Vehicle has 2 master key with remote entry (if applicable) and 2 valet key, flat key
  • Programmed to immobilizer

Door Lock System

  • Door opens/closes smoothly using interior and exterior door handles
  • Doors cannot be opened when lock button is in lock position
  • 2-turn unlock feature functions properly
  • Remote entry system operates properly
  • Theft-deterrent system functions properly
  • Child safety locks
  • Wireless door lock operation

Vehicle Interior

Interior Appearance Inspection

  • Seats: front/rear
  • Steering wheel/airbags
  • Armrests/door handles
  • Lower door and sill plates
  • Gearshift selection handle
  • Radio/AC control markings
  • Headliners/sun visors

Seat Belts

  • Extend/retract smoothly
  • Free of twists, cuts or signs of wear
  • Buckles lock securely

Seat Operation

  • Lumbar support operation
  • Memory control operates properly*
  • Headrest functions properly
  • Heaters function properly*
  • Seat cushion angle and height adjustment
  • Seatback angle adjustment

Power Windows / Locks

  • Function Properly

Trunk/Fuel Lid Release

  • Functions Properly (interior)

Glove Compartment

  • Contains portfolio, owner's manual, supplement

Steering Wheel

  • Tilt/telescopic functionability
  • Horn functions properly
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Warning chime (key in -- door open)

Windshield Wiper

  • Functions in hi/low/intermittent
  • Wiper blades clean properly
  • Rain sensing wipers*

Dashboard Lights Illuminate as Designed

  • Turn signal: left/right
  • High beam indicator
  • Emergency flashers
  • Instrument panel control knob
  • Waring lights: oil pressure, brake, fuel, charge, seatbelt, open door, engine check, rear light failure, ABS, SRS
  • Check operation of guages

Rear Defogger

  • Functions properly

Air Conditioner / Heater

  • Climate control system functions properly for both heating and cooling

Interior Lights

  • Dome/map/vanity mirror/courtesy lamps/foot function properly

Audio/Navigation System

  • Power/volume switch functions properly
  • Preset station indicator
  • Cassette/CD function (scan, seek, rewind, fast forward) operates properly
  • Navigation system operates properly*
  • Speakers sound clear
  • CD cartridge (if applicable)


  • Tilt/slide operates properly

Clock/Cigarette Lighters/Ashtray/Cupholders

  • Function properly

Outside/Inside Rearview Mirrors

  • Power controls function properly

Luggage Compartment

Luggage Compartment

  • Spare tire size, sidewall condition, tread depth and air pressure
  • Spare tire and attaching hardware, cover, jack, jack tools and wheel lock (if applicable) are present, properly installed and secure
  • Manual fuel lid release operates

Under The Hood

Engine Hood Release

  • Interior release operates properly

The Following Fluid Levels Meet Industry Standard

  • Engine oil replaced and proper level
  • Automatic transmission fluid level
  • Brake fluid level
  • Power steering fluid level
  • Engine coolant fluid level
  • Washer fluid level

Engine Mechanical

  • Excessive fuel pump noise
  • Cooling system (radiator, overflow tank, hoses, coolant level)
  • Water pump (noise/leaks)
  • Air filter (replace as necessary)
  • Inspect oil for contaminants
  • Engine noise (knocks, rattles)
  • Transmission noise (whines, clunks)
  • Belts (wear or damage)
  • Check engine diagnostics


  • No damage or leakage and proper group size/amp rating
  • Tests to standards

Engine Fans

  • Function properly

Under the Vehicle

Tires (Minimum tread depth 5/32")

  • FL: _______/32"
  • RL: _______/32"
  • FR: _______/32"
  • RR: _______/32"
  • Sidewall condition
  • Proper size, type and match
  • Tire pressure


  • Condition/size/fit
  • Check wheel lug-nut torque

Brake Inspection (Minimum 6mm of pad material required)

  • FL: _______mm
  • RL: _______mm
  • FR: _______mm
  • RR: _______mm
  • Rotors show no signs of excessive wear, warpage or heat damage
  • Calipers, lines, and hoses show no sign of excessive wear or leakage
  • Parking brake assemblies, cables, and attaching hardware show no sign of excessive wear or damage

Chassis Inspection (No sign of damage or excessive wear)

  • Frame rails and floor pan
  • Subframe
  • Engine mounts and oil pan for leaks
  • Brake lines and couplings
  • Transmission case/pan for leaks
  • Drive shaft boots and CV joints
  • Fuel lines, fuel tank, hoses and protectors
  • Steering rack, linkage, bushings, control arms and dust boots
  • Differential assembly, drive shaft and related components
  • Exhaust system (including leakage)
  • Transmission mounts
  • Tie rods, ball joints, idler arm
  • Catalytic converter
  • Struts/shocks for operation/leaks

Under Vehicle Fluid Levels

  • Differential lubricant level -- check for contaminants

Road Test (Vehicle Operation)


  • Start-up
  • Idles normally
  • While driving, engine performs normally
  • Starter system operates normally
  • Shift Lock


  • Brake and parking brake function normally
  • Brake and clutch pedal height, free play and travel meet specs.

Indicator Lights

  • No warning lights illuminate during road test


  • T/M shifts properly (both power/normal mode)
  • TRAC/VSC and ECT control functions and indicator lights function properly


  • Steering operation is normal
  • Off-center psecifications meet standards
  • Handling, straight-line operations

Cruise Control

  • Functions properly

Noise or Vibration

  • None present

Squeaks or Rattles

  • None present

* -- If Applicable

Service Guarantee

AMS Vans promises to deliver the best wheelchair accessible van available on the market today..... simply put if you are not fully satisfied with your wheelchair accessible van upon delivery---you can refuse it at no cost to you.

With nearly two decades of experience; manufacturing, selling, and delivering over 12,000 vans nationwide, our dedicated team of certified technicians will not allow your van to leave our Atlanta facility until its right!

Please contact one of our experienced Mobility Specialists today and ask about our three step quality control process.

AMS Vans looks forward to serving your family by providing you with a van that is worthy of our own.

Contact AMS Vans

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