- The list below includes 34 free or cheap things to do in or near Ames, Iowa, including 47 different types of inexpensive activities like Parks, Family Fun Center, Movie Theaters and Jazz/Blues Bars.
- From Iowa State University to Reiman Gardens, there are a variety of budget-friendly attractions in Ames and in nearby cities within 25 miles like Ankeny, Boone, Madrid and Johnston.
One of the largest American public universities, Iowa State University is located in Ames. Its most highly regarded programs are computer science, information systems, chemistry, biology and engineering. Notable faculty include chemistry professor Daniel Scheckmann, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistr…
Managed by the University of Iowa, Reiman Gardens is an extensive series of botanical gardens that includes a gigantic butterfly house. This attraction is open throughout the year and offers holiday exhibits in its warm greenhouses.
Featuring the 6.5-acre McFarland Lake, McFarland Park provides 5.5 miles of trails suitable for hiking and biking. It can be used for fishing, picnicking, camping and exploring the woodland, tallgrass prairie and stream habitats located in the park.
Located on the site of a former dairy farm, Moore Memorial Park features open grass fields and paths that take visitors into a nature area bordered by a creek. It provides a playground, restroom facilities, picnic tables, grills and shelters.
Located along the South Skunk River, Inis Grove Park provides open green space and nature areas along with basketball and tennis courts. The park has picnic facilities including shelters, tables and grills, a playground, restrooms and horseshoe pits.
Even though the Ames Dog Park is open to the public all dogs must obtain a facility use permit to show that they have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and their owners have signed a liability waiver. Within the dog park, there is a walking path and drinking fountains.