Have you ever heard about the largest man-made grotto in the world? Did you know that it’s located in Iowa?
Have you heard about the largest man-made grotto in the world? Did you know that it's located right here in Iowa? The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption is often referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." It's the size of an entire city block, and comprised of a series of nine separate grottos - each depicting a scene in the life of Christ. This tour also features a visit to Algona, IA. Algona was the site of a main camp for POW's during WWII. The town is home to a one-of-a-kind Nativity Scene consisting of 65 half life-sized figures that was constructed by German prisoners between 1944-1946.
Deluxe Roundtrip Motorcoach Transportation
Friendly On-board Host
2 Nights Hotel Accommodations
Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery
Algona Nativity Scene
Camp Algona POW Museum
The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption
The Kaleidoscope Factory
The Fort Museum, Frontier Village
$525 per person Double / $620 per person Single
Non-members add $25
Deposit & Final Payment:
A $100 deposit per person is required within one week of reservation. Must be paid in full by April 10, 2023.
No refunds will be issued after March 22, 2023.
Activity Level 1:
This tour is at a relaxing pace. Expect to possibly climb some stairs, navigate slight slopes, stand for reasonable periods of time, and walk over relatively level conditions up to 2 city blocks.
We recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Unforeseen events such as flight delays, baggage loss or even a sudden illness or injury could impact your travel plans. For your convenience we offer a Travel Protection plan provided by the United States Fire Insurance Company and administered by Trip Mate, Inc.; in UT and CA, DBA Trip Mate Insurance. To review full plan details online, go to www.tripmate.com/wpTPD040 for domestic tours valued up to $4,000 per person or to www.tripmate.com/wpTPG040 for all international tours or domestic tours valued over $4,000 per person.
Day 1: Monday, May 8, 2023
Join us this morning from the available departure location of your choice, meet your friendly onboard Trailways host and driver, then settle in as we travel to Traer, Iowa for our first adventure today at the Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery.
The Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery is the Midwest’s largest shaker collection – over 16,000 sets are on display and 12,000 more in storage. The gallery features the amazing salt and pepper shaker collection of long-time Traer resident, Ruth Rasmussen. It began in 1946 with Brookfield Zoo souvenirs, her collection eventually outgrew two small sheds behind her home. Ruth’s collected shakers from all over the world. One friend brought her a treasured pair from Russia. She had many pairs from famous manufacturers such as Rosemeade, Goebel, Limoges and Shawnee.
Our next stop is in Gladbrook at Matchstick Marvels. Come see the best matchstick models in the world! Master craftsman Patrick Acton has glued over 8.6 million ordinary wooden matchsticks together turning them into incredible works of art. The Matchstick Marvel display is wood art at its best, showing creativity and detail work unmatched by any other woodworkers. Acton has been building large matchstick models since 1977. Many of his works are featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums in the United States and around the world.
Arrive at Freedom Rock in Gladbrook this afternoon. Inspired by the movie, Saving Private Ryan, Greenfield Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II began painting a large rock north of Greenfield in 1999, when he was only 19. Sorensen wanted to give veterans a unique recognition on Memorial Day to say “thank you” to our nation’s veterans and to honor their service to our country. Since painting the original Freedom rock, Sorensen has been on a mission to create a Freedom Rock in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. He has completed a Freedom Rock in all of the Western Iowa Tourism Region counties.
Check in to our hotel this evening and enjoy an included dinner at IHOP with the remainder of the evening free, on your own.
Day 2: Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Have breakfast at the hotel this morning before departing for the Algona Nativity Scene. A visit to the internationally known Nativity scene in Algona, Iowa, is a custom that many people in Iowa and surrounding states have established for their families and continue each year. Imagine being thousands of miles from home at Christmas time. Your country is at war, and you are a prisoner in a foreign land. The Nativity was constructed by six prisoners of war from Camp Algona in 1945. The POW’s were missing home and the church festivities for Christmas, so they made 65 half-life-sized figures to connect them to their families and customs in Germany.
Next, we tour the Camp Algona POW Museum. During WWII, Algona was the site of a base camp for prisoners of war. This camp was the “home” for 10,000 German prisoners from April 1944 to February 1946. The value of the work done by prisoners in the 4-state area was estimated $3,506,000. This camp was one of 150 base camps in the United States that housed 400,000 Axis prisoners. The unique museum features artifacts and information relating to the American military personnel and German prisoners brought together by war.
Enjoy a lunch at the Wagon Wheel in West Bend before we arrive at the Shrine of the Grotto of Redemption. The Grotto is frequently considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” A composite of nine separate grottos, each portrait displays a scene in the life of Christ. It is believed to be the largest man-made Grotto in the world and is home to one of the largest collections of precious stones and gems found in one location! The Grotto is estimated to be worth $4.3 million.
Mid-afternoon, enjoy a tour of The Kaleidoscope Factory in Pocahontas. Watch kaleidoscopes being made and see woodturning demonstrations. Learn about the “magic” inside a kaleidoscope by seeing one being completed right before your eyes.
Dinner this evening will be on your own at Miller’s Landing in Humboldt before we return to the hotel for the remainder of the evening free, on your own.
Day 3: Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel with your fellow Trailways Travelers this morning before departing for the Fort Museum, Frontier Village in Fort Dodge. In 1835, the Fort Dodge area was scouted by Dragons (mounted infantry) and chosen as the perfect military lookout. In 1850, construction of the fort began. William Williams, storekeeper or “sutler” for the Fort, later acquired the property and used it as a starting point to plot out the town of Fort Dodge. The village features original buildings from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, including a one-room schoolhouse and an original 1850’s log cabin home.
Return home this evening with wonderful memories made exploring Iowa!
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
|Davenport Garage|| Davenport Garage for Host/Driver |
|Davenport, Iowa|| 8735 Northwest Blvd - Burlington Trailways Bldg. |
1st right past Blain's Farm & Fleet; on the left
|Ft. Madison, IA|| Ft. Madison Prison Industries Parking Lot |
1st Street & Avenue E
|Mediapolis, IA|| Mediapolis, IA - Mepo. Foods |
111 N. Wapello Rd.
|Muscatine, IA|| Muscatine - Wal*Mart 3003 US-61 |
|Wapello, IA|| Family Dollar/Dollar Tree |
503 US 61, Wapello, IA
|West Burlington|| Burlington Trailways Depot, 906 Broadway |
|West Burlington Garage|| West Burlington Garage - Host/Driver |
|Departure Date||Pick-up Time||Drop-off Time|