If you’re planning on visiting the Iowa State Capitol, first off make sure you bring a camera. You’ll be taking a lot of pictures.
Second, make sure you bring someone who lives in Iowa with you. Get that person to speak to their legislator about going “all the way to the top” of the dome. If you talk and plead enough, and only if you have a constituent, you’ll be given release forms.
Fill these out and schedule a time (sometime it won’t be for a day or two) and then get ready for one of the most exhilirating experiences of your life.
Once I was met by my friend’s legislator, we were taken up to the “Whispering Gallery”. This is as far as 99% of visitors make it, and has an okay view.
After looking around for a few minutes, our guide unlocked a door and motioned us into another stairwell. We climbed for ages, and finally came out directly above the flag and eagle (which can be seen in a photo above). The flag, eagle, and star are suspended over the opening of the dome, and are topped by a large painting of a sky. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get very close, but that was alright since the best part was yet to come.
We climbed up stairs that wound around the inside of the dome before shooting straight to the center of the dome to a platform where we ascended another spiral staircase and ended up…outside. That’s right, all the way on the very top of the dome, outside! We ooed and awwed appropriately, taking as many pictures as we could as our guide tried to hurry us up.
The whole tour took around a half hour, and I would not suggest it for anyone who is at all claustrophobic or afraid of heights.
The tour made my time at the state capitol 1000% more enjoyable. Make sure you get one.over 6 years ago