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Dig Deeper in Waterloo

Explore our vibrant downtown district featuring award-winning museums, locally-owned restaurants, and an impressive riverside amphitheatre. Tour the new John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, visit the Isle Casino, and enjoy the Cedar Valley Trails via bicycle or kayak. Catch exciting sports teams and immerse yourself in arts and culture. And did we mention we're home to Lost Island Water Park? It's Iowa's largest! Plus, dig a little deeper and check out our family-friendly festivals and events.

Watch episodes below from our travel series - "Travel Waterloo".
Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau Blog

You heard both Garth and me mention the fact that the Waterhawks Ski Team is a “secret” here in the Cedar Valley. I’m not sure exactly why they’re a secret, but it is one we’re happy to help spoil.  The Waterhawks are ranked in the top five nationally among show ski teams, and if you haven't had the chance to see them perform, you're missing something special.

Every week the Waterhawks present a FREE (yes, FREE) show at Eagle Lake. The shows are choreographed locally and include a wide variety of skiing, including barefooting, a ballet line, stunts off the jumps and a gigantic pyramid. Those shows are every Friday night. The pre-show begins at 6:15pm and the main show begins at 7pm. They also offer special shows during the season like night shows, which are done after dark with glow sticks, fire and spotlights.

Waterhawks Pyramid

The stunts are absolutely amazing. You’re going to see things that the average weekend water skier probably wouldn’t even contemplate. The jump you see in the episode is nothing short of spectacular, and something Garrett just decided to try after he’d seen some other skiers doing similar jumps.

Waterhawks Skiers

I’ve driven boats before, but the Waterhawks boat drivers are at another level. The skill and technique to maneuver the boats, tow skiers, and do so with the precision necessary. At one point in the show, there are six barefoot skiers who spin around a boat and then take off in the other direction. Not only is the skiing difficult, the boat has to be positioned perfectly and the speed is important as well.

Waterhawks Garrett

The Waterhawks is a family organization. Not only are the shows all very family-friendly, you see multiple generations of families represented on the team. The team is a large family, with members watching out for one another. 

The Waterhawks will host the Midwest Regional Show Ski Championship next weekend (July 29-31). The tournament brings nine of the best teams to Eagle Lake to perform their hour-long show.  There is also individual competition in swivel, doubles, team jump, and freestyle jump on Friday, July 29. This is an opportunity to see some of the best waterskiing you will ever have an opportunity to see, with all of the teams competing for a spot in the National Tournament.

The secret is out. Get to Eagle Lake and enjoy the shows!

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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The Downtown Waterloo Summer Olympics pass celebrates the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio and also features six youth-oriented attractions in Waterloo.

The pass, which is available for only $15 at any of the participating sites below, allows kids (4 years of age and older) to visit each site. Plus, the accompanying adult is just $1 per site. Each site features a special activity, plus kids will also be able to explore the entire attraction. For each completed activity, kids earn a stamp on their pass. Completing all activities enters participants in a drawing for prizes at the Closing Ceremony, which will be held during Friday’Loo on August 12.

Imaginarium

What kind of prizes, you might be asking? The grand prize is a swim party at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex!

Participating sites and activities are as follows:

Activities

You don’t need to complete all activities in one day, which allows for more exploration at each site. And what better way to show your kids or grandkids the great museums in downtown Waterloo? It has been quite warm recently too, so if you're looking for a "cool" indoor activity - this is it!

For more information about the Downtown Waterloo Summer Olympics, click here.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Waterloo and the Cedar Valley are fortunate to have more than 100 miles of paved recreation trails for bicycling. We also have bicycle enthusiasts who have made the community an even better place for those of us who are visiting the area or may not be as experienced.

Store

The Store. Greg and Jessica Young are examples of those bicycle enthusiasts whose hobby and passion became a business. Their shop, Waterloo Bicycle Works, is a full-service bike shop in downtown Waterloo. You can buy a new bike, outfit your bike and yourself with accessories (the selection of bells, for instance, is awesome!), or you can have your bike expertly repaired.

Bikes

The Bikes. One additional feature of the store that is extremely beneficial to visitors is the bicycle rental program. There are several 7-speed cruisers available for half- or full-day rental (helmet included), so when you’re visiting Waterloo, you have the opportunity to check out the trails, explore Waterloo’s parks, or even do some shopping. The rental bikes are extremely easy to ride, too. 

People

The People. At Waterloo Bicycle Works, you’re going to find that Greg wears his passion for bicycles on his sleeve. You’ll get the bike or the accessory that fits your need the best. You’ll also be able to talk shop about places and products. When we were filming this week’s episode, a visitor from the Twin Cities was comparing notes about bikes and bike rides with Greg, and it was a lot of fun to hear two people talking enthusiastically about their hobby. 

TankOne more tip: Whether you’re visiting Waterloo or you're a local, you MUST say hello to Tank, the shop dog at Waterloo Bicycle Works. He’s as friendly a dog as you’ll ever meet.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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I’ve driven go-karts, consumed pizza, been sledding, and talked beer in past episodes of Travel Waterloo. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like I was a fish out of water as much as I did this week when we visited Finery. I haven’t shopped for wedding dresses previously. I had to ask for the definition of “trend wear.” But even though I was out of my element, Natalie and her team were awesome in helping me to feel comfortable, learn about fashion trends and find out why Finery has such a passionate following.

Bridal Gowns

New Name. Finery was the recipient of a challenge grant from Main Street Iowa, and that grant allowed the business to grow from Bride’s Corner to Finery. In addition to their gorgeous bridal gowns, they now offer some of the hippest women’s clothing. Natalie and her husband took great care in preserving the history and character of their building, and further enhanced it with wood floors and an elegant staircase.

Trend Wear

New Trend Boutique. All of the clothing and accessories featured upstairs at Finery is hand-selected by Natalie and her staff. They travel to Chicago several times a year to pick out items that are sometimes one-of-a-kind. "Trend wear" is the technical term, and simply refers to the latest style in clothing. The style now features a lot of patterns, bright colors and fringe.

Fashion Truck

New Fashion Truck. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen is Finery’s Fashion Truck. They can bring the “Wanderer” to community festivals, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and even your next girl's night out. The truck is loaded with selections from Finery’s inventory, and guests can shop, try on the fashion items and buy on site. If it played music, it would be like the ice cream truck of your youth, but filled with awesome clothes instead. 

Same Great Service. The thing that stood out to all of us during our visit was the personal attention guests at Finery get from the staff. Whether it is a newly-engaged bride, a young lady shopping for a prom dress, or someone coming in to check out the latest selections upstairs, the staff is customer-centered and extremely passionate about helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for. Several times while we were at the boutique, I heard, “I need to come back here soon. This is awesome.” It is awesome, and you should visit them, no matter where you’re from.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Last season of Travel Waterloo, we featured what you, the fan, can experience on a typical night at historic Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo. This season, we're going behind-the-scenes to see how a great fan experience at a Waterloo Bucks game is created. My buddy Zay was back for this week’s episode, and I can speak for us both when I say, there’s a lot we didn’t know happened on a typical game day with the Bucks.

Weeding

Field Prep. Everyone, from the grounds crew to the players, coaches and staff, spends more time at the ballpark than they do anywhere else. During the season, they devote a lot of hard work and sweat into creating the best experience for fans. And, Zay and I got a first-hand look at some of the not-so-glamourous aspects of the job when we weeded the warning track on a steamy, 90 degree day in Iowa.

Field Prep

Team. As you’ll see in the episode, the team is like one big family. Between daily practices and 35+ games during the season, they spend a ton of time together. We had a blast spending some time with them as well while they were playing ping pong, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and preparing for the big game.

Aaron

Food and beverages. Food and beverages are also a big part of the fan experience at a Waterloo Bucks game. Zay found his favorite spot at Riverfront Stadium – the soda machine in the concessions stand, and I found mine – the beer cooler. Let’s just say we were both pretty surprised when we found out the sheer volume of food and beverages they go through at a game, especially on Buck Night.

New this year at Riverfront Stadium is a 474-square-foot LED video board. Fans will enjoy an enhanced in-game experience on this new video board as well as special movie nights throughout the summer.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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