Roller coasters… Water slides… Fort building… You name it! There are TONS of cool experiences for families to look forward to on their next trip to Waterloo.
Whether you’re craving an action-packed getaway or spending a quiet weekend at Grandma’s — Experience Waterloo can help you plan a mini-vacation (or staycation!) with something exciting for everyone in the family.
Start your day with farm-fresh eggs, crispy hashbrowns and a sizzling slice of bacon from Morg’s Diner, a local fan favorite for more than 60 years. If you’re looking for classic diner fare — or pancakes bigger than your head — this is the spot for you!
Head to the Grout Museum District for hands-on entertainment as you learn about history, explore the stars and become a mad scientist for the day. Catch awe-inspiring shows at the newly renovated Norris Corson Family Planetarium, found inside the Grout Science & History Museum. And be sure to save plenty of time to explore the Bluedorn Science Imaginarium, which is packed with mind-blowing interactive exhibits and memorable family photo-ops. Kids love firing off the air cannon, creating their own laser shows and operating the controls of a hot air balloon.
After the museum, you’ve earned a treat! Head toward Lincoln Park and make a pit stop at Two Scoops Ice Cream Shop, where you can find mouth-watering ice cream in every color and flavor. Not into ice cream? Try one of their smoothies, waffle cookies or fudge brownies instead!
Work off some energy and inspire creativity at the Phelps Youth Pavilion, where you can climb, build forts or channel your inner Van Gogh. Part-museum, part-playground, there’s something for kids no matter their interests—whether they’re ready for their next craft marathon or a high-tech adventure.
While you’re downtown, head over to SingleSpeed Brewing—just a two-minute walk from the Phelp’s Youth Pavilion. This family-friendly restaurant located in a renovated Wonder Bread factory includes a beer garden, extensive outdoor seating and even a play area for the little ones.
What better way to kick off a day of fun and adventure than with donuts? Locals love both Rockets Bakery and ICON Donuts & Sweetery for their unique selections of donuts — like the Chili Mango Bismark (Rockets) or the Jerry Garcia with tie-dye frosting (ICON).
Plan to spend an entire day (or two!) at Lost Island, where you can explore rides and roller coasters at the NEW themepark, make a splash at one of the top-rated waterparks in the Midwest, race go-karts at the Monaleo Speedway, or kick back with a round of miniature golf. Lost Island is also home to several grills, snack shacks and cafés, so there’s no need to leave the park for lunch.
Don’t forget your sunscreen 😎
NOTE: You will need to purchase separate passes to the themepark and waterpark. Get your tickets in advance.
Waterloo is home to so many fantastic spots for pizza — but families can’t go wrong at Doughy Joey’s Peetza Joynt, located right in the center of Downtown. This fun, eclectic hangout offers both Chicago-style deep dish and New York-style thin crust pizzas, as well as pasta and sandwiches. Kids will love the vibrant, colorful atmosphere, while parents will appreciate their large selection of draft beer.