Blackbird Bend Casino is a smaller casino in Onawa, Iowa. Therefore, chances are you’re looking at casino gaming as one of many hot options in this area. And while Blackbird Bend Casino serves as a hot attraction in the area, you have nearly a dozen places to visit during your time in Onawa.
Today’s post covers more than a handful of such places. Besides Blackbird Bend Casino, you’ll also find the nearby WinnaVegas Casino on today’s list. Plus, there are lots of odds and ends attraction that only America’s small towns can bring.
Ready to take the ultimate tour? Let’s get started with a state park that boasts a couple of familiar names.
1 – Lewis and Clark State Park
If you’re looking to camp outside as opposed to staying in a hotel room, you’re looking at the optimal place. Best yet, you’re getting your fair share of privacy when you camp out at Lewis and Clark State Park, with every campsite being spread out.
So, even if they’re busy, you can expect to have more than your fair share of space to yourself. And it makes for a good outlet if you prefer privacy.
2 – Monona County Veteran’s Memorial Museum
This outdoor museum boasts several unique exhibits. Here, you’ll find relics like Freedom Rock, plus really cool murals on enormous slaps of boulders that depict locals from the US Armed Forces.
You’ll also find tanks, military trucks, and so much more at a location that attracts tourists from all over the state of Iowa.
If you’re a veteran, this is a must-see attraction. But the stories behind Freedom Rock and the murals are also worth the visit if you’re a self-professed history lover.
3 – Loess Hills Hospitality Association and Gift Shop
This attraction boasts a few more attractions within. It’s the ideal spot if you’re looking to gaze into the rolling hills and catch the springtime blooms that stretch beyond the horizon.
Reviewers on TripAdvisor also state it’s a fantastic place for nature watching. So, if you’re into spotting deer, wild turkeys, and even glimpsing a bobcat.
One reviewer even claimed to have seen a mountain lion, which are rare sights in the Iowa area. If you see one here, consider yourself lucky, even if luck at Blackbird Bend Casino wasn’t on your side.
But apart from the outdoor tours, they also have a cool gift shop at the site. So, it’s a great way to commemorate your time in the region.
4 – Preparation Canyon State Park
The locals rave about its hiking trails. One just can’t get enough of the Heartland’s nature scene. Preparation Canyon State Park should grace the top of your vacation itinerary.
The state park boasts a trail fit for everyone. Whether you’re a novice hiker who prefers flat terrain or if you’re an intermediate requiring a few hills and a few valleys, there’s a course for you.
Would you consider yourself an advanced hiker? Then, go for pure ascent into the ridge and really work those leg muscles.
Regardless of the level of difficulty you choose, Preparation Canyon State Park offers outstanding scenery from every direction. Take a walk into nature and relieve a little stress if the games didn’t go your way at the casino.
5 – WinnaVegas Casino
As mentioned in the intro, Blackbird Bend Casino is smaller and has fewer games. But WinnaVegas Casino is the complete opposite.
They also offer Bingo at WinnaVegas. Plus, they also have a pool and an arcade. So, if you have kids with you, they have something fun to do while you’re on the casino floor.
It’s basically a big sister to Blackbird Bend, offering more games, more ways to win, plus activities for kids if you’re traveling with the family. You’ll find WinnaVegas in nearby Sloan, Iowa, but it’s not too far from Blackbird Bend.
6 – Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery
You’ll travel across state lines into nearby Nebraska to get to Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery. But it’s more than worth the trip, considering the few reviewers who posted a review via TripAdvisor stating it’s one of the best in the state.
Best yet, you’ll find it in the middle of Nebraska’s bounding scenery, providing a stunning view of nature to complement the wine tasting you’ll experience here.
As a small location indoors, most will take their samples to the outdoor patio to experience the breathtaking Nebraska scenery.
Oh, and if you’re here on the weekend, they often have music nights. It’s a great place for wine, a scenic view, and a night filled with the Heartland’s finest music.
If you need an entertainment outlet for the night, look no further than a Saturday night at Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery.
7 – Master’s Hand
Here’s another fine location in Tekumah, Nebraska. Master’s Hand is a fantastic place to stop if you’re also planning to frequent the winery.
So, what is Master’s Hand?
It is a gift shop, candy shop, and country crafts shop all in one. Along with homemade candy options, they also have homemade baked goods and a fine selection of antiques.
So, as mentioned, it’s a place that guests of all ages and interest levels will find something of strong value in. Plus, it’s definitely a phenomenal place to find a hidden gem to commemorate your stay in the area.
8 – Iowa Theater
This small, independent theater is the finest place in the area to catch a show if you’re looking for evening entertainment in the area.
Huge, right? And best yet, they run productions all seven days in a week, including a Sunday matinee. Regardless of the night where you’re craving entertainment, Iowa Theater has it.
It’s a fine option if Blackbird Bend Casino or even WinnaVegas isn’t providing what you’re looking for. Don’t hesitate to come on out and enjoy a small-town production. Chances are, you’ll make a return trip.
9 – Loess Hills Lavender Farm
This is a fine place for a stress reliever. The Loess Hills Lavender Farm comprises just two acres of land. But the land boasts over 2,000 plants over 10 varieties. Apart from the plants themselves, you’re also getting a fine look at the rolling farmlands that epitomize the Heartland.
You can gaze into those skies forever, they’re so open. And the deciduous forest to one side completes a fantastical nature scene.
They also have a 650 square-foot gift shop at the site. The gift shop comprises the works of over 40 artisans so if you’re into artwork, be sure to pick something up as a token for your time in the area.
You’ll also find lavender and skincare products made right from the lavender plants grown at the site.
If you head over between June 22nd and July 15th, you’re in for a real treat, since it’s the time of their major bloom season. They also host a photo contest in August. So, if you’re there in the late summer, snap a few pics and see if you can win the grand prize.
10 – Neidhardt State Historic Site
Welcome to the place John G. Neihardt used as his study during his time in the area. And you will find breathtaking grounds everywhere you look in this fantastic setting, including the must-see garden.
It’s an informative location and a must-visit if you’re interested in learning more about John G. Neihardt and his works. He rented the place between 1911 and 1920. And various owners used the place until 1964.
They restored it in 1967, and it became a member of the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Our Summary of the Area
Since Blackbird Bend Casino is a small gaming area, it’s probably not the primary attraction in the region, but a slice. However, with WinnaVegas being so close by, chances are you will find an even greater selection of games at the larger outlet.
But there’s so much more than just casino gaming in the area, as you probably figured out. Nine of the 10 attractions on today’s list are not casino-based. Instead, you’re getting nature at every turn, a few cool exhibits, and so much more.
Have you been to Blackbird Bend Casino? If so, did you visit any of the above attractions? Let us know in the comments and tell us about your experience. We can’t wait to read your stories.