Tama, Iowa, is one of those smaller towns in the Heartland where there are a few of casinos. In Tama, you’ll find Meskwaki Bingo Casino & Hotel. You’re looking at a lot of hidden gems and a few niche museums here.
You will find a horde of uniqueness in the Tama, Iowa, area; you’ll find places that you won’t find anywhere else in Anytown, USA.
Be sure to have your camera phone with you when you visit the following seven destinations near Meskwaki Casino. It’s not in every town you’ll find a matchsticks museum or a salt and pepper gallery.
Let’s dive into the attractions.
1 – Bumblebees
You’re getting the ultimate two-in-one when you visit Bumblebees. And while you’ll find some great tasting pizza and quick bar bites at Meskwaki Casino, you haven’t experienced the area until you’ve tried the finest homegrown local fare.
But as mentioned, you’re looking at the ultimate two-for-one here. So, if you look next door, you’ll find one of the area’s finest pizzerias. Both are family-owned locations featuring a community-friendly flair.
So, come on out, meet a few locals, and even make a few friends while you’re at it.
2 – Big Treehouse
You’ll find the Big Treehouse in nearby Marshalltown, just a few miles outside of the small town of Tama. And as the name implies, you’re looking at one of the largest treehouses you perhaps had ever come across.
It boasts an exciting history, and it’s a fantastic outing if you’re in the Tama area with the entire family. Surely, you and your travel group would take turns watching any kids in your party, so they’ll get a thrill at the Big Treehouse.
Yep, you’ll be the cool parent when you come. However, some reviewers per TripAdvisor have warned that it’s best to call ahead of time if you’re looking to tour the Big Treehouse.
It doesn’t seem like they take walk-ins, so just a forewarning if this unique tour sounds appealing to you.
Book a time, head over, and brace yourself for an experience you’ll only find in small-town America—perhaps, small-town Iowa.
3 – Faulconer Gallery
You may find Faulconer Gallery in a small town, but this is one of those destinations that appeals to just about everyone. Featuring immense collections from local, regional, national, and international artists, you’re looking at a museum that will fit just about every interest level and age group you can imagine.
You’ll find the Faulconer Gallery right in the middle of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. They have described the gallery as “enchanting, inspiring, and challenging” to visitors.
It’s only open between 11 am and 5 pm per TripAdvisor, but it’s a smallish venue that won’t take longer than two hours to tour.
4 – Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery
Now, the Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery is one of those little places that defines the small-town American flair. And as one reviewer on TripAdvisor described, you’re looking at an “unusual museum.”
But how else can you describe a niche museum that specializes in salt and pepper shakers?
The upside here is that if you have questions, reviewers have described the tour guides as knowledgeable and willing to answer anything. So, be sure to write down those questions about salt and pepper shakers that you might have.
Then, prepare for something amazing as you venture through a collection of over 15,000 salt and pepper shakers. Yeah, 15,000 salt and pepper shakers should put your imagination to work regarding just how many designs of such shakers are out there.
Despite its small size, reviewers have also praised the museum for its cleanliness and well-organized space. They make the most of it here. Oh, and many of these shaker pairs have a lot of fun historical backgrounds. And the tour guides know all.
So, be sure to listen to their fun stories while you venture through what may just be the most unique museum you’ll ever visit.
5 – Louis Sullivan Jewel Box Bank
Designed by Louis Sullivan, the Jewel Box Bank is one of just eight such banks the legendary architect concocted. Constructed over 100 years ago in 1914, the bank remained in operation until 1999.
Today, you’ll find the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and Grinnell Visitor Center. Open from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, it’s yet another hidden gem in a small town in which you can visit.
If you’re in on the weekend, they may be open, so be sure to check if you can’t make it throughout the week.
Reviewers have insisted anyone who comes across the bank should take the time for a visit—especially given its rarity as one of eight Sullivan-designed banks. You’re looking at more than a hidden gem or diamond in the rough here. It’s a true piece of history.
Located along I-80, many reviewers have known of the box bank’s existence and it has become a popular stop even for those just passing through town.
Travelers have come from all over the nation to see one of Sullivan’s creations. So, since you’re at Meskwaki Casino, head on over and bring that camera.
6 – Matchsticks Marvels Museum
Talk about niche museums. If you thought the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum was interesting, I refrained from mentioning it’s nothing more than a prelude. Take a guess.
What do you think the Matchsticks Marvels Museum specializes in?
If you guessed matchsticks, you’re getting warmer. It specializes in actual models made up of matchsticks. What models are we talking about?
How does a model of the United States Congress sound? Notre Dame Cathedral? The Columbia Space Shuttle?
Overall, you’re looking at over 870 epic models of the most recognizable structures in the world made out of matchsticks.
Yes, it has a small town flair to it. But given the reviews on TripAdvisor, it looks like word is getting out there regarding the Matchsticks Marvels Museum. So, why is this museum in the middle of one of Iowa’s smallest towns?
Believe it or not, it’s because one of their own residents crafted most of what you’ll see here. What a talent. And what a way to earn a living if you’re that individual.
And hey, it may even inspire you if you have a unique skillset. Put it to the test, sell it, and maybe you too will have your own specialty museum in your small town.
You may be away from Meskwaki Casino when you venture to the museum just because of how amazed you will be when you visit the venue.
7 – Historical Society of Marshall County
Are you a history buff ready to cap off your trip of Tama, Iowa? So far, we’ve talked about salt and pepper shaker museums and matchsticks museums. Let’s end the tour the right way by talking about the Historical Society of Marshall County.
And just as the name implies, you’re getting quite the showing if you’re looking to gain insight on some local history. You’re looking at the ultimate photo montage plus a plethora of memorabilia of Marshalltown, Iowa. Located just one county over from Tama in Marshall County.
It’s a hidden gem, to say the least. It’s more than worth venturing over for if you’re looking for a quick break from Meskwaki Casino. It’s the great place to kick off an afternoon, or to add in to the tour of unique museums you’ll get to know the area for.
Yes, if you thought this was a rather unique list of cool destinations near Meskwaki Bingo Casino & Hotel, you’re not alone. You won’t find too many places that hold such different collections at their museums. So, be sure to set some time aside to visit a few of these attractions.
Get the camera ready and appreciate the history, art, and architecture that these destinations possess. Small-town America will always have its uniqueness, but what you’ll find near Meskwaki Casino may be small-town America at its finest.
Have you been to Meskwaki Bingo Casino & Hotel? If so, did you visit any of the attractions listed above, or did you find even more uniqueness in the area? We can’t wait to read your comments and as always, we’re looking forward to them.