Emmetsburg Iowa - Home of five Island Lake

Welcome Visitors

Visitors Guide Summary

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Wild Rose Casino   Five Island Lake   Iowa Welcome Center

Where to Stay and Eat
Restaurants A variety of restaurants, eating establishments, and bars are available to suit a diversity of tastes, such as Chinese, Mexican, Pizza, café, buffet, coffee shop.
Lodging Emmetsburg provides a number of motels for visitors who are both visiting the area or are passing through. They are located along Hwy 18.
Camping There are two camp grounds in Emmetsburg for those who like to camp – Kearny State Park and Wild Rose Casino campground. There is plenty of fishing and boating available.
Realtors Emmetsburg has several Real Estate businesses that can help with your housing and business needs.
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What to Do
Shopping The avid shopper will find a number of gift, specialty, and antique shops in the downtown area that provides unique shopping for all occasions. The enthusiastic antique lover, quilter, crafter, stamper and scrapbooker will find what they are looking for in Emmetsburg. Those looking for that special gift will take pleasure in the delightful gift and specialty shops that provide unique items.
Iowa Welcome Center Stop at the Iowa Welcome Center Located on Hwy 4 on the business district. It welcomes many travelers who are passing through Emmetsburg as well as local people. It has a lovely gift shop and provides local, regional and state brochures for vacation planning, historical sight-seeing and festival celebrations.
Five Island Lake Beautiful Five Island Lake is the center piece of Emmetsburg’s summer and winter recreation. The Lake offers excellent summertime fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, snowmobiling during wintertime.
Five Island Golf & Community Center If you like to golf, this is the place to enjoy yourself. Located on Lawler Street on the west side of Five Island Lake, you can take pleasure in not only the 9-hole golf course, but the beauty of the lake as well. It is open to the public for green fees.
Wild Rose Casino Those who enjoy gaming will head for the east side of Emmetsburg along Highway 18 to visit the Wild Rose Casino and Resort. It consists of a hotel, casino, three restaurants, a convention center, and RV park. The Casino provides weekly entertainment as well.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Many visitors stream to Emmetsburg each March to help Emmetsburg celebrate its Irish Heritage with a large three-day St. Patrick’s Day festival. It includes the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade, “O’Round the Lock” marathon run, Rugby Tournament, dances, a Theater production, a Ceili/Fun night, talent shows, several “Miss” contests, and the appearance of a member of the Irish Parliament. You won’t want to miss this event.
Palo Alto County Fair The Palo Alto County Fair is another opportunity to show the small town spirit each year. It is held at the end of July at the Fair Grounds, located at the south end of Emmetsburg, and sponsored by the Palo Alto County Extension Service. The Fair provides an opportunity for 4-H students to compete and display the projects.
Smith Wellness Center For the wellness enthusiast, the Smith Wellness Center is the place to go. Located on the north end of Emmetsburg, attached to Iowa Lakes Community College, it provides a variety of wellness and exercise options, including an Olympic size pool, a gymnasium, racquetball court, cardiovascular exercise room, weight lifting room, meeting rooms, Hobson and VanderVelde collections, and the public & college libraries.
Iowa Lakes Community College For your educational needs, check out Iowa Lakes Community College, located at the north end of Emmetsburg (3200 College Drive). The College provides the first two-years of education in a variety of arts & science as well as vocational and technical programs. It also partners with Briar Cliff, Buena Vista and U. of Iowa to provide the last two years of a Baccalaureate degree to area students with most upper level courses being held on the Iowa Lakes campus.
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Visit Historical Places
Palo Alto County Historical Museum The Historical Museum, which is located at 804 Monroe, which is right off Hwy 18, was established in 1969 to house the many treasurers of the past, reflecting life in Palo Alto County and its residents. The Free Methodist Church was purchased for the first museum, and later an annex was added in memory of the first president of the Historical Society, John Kelly. The Palo Alto County Historical Society maintains the Museum. It is open by appointment for tours: call 712-852-3781 or Chamber of Commerce 712-852-2283.
Victorian (House) on Main This 1883 Victorian House, located along Highway 18 in eastern Emmetsburg, was restored to its former glory by volunteers in 1992 as an economic development project by the City. It is now furnished as it might have been in 1883 with many items from the Historical Society. It is open by appointment for tours: Call 712-852-3781 or Chamber of Commerce 712-852-2283.
Palo Alto County Heritage Center For those interested in Carnegie Library Buildings, you will want to visit The Heritage Center located at 2008 10th St. next to the Court House. The building was built in 1912, but underwent extensive renovations in 2002 to convert it to offices that house the Iowa State Extension Service and the Iowa Workforce Development. The basement was remodeled into an art gallery and meeting room. The Center is open during normal business hours.
House of Dolls This privately owned collection of dolls is located in downtown Emmetsburg, 1015 10th St., and is impressive in its number and variety of sizes, ages, and types. Open by special appointment only.
Little House on the Prairie Little House on the Prairie is located off of Highway 18 behind Subway. This privately owned and built reproduction of the house seen in the TV program with that name is a marvelous building constructed by a local artisan, Howard Argabright. He has completely constructed it by hand and without blueprints, and has done a wonderful job of replicating the detail of the buildings and the era. It is surrounded by several acres of natural prairie grasses. It is open during warm weather by appointment only. Call 712-852-3810.
Robert Emmet Statute For those who like to drive through the community, there are several things to see. A statue of Robert Emmet, one of Ireland’s most venerated heroes, stands in the Palo Alto County Court House square. The town was platted and named Emmetsburg in honor of the Irish Patriot, Robert Emmet, who in 1803 was executed by the English government in Ireland’s fight for independence. Located on the Court House Square, it sits next to the Blarney Stone.
Veterans Memorial The Veterans Memorial was created in 2007 to honor the veterans who have served our country. It includes four statutes representing our military. It is located along Hwy 4, two blocks south of the Court House Square.
One-Room School A one-room schoolhouse has been moved to the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds in the southwest corner of Emmetsburg, and an arboretum has been planted next to it. It represents the early days of the county when most citizens attended one-room schools. It is open by appointment and during the Palo Alto County Fair.
Dragoon Monument In Celebration of Iowa’s 150th birthday in 1996, the Palo Alto County Sesqui-centennial commission established a commemorative marker in dedication of the Dragoon Monument. It is located at Kearny State Park, next to the golf course.
Hobson Stone Collection You may want to view the vast collection of rocks, Indian artifacts, antique eyeglasses, walking canes and scale models collected by local optometrist, Dr. A.H. Hobson (1912-1990) are all on display at the Wellness Center complex. Scale models of nineteenth century transportation, his eyeglass and walking stick collection are located in the Emmetsburg Public Library. The collection was donated to the Library upon his death.
VanderVelde Primitive Cultures Collection Another interesting collection housed at the Smith Wellness Center is the VanderVelde Primitive Cultures Collection. This is a permanent exhibit of the world travels of photojournalist Marjorie Mills VanderVelde. It including her writings, photographs, over 250 primitive artifacts, correspondence and 30 precious letters, recordings of published materials, and books and observations of several cultures, The collection items span from 1800's to present.
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Visit Other Area Attractions
Lost Island Nature Center, Ruthven The Lost Island Prairie Wetland Nature Center, is located about 15 west of Emmetsburg, and north of Ruthven, IA, provides recreational and educational experiences for the public and initiates programs designed to protect and enhance the natural and cultural resources of Palo Alto County.
Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend The Grotto of the Redemption is located about 25 miles southeast of Emmetsburg at West Bend. The Grotto represents the largest collection of minerals and petrifaction concentrated in any one spot in the world. The Grotto, built in nine sections, represents in stone the story of the life of Christ.
Iowa Great Lakes The Iowa Great Lakes are located about 45 minutes northwest of Emmetsburg. This summer playground provides recreational water and land-based activities of every kind—including trails and public parks for additional outdoor activities. It offers a summer playhouse, an Art Center, many kinds of live entertainment, along with great shopping and eating.
Clay County Fair Located at Spencer, IA, which is 25 miles to the west, the Clay County Fair operates for 10 days in September. It is known as “The World’s Greatest County Fair”. In addition to the normal county fair displays of 4-H projects, animals, farm equipment, commercial displays, and so on, it sponsors high-quality entertainment and something for everyone.
POW Camp Located in Algona, Iowa, which is 25 miles east on Hwy 18, this Prisoner of War camp was ‘home’ to a total of 10,000 German prisoners from 1943-46. The value of the work done by the prisoners in the 4-state area was estimated at $3,506,000. Closed January-March.
Western Iowa Tourism Western Iowa Tourism site offers an extensive listing of places and activities that visitors might want to view. Many of these listings are in close driving distance from Emmetsburg.
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