The Smith Wellness Center is a multi-purpose recreational facility with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, aerobics, cardiovascular, and weight-lifting rooms, racquetball court, and locker rooms.
The Blarney Stone was a gift to the citizens of Emmetsburg from the residents of our sister city, Dublin, Ireland. It is located at the Palo Alto County Courthouse Square in Emmetsburg and is available for public viewing 24 hours a day.
The Des Moines River flows through the outer edge of Emmetsburg, just one mile west of town on Highway 18. Many people enjoy the river for fishing, kayaking, inner-tube floating, and canoeing. Basswood Park serves as an inlet into the river. Facilities at Basswood include picnic shelters, picnic tables, and fire rings. Many people enjoy fishing right off Basswood or using the boat ramp for boat access to the river.
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 Five Island Golf Course. The monument is available for public viewing 24 hours a day.
The Emmetsburg Main Street Community Theatre is a non-profit, volunteer organization composed of people who have a common interest in theatre. The theatre was established in 1977 with its first production in 1978. The theatre is noted for providing quality theatre productions that rival some professional groups. The quality of the talent is exceptional for a community our size and the theatre draws its audience and participants from the entire area. The theatre usually produces a musical and a children’s production each year. Emmetsburg Main Street Community Theatre operates entirely on volunteers’ time, membership fees, revenues from productions, and occasional grants. Over 4,000 people have been involved in theatre productions over the years.
The Emmetsburg Riviera Theatre offers new release movies daily at 7 pm as well as a Sunday Matinee at 2 pm. The theatre seats approximately 360 people and offers movie tickets and concessions at a very affordable price. During the winter and the summer, the Emmetsburg Riviera Theatre offers free merchant movies once a week. Theatre rental is also offered for birthday parties, church events, meetings, etc. To inquire about the current movie being shown or to inquire about theatre rental or free movies, simply view the Emmetsburg Riviera Theatre web site or contact Steve or Greg Hoyman at 712-852-2866.
The Five Island Golf Course sits on the west shore of Five Island Lake, on the north edge of Emmetsburg. This 9-hole golf course offers the finest Iowa golf. Five Island Golf is a member of the Iowa Golf Association and the USGA. The course is open to both the public and to members with season passes. In addition to a great golf course, Five Island Golf offers all the top amenities, including a pro-shop and bar that are open daily. Carts are also available to rent.
Beautiful Five Island Lake is the center-piece of Emmetsburg’s summer and winter recreation. It is located on the north end of Emmetsburg, Iowa, in Palo Alto County. The lake is a glacial lake that is five miles long and a half mile wide. The south 90 acres are within the city limits of Emmetsburg. Carved from the prairie by the departing glacier, this thousand-acre lake offers excellent summertime fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Winter offers opportunities for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, hockey, and skating.
The Hobson Stone Collection includes a vast collection of rocks, Indian artifacts, antique eyeglasses, walking canes, and scale models collected by local optometrist, Dr. A. H. Hobson (1912-1990). The collection is on display at the Smith Wellness Center Complex. Scale models of nineteenth century transportation, Dr. Hobson’s eyeglasses, and a walking stick collection are located at the Emmetsburg Public Library. The collection was donated to the Public Library upon Dr. Hobson’s death. The collection is available for viewing during normal Wellness Center and Public Library hours.
An Iowa Welcome Center providing personal assistance to visitors to Iowa.
- Open Year-Round
- Accessible to Persons with Disabilities
- Free Public Internet Access
Monday – Friday | 10 am – 4 pm
Jackman Cabin is a small cabin built by Patrick Jackman in 1867. It was restored by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1921. Tours are available of the cabin by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 712-852-3781.
Kearny State Park offers a lake-side campground on the west shore of Five Island Lake, next to the Five Island Golf Course. It includes a boat ramp, fish cleaning station, picnic area, fishing, swimming areas, shelter for campers, and a shelter house with bathrooms and showers. There is also playground equipment for kids. It has designated areas for tents and RVs, along with electrical outlets. Camping fees: $15 for campers with electricity hookup; $10 for tents (non-electric), payable at drop box.
Little House on the Prairie is located off of Highway 18 behind Subway. This replica, privately owned and built by Howard Argabright, is a reproduction of the house seen on the TV program with the same name. Howard Argabright constructed the house by hand and without blueprints. The Little House on the Prairie replica is surrounded by several acres of natural prairie grasses. It is open during the warm weather seasons by appointment only.
The one-room schoolhouse has been moved to the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds in the southwest corner of Emmetsburg. An arboretum has been planted next to it. The one-room schoolhouse represents the early days of the county when most citizens attended one-room schools. It is open during the Palo Alto County Fair.
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The Palo Alto County Fair traces its beginnings back to August, 1926. Today, the focus of the Palo Alto County Fair is to exhibit the talents and skills of our 4-H and FFA youth. The Palo Alto County Fair includes commercial exhibits, evening BBQ’s, local food vendors, and special events, including a kiddie train ride, pedal pull, face painting, evening entertainment, go kart racing, and the Bill Riley Talent competition. The fair serves 154 4-H members, three FFA chapters, 121 Clover Kids, all in over 190 families.
The Palo Alto County Historical Museum was established in 1969 to house the many treasures of the past, reflecting life in Palo Alto County and its residents. The Free Methodist Church was purchased for the 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 for tours by appointment only.
A statue of Robert Emmet, one of Ireland’s most venerated heroes, stands in the Palo Alto County Courthouse Square in Emmetsburg. The town was platted and named Emmetsburg in honor of the Irish Patriot, Robert Emmet, who was executed in 1803 by the English government in Ireland’s fight for independence.
On the weekend in March closest to St. Patrick’s day, March 17th, Emmetsburg holds its annual St. Patrick’s weekend celebration. Activities include the Miss Shamrock pageant, Little Irish dancers, appearance of area queens, local, state, and national politicians, and, to reign over all of the activities, a special guest from Ireland, typical a member of the Irish Parliament.
Emmetsburg’s three-day celebration begins on a Friday with the arrival of the special guest from Ireland. On Friday afternoon, a tea is held for the honored guests. Saturday features a full day of activities, including the “O’Round the Loch”, Irish Stew dinner, teas, and the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in fair or foul weather.
From 10 guests to 400 guests, our 10,800 square foot community center can accommodate small intimate meetings to large celebrations. The Shores is a perfect setting for meetings, parties, and receptions with a view. Located on the west shore of beautiful Five Island Lake and Five Island Golf Course, The Shores offers a picturesque backdrop for every event.
The Vandervelde Primitive Cultures Collection is housed at the Smith Wellness Center in Emmetsburg. This is a permanent exhibit of the world travels of photo journalist, Marjorie Mills Vandervelde. The exhibit includes 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 the 1800’s to present day. The exhibit is available for public viewing during normal business hours at the Smith Wellness Center.
The Veterans Memorial was created in 2007 to honor the veterans who have served our country. It includes four statues, representing the different branches of our military. It is located on Highway 4 (Broadway Street), two blocks south of the Courthouse Square and is available for public viewing 24 hours a day.
This 1883 Victorian House was restored to its former glory by volunteers in 1992 as an economic development project by the City of Emmetsburg. It is now furnished as it might have been in 1883, with many items from the Palo Alto County Historical Society. The Victorian House is open by appointment only for tours.
The Vince Kunz Collection includes displays of early hand tools, household items, and early machinery. The exhibit also includes a complete early butcher shop replica. Tours are available by appointment only.
The Wild Rose Casino & Resort in Emmetsburg is one of the premier gaming facilities in the Midwest, where visitors come for a good time. The 16,800 square foot casino boasts 550 state-of-the-art slot machines with ticket in/ticket out technology and 17 exciting table games. The casino and resort offers a wide range of entertainment throughout the year, including popular entertainers and performers.
Sunday – Thursday | 8:00 am – 2:00 am
Fridays & Saturdays | 24 hours
The Wild Rose Casino and Resort has a 68 full service spot in their RV Travel Park with 110/220 hook-up, a bath house with water station and dump station. Pets are welcome. The Park is located next to the Casino along Highway 18 East.