This town began as an Army outpost in the mid-1800s. Be sure to visit the Fort Museum and Frontier Village, a replica of a fort from the 1860s that contains some actual cabins from the period and displays of artifacts from military and pioneer life. Our favorite part of the museum is the Cardiff Giant—a carved stone statue from the late 1800s that was realistic enough to fool many people into believing that it was a fossilized prehistoric man. P.T. Barnum featured the giant in his show for years, and it was even displayed at the 1901 Pan American Exhibit in Buffalo before the hoax was exposed. The Fort Museum is open May to mid-October. The Blanden Memorial Art Museum was the first art museum in Iowa; it contains a wide variety of works from all over the world. If you are in Fort Dodge in June, check out Frontier Days, a historical celebration.
Some 30 mi/48 km northwest of Fort Dodge, in West Bend, is the Grotto of the Redemption. There are actually nine grottoes, composed of ornamental rocks and gems that depict scenes from the New Testament. Fort Dodge is 90 mi/145 km north of Des Moines.
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