MUSIC, MEMORIES & WRIGHT, HERE IN MASON CITY!
Start the day with a wonderful tour of the last remaining Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway steam locomotive – the Cannonball No. 457. This unique locomotive has been restored to reflect its original appearance. Next, tour the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, formerly a gracious 1920’s Tudor revival home, which now houses a permanent collection of American art, including works by Regionalists Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. Other highlights of the collection are post World War II paintings, contemporary prints, and works by Iowa artists. The museum also features the puppet collection of renowned puppeteer and Mason City native, Bil Baird, including his most famous puppets from the movie, “The Sound of Music”.
The group will then uncover the story about Mason City’s famous hometown son, Meredith Willson, author of “The Music Man”. The group will tour the Meredith Willson Boyhood Home to learn more about the man behind the music. Next, enjoy The Music Man Square featuring replica set designs from “The Music Man“ plus the Meredith Willson Museum bursting with musical history, movie clips, instruments, memorabilia and great stories to tell. The group will also enjoy a tasty treat at the Ice Cream Parlor located along Music Man Square’s beautiful indoor 1912 streetscape.
Guests will check into a Mason City lodging facility of their choice and freshen up for evening activities. Get ready to enjoy an elegant evening in Mason City, “The Original River City”. The group will enjoy a delightful evening meal at one of the numerous restaurants in the community, with true River City entertainment, a special musical performance featuring songs from “The Music Man” and other favorites performed by local talent. Another option, a Musical Revue Theater Performance in which your group can delight in a performance featuring highly trained and talented high school aged performers. The musical revue’s are designed to appeal to family and senior audiences with the production changing each September and running until the following August. The revue tours with its own colorful set, sound system and lights. Past shows include “The Andrews Sisters”, “Smoke On the Mountain”, “Oil City Symphony” and “Abby and the Absolutes”.
Mason City is also home to Prairie School Architecture with several buildings in the community designed by Frank Lloyd Wright including a residential home, a bank building and a hotel. Discover more about Frank Lloyd Wright and Mason City’s architecture on an Architectural Tour. The tour can be strictly a guided tour by motorcoach or can include a slide presentation of the architectural aspects in the Rock Glen and Rock Crest area, the largest grouping of Prairie School Architecture on a unified site. Continue your quest to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright while touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House and Architectural Interpretive Center. The Stockman House, constructed in 1908, is located adjacent to the Rock Glen – Rock Crest National Historical District. This home was the first and only Prairie School house designed in Iowa by Wright. The Architectural Interpretive Center, inspired by a Walter Burley Griffin design, helps tell the story of Wright and Prairie School architectural designs in the area.
Next tour the Historic Park Inn Hotel. Built in 1910 for two Mason City attorneys, the Historic Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank building is the last remaining hotel in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This classic example of Prairie School Architecture has been completely restored to its original appearance serving as an exquisite hotel. Explore the restored public places of the hotel on a guided tour of the facility. Visit the mezzanine balcony overlooking the lobby and dining room, the Skylight Room with its fully restored sky-lit art glass ceiling, the Ladies Parlor with art-glass French Doors, the Gentlemen’s Lounge and the Billiards Room and Mercury statues designed by Richard Bock. Continue the day by taking a step back in time at the Kinney Pioneer Museum and relive the memories of days gone by. Experience life on the Iowa frontier through the vintage exhibits and living history, which includes a pioneer village, one-room schoolhouse, log cabin and blacksmith shop. Plus, demonstrations of pioneer crafts and trades including weaving, broom making and radio deejay. Next, relive the day the music died while touring the Surf Ballroom & Museum, the final concert site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.
Experience a breathtaking sunset over the lake during an evening excursion on a paddlewheel vessel, the Lady of the Lake. A perfect end to a delightful day.
First stop of the day will be at Winnebago Industries where the group will witness the production of recreational vehicles at the largest motor home production facility. A tour of Central Gardens is the next stop of the day. This 2.75 acre space is home to 22 theme gardens including Victorian, Wetland, Butterfly, Shade and more. The site also includes water features, terraces, a pavilion, and the Moongate Theatre Steps.
The group will return to Mason City and spend some time on their own as they uncover those special treasures at the abundance of specialty shops and retail stores througout our vibrant downtown. View the downtown map of retail storesall within walking distance. Another option, view the amazing sculptures that are a part of the River City Sculptures on Parade exhibit . This self guided tour features 25 outdoor sculptures in the downtown area. On the way home, enjoy “The Music Man” video aboard the coach.