Some of the new students at Graceland complain about how there’s nothing to do in Lamoni. They come from all over the world; many from large towns and big cities. The size and culture of Lamoni, Iowa, is a big change for them. Lamoni doesn’t have everything that other places have, but it has its own unique identity. We talked to some Lamoni “townies” to find out what kind of fun things there are to do around here. Here are our 10 ways to have fun in Lamoni:
In addition to COSA’s (Campus Organization for Social Activities) Free Thursday night movies, the Coliseum Theatre also has newer movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. The movies only cost five dollars, which is affordable even for a college student, and concessions are very reasonable as well. Hanging out on the steps outside after the movie is a great way to spend some time with friends, and to just talk for as long as you want.
9. Ice Ice Baby
In the winter when Founders Lake is frozen solid, COSA sponsors a couple of ice skating days for students to enjoy. They provide ice skates but you’re welcome to bring your own. It’s a great way to have fun outside, even in freezing temperatures, and to put your balancing skills to the test.
8. Midnight Rides
Riding bikes or roller skating is a much loved pastime in Lamoni. There’s not much traffic, and there is a great six-mile bike trail that goes all the way from one end of the town to the other. You can ride from the Graceland campus to the Welcome Center at the interstate, or go the other way to Liberty Hall west of town. You can even ride bikes late at night just for fun. Don’t have a bike? No problem! One quick trip to the Student Activities Office in the MSC and you can check one out for free! Some people even ride for miles straight out of town. Iowa is a great place for biking because it’s relatively flat with some rolling hills.
Sometimes it’s fun to just drive around. You don’t have to know where you’re going; just drive. There’s a lot of space around Lamoni and beautiful roadside scenery to take in. Keep an eye out for horses and buggies! Lamoni is in Amish country, so you can even stop into some Amish shops and buy some of their delicious baked goods. Get your best friends in the car, and just see where the road takes you.
6. Put it in Park
There are some great fishing spots nearby for the outdoor lover. Lamoni is full of small lakes like Big G, Founders, Pudge’s and Lake LaShane. Some people even go tubing and canoeing on some of the larger lakes. Iowa also has a number of state parks, and there are some great parks nearby Graceland, such as Nine Eagles State Park and Slip Bluff (picture above). Lamoni also has two city parks in town: North Park and Central Park. These local parks are a great place to spend an afternoon, and maybe have a picnic if the weather is nice.
5. Getting Involved
There are many opportunities to go help the community. Whether you want to help local families in need, kids or the environment, there are plenty of programs and organizations where you can volunteer your time, and do some good in the world. Between Graceland’s innovative Enactus group, the local churches and charities, there are a number of different ways to get involved in Lamoni’s greater community. If you’re interested in helping out, a good place to start would be to talk the Director of the Volunteer Center of Southern Iowa (VCSI), Amanda Edsall, located in the Fredrick M. Smith Library downstairs.
4. Look Up
Lamoni provides an unrestricted view of the night sky. There are no bright lights like in the big city that cloud the sky, which makes it easy to see all of the stars. Some good spots to go look at the stars are Liberty Hall, the bike path or Big G Lake, just to name a few. Follow @GracelandU on Twitter for a heads up when there’s going to be a meteor shower to check out!
3. Disc Golf
One of the lesser-known things about Graceland is the wonderful 18-hole disc golf course. You may have noticed many of the metal cages sitting around campus, and wondered what they were. They’re part of the disc golf course that spreads all throughout the campus. When the weather gets nicer, go out with some friends and have fun (or live on the edge a little and play in the snow). You can get frisbees from the Student Activities office in the MSC, as well as a map and rule book.
2. Work the Sticks
Playing video games may seem simple and obvious, but there are a number of students and Graceland “Houses” that have come up with some interesting ways to turn a hobby into a party. Take the boys of Agape for instance. A few TVs, multiple gaming systems, chips, dip and some friends was all it took for these guys to create a night to remember!
1. Grab Some Buds
The secret to having fun in Lamoni is being with good friends. No matter what it is you are doing, if you’re with your close friends it’s always fun. Lamoni is a tight-knit community where everyone looks out for each other. The town-wide yard sale day that happens twice a year, the Graceland plays that are open to the public and the school sponsored performances are all great examples of ways students and the community continue to come together. Regardless of how you spend your time, the people you’re with are the real key to enjoying your college experience.