Interstates 35 and 80 intersect in central Iowa, providing easy travel between metropolitan areas and small communities in this region of the state.
Central Iowa cities include Des Moines and Ames. The capitol city of Des Moines is one of the world's top insurance centers. Des Moines University of Osteopathic Medicine and Drake University are located here. The Des Moines Art Center offers world-class contemporary art at the entrance to Greenwood Park, and the Science Center provides hands-on exhibits and exploration for the whole family. Nearby Ames is the home of Iowa State University, the nation’s first land grant institution, specializing in agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine.
Other central Iowa communities include Newton, where the new Iowa Speedway is located; historic Pella, the home of Pella Windows and an annual Dutch tulip festival; Winterset, famed for its six covered 'Bridges of Madison County'; and Boone, offering scenic railway tours through the Des Moines River Valley. Grinnell College, one of the best small colleges in America, is located in Grinnell an hour east of Des Moines.
Counties within the central Iowa region include: Boone, Dallas, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story and Warren.