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Iowa & Des Moines Trivia

What is Iowa ranked #1 in producing? What famous gymnast is from Central Iowa? Which two interstates intersect in Des Moines? How many visitors does the city welcome each year? Catch the answers to these questions and more with the following local trivia.

Iowa Trivia

The name Iowa is derived from the Ioway Indians who lived in the area.

Iowa became the 29th state on December 28, 1846.

The state flower is the Wild Rose.

The state bird is the Eastern Goldfinch.

The state tree is the Oak.

Iowa is #1 in egg production.

Iowa ranks first in soybean, hog and corn production.

Iowa is home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.

RAGBRAI, Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is the oldest, longest and largest touring bicycle event in the world. The ride crosses the whole state, river-to-river.

Iowa's longest and highest bridge crosses Lake Red Rock. 

Iowa's oldest continually running theater is in Story City. 

Knoxville's National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum is the only museum in the country dedicated to preserving the history of sprint car racing. 

Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels.

Five Nobel Prize winners hail from Iowa, including Norman Borlaug who won for his contributions to the world food supply.

The Amana Colonies are comprised of seven villages listed as National Historic Landmarks.

Famous people of Iowa include John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Wyatt Earp, Mamie Eisenhower, Steve Allen, Grant Wood, George Washington Carver, Herbert Hoover, Ashton Kutcher, The Wright Brothers, Zach Johnson, Liang Chow and Lolo Jones, among others.

Iowan Doreen Wilbur was the first woman to win an Olympic Gold medal (in archery).

Gymnast Shawn Johnson was a 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist.

Des Moines Trivia

Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa. It was chosen as state capital in 1857. 

Des Moines lies at the crossroads of Interstates 80 and 35. 

Des Moines welcomed 13.7 million visitors in 2016, 5.2 million were overnight travelers.

Des Moines was founded at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. 

Des Moines is the third-largest international insurance center after London, England and Hartford, Connecticut. 

Major corporate headquarters include Meredith Corporation, National Pork Producers and Principal Financial. Other major employers include: Wells Fargo Financial, Iowa Health, Mercy Medical Center and CDS Global. 

Fort Des Moines, dedicated as a cavalry post in 1903, became the first training center for the Women's Army Corps. 

The National Bar Association was founded in Des Moines in August 1925. 

The Drake Relays has the longest streak of sellouts in U.S. track history. 

There are 298 steps from the second floor to the dome and 5,600 crystals in each chandelier in the House Chamber of the Iowa State Capitol. There are 24 fireplaces in the building and 29 types of marble throughout the interior of the building. 

The Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary is a scientific research facility in Des Moines housing bonobos and orangutans for the noninvasive interdisciplinary study of their cognitive and communicative capabilities. 

The Science Center of Iowa contains the only fully functional clear toilet in the Northern Hemisphere. 

The Center Street Bridge links the east and west sides of the city and features two separate pathways-one for walkers/joggers and one for bicyclists. 

There are 665 Plexiglas panels in the dome of the Des Moines Botanical Center. 

In 2010, Adam Richman of "Man vs. Food" of the Travel Channel visited Des Moines for the Adam Emmenecker Challenge at Jethro's BBQ. 

Slipknot is an Iowa heavy metal band that formed in 1995, and is well known for their attention-grabbing image and aggressive music style. 

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park features 28 works of art and was the largest single family donation. 

The first sports director for WHO Radio was President Ronald Reagan. He held that position for four years. 

Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, built in the 1920s, was the first high school in the country to cost over one million dollars. 

The first newspaper in Des Moines, the Iowa Star, was founded in 1849. Today, The Des Moines Register is the city's primary daily newspaper. 

The downtown skywalk system is four miles long. 

The Iowa State Fair features over 600 exhibitors and more than 80 foods on-a-stick. 

The Iowa Energy won their first championship in franchise history when they beat Rio Grande Valley in three games in the 2010-2011 season.