Iowa towns with themed sculptures on permanent display

We put a request for help on the Iowa Road Trip Facebook Page to help identify which Iowa towns have themed sculptures on permanent display – and rounded up a list Iowa towns. In most cases, the sculpture is the same object, but is uniquely designed by a different artist. Typically, the sculptures are scattered around town and in some cases, around the entire county. Local businesses sponsor the sculpture and typically pay for the artist to design and decorate it and then host the sculpture.

You’ll notice that Herky on Parade and Panthers on Parade did not make the list – as they are not permanent displays, but instead are just short-term displays that only run for a few months, but we have included them on a separate list at the very bottom. We’ve also decided to remove chainsaw sculptures and other rotating sculpture walks, as they are not the same object, which is the case for a true-themed sculpture display. Even though they were left off this list, we will be putting together separate lists for them in the future.

Iowa towns with themed sculptures on permanent display

Ice Cream Cone Sculptures, Le Mars

Le Mars, Iowa is considered the Ice Cream Capitol of the World and therefore, its fitting that they have over 50 large ice cream cone sculptures scattered around town.


Corn Sculptures, Vinton

Approximately 20 fiberglass corn statues have been decorated by local artists and are on permanent display at various locations around Vinton, Iowa. The project was undertaken by the Vinton Guild of Fine Arts in 2015.


Lighthouses, Storm Lake

The project started in 2021 when 10 lighthouse sculptures were commissioned by local art teachers. Additional lighthouses were added in 2023 and a future expansion is also in the works.


Cowboy Boots, Sidney

Known for the annual Sidney Rodeo, their town square is adorned with cowboy boots that are hanging on the street lights. The sculptures were first placed in the town square back in 2016 and were created by Icon Poly Studios, which has created numerous themed sculptures for communities around the US.


Cy, Ames

Originally known as cyclONE City, sculptures of the Iowa State University mascot, Cy, we decorated and distributed across the community. Although their official tour of Ames is over, there are still over 25 sculptures left out of the original 31.


One of the Cy statues out in front to Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa

Corn sculptures, Altoona

Twenty corn sculptures were created in 2023 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first acre of commercial hybrid seed corn being grown in America – and in Altoona, Iowa. After traveling around Altoona in 2023, the sculptures were moved to their permanent locations in the spring of 2024.


Mini Bell Towers, Jefferson

Known for the 168ft Mahanay Carillon Bell Tower located on their downtown square, they created mini bell tower sculptures that are uniquely decorated and distributed around Jefferson, Iowa.


Unsculptures, Council Bluffs,

Perhaps more of a sign than an actual sculpture, its the “unsculpture”, which celebrates how Council Bluffs is “Unlike anywhere else. On Purpose.” Each sign is decorated differently and stationed at various places throughout the community.


One of Council Bluffs’ unsculptures sits in front of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

Children playing, Cresco

Over 45 bronze sculptures, all of children playing, are distributed in Cresco and all across Howard County.


Coming soon: Kaleidoscope Sculptures in Pocahontas County

Pocahontas County will eventually have kaleidoscopes in each of their towns. The first one will go in the city of Rolfe. These are life-size and people will be able to turn the handle and look through it. Thanks to Rich from The Kaleidoscope Factory in Pocahontas and the Machine Shop in Pocahontas for making these for our cities through the assistance of the Pocahontas Economic Development Commissions Visioning Committee.

Coming soon: Buffalo Stampede, Le Claire

The birthplace of Buffalo Bill, Le Claire, is working a buffalo stampede, or decorated buffaloes that will be dotted across the community.

Current Sculptures on Parade in Iowa

The idea of Sculptures on Parade dates back to the late 1990’s when Chicago, Illinois modified the idea from a display in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1999, Chicago hosted “Cows on Parade”, where fiberglass statues of cows were decorated and distributed across the city, but only for a short time period before they were auctioned off for charity. Currently, we are aware of two new sculptures on parade that on display, but only for the summer of 2024.

Herky on Parade, Johnson County

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of their mascot, Herky, a parade of fiberglass Herky statues were created, decorated, and then distributed across all of Johnson County. This is the 3rd time that Herky has been on parade in the last 20 years, and just like prior times, it will only be for a limited time before the statues are auctioned off.

Herky on Parade info:

Herky on Parade in Iowa City, Iowa. Titled “Yoda”, its a tribute to hawkeye wrestling great Spencer Lee.

Panthers on Parade, Cedar Falls

Just Iowa City and Ames have done, Cedar Fall stepped into the action and is putting on Pathers on Parade, which features the mascot from the University of Northern Iowa. On display until Oct 2024, there are 27 life-size fiberglass statues scattered around the community.


Previous Sculptures on Parade in Iowa

Over the past twenty years, other communities have held sculptures on parade and they sometimes have a few individual statues remaining in public, including the following:

American Gothic Duo on Parade, Cedar Rapids

Launched in 2001 as “Overalls All Over”, the City of Cedar Rapids created 25 six-foot statues that were uniquely designed as the American Gothic duo from Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. Visitors were encouraged to hunt for them across the community. Eventually, the statues were auctioned off, but some now reside in private locations, and a few remain in public locations.


One of the original sculptures from Overalls All Over is stationed at the Amana Colonies Visitor Center in Amana, Iowa.

Prairie Gophers, Sioux City

For the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Sioux City launched a collection of 40 prairie dog sculptures that were on display across Siouxland.

Map of original prairie dog locations: (Keep in mind this was the original map and many of them, but not all, have been removed)

Discovery Dogs, Sioux City

Another sculpture on parade that was held in Sioux City, again related to Lewis & Clark’s Expedition through the Siouxland area. This time they featured a Newfoundland dog named Seaman, who was the dog that joined Lewis & Clark on their voyage. A few Discovery Dogs can still be found in the Sioux City area.

Dog Gone Ruff, from the 2004 Discovery Dogs on Parade, sponsored by the Sioux City Arts Center. This sculpture stands at the entrance to the movie theatre in Onawa, Iowa.

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