Hooray! For Ames! + Giveaway


Have you seen the video?

hooray for ames video picture
Click picture for link to video

It went viral, even making BuzzFeed.

As a native Amesite, my Facebook, Twitter, and email were abuzz with chatter. Oh, the tears of laughter and embarrassment that flowed the week of the video’s release. Now, having had time to reflect on the “Hooray! For Ames!” video, I am not surprised this video came out of my hometown. Only in Ames. I am proud there is no other place like Ames!

Since I am back in my hometown (or, more specifically, back in my Mom’s home) for the summer, I thought I’d highlight some of the things that make ME say, “Hooray! For Ames!”

1) Hooray! For a College Town!

iowa state central campusAround this time of year, traffic gets heavier, the nights get louder, and a lot more couches make their way to the side of the curb. I love the hustle and bustle of a college town. From all the Cyclone games and activities at the Reimen Gardens to the coffee cafés on every corner, a university brings so much pride and flare to a town. If you are in Ames in the fall, you must take a walk through Central Campus. I love how the colors change with each season, but my favorite is fall when all the trees turn red and gold!

2) Hooray! For Yellow Lights!

It is no lie that the yellow light lasts two seconds longer in Ames than anywhere else. Ask any college student – they will verify!

3) Hooray! For the Furman Aquatic Center! pool baby at Furman Aquatic in Ames

The highlight of the Furman Aquatic Center, for me, is the toddler area which is separate from the larger pool, lap lanes, slides, and lazy river. Here my kids can flap around without big kids running through. On weekdays, toddler time is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The earlier opening time is convenient for a schedule with little kids. Hello, nap time!

Address: 1635 13th Street. Phone: 515-232-7665. Facebook.

4) Hooray! For the Tom Randall Real Estate Team!

Tom Randall teamSo I know this may seem like a shameless plug since my mom, K’Lynn, is a part of this team, but I am not the only one who knows this team is terrific. The Tom Randall Real Estate Team was recently voted Best Realtor in Story County for the fourth year in a row! Yep, my mom’s a big deal! Each time I have moved, my mom has offered us very useful tips, suggestions, and advice (which I usually loathe), and I know she will do the same for you! Their moving truck is available to buyers and sellers who work with the team, and they also make it available to local charity organizations. If anyone loves Ames, it’s them!

Address: 207 South 3rd Street. Phone: 515-232-5700. Facebook.

5) Hooray! For Valentino’s! 

kids at valentinos
My kids couldn’t stop eating long enough to take a picture!

My dad took me to Valentino’s after every doctor’s appointment growing up. I even worked here through college (they kept me even though I broke a couple several dishes). Now it is my kids’ all time favorite place to eat. Valentino’s has the best Italian buffet around, complete with a salad bar and dessert buffet! My kids love the Mac and Cheese pizza, cottage cheese, ice cream bar, and the gumball machine! I lean towards their lasagna and Formaggio pizza. Kids 12 and under eat free all day on Tuesday with a paid adult buffet. Also on Tuesday, kids can make their own pizzas from 5:30-7:30. On the third Tuesday of every month, Valentino’s provides free face painting. No wonder my kids love this place!

Address: 823 Wheeler Street. Phone: 515-233-2111. Facebook.

6) Hooray! For Everts Flowers 

Everts FlowersI couldn’t tell you the difference between a peonie or a posie, but I love flower shops, especially Everts! They did the flowers for my wedding, and anytime I say, “I just want something pretty,” they deliver! We stop in every Christmas to find my mom a cute snowman for her collection. On Wednesdays all gift items are 10 percent off. When you stop in, make sure to say hi to Remington the cat!

Address: 329 Main Street. Phone: 515-232-5634. Facebook.

7) Hooray! For Brookside Park! Brookside Park Fire Truck

The fire engine has lost a little of its elegance over the years, but it is still an awesome imaginary adventure for two little boys (and one determined baby sister). Brookside Park has everything from shelters, to several different playgrounds, to tennis and basketball courts. I love that it is covered in shade and has restrooms easily accessible (they’ve saved the day many times!). My kids (six and under) are also the perfect ages to take advantage of the wading pool at the park. It’s not big, but the park provides toys for the kids to play and this tired momma can sit down and easily keep an eye on everyone. Luxurious. Wading pool is for ages six and under and costs $1.

8) Hooray! For Comfort Food!

Great Plains cookie
Yum! Saving this Great Plains cookie for Me, Myself, and I.

There are three restaurants that I must hit up every trip to Ames.

The Grove Cafe is a hole-in-the-wall diner where they flip their extra large, famous potato pancakes right in front of you.

Address: 124 Main Street. Phone: 515-232-9784. (Pay by cash or check.)

• Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company not only has the unique thick whole wheat crust you dip in honey, but they also have the best (and largest) oatmeal M&M cookies!

Address: 129 Main Street. Phone: 515-232-4263. Facebook.

•  Hickory Park is an obvious choice for this category. With BBQ, cheese balls, and lots and lots of ice cream you will never go wrong at Hickory Park.

Address: 1404 S. Duff Avenue. Phone: 515-232-8940. Facebook.

9) Hooray! For Veenker Memorial Golf Course!

Veenker Memorial Golf CourseVeenker is very near and dear to my family. The bench on the first tee is a memorial to my dad, which goes to show how special the people at Veenker really are. The “Veenk” becomes a second family to many who golf there. Located just north of campus, Veenker is lush and beautiful. A family fun night is planned for September (check the website for upcoming details). They also have a special for ladies on Thursdays.

Address: 1925 Stange Road. Phone: 515-294-6727. Facebook.

10) Hooray! For Amesites!

I am proud to say I am from Ames, Iowa. Growing up, I had outstanding teachers, caring neighbors, and strangers who tracked me down when I lost my wallet. We may not all sing and make up jingles, but we are all one of a kind!

What is one thing about Ames that makes you say, “Hooray!”?

A “Hooray! For Ames!” Giveaway featuring two of my dad’s favorite places in Ames.


  1. I need a date night to reconnect with my husband. We are focused on our kids and their activities so much of the time, that we don’t take time for ourselves.

  2. Since March, we’ve had a job loss, FIL had a heart transplant, moved, and had a new baby. So a date night has not been an option. Things are calming down and it’d be great to celebrate some calm seas after the storms

  3. Hubby and I bought a house last year in Ames and slowly getting it fixed up. 🙂 our one year old daughter and I officially moved in May 2014 with him. 2013 was a rough year, with lots of separated nights, two miscarriages, and remodeling. Would love to have a night out in our new town! 🙂

  4. I taught 8th grade in Ames for 6 years- probably with a lot of your old middle school teachers! 🙂 We still live nearby and are in town at least once a week. 🙂
    Something my husband would say missed the list- Biolife. It’s a great way for college students and poor teachers to bring in extra income. (And it’s for a great cause!) 🙂

  5. One year ago we had our sweet girl in Ames, moved from Ames to the Cedar Falls area and are now moving again but his time to the DSM area (which is why I started following this blog!). We love Ames and miss it quite a bit. My husband is an avid golfer but hasn’t golfed much this summer because of all of his job transition and we haven’t been on many dates for that reason as well. It’d be a blessing to us to get to win this and spend some time in Ames!

  6. Ames is a great place because that’s where I met my husband and made many of our “first dates”memories! We would love to go back!

  7. I did not know about Valentinos! We live in DM and drive to Hickory Park but I can’t wait to try Valentios–face painting and making your own pizzas. I’m there on Tuesday!

  8. Would love to have a date night! My husband is going through the process of being medically retired and I stay at home with our 3 boys so things have been pretty hectic and uncertain this year! I can’t remember last time we had a date!We are looking to relocate to Ames so he can finish his degree at ISU, so thanks for this great post! 🙂

  9. Ames is awesome. Went to college here and never left. Now have kiddos of my own and love the family friendliness and community.

  10. Vals is one of our favorites! We love living in Ames, never knew about the long yellows, that makes it even better 🙂

  11. Love this, and love Ames! I didn’t know about Valentino’s or The Grove Cafe, but my big two Ames restaurants are Hickory Park and Great Plains, YUM!


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