If you’re looking for a nearby family get-away, check out Pizza on the Prairie at The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center near the small town of Orient—about a juice box and fruit snack away from metro Des Moines (roughly 60 miles southwest). Combining local foods, nature, agriculture, art, and music, Pizza on the Prairie appeals to kids, parents, and grandparents alike.
Brick Oven Pizzas and Exploration
Food lovers will appreciate the changing menu of hand-crafted brick oven pizzas topped with fresh produce grown on-site. (For the less adventuresome eater, plain cheese pizza is always available.) Tasty side dishes, desserts, and signature adult beverages also take advantage of seasonal produce harvested just steps away from the kitchen. Each week’s menu is posted on The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s website a few days in advance.
Groups spread themselves out on the spacious lawn while listening to live music provided by local musicians from the immediate area and Des Moines metro. Picnic tables are first-come, first-served, and lawn chairs, blankets, and small tables are welcome. Bring your own yard games if you’d like, or burn off extra energy exploring the 9-acre restored prairie. A one-mile grass path wanders through the prairie and around a small pond, connecting five permanent art sculptures.
Beginning June 25, a temporary outdoor art exhibit of 75+ paintings by community artists of all ages and skill levels goes on display. All of the paintings explore this year’s theme, “Prairie Creatures Great and Small”. Close to the parking area, the prairie butterfly mural is a terrific backdrop for a selfie or family photo.
The 40-acre Wallace farm is the birthplace of Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Vice President (1941-1944) and founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred, now Corteva, one of Iowa’s largest employers. In addition to the large production garden and orchard, visitors can see a new corn demonstration plot that showcases the development of hybrid corn.
Worth the Drive
“We had a blast,” commented Christina Davis of Des Moines. “Totally worth the drive (and it’s beautiful along the way) and great for families with kids. Lots to see and plenty of space to run around. We LOVED it!”
Others did, too. The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa selected The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s Pizza on the Prairie as the Outstanding Event (Rural) at the 2021 Iowa Tourism Conference.
The 2021 season kicked off Friday, June 4, and continues weekly through October 1. Reservations are required and can be made online at or by calling 641-337-5109. The $5/person reservation fee holds your space and is applied to your food and drink bill.
The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s two locations include the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center in rural Orient and the Wallace House in Des Moines. Together, the two historic sites provide educational programs and community services, produce sustainably grown fruits and vegetables, and offer locally sourced meals. More information about the non-profit can be found at www.wallace.org.