Coral Ridge Mall near Iowa City Has More Than Just Shopping

Last Updated on December 4, 2016 by Jody Halsted

Old Fashioned Carousel at Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City
Old Fashioned Carousel at Coral Ridge Mall

Road trip season is upon us- yea!  If your family is anything like my family you love the rest stops en route to your destination.  A few weeks ago Caelan an I were traveling to eastern Iowa so I could make a presentation to the Eastern Iowa Tourism Board.  At the invitation of the Iowa Children’s Museum, we made a stop at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, near Iowa City.  Though nowhere near the size of the Mall of America, I think Coral Ridge Mall can easily lay claim to fun for the entire family- at a very affordable price.

Though you’ll find lots of shopping- all the mall staples that your teens will love plus Target and Best Buy- and a food court with healthy options like Panera and the sit-down restaurant Bennegan’s, the non-mall staples make this a great destination for a day trip or lay-over on a long road trip.

The Iowa Children’s Museum

Reading area at the Iowa Children's Museum at Coral Ridge Mall near Iowa City
Reading area at the Iowa Children's Museum
Toddler Area at Iowa Children's Museum

Fun and learning collide at the Iowa Children’s Museum.  This hands-on learning environment is great for kids of all ages.  From the moment we entered the doors Caelan was ready to explore.  We began in the ABC Forest where Caelan immediately settled into a tree trunk with a squirrel and a book.  From there she worked alphabet puzzles and skipped down the alphabet road to our next adventure.

We did everything!  From adult activities like shopping and banking in the CityWorks exhibit to blasting off rockets and flying a jet simulator in the Take Flight exhibit.  Did I mention the one story twirly slide?  Next we were off to the Notion of Motion where golf balls and looping tracks made physics fun.  We created works of art in the art studio and then had a little “down time” in the Imagination Acres area (for ages 5 and under) where the little ones can explore an Iowa farm- from planting crops and fishing to fun in the barn!

The Iowa Children’s Museum is an affordable family stop at only $7 per person (infants under 1 are free).

Glow Golf

Glow Golf at Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City
Glow Golf

I love mini golf.  And my girls really enjoy golfing on the Wii.  So the idea of adding black lights and glow-in-the-dark balls, holes and obstacles give the game a whole new “spin”.

Glow Golf is located just next to the Children’s Museum.  This is also an incredible value- you get three games for one low price.  Adults $8, kids 5-12 $6, kids 4 and under $3.

Ice Skating Rink

I’ve never visited a mall with an ice rink before, and though I knew there was an ice skating rink in Coral Ridge Mall, the NHL regulation size arena was more than I expected.

NHL Regulation Size Ice Arena at Coral Ridge Mall near Iowa City
NHL Regulation Size Ice Arena

While Caelan and I watched, a pair of skaters performed jumps and twirls on the ice.  At other times you may see adult or youth hockey games.  And, of course, the rink is open to the public to use.  Another affordable option if your kids need to “chill out”; admission is $6, skates can be rented for $2.

Old Fashioned Carousel

Old Fashioned Carousel at Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City
Riding the Old Fashioned Carousel

But the best $1 you will spend is for a ride on the Old Fashioned Carousel.  Find your favorite animal- Caelan loved the rabbit- and take a spin.  Watch your reflection in the mirrored center walls as your animal jumps to the music.  It will bring a smile to even the grumpiest travelers’ face.

Don’t Forget to Stop for Ice Cream

Whitey's Ice Cream
Whitey's Ice Cream

Finish your fun visit with a stop at Whitey’s Ice Cream for a treat to go.  Thick shakes and hand dipped ice cream with your choice of toppings will leave you with a sweet memory of Coral Ridge Mall.


Family Vacation
Iowa City

Disclosure: The tickets for fun at Coral Ridge Mall were a portion of my EITA speaking fee.

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