Ames () is a city in Story County, Iowa, United States, located approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of Des Moines in central Iowa. It is best known as the home of Iowa State University (ISU), with leading agriculture, design, engineering, and veterinary medicine colleges. A United States Department of Energy national laboratory, Ames Laboratory, is located on the ISU campus. In 2020, Ames had a population of 66,427. Iowa State University was home to 33,391 students as of fall 2019, which make up approximately one half of the city's population. Ames also hosts United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sites: the largest federal animal disease center in the United States, USDA's Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Disease Center (NADC), as well as, one of two national USDA sites for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which comprises the National Veterinary Services Laboratory and the Center for Veterinary Biologics. Ames also hosts the headquarters for the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Webster City is a city in Hamilton County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,825 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Hamilton County. Webster City is known as 'Boone River Country', as the Boone River meanders along the east side of the city.
Recreation abounds in the Fort Dodge region. Recreational opportunities include Iowa's largest off-highway vehicle park with 65 miles of single track, ATV, and ORV trails.
Des Moines ( (listen)) is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small part of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines, which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is located on, and named after, the Des Moines River, which likely was adapted from the early French name, Rivière des Moines, meaning "River of the Monks". The city's population was 214,133 as of the 2020 census. The six-county metropolitan area is ranked 83rd in terms of population in the United States with 699,292 residents according to the 2019 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, and is the largest metropolitan area fully located within the state. A portion of the larger Omaha, Nebraska, metropolitan area extends into three counties of southwest Iowa.Des Moines is a major center of the US insurance industry and has a sizable financial services and publishing business base. The city was credited as the "number one spot for U.S. insurance companies" in a Business Wire article and named the third-largest "insurance capital" of the world. The city is the headquarters for the Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, Ruan Transportation, TMC Transportation, EMC Insurance Companies, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Other major corporations such as Wells Fargo, Voya Financial, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, ACE Limited, Marsh, Monsanto, and Corteva have large operations in or near the metropolitan area. In recent years, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Facebook have built data-processing and logistical facilities in the Des Moines area. Des Moines is an important city in U.S. presidential politics; as the state's capital, it is the site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle. Many presidential candidates set up campaign headquarters in Des Moines. A 2007 article in The New York Times said, "If you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no better place to go than Des Moines."