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My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been with Just Answer since 2006. It will be my pleasure to help you with some sightseeing suggestions on your trip.
Since you will be driving through Iowa, the following places will be interesting to visit in Iowa City:
Devonian Fossil Gorge--if you're interested in nature, geology and/or paleontology--of course what may interesting to some, may not be as interesting to others. You can read reviews
from other sightseers, here:http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g38020-d284895-Reviews-Devonian_Fossil_Gorge-Iowa_City_Iowa.html
Museum of Natural History---again, it has to be an interest for you and any traveling companions.http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g38020-d263837-Reviews-Museum_of_Natural_History-Iowa_City_Iowa.html
You can see other attractions, including playing on the golf courses, if that's your thing, in Iowa City, here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g38020-Activities-Iowa_City_Iowa.html
You will also be driving through Illinois and you said 'excluding Chicago', but perhaps these places in other cities may be of interest to you:
Again, all a matter of personal taste, whether you would find these places 'significant' and worth the visit, but a few stops along the way will help break up the trip.
I would also suggest contacting AAA and getting a 'Trip Tik' for your trip, as this will include the best routes to travel and also ask your local AAA office for recommended places of interest along the way. They will include this in your Trip Tik along with suggestions for hotels/motels.
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