Hello, and Happy Summer!
As a childcare provider in the Des Moines metro, we are always looking for new activities our families can do to stay busy throughout the year. We wanted to share 50 different things to do around central Iowa for you and your little ones this summer. We just ask that you share this post with a friend or family member and enjoy! Have a memorable summer!
1. Iowa Hikes
2. Heritage Carousel
Location: 1801 Pennsylvania Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday noon-7 p.m., Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. until Aug. 20
Admission: 50 cents per ride per child, $1 per adult (Note: Adults can stand next to small kids with no charge)
3. Story Walk
Location: 3520 86th St., Urbandale (Begin behind the Urbandale Library)
Hours: 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
4. Ashley Okland Star Playground
Location: 5300 Indianola Road, Des Moines
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
5. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Admission: Adults $8, Students (ages 4-17) $6, Kids 3 and under are free (prices valid April 4-Oct. 31), Senior Citizens $7
6. Miniature Golf at Toad Valley
Location: 237 NE 80th St., Pleasant Hill
Hours: Sunrise to sundown, 7 days a week
Admission: Ages 4 and up $5, Kids 3 and under are free
7. Backyard Adventures Open Play
Location: 3135 99th St., Urbandale
Hours: Weekdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (not including holidays)
Admission: $5 (kids ages 2-17), Adults 18 and older are free
8. Reiman Gardens
Location: 1407 University Blvd., Ames
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. through Labor Day (Summer Butterfly Wing hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Admission: Adults (18-64) $8, Kids (ages 4-17) $4, Kids 3 and under are free, Seniors (65+) $7
9. Valley Community Center
Location: 4444 Fuller Rd., West Des Moines
Hours: Play area open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
10. Science Center of Iowa
Location: 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy., Des Moines
Hours: From Memorial Day to Labor Day: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Admission: SCI General Admission Only: Adult (13-64) $12, Child (2-12) $8, Seniors (65+) $8
11. Storytime Swim
Location: 1200 Venbury Dr., Altoona
Hours: 11:15 a.m.-noon Wednesdays through July 29
Admission: Free, registration required
11. Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse
Century 20 Jordan Creek
12. Carmike Cinema Summer Kids Series
Wynsong 16 only in Johnston
13. Carmike Cinema Summer Kids Series
Ankeny & Pleasant Hill theaters
14. Ankeny Park Band Shell Outdoor Movie
15. Newton, Valley Drive-In
16. Waukee Movies in the Park
17. Fairytale Time in the Park – West Des Moines
18. Nature Friends
Join a naturalist in a nature adventure! Explore nature with a guided exploration, stories, sharing time, and more. It’s $7/program and comes with a complimentary snack.
19. Family Swim Night
20. Nature Story Time in the Park
21. Visit Blank Park Zoo
22. Jester Puppets presents The H.E.R.O.s
This puppet show features amazing superhero’s while serving as a great family outing!
23. Bike Scavenger
Clive will be hosting our first annual Scavenger Bike Ride to promote fit and healthy lifestyles for families of all ages. Click the link to learn more!
24. See the Show! Become the pro! (Juggler)
25. Bubble Wonders
An awe-inspiring show that combines bubble wizardry with a fantastic message. You won’t want to miss it!
26. Super Hero Party
Dress up and hang out with some super hero friends!
27. Splash Pads, Beaches and other Water fun
28. Easter Lake Park
29. Grays Lake Beach
30. Saylorville Lake
31. American Legion Park
Location: 301 Vine St. West Des Moines, IA 50265
Hours: Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; 11 am – 7 pm daily!
Playground equipment, large open field, shelter, bathrooms, tennis court, and more!
32. Altoona Aquatics Park
Location: 1200 Venbury Drive, Altoona
Hours: Open Monday – Friday: Noon – 7 pm and Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Admission: Resident Day: $5.75 | Non-Resident Day: $7.75
33. Adventure Bay In Adventureland Amusement Park
Pool, lots of slides, and lots of fun!
34. Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center
Location: 1220 NW Prairie Ridge Dr, Ankeny
Hours: Noon – 6 pm everyday | Splash park only: Monday – Friday 10 am – 11:45 am
Admission: Daily $4 | Seniors $3 | Children 2 and under $1.00
35. Clive Aquatic Center
Location: 1801 NW 114th Street, Clive
Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30 am – 7 pm | Saturday & Sunday 11:30 am – 6 pm
Admission: Daily $8 | 3-12 years old $5.00 | Children 2 and under free | Seniors & Military $6.00
36. Five Des Moines Public Pools
Daily admissions pertain to all Des Moines aquatics and pools: 2 years and under – FREE, 3 – 20 years – $2.00, 21 years and over $4.00. After 5 pm Monday thru Thursday 1/2 price
Nahas Aquatic Center, Northwest Aquatic Center, Teachout Aquatic Center, Ashworth Pool, and Birdland Pool.
37. Indianola Veteran Memorial Aquatic Center
38. Holiday Aquatic Center
39. Ankeny Summerfest
July 9th – 12th Admission is FREE!
Near Prairie Ridge Middle School. Talent show, carnival rides & games, fireworks, and more!
40. Clive Festival’s 40th Celebration
July 16th – 18th
Admission is FREE!
Located at the Clive Aquatic Center.
Clive Festival’s popular Kid’s Corner will return on Saturday with expanded crafts, story-telling, tug-of-war, inflatables, and two giant slip-and-slides hosted by the Clive Fire Department.
41. Celebrating Waukee: Unlock Yours
June 5 – 6 Admission is FREE! Centennial park and downtown triangle.
42. City Of Grimes, Governors Days
June 11th – 13th – Admission is FREE! – Held within the Governors District.
43. Johnston Green Days
June 18th – 21st – Admission is FREE! – Held next to the Johnston Public Library.
44. Des Moines Arts Festival
June 26th – 28th – Admission is FREE! – Western Gateway Park.
45. Urbandale 4th of July
July 2nd – 4th – Admission is FREE! – Lions Park in Urbandale, Iowa. Races, carnival rides & games, fireworks Saturday evening to celebrate!
46. Polk City – Four Season Festival
47. Indianola National Balloon Classic
48. Ashby Park
Location: 3200 38th Street, Des Moines
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
49. Jester Park Natural Playscape
Location: 11407 NW Jester Park Dr., Granger
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
50. Top 10 Central Iowa Farmers’ Markets
Downtown Des Moines: Court Avenue District | 7 am – Noon | Saturday’s May to October
Adel: Courthouse Square | 8:30 am – 11 am | Saturday’s June to October
Ankeny: Corner of SW 3rd Street & Maple Street | 8 am – Noon | Saturday’s May to September
Indianola: Highway 92 at the Fairground West gate | 8 am – Noon | Saturday’s June to October
Pella: First Reformed Church | 9 am – 11 am | Saturday’s May to October
Winterset: Historic Courthouse Square | 7:30 am – 11:30 am | Saturday’s May to October
Beaverdale: 3422 Beaver Ave | 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Tuesday’s June to September
Des Moines: 3200 Delaware Ave | 4 pm – 7 pm | Tuesday’s May to September
Johnston: The corner of NW 62nd Ave and Merle Hay Rd | 3 pm – 7 pm | Tuesday’s May to October
Des Moines: 13th St between Locust and Grand | 10:30 am – 1 pm | Wednesday’s August to October
Des Moines: First Christian Church on 25th St and University | 4 pm – 7 pm | Wednesday’s June to September
Waukee: Waukee’s Downtown Triangle | 4 pm – 7 pm | Wednesday’s June to September
Ames: 526 Main St | 2 pm – 6pm | Thursday’s May to October
Boone: 528 Story Street | 3 pm – 6 pm | Thursday’s June to October
Grimes: 410 SE Main Street | 4 pm – 7 pm | Thursday’s June to Agust
Polk City: Town Square | 4 pm – 7pm | Thursday’s May 23 to October 29
Perry: 1st and Willis | 4 pm – 6 pm | Thursday’s June to September
Valley Junction: On 5th Street in Valley Junction | 4 pm – 8 pm | Friday’s May to October
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