There are so many fun activities in the Des Moines area to help get in the holiday spirit. Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly activities in the metro:

Breakfast with Santa at the Science Center of Iowa – Food, fun, science and Santa! Santa will read a story, listen to your child’s Christmas wishes, and afterwards you can enjoy a free showing of the Polar Express. Plus, general admission is included with your ticket – be sure to check out SCI’s Tyrannosaurs exhibit before you leave! Limited quantity available, Click here or call the ticket office to get tickets.
12/16 at 8 a.m. & 12/17 at 10 a.m. | 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines | Click here for cost

Breakfast with Santa Cow at Chick Fil A – Grab a bite to eat, enjoy a kids’ craft, and take pics with Santa Cow.
12/16, 8-10 a.m. | 6555 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines | Free (plus cost of any food purchased)

Santa Express at Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad – Wear your Christmas jammies for this favorite holiday tradition! Enjoy a ride to the “North Pole” – during your ride you will get to sing holiday songs, meet Santa, and drink hot cocoa.
See hours here | 225 10th Street, Boone, Iowa | $18 for basic coach class, $45 for first class coach

Photo credit: Jolly Holiday Lights

Jolly Holiday Lights – 100% of the proceeds from Jolly Holiday Lights goes to Make-A-Wish® Iowa. This event is a great chance for you and your family to enjoy some holiday lights while also donating to a great cause. Don’t forget to stop at the Wish Shop to see Santa and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies!
Now through 12/23, Open nightly until 10 p.m | 3300 Adventureland Dr., Altoona | $20 per car

Downtown Winter Farmer’s Market – Everyone loves the Downtown Farmer’s Market in the summer – but have you ever been to the Winter Farmer’s Market? Besides local meats, cheese and greenhouse produce, the Winter Farmer’s Market offers an abundance of fresh handmade products including locally produced honey, jams, wine, breads, and cinnamon rolls. Poinsettias, fresh cut Christmas trees, wreaths, handmade holiday ornaments and home decorations will also be available.
12/15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Kaleidoscope at the Hub, 555 Walnut St., Des Moines | Free

ImaginEve – This free family event features a kid-friendly New Year’s countdown (including a confetti drop!). Plus enjoy inflatables, carnival games and more! A fireworks show will conclude the event.
12/31, 4:30-8 p.m. (countdown and confetti drop at 8 p.m.) | Iowa Events Center, 730 3rd St., Des Moines | Free

Noon Year’s Eve at Science Center of Iowa – Celebrate the New Year 12 hours early! Morning activities include face painting, balloon animals, a magician, and a balloon drop. Noon Year’s Eve activities are included with general admission.
12/31, 9 a.m. – noon | 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines | Click here for cost

Visit the Des Moines Children’s Museum – While this isn’t a holiday activity, The Des Moines Children’s Museum has a limited time location at Valley West Mall this winter, so be sure to take advantage of it while it is open! The Children’s Museum is a great way to let your child run and play during the colder weather!
See hours here | Valley West Mall, West Des Moines | $4.50 for children 1-10, Adults are free