Seven family-friendly activities in Des Moines

Spring is finally here and the weather is warming up – don’t spend your weekend at home.  Check out these great activities in Des Moines for your whole family.

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo offers activities and sights to last your family a few hours or an entire day.  Don’t forget to visit the Kids Kingdom to give your kids some playtime.  You’ll pay a reasonable admission price based upon your kid’s ages – and kids age 2 and under are free!  For an additional fee, schedule a behind-the-scenes tour and check out animals like the giraffes, sea lions or wallabies.

Des Moines Farmers Market

Des Moines residents eagerly await the opening of the Des Moines Farmers Market each summer.  The Market is open Saturday mornings, May through October and spans 9 city blocks of Des Moines’ Court District. With more than 300 vendors, the Market has a wide selection of local vendors offering up their goods, including fruits, vegetables, bakery items, and artwork.  Look out for the kids activities, too.

Downtown sculpture park

An trip to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park gives your family free access to world-renown artists. The park has been open to visitors since 2009 and features 22 artists throughout its more than 4-acres of land in downtown Des Moines. Open sunrise to midnight, it’s easy to find time to visit the Park.  For a more intensive look at the artwork, schedule a guided tour.

Iowa Cubs game

Spend a spring or summer day with the Iowa Cubs.  The minor league baseball team is a Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.  Home games begin in April and run through September.  Seats start at $8 per person.  Scott from the Iowa Cubs suggests families check out the I-Cubs website at to look for special promotions for each game.

Gray’s Lake

Another no-cost option is a trip to Gray’s Lake, located on Fleur Drive in Des Moines.  Whether your family wants to fish, swim, paddleboard, boat, play at the playground, or walk the trails, Gray’s Lake provides it all.

Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa “engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning” according to their mission statement.  Located in downtown Des Moines, the Science Center features hands-on exhibits and special theatres, including an IMAX theatre.  Children’s tickets are $9 and kids 2 and under are free.

Des Moines Playhouse

The Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre at the Des Moines Playhouse offers up great performances that are fun for the whole family.  Upcoming shows include “Ella Enchanted,” “Freaky Friday,” and “James and the Giant Peach.”  Two showtimes on Saturdays give families flexibility to attend the show that best fits their schedule. Tickets start at $19 per person.

What are your favorite family-friendly activities for the weekend?  Comment and tell us about it.