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Top 5 Most Exciting Things to Do with Kids in Des Moines

things to do in Des Moines with kids

Hey there, parents! Looking for ways to keep your kiddos entertained and make some amazing family memories? Well, you're in luck because Des Moines, Iowa is an absolute paradise for kids (and kids at heart)! Not only that it has many great places to live or a rich land to invest in, but Des Moines also has so much fun stuff for adventure-seekers and curious kids of all ages.

From adrenaline-pumping adventures to mind-expanding exhibits, this vibrant city has something for every little explorer. Get ready to discover a world of excitement as we dive into the most awesome things to do in Des Moines with kids.

Trust me, you'll be the coolest mom or dad on the block when you surprise your crew with these unforgettable experiences. So grab your sense of adventure (and maybe some snacks), because the fun is about to begin!

Discover the Ultimate Family Fun in Des Moines with These 5 Awesome Things to Do with Kids!

1. Adventureland

There are basically two different parks here.  There is the water park and the amusement park, both are the best in Iowa without argument from most. My kids, at the age they were under 7 years old, loved the amusement rides and water park equally. But we’ve found, as parents, NOT to go to these places on the same day because it can be too much for them.

OVERVIEW: Adventureland boasts over 100 rides, shows, and attractions that cater to all ages and thrill levels. From the towering rollercoasters like the legendary Tornado and the adrenaline-pumping Outlaw to the classic carnival rides and the enchanting Adventureland Inn, this park offers a perfect blend of excitement and nostalgia.

COST: General admission for adults is $44.99, while children who are three (3) and under receive free admission. Discounts and package deals are available.

WHAT THEY'LL LOVE: Your kids will be in awe of Adventureland's breathtaking displays, such as the mesmerizing Fountain Celebration show, where fountains dance to the beat of music and light displays. The park's various themed lands, like the whimsical Dragon Wagon Trail and the adventurous Tornado Alley, will transport them to worlds of pure imagination. And let's not forget the park's famous funnel cakes and other delectable treats, which are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

2. Science Center of Iowa

I think this is one of the most underrated activities in Des Moines. It changes a couple of times per year, has multiple exhibits, and entertains the kids for hours. It's one of those places, where getting a membership for a year or two at certain ages for the kids is a wonderful investment for their learning. Our kids are homeschooled and it adds another learning experience for them outside of their standard studies.

OVERVIEW: This interactive museum is a true playground for curious minds, offering hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, and mind-boggling displays that will captivate your little explorers. With over 275 interactive exhibits spanning across various galleries, the Science Center of Iowa is a must-visit destination for kids of all ages.

COST: General admission for adults and children ages 2-12 is $15. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, and groups.

WHAT THEY'LL LOVE: The Science Center of Iowa is nothing short of extraordinary. Your little ones will be enthralled by the larger-than-life IMAX Dome Theater, where they can embark on virtual adventures and explore the depths of the cosmos. The outdoor Science Center Plaza, complete with interactive water features and a towering wind sculpture, is a guaranteed hit during warmer months.

3. Blank Park Zoo

While Adventureland is a two-day event for littles, the zoo is something that we can tackle in one day, bring a snack and a drink and enjoy the wildlife. Sit down for a picnic and let the kids play. Typically we will get there, jump on the train first to see a bunch at one time, and then look for the different daily activities posted for us to make sure there is entertainment for the kids.

OVERVIEW: With over 800 animals representing various species, the Blank Park Zoo is a true oasis of wildlife in the heart of Des Moines. From the majestic lions and tigers to the playful primates and the graceful giraffes, this zoo offers an up-close and personal experience with nature's most fascinating creatures.

COST: General admission for adults is $20, while children aged 2-12 pay $15. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, and groups.

WHAT THEY'LL LOVE: This list wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Blank Park Zoo's immersive exhibits, such as the Kidsphere, where they can explore a replica of an Iowa farm and learn about the animals that call it home. The zoo's Carousel and Train Ride are also sure to be crowd-pleasers, offering a nostalgic and whimsical experience for the whole family.

4. Lauridsen Skate Park

OVERVIEW: Spanning across 88,000 square feet, the Lauridsen Skate Park is a concrete wonderland for skateboarders, inline skaters, and BMX riders of all ages and skill levels. With its impressive array of bowls, ramps, rails, and street obstacles, this park is a true haven for thrill-seekers.

COST: Admission to the Lauridsen Skate Park is free!

WHAT THEY'LL LOVE: Your kids will be in awe of the park's massive concrete bowl, which offers a smooth and seamless skating experience for both beginners and pros alike. The park's dedicated beginner area is perfect for those just starting out, ensuring a safe and encouraging environment to hone their skills. And for the daring ones, the park's street course and advanced sections will put their tricks and courage to the test.

5. The Living History Farms

Speaking of a special place in our family’s hearts, the Living History Farms accepted the donation of a few of my wife’s family’s Belgium horses. You know the Budweiser-style Belgium horses? Yes, her father was so kind as to donate them to the Living History Farms experience. Up to this day, we take our kids there and talk about the kind heart of their Grandfather and my wife's memories of those large horses!

Overview: The Living History Farms is an open-air museum that spans across 500 acres, featuring three working farm sites that depict different eras of Iowa's past. From the 1700s Ioway Indian Farm to the 1900s Horse-Powered Farm, this living museum offers a unique and engaging glimpse into the lives of early Iowans.

Cost: General admission for adults is $19, while children aged 2-12 pay $13. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, and groups.

What They'll Love: This is where your little ones can interact with costumed interpreters, observe traditional farming practices, and even try their hand at some of the chores and tasks of yesteryear. The farm's annual events, such as the Pumpkin Daze and the Christmas on the Farm, offer unique and festive experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.


With all these exciting activities, it truly shows that Des Moines is a fantastic place for families with kids! With so many exciting options, Des Moines promises endless opportunities for creating cherished memories with your children. Do you think you're ready for an unforgettable family adventure in this hidden Midwestern gem!

speak with a trusted Des Moines realtor

As a realtor in Des Moines, I can't help but encourage you to book a free consultation with me. Let me guide you through the process of finding the perfect home in one of Des Moines' most walkable and family-friendly neighborhoods. I'll happily share the pros and cons of living in these charming areas, as well as insights into the cost of living and weather patterns throughout the year. With my extensive knowledge of the area and commitment to your needs, I'll ensure you and your kids can fully experience all the incredible opportunities this vibrant city has to offer. Contact me today, and let's make your dream of living in Des Moines a reality!


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