As the unofficial start to summer, we know you are looking for family fun over the long Memorial Day weekend. Here are some fun suggestions for family-friendly events and activities happening in the Des Moines metro and beyond.
For a complete list of events taking place throughout the weekend, visit our online calendar.
Military & Patriotic Events
Iowa Gold Star Military Museum Memorial Day Event (7105 NW 70th, Johnston). Monday, May 29, 2017, 5:00 am to 1:00 pm. Join the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in honoring the service of our veterans. Van and Bonnie with WHO Radio will broadcast live from 5:00 to 9:00 am. FREE breakfast will be provided until it runs out and there will be crafts for kids, vendors and you will be able to tour the Museum.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Iowa Veterans Cemetery (34024 Veterans Memorial Drive, Adel, IA 50003). May 29, 2017, 8:00 am. The Iowa Veterans Cemetery annual program at the Fallen Heroes Monument, which honors and remembers the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Mitchellville Cemetery (500 Vine St, Mitchellville, IA 50169) Monday, May 29, 2017 at 9:45 am. Refreshments will be served at the Legion 155 Post, 111 Center Avenue, following the service. In case of rain, the service will be held at the Legion Post.
Memorial Day Ceremony at the State Capitol (State Capitol Grounds – south side of Capitol) May 29th 2017 at 10:00 am. The public is invited to honor all military personnel at the 2017 Memorial Day service on the south lawn of the Iowa State Capitol grounds.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (833 5th Ave, Des Moines). Monday, May 29th at 11:00 am. An annual ceremony that includes the “Massing of the Colors” ceremony by local veteran’s organizations, speakers, musical interlude, and other program events that vary each year.
Arts & Culture
2017 Adjutant General Summer Concert Series (Historic Camp Dodge Pool Complex, Camp Dodge, Johnston, IA 50131) Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm. Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with Bob Dorr and The Blue Band. Be part of their 2017 Last Goodbye Tour. After 36 years of making music, this original and cover blues, soul, rockabilly and R & B grooves band will tour for the last time in 2017. This may be your last chance to see one of Iowa’s legendary bands!
Food Truck Friday (Campbell Park, 12385 Woodlands Pkwy, Clive, IA 50325) Friday, May 26 at 5:30 pm. Make your way to Campbell Park to enjoy music, food, and fun. Bring the whole family — the park has three playgrounds and green space.
Music on the Plaza (Civic Plaza, Center PL SW Altoona, IA 50009) Friday, May 26 at 6:00 pm. People of all ages are welcome to mingle and rock out with Faculty Lounge in Altoona. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on. Food and drink items are available for purchase from several local vendors.
Music in the Park (Jester Park Amphitheater, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger). Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Music in the Park with the Four Mile Creek Band. They play a variety of acoustic music including traditional bluegrass, contemporary bluegrass sounds and old time country and gospel. Bring a lawn chair and blanket to sit on.
Starlight Cinema (Memorial Park Amphitheater, West Euclid Avenue, Indianola, IA 50125) Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 8:30 pm. See Finding Dory for FREE under the stars. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. FREE popcorn courtesy of Fridley Paramount Theatres. Drinks & candy also available.
Star Party (Science Center of Iowa, 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50309) Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 9:15 pm. Join SCI staff and members of the Des Moines Astronomical Society (DMAS) to look through high-powered telescopes and get a quick lesson on the basics of telescope operation. Tonight, they’ll focus in on Jupiter and Saturn.
Sunday Tunes (Summerset Winery, 15101 Fairfax Street, Indianola, IA 50125) Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Enjoy some wine and the music of The Sons of Gladys Kravitz Band on Summerset’s lawn. Kids are welcome.
Decoration Day and Historic Baseball at Living History Farms (11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale). Saturday, May 27th. Be a part of America’s early Memorial Day traditions! March in a procession to the town cemetery for a moving pageant of Victorian speech and song, honoring the Union’s fallen heroes. After the ceremony, watch the Walnut Hill Bluestockings compete in a 1870s-rules baseball game at 1:30.
Adventureland & Adventure Bay (305 34th Ave NW, Altoona) Saturday, May 27 to Monday, May 29, 2017. All current members of all military branches including the National Guard/Reserve will be admitted FREE to Adventureland Park/Adventure Bay with their military photo ID. Retired members can also show their DD Form 214/Discharge form and matching gov’t photo ID.
Farmers’ Markets (Multiple Locations) Saturday, May 27, 2017. Many area farmers’ markets will be open for business over the Memorial Day weekend including: Downtown Farmer’s Market, Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market, Indianola Farmers’ Market, and LSI Global Greens Farmers’ Market.
Aquatic Centers and Pools (Multiple Locations) Saturday, May 27, 2017. Several outdoor pools and aquatic centers open for the season over the Memorial Day holiday weekend including: Cascade Falls Aquatic Center and Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center in Ankeny; Teachout Aquatic Center in Des Moines and Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center in Indianola.
CelebrAsian! (Western Gateway Park – Downtown Des Moines). Friday, May 26 – Saturday, May 27. This two day event hosted by the Iowa Asian Alliance showcases the different Asian and Asian-American communities and cultures in the state of Iowa. The event features live entertainment, food and vendor booths.
John Wayne Birthday (John Wayne Birthplace and Museum, Winterset). Friday May 26 – Saturday, May 27, 2017. Join the John Wayne Birthplace Society for a weekend of festivities in honor of the “Duke’s” birthday.
Iowa Barnstormers (Wells Fargo Arena, 233 Center St., Des Moines) vs. Greenbay Blizzard. Friday, May 26, 2017 at 7:05 pm. It’s Military Night – all Veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves receive FREE tickets for themselves and their families.
I-Cubs (Principal Park, Des Moines) vs Reno Aces. Friday, May 26 at 7:08 pm. In addition to the action on the field, enjoy Friday Night Fireworks.
Is your family sticking around town for the extended Memorial Day weekend? What do you have planned? Tell us in the Comments below!