Find FREE events happening in the Summer of 2019 here.
Warm weather, the promise of longer days and plenty of opportunities to explore Des Moines. To get your family’s summer started on the right foot, here is the official dsm4kids 2018 list of 100 Things To Do This Summer In Des Moines.
If 100 ideas just ain’t enough for ya….be sure to visit our Events Calendar and Summer Fun Guide for even MORE things to do! And, to stay in the know of weekend activities and events, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Check out our gigantic list of summer family fun in Des Moines!
- Visit your favorite splash pad.
- Enjoy watching a film at Indianola’s Starlight Cinema Outdoor Movie series.
- Explore a new playground.
- Visit your favorite Des Moines-area farmers’ market.
- Attend Sample Sunday at Picket Fence Creamery, visit the cows and indulge with a little ice cream while you’re there.
- Attend a Des Moines Menace soccer game.
- Attend a performance of the classic fairy tale, “Jack & the Beanstalk” presented by the Des Moines Metro Opera during their annual Peanut Butter & Puccini Family event.
- Drum down the sun on the longest day of the year at Brenton Arboretum’s Summer Solstice Night Hike.
- Attend on of the activities hosted by Plot Twist Bookstore in Ankeny for Harry Potter’s 20th Birthday Celebration.
- Eat some ice cream… at a local Ice Cream Shop.
- Eat more ice cream…at a local Ice Cream Shop.
- It’s summer, eat even more ice cream….at a local Ice Cream Shop.
- Celebrate summer at a local festival.
- Learn about Iowa’s high school sports legends at the Iowa Hall of Pride.
- Set up a tour with friends at a local fire station.
- Discover the beauty of nature at a local garden or arboretum in central Iowa.
- Take the family out for a round of mini-golf.
- Catch a $1 movie at Century 20 Jordan Creek and XD.
- Explore a new-to-you neighborhood: Valley Junction.
- Pack a picnic for the FREE Music in the Park series in Windsor Heights.
- Don’t let rainy days deter you! Head inside with these 25 Rainy Day Boredom Busters.
- Go back in time with a visit to Living History Farms.
- Cool off by jumping into a local swimming hole.
- Teens can get a little culture this summer with the Des Moines Art Center’s Art and Activism Weekend Workshop series.
- Cheer for the I-Cubs. Especially fun for kids: Fireworks on Friday nights, Pre-Game Catch on the Field on Saturdays and Kids Run the Bases Post-Game on Sundays.
- Enjoy the Blank Park Zoo after hours during Sunset at the Zoo.
- Dust off your bowling shoes! Kids Bowl Free in Des Moines all summer long!
- Splash around at Des Moines area pools during Family Day on June 8th, July 13th and August 10th. General admission is reduced to $5 per family.
- Celebrate Father’s Day on or around June 17th!
- Get tickets to a family friendly theatre production this summer in Des Moines.
- Plan a camping trip to one of these great campsites just a short drive from Des Moines.
- Scan the 2018 Guide to Outdoor Movies in Des Moines. Find the perfect one. Go.
- Explore a new lake or river by the way of canoe or kayak.
- Pop a tent for a backyard campout.
- Catch a movie for FREE or just plain cheap at a local Des Moines area movie theatre.
- Sign up for a summer reading program at a local library.
- Explore a new to you neighborhood: East Village.
- Have your family photos taken. (One less thing to stress over at holiday time;)
- Do a little stargazing on a warm summer’s eve.
- Take advantage of the Adventure Pass Program at local libraries and receive FREE admission to local attractions Blank Park Zoo, Living History Farms and Science Center of Iowa.
- Go creek stomping at Sargent Park.
- Go on an animal adventure in Des Moines.
- Take a road trip to one of these one-tank getaway spots.
- Enjoy dinner alfresco at one of these family friendly outdoor dining spots in Des Moines.
- Plan a day of swimming at your favorite local pool or aquatic center.
- Take the family to an Iowa Barnstormers game.
- Go fishing with the family.
- Grab a chair or blanket, pack a picnic and take advantage of a free Summer Concert Series.
- Get the kids into the kitchen with one of these great cooking classes just for kids.
- Channel your inner Tigger and bounce the day away.
- Spend some time giving back and volunteer as a family.
- Plan an evening out for the whole family! Here are some great restaurants where kids eat FREE or cheap in Des Moines.
- Try this list of Top 10 Rainy Day ideas.
- Enjoy a day on the water at Big Creek Lake.
- Shoot a bow and arrow at Raccoon River Park.
- Go skating on a Wednesday night, when it’s $1 night at local roller rinks.
- Try something new at one of your favorite local restaurants.
- Take a stroll through a local park in Des Moines.
- Plan a train trip and ride the rails (or visit a local museum and learn the history of rail travel in the area).
- Explore a new to you neighborhood: Roosevelt Historical District.
- Grab a sandwich and head to the park to fly a kite.
- Hit one of the many bike paths and trails in Central Iowa and go for a family bike ride.
- Enjoy $5 per person admission to The Science Center of Iowa on the second Friday of the month.
- Take story time outside at a local park.
- See a summer blockbuster at a local movie theater.
- Take your tween or teen on a special outing.
- Make a day trip to visit the butterflies at Reiman Gardens in Ames.
- Stop by your local library and check out all of their fun summer programming.
- Take the family golfing at a local public golf course.
- Go on a family bike ride on the High Trestle Trail.
- Pick berries at a pick-your-own farm in the Des Moines area.
- Enroll your kids in swimming lessons at a local outdoor pool or aquatic center.
- Fight summer brain drain with one of these ideas.
- Spend a rainy day inside at the Iowa State Capitol.
- Enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster or bodysurfing in the wave pool at Adventureland and Adventure Bay.
- Road trip to the American Gothic House and Visitor Center in Eldon, IA.
- Register your kids for a summer camp or class that supports their interests.
- Explore a new to you neighborhood: Beaverdale.
- Take in a historic baseball game at Living History Farms.
- Master some sweet new tricks at a local skate park.
- Do a little finger painting at an art workshop with Jellybeanstreet.
- Plant a family garden.
- Go on a high-tech scavenger hunt and go geocaching.
- Take a stroll around the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
- Visit a local comic book shop.
Only in June…
86. Grab your blanket and picnic basket and head to the Salisbury House for Shakespeare on the Lawn …June 13-17.
87. Experience a little hometown fun at Johnston’s Green Days …June 14-16.
88. Head downtown for the Des Moines Arts Festival or out to the Fairgrounds for ArtFest Midwest …June 22-24.
89. Enjoy an evening of fun reserved just for your special person and your family at the Special Needs Night Pool Party….June 23.
90. Get you motor running while browsing classic cars at the Goodguys 27th Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals…June 29-July 1.
Only in July…
91. Enjoy live music at Jordan Creek’s summer music series Live at the Creek…Sundays in July.
92. Enjoy Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s 25th Annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert at the Capitol…July 2.
93, Celebrate our nation’s birthday at a local celebration and fireworks display….July 4.
95. Learn about Japanese pop culture known as Anime at AnimeIowa…July 13-15.
95. Channel your inner dancing queen at Des Moines Playhouse’s Mamma Mia!…July 13-28.
Only in August…
96. Go up, up and away at the National Balloon Classic…July 27 – August 5.
97. Move your feet to the beat at Bring It On, The Musical….July 27-August 5.
98. Make the trek to St. Charles to hear some great music at Hinterland…Augst 3-4.
99. Check out some great talent at the Skateboard-Xtreme Challenge…August 4.
100. Don your best tank top and jorts and head to the Iowa State Fair…August 9-19.
Share the fun….let us know what fun things you’re family is up to this summer in Des Moines! Please tag us when you post your photos to social media! Just use the hashtag #dsm4kids and tag @dsm4kids on Facebook or Twitter. We may repost it for our followers too!