There are officially 90 days of winter (which can seem like a long time) so why not embrace the cold and snow and make the most of what this season has to offer? There’s no better way to enjoy a winter day than taking a spin on the ice, racing down a hill on skis or a snow tube with your children squealing in delight. Check out these spots where you can go ice skating and enjoy winter sports in Des Moines.
Winter events can be finicky, if the weather is inclimate, icy or unseasonably warm, events may be cancelled. Please verify information before heading to an event!
Outdoor Ice Skating
715 W. First Street • Ankeny, IA • (515) 963-3570
The community ice rink donated by the Iowa Wild and Wells Fargo is set up and wil be ready for skaters once the temperatures have dropped low enough for it to freeze. The ice rink is FREE and open to the public. Skaters must provide their own ice skates. Hockey skating hours are dawn to noon and open skating hours are noon to dusk.
SW Cascade Falls Drive & SW 18th Street • Ankeny, IA • (515) 963-3570
Go for a skate at the retention pond located west of Cascade Falls Aquatic Center in Ankeny. Ice thickness is rated on a regular basis and skaters should look for the green flag for safe skating conditions. If the ice is determined to be unsafe to skate, a red flag will be flying. You will need to bring your own skates to this unsupervised natural skating venue.
520 Robert D. Ray Drive • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 284-1000
Grab your mini ice dancers and go for a skate in downtown Des Moines. Weekends tend to be the most crowded, so it’s a win-win to take advantage of their lower weekly public skate rates. Refreshments (including snacks and hot beverages) are available at the concessions stand and skate rentals are available in kid and adult sizes. Brenton Skating Plaza also hosts birthday parties and Learn to Skate Classes.
Admission: Monday through Thursday – Adults $8.00; Youth (age 6-12) & Seniors $5.00; Children 5 and under are always FREE; Skate Rental $4.50; Skate Aids $5.00.
Greenwood Park Pond – 45th and Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA
MacRae Park Pond – SW 9th and Davis Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Witmer Park Pond – 610 34th Street, Des Moines, IA
BYOS – Bring Your Own Skates. During the winter, Des Moines Parks and Recreation clears frozen ponds for ice skating at three neighborhood pond locations. When these facilities are open for skating, it is unsupervised and available FREE of charge during normal park hours – sunrise to sunset.
Des Moines Parks posts if the facilities are open, or not, on their social media outlets and uses a flag system to indicate availability of public skating for the three ponds:
- A green flag indicates that ice depth and conditions are safe.
- A red flag indicates that conditions are not suitable for public skating
- If no flag is displayed, the public should assume conditions are not safe; the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation asks that the public keeps off the ice and water at each POND when there is no flag displayed or if the flag is red.
1505 6th Street • Waukee, IA 50263 • (515) 978-0007
It was announced in May that the Iowa Wild American Hockey League Team and Wells Fargo would donate an ice rink to the City of Waukee for public use. The rink measures 80 x 40 feet and will be located seasonally at Sugar Creek Municipal Golf Course. Crews set the rink up in late November will fill it when temperatures drop low enough for a solid freeze. The rink will be open daily when weather allows, dusk to dawn. Bring your skates and take part in this new, free activity in Waukee.
2500 Grand Avenue • West Des Moines, IA 50265 • (515) 222-3444
Located near the Softball Complex and Dog Park in Raccoon River Park, the Raccoon River Park Ice Rink will be open for skating throughout the winter season, weather permitting. An open/closed sign has been installed at the rink and will be updated by West Des Moines Public Services staff based on ice conditions. The rink is not supervised and there is no skate rental available. It’s open during park hours, dawn to dusk.
*Unless otherwise noted, the official outdoor ice skating season is November through early March. Visit websites and social media sites for holiday and extended hours, and weather-related closures.
Indoor Ice Skating
5100 NW 72nd Street • Urbandale, IA 50322 • (515) 276-7200
Metro Ice Sports Facility is a tried-and-true arena open year-round for big (and little) wobbly Des Moines legs. They offer public skate most days of the week, but move it from rink to rink. Be sure to check their schedule for times. Skate rentals are available for both kids and adults. The Facility is a happening place with hockey leagues and games, learn to skate lessons and birthday parties.
Admission: Adult $7.00; Student $6.00 (ID Required); Child (12 and Under) $5.00; Seniors (55 and Above) $5.00; Skate Rental $3.00
Ski, Snowboard and Tube
1086 222nd Drive • Boone, IA 50036 • (515) 432-9457
Think that there’s nowhere to downhill ski or snowboard near Des Moines? Think again! Seven Oaks Recreation Center has been operating for 19 years and has everything you need to enjoy a day on the slopes without venturing too far from home, including lessons and equipment rental. They also offer snowtubing if you’re not into skiing.
Lift Rates: $12 – $39
4051 Dean Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50317 • (515) 262-4100
If you’re looking for something to really get your adrenaline pumping, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park will add some excitement to your winter. You can race down their hills packed with manmade snow on snow tubes, Zibfy sleds and new this year Stiga Sleds. (They are not offering skiing or snowboarding due to the unseasonably warm winter.)
Lift Rates: $12-$33
Cross- Country Skiing, Snowshoeing & Ice Fishing
4520 University Avene #130 • West Des Moines, IA 50266 • (515) 226-9345
Active Endeavors is a local retail store that specializes in outdoor apparel and accessories. They rent out cross-country skis, boots and poles and snowshoes during the winter. .
Cost: Snowshoe rental is $15 for one day and $25 for two. Cross-Country sets are $17 for one day and $28 for two. A $100 deposit is required.
Various Locations • (515) 237-1386
Des Moines Parks and Recreation has several opportunities for you to explore the outdoors during the winter. They typically schedule several snowshoe hikes and ice fishing events. If there is inclement weather, events will be cancelled. To find out more details about these programs or to register, visit their website and keep an eye on their Facebook page.
Cost: All events require registration and most have a $5 fee that includes snowshoe rental, instructions and hot chocolate.
9981 Pacific Street • Prairie City, IA 50228 • (515) 994-3400
Bring your family and friends to The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and do some snowshoe hiking. Snowshoes are available for visitors to use at no cost. Hikes are typically held on Saturdays; dependent upon snowfall. Check their Facebook page or join their email list to know if there is a hike.
Cost: Snowshoe rental is FREE and both child and adult sizes are available. Registration is encouraged.
11407 NW Jester Park Drive • Granger, IA 50109 • (515) 323-5300
If you’d like to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, consider renting a pair from the Polk County Conservation Board. They have several sets of cross-country skis, boots, and poles available for rent. The equipment is sized mainly for adults and can be reserved in advance. Equipment must be picked up and dropped off at the Jester Park Administration Office during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Skis will only be rented if there is at least four inches of snow on the ground.
Cost: Cross country skis, boots and poles rent for $10 a day.
301 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50265 (515) 277-2636
Rasmussen Bicycle Shop rents out snowshoes and poles in men’s and women’s sizes during the winter months. Pick up your gear on Saturday and return it by close of business on Monday.
Cost: Snowshoe rental is $12 a day; pole rental is $8 a day or get a break by renting both for $18 a day. They also offer a weekend Snowshoe/Pole Rental rate for $25.
Join Warren County Conservation to learn how easy and fun snowshoeing and ice fishing can be. Snowshoes can be checked out for FREE at the Annett Nature Center in Indianola during business hours. They have snowshoe hikes and ice fishing classes scheduled throughout the season. Classes will be cancelled if there’s not enough snow or thick ice.
Cost: FREE but registration is required.
Where is your favorite spot to hit the ice or enjoy a winter sport with your family in Des Moines?