And… action! As summer kicks off, a familiar annual scene is playing out at locations throughout the Des Moines area: the season of FREE outdoor movie nights. There are several places around town where you can enjoy this fun activity or start a new summer tradition.
Movies usually begin at dusk, between 8:00 and 8:30 pm, but plan to arrive early…the well-known movie nights fill up fast, and a few offer pre-movie entertainment.
Even if they’re showing a flick you’ve watched a dozen or so times at home, it’s a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It’s a thrilling, communal event, and a summer rite of passage for locals of all ages.
So, grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.
Here’s your guide to FREE summer outdoor movies in Des Moines:
Movies Under the Stars is held on Friday nights in June and July in the Band Shell in Wagner Park (410 W 1st Street, Ankeny). The movies begin at dusk. The movies are FREE and open to the public; bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating.
June 7: Ralph Breaks the Internet
June 14: Trolls
June 21: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer
June 28: Shrek
July 5: Smallfoot
July 19: Incredibles 2
July 26: Frozen
Help Clive Parks & Recreation kick off the start of summer! Start with Family Night at the Clive Aquatic Center, then stick around for a FREE outdoor movie on the big screen! Free popcorn provided. Bring your blankets and/or lawn chairs.
June 21: The Little Mermaid
Free Flicks is a summer-long series of outdoor movies shown on Thursday nights throughout the Des Moines area. The films are shown on a 25-foot portable screen, and will begin after sunset around 9:00 pm. Admission is FREE, blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. Feel free to bring your own snacks as concessions are not provided. Movies will not take place in the event of rain. Follow Des Moines Parks and Recreation’s website, Facebook, and Twitter pages for updates or sign up for their text messaging notification service.
May 11: Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – Gray’s Lake Park (National Kids in Parks Day) (2101 Fleur Drive)
June 6: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Witmer Park (1610 34th Street)
June 13: Mary Poppins Returns – Grandview Park (3230 Easton Boulevard)
June 20: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – Evergreen Park (2000 Evergreen Avenue)
June 27: Aquaman – Bates Park (330 Clark Street)
July 6: TBD – Park Madness Winner (McHenry Park)
July 11: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Woodlawn Park (3200 38th Street)
July 18: Hook – Belle Turner Park (800 Jerlynn Avenue)
July 25: Black Panther – Brenton Skating Plaza (520 Robert D. Ray Drive)
August 1: Ralph Breaks the Internet – Cheatom Park (1100 Day Street)
August 10: Incredibles 2 – Ewing Park (Star Party – Lilac Arboretum) (5300 Indianola Avenue)
Main Street in Grimes serves as the backdrop for the Grimes Governor’s District family friendly flicks on Fridays. Pack a picnic and your own chair and sit back and take in a movie under the summer stars. Each month different businesses and organizations also provide fun activities. If the skies are unforgiving, movies may be cancelled.
June 14: Ralph Breaks the Internet
July 12: The LEGO Movie 2
August 9: How to Train Your Dragon 3
Provide your family with unforgettable memories on Friday evenings this summer watching FREE family-friendly movies under the stars at the Memorial Park Amphitheater. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. FREE popcorn is provided, and drinks and candy are also available. Be sure to check the start time of each movie, as they change each month.
May 17: Paddington
July 19: Ralph Wrecked the Interenet
August 16: Mary Poppins
September 13: Incredibles 2
Bring your yard blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a FREE movie under the stars in Johnston.
June 29: The Greatest Showman – Johnston Public Library
July 19: The Incredibles – Crosshaven Park
This FREE event is a great way to make memories with your family and neighbors at Centennial Park in Waukee while enjoying Hollywood’s biggest hits under the stars. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Fresh popcorn and drinks are sold by the Park Board. Movies start at approximately 8:45 pm.
May 31: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
July 3: We Bought a Zoo
August 2: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Where is your favorite place for a fresh air family flick? Tell us in the comments!
Featured image source – Des Moines Parks and Recreation