Des Moines is in the middle of a chilly winter but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little “summer fun”. If you or your kiddos long for swimming, baseball, golfing, ice cream or playing outside….don’t sweat it! Turn up the heat to make winter a little more bearable. All it takes is a touch of creativity and a sense of adventure.
Despite the cold weather, there’s no need to give up swimming in Des Moines during the winter. It’s a great way to get the wiggles out of the kids and a take a break from the house. From lap pools to full indoor water parks complete with slides, lazy rivers and more, there is something for swimmers of every age in Des Moines.
Best Pools for Hanging Out: Local Ys in Des Moines offer terrific indoor pools with splashtastic amenities. Many have lap pools, zero-depth entry pools, spray toys, water slides and more. And, you don’t have to be a member to enjoy them! Community members may utilize YMCA facilities as a visitor by purchasing a visitor pass at any location: Youth $5.00, Adult $15.00 or Family $30.00. Time and Day usage restrictions may apply. Please visit the YMCA of Greater Des Moines or contact them for additional information.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kids don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to have a good time in the pool. They can play Marco Polo, go off the diving board or just splash around at local public indoor pools in Des Moines. Summit Pool in Johnston and the Urbandale Public Indoor Pool both offer Open Swim times on a regular basis. They also offer up amenities like flotation devices, water toys, life jackets and basketball hoops.
Super Splurge: Ramada Tropic Resort in Des Moines is a great place for a staycation. The indoor water resort features water slides, a zero depth entry pool with play area for the littles, multiple swimming areas and water basketball and volleyball.
There’s plenty of fun to be had outside, even in winter. Go to the zoo, go on a hike or pack a picnic and head to the nearest park. You won’t have to worry about bugs, heat, or crowds, and your family will make fabulous memories at a few of your favorite outdoor venues in Des Moines.
Visit the Blank Park Zoo: Visiting the Blank Park Zoo is a favorite summer outing for many families. Did you know it is open year-round? In fact, winter is one of the best times to visit, as the animals are especially playful and crowds are small. The indoor exhibits at the Discovery Center are great on chilly days.
Go for a Hike: Hike it Baby Des Moines hosts hiking events all year long. Register on their website and enjoy hiking a trail or walking on city streets, strolling the neighborhood with strollers, or go on a more difficult trek. The goal of the organization is to help you get outside with your little one(s).
Play at the Park: Winter weather in Central Iowa can be fickle. It can be cold one day and warm the next. When the opportunity strikes, surprise the family with a day of play and a picnic at the park.
Treat the Family to Ice Cream
Not everything has to be reserved for summer in Des Moines, and that holds true for ice cream. Hot fudge tastes better in the winter. Whether you favor an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that scoops up classic homemade flavors or newer, trendy gourmet concoctions, Des Moines has your ice cream cravings covered.
Bauder Pharmacy: Bauder’s is famous for their homemade ice cream that they make right at 3802 Ingersoll Avenue. Their menu includes cones, cups, sundaes, floats, ice cream sodas and more. They’re open Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Smokey Row Coffee Co.: Smokey Row is a local cafe featuring fresh-roasted coffee, diner-style eats and an old fashioned ice cream fountain. Complete with novelty ice cream sundaes, tornadoes, ice cream sodas and more, everyone in the family is sure to score their favorite ice cream creation.
Thelma’s Treats: Available at local grocery stores in the frozen food aisle, Thelma’s Treats are homemade ice cream sandwiches prepared right here in Des Moines. The sandwiches are made of Sweet Anderson Erickson ice cream smushed between two fresh homemade cookies. With flavors like Cayenne Chocolate Chip and their Signature Snickerdoodle it’s hard to choose a favorite!
Get in the Game
Beat cabin fever with a day playing one of your favorite summer sports. Celebrate America’s favorite summer pastime, tee it up or cast a line.
Take a Swing! Does your child dream of being the next all-star baseball player? Let them practice their swing at an indoor batting cage. There are several in the Des Moines area. Batting/Pitching cage rentals at MVP Sports are $25 per 30 minute session or $50 per 60 minute session.
Go fish. Learn the basics of ice fishing and get some hands-on experience with Polk County Conservation. They will be hosting a class on February 12th at the Fort Des Moines Park. Bring something to sit on and dress warmly.
Practice your putt. Feel like hitting the links? Head inside to practice your short game with some glowing, 3-D black-light indoor mini golf at GlowGolf in West Des Moines.
Did your favorite summer activity make the list? If not, tell us about it in the Comments section below.