How’s That Made? Behind the Scenes Tours in Des Moines -

How’s That Made? Behind the Scenes Tours in Des Moines

Kids love finding out how things are made or work.  There is a lot of stuff produced in the Des Moines area and some businesses and manufacturers will take you behind the scenes. Read on to discover tours for fans of pizza, beer, tractors, trash and art.

Ci-Ci’s Pizza

3411 SE 14th Street • Des Moines, IA 50320 • (515) 280-1640
Kids can enjoy a slice of za and develop basic math skills at CiCi’s Pizza. Their Lunch & Learn field trips are designed to help kids develop basic math skills in beginner, intermediate and advanced curricula. Students use pizza and ingredients to solve problems while creating their lunches. The field trip is structured and includes time for an introduction and tour of the store.  The bulk of the time will be learning about measurements and weight as the kids create their own pizza.  Once the pies are baked up, the kids will get to sit down and eat their gastronomic creations.

Details: Field trips last about two hours. Contact the store for cost, to find available dates and to schedule a field trip.

Confluence Brewery

1235 Thomas Beck Road, Suite A • Des Moines, IA 50315 • (515) 285-9005
Here’s a tour that the grownups will get excited about. John Martin and co-founder Ken Broadhead launched Confluence Brewing in 2012. They open their doors for guests of any age (until 9:00 pm) for 45-minute tours on Fridays at 6:00 pm and Saturdays at 3:30 pm. Guests are treated to the sights, smells and, for those 21 years and older, tastes of their tap room and brewery.

Details: Tours cost $10, which includes a 16oz. custom chalice glass filled with a beer to enjoy on the tour. Confluence also serves Millstream Root Beer which is on tap, as well as an assortment of soda, Gatorade and bottled water for the kiddos. Sign up for tours on Confluence’s website.

John Deere

Des Moines Works • 825 SW Irvinedale Drive • Ankeny, IA 50023 • (800) 450-2670
Founded in 1837 in Moline, IL John Deere has been building farm equipment for over a century. Lucky for us, the green giant opens its Des Moines Works facility and offers FREE public tours so farmer wanna bes can see how self-propelled sprayers, cotton pickers, tillage equipment, and grain drills are made.  Tours are given on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 10:00 am and must be scheduled at least two days in advance.

Details: Tour lasts 1.5 hours and participants must be a minimum of 13 years of age (NO EXCEPTIONS).  No video cameras or cell phones are allowed.  No open-toed shoes or sandals allowed. Call (800) 450-2670 to schedule a tour.

Metro Waste Authority

Central Office • 300 East Locust Street, Suite 100 • Des Moines, Iowa 50309 • (515) 244-0021

Recycling Tours

Ever wonder what happens to all those recyclables once your green cart is emptied? Well, now you can see for yourself! Metro Waste Authority offers tours of the Curb It! Recycling Facility operated by Mid America Recycling. Recyclables collected through the Curb It! program are collected and delivered to this state-of-the-art facility where mechanical processes, technology and people sort the recyclables so they can be sold for reuse.

Details: As a safety precaution, tour attendees must be at least 14 years old. All tour participants must wear closed-toe shoes. The facility is an open building, so you will need to dress for the weather outside. Fall tours are open for registration. Due to popularity, recycling tours fill up fast. Registration form is provided on Metro Waste Authority’s website.

Landfill Tour

Once trash is collected from your curb or emptied from your wastebasket at work, you probably don’t give it another thought. But Metro Waste Authority knows where nearly 2,000 tons of trash ends up every day – roughly 18 percent of the state’s annual waste. Metro Park East Landfill, in eastern Polk County, is a state-of-the-art landfill.

Details: The tour is approximately 90 minutes (including drive time). All participants must gather on the west side of the Southeast Polk Junior High School, 8325 NE University Ave., Pleasant Hill, to board the school bus for a tour through the landfill. Arrive at least 15 minutes early as the bus departs at the publicized tour time. Tours can fill up fast.  Tour dates and a registration form are provided on Metro Waste Authority’s website.


3127 SW 61st St, Des Moines, IA 50321 • (515) 246-8361
Less “tour” and more “observation opportunity,” Sticks lets you peek in on their creative genius and learn more about the production and process of the art. Kids will be able to see the artists and soak up the atmosphere of the Sticks Studio.  Production tours are offered Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm and are great for youth groups, clubs and organizations looking for a unique field trip.

Details: $80 for a one hour Design and Production tour. No open-toed shoes or sandals allowed.  Registration form is provided on Sticks’ website.


Have you taken any cool behind the scenes tours in Des Moines? We’d love to hear!

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