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

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

Updated March 27, 2019

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  beer, tractors, trash and art.

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 and Saturdays at 6:00 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). Minors (13-17) must be accompanied by an adult. 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

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. Contact the Sticks Gallery in the East Village for tour information and to schedule a tour.

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

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