Summer 2018: Outdoor Story Times 4 Des Moines Kids -

Summer 2018: Outdoor Story Times 4 Des Moines Kids

Book some time for reading this summer! Participating in a summer reading program and story time is a great way for kids to continue to challenge their brains in a fun, laid back way. To make summer reading even more entertaining there are a variety of outdoor story times and story walks being offered throughout the Des Moines metro this summer. And, the best part…. you can sit back, relax, and enjoy listening to someone else read to your child for a change!

Please click on the links for more information, and it’s always wise to doublecheck to make sure the story time is being held as scheduled.

Don’t miss a moment of summer fun! Visit our Summer Fun Guide and sign up for Weekend Fun Guide and stay “in the loop” on FREE activities, special events and insight into making the most of your family time. We promise you won’t regret it! 

Check out our list of story times that take place outside or in a unique setting in the Des Moines area.

Story Time in the Park

Stories in the Park

Kids of all ages can join the Clive Public Library and Parks and Recreation staff for story time adventures in your own backyard. They will be visiting neighborhood parks in Clive for a morning filled with stories, music, and recreational activities. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch and enjoy a morning outdoors. The program is FREE and no registration required.  All story times are on Fridays and start at 10:00 am.

Dates & Locations:

June 1: Linnan Park
July 6: Campbell Park
August 3: Greenbelt Park (Porter Shelter)

Fairytale Time in the Park

Join the West Des Moines Park and Recreation Department for Fairytale Time in the Park. Experience your community park and enjoy a story and a snack or craft for FREE.  Don’t forget to bring your blanket and a friend. Story hours are on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:15 am.

Dates & Locations:

June 15: Quail Cove Park
June 22: Ashawa Park
June 29: Huston Ridge Park
July 6: Wild Rose Park
July 13: Meadowview Park
July 20: Pearson Park
July 27: Kiwanis Park
August 3: Pearson Park

Nature Friends – Preschoolers Exploring Nature

Join a naturalist in a nature adventure. 3-5-year olds with an adult will explore a different nature topic each evening through stories, sharing time, guided exploration, and art activities. Snacks are also provided. There is a fee of $7 per program and children will receive a Nature Friend Explorer Pack. This program is co-sponsored by the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, Polk County Conservation, and West Des Moines Parks and Recreation. To register for Nature Friends, please contact the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation office.

Dates & Locations:

Mon. June 4: Meadowview Park
Tues. June 12: JP Shelter by Lodge
Mon. July 9: Raccoon River Park Fishing Pier
Tues. July 17: JP Shelter
Tues. Aug 7: Southwoods
Mon. Aug 14: FDM Shelter

Stories in the Park

Stop by the Open Shelter at Windfield Park to hear fun songs and stories from the Waukee Public Library’s librarians, followed by a craft provided by Waukee Parks and Recreation staff. Recommended for ages 5 and under with a care-giver. In case of bad weather, this event will be held at the Waukee Public Library. No registration required.  Stories in the Park will be held at 9:00 am.


August 2, 2018
August 7, 2018
August 9, 2018

Sculpture Park Storytime for Families

Meet the Des Moines Public Library at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park for a storytime featuring stories, songs, and movement for 3-6 year olds. Look for them on the east side of the sculpture park near the large white Nomade sculpture from 10:15 to 10:45 am. In case of rain, the storytime will be held at the Central Library.


Thursday, June 14, 2018
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Story Time at the Aquatic Center

Storytime Swim

The Altoona Public Library will be at the Altoona Aquatics Center with stories and activities for all ages!  Wear your swimsuit because they’ll be reading in the POOL!  Get deep or stay shallow in the zero-depth entry during this interactive and high-energy storytime.  Lifeguards will be on hand. The program is FREE–there is no admission charge to attend the Storytime Swim. It’s a great way to see what the aquatic center has to offer! Weather may affect these times. Storytime Swim is offered on Wednesdays, June 6 through August 8, 2018 (NO storytime on July 4th!) from 11:00 to 11:45 am.

Splash & Story

Join the Indianola Parks and Recreation staff and the good folks from the Indianola Public Library for story time with a twist…in the water at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center. Start your Saturday morning off with some quality time with your kiddo(s). Splash & Story times will run concurrently with the Aquatic Center’s standard Tot Splash Time, which begins at 10:30 am. The kids can burn off some steam from 10:30 am to 10:45 am, story time will be from 10:45 to 11:15 am, and then Tot Splash Time will resume from 11:15 to 11:50 am. Parent supervision is required and the fee is $2 per kid.


June 9, 2018
July 14, 2018

Water Tales

Get ready to make waves with a story time in the zero-depth pool at the Clive Aquatic Center. Join the Clive Public Library and Aquatic Center staff for a morning (10:50 to 11:25 am) of stories, songs and of course, splashes. Please note that adults must be in the water with their children at all times. For ages 5 and younger, pool admission is charged and registration is required.


July 2, 2018
August 1, 2018

Story Time at Local Attractions

Barnyard Readers

Do you know a 3, 4, or 5-year-old that loves stories about farm animals and living on a farm? If so, this 90-minute reading-based, activity-filled program is for them.  Living History Farms offers a summer session of Barnyard Readers. The reading program occurs from 10:30 to 11:30am on Wednesdays or 10:00 to 11:30 am on Saturdays. One adult and one child is $14 for member or $17 for non-members or One adult and two children is $22 for members and $25 for non-members. Register on Living History Farms’ website.

Saturday Dates:

June 2, 2018
June 16, 2018
July 7, 2018
July 21, 2018
August 4, 2018
August 18, 2018
September 1, 2018
September 8, 2018

Wednesday Dates:

June 6, 2018
June 13, 2018
June 20, 2018
June 27, 2018
July 11, 2018
July 18, 2018 (9:00 to 10:30am & 10:30 am to 12:00 noon)
July 25, 2018
August 1, 2018
August 8, 2018
August 15, 2018
August 22, 2018

Kids Story Time

This much-loved storytelling program at Reiman Gardens in Ames has returned with a strong literacy focus on Thursdays June 7th through August 30th, 2018  from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Each session features a theme with two or three books read aloud followed by a related activity. Books, crafts and activities are intended for children ages two to eight years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult. No preregistration required. FREE for Members, ISU Students. Included with admission for the General Public.

Story Sprouts

Story Sprouts is offered every Friday, June 1 through August 31, 2018 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Every week kids (ages 2-5) will explore the natural world through stories, songs, puppets, games, crafts and more. Story Sprouts meets in the Gardener’s Show House or under the Veranda. Members Free; Nonmembers $3 Youth; Adults and Seniors pay general admission.

Story Walks

Buxton Park

Enjoy two activities at once as you walk and read the pages of a book May 3 through June 26, 2018 in Buxton Park in Indianola.

Des Moines Parks & Recreation

Bookwalk, the collaborative program with the Des Moines Public Library will return this summer. You don’t have to sit down to enjoy a good book; read along while enjoying a different book each month at a different park.

Dates & Locations:

June 2018: Gray’s Lake Park
July 2018: Sargent Park
August 2018: Greenwood Park
September 2018: Waveland Trail

Heart of the Warrior Trail

Starting at the five-way intersection at Warrior Lane and Ashworth Drive in Waukee, families can stroll west and read through the pages of a children’s book as they go.

Moats Park

Stroll along the path around the playground and read a story as you go June 28 – August 21, 2018 in Moats Park in Indianola.

Walker Johnston Park

Walk or bike along the path around the pond in Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale while enjoying a good book.

Walnut Creek Regional Park

After playing on the pirate themed play area kids can stroll and enjoy a good book at the Walnut Regional Park in Urbandale.

Warren County Conservation

Each month this summer, Warren County Conservation will put new nature-themed children’s stories along trails in different parks.

Dates & Locations:

June 2018: Bank Swallow Bend
July 2018: Woodland Mounds
August 2018: Otter Creek



Do you attend an outside story time during the summer in Des Moines?  If you do, give it a shout out in the Comments below!

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