I’ve loved traveling my whole life. Ever since my mom and dad threw me into the back of our 80s Subaru and headed down the highway, I’ve wanted to visit and explore other places and cultures. As a parent, I also want to travel with my own kids. However, it’s not always possible or feasible to just pick up and go. This is when it’s important to indulge in a little “hometown travel”. Here are three ways to keep the spirit of exploration alive and travel with your kids in Des Moines.
Go on an Asian Adventure in Des Moines
Visit the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens located just south of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The Gardens highlight the importance of diversity in our community and acknowledge the significant contributions that Asian Americans have made to Iowa. The Chinese Cultural Center of America built the beautiful Asian Garden, which includes a Chinese pagoda, a large pond, landscaped gardens, handcrafted lights and many granite sculptures.
Located on Ingersoll, this sushi lounge has an excellent selection of sushi rolls and features a variety of Japanese cuisine for both lunch and dinner.
Nestled on 14th Street, Café Fuzion fuses fresh, local ingredients with exotic spices and flavors to create a variety of dishes, including pho, green curry and other dishes with Vietnamese, Thai and Pan Asian influences.
Enjoy fresh Chinese American cuisine at Sam’s Fine Food and Egg Rolls. They are located on SW 9th and offer up familiar Chinese American eats such as Mongolian Beef, Cashew Chicken, Lo Mein, Rice dishes and more.
Lanterns are used in China during celebrations and worship. They have become a symbol of national pride and are used to decorate homes and public places. Illumifest, which is held in West Des Moines (Saturday, September 23, 2017) is a fall festival of light. Several activities are planned during the event, including displays and exhibits by the Chinese Association.
Each May the festival unites the different Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa. Visitors will experience authentic Asian food, educational activities and live cultural entertainment.
Take a Brazilian Break in Des Moines
Brazil is home to an impressive number of species of birds and animals in its tropical rain forest. You can visit the Blank Park Zoo and their Discovery Center to see a number of these species up close like Parakeets, Macaws and the Golden-headed Tamarin.
You’re looking for a bit of adventure, right? Why not travel north to Ames for some Brazilian fusion cuisine and drinks? Try the Feijoada Simple, which is the Café’s take on a traditional Brazilian family-style dish. Stewed black beans, basmati rice, pork, farofa, veggies, and a hard-boiled egg.
The festival celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The Brazilian Cultural Center will be hosting a booth and will also be giving dance presentations and classes. The festival is on September 23-24, 2017.
Join the Brazilian Community for a fun afternoon where kids will learn, play and have fun in West Des Moines. The event is scheduled for October 14, 2017 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. There is a $10 per family suggested donation and registration is required.
Enjoy an English Escape in Des Moines
The Salisbury House & Gardens is a historic house museum featuring a 42-room estate surrounded by nine acres of beautiful gardens and woodland. The mansion is inspired by a fifteenth-century manor, “The King’s House”, of Salisbury, England. Take a tour of the home and gardens or attend one of the many events that it hosts throughout the year.
Enjoy an authentic British tea in the rolling hillside of New Virginia, where they’ve been serving it for over 10 years. Meals are home-baked with the freshest ingredients and are artfully presented on three tiered trays. Guests are pampered with attentive service while conversation flows leisurely over cups of gourmet tea and tasty tea fare. Children must be at least five to attend a Traditional Tea and they also host special Children Tea Parties.
Head to downtown Des Moines for a taste of England. This pub serves modern and traditional British dishes like fish and chips and bangers and mash. They also have 28 ales and lagers on draft.
Located in Ankeny, this pizza joint (that’s right) with an English theme serves up typical American bar food in a European pub atmosphere.
Cricket is the National Sport of England. The Knights Cricket Club play their matches at Holiday Park in West Des Moines. They also hold kids’ clinics every now and then. If you’d like to find out more about the club or their upcoming schedule, visit their website and Facebook page.
Cricket may be the National sport, but soccer, by far, is the most popular. The Des Moines Menace Soccer season runs May through July. They also provide youth-soccer opportunities for children ages 3-18.
What ideas do you have for hometown travel with your kids in Des Moines?